Information on the Ningaloo/Exmouth Region
Although most famed for its whale sharks which feed there during March to June, the Exmouth region is also rich in coral and other marine life. During the winter months, the reef is part of the migratory routes for dolphins, dugongs, manta rays and humpback whales. The beaches of the region are an important breeding ground of the loggerhead, green and hawksbill turtles. They also depend on the nearby reef for nesting and food. The Ningaloo supports an abundance of fish (500 species), corals (300 species), molluscs (600 species) and many other marine invertebrates.
The Ningaloo region is blessed with a fantastic climate. With no wet season, it’s dry and warm all year. In fact, the Ningaloo records around 320 days of sunshine every year.
Summer daytime temperatures range from the mid to high 30-40’s, while a typical winters day reaches around 25 degrees Celsius. Water temperatures vary from 20-28 degrees – perfect beach weather all year round!
Click here for monthly averages from Bureau of Meteorology
Fishing in the Exmouth region is world class. Fishing is not permitted in sanctuary zones so make sure you familiarise yourself with your onboard copy of the Marine Park fishing guide before wetting a line and if you are unsure, ask.
Offshore the targeted species are usually red emperor, coral trout and rankin cod and the associated by-catch is way too long to list. Pelagic species on offer sweeten the deal with big Spanish mackerel being a popular target. Yellowfin and various other tuna are also common and are often seen breaking the surface near the working birds.
Exmouth is also recognised as one of the finest game fishing destinations in the world. All six Australian billfish species (blue, black and striped marlin, sailfish, broadbill swordfish and shortbill spearfish) are encountered here, along with yellowfin tuna, mahi mahi (dolphinfish), wahoo, cobia, Spanish mackerel, giant trevally and many others. Every year in March the Exmouth Game Fishing Club hosts its Gamex tournament which always produces some fantastic – often record breaking – catches, particularly in terms of tag and release numbers. The Ningaloo Virgin is available for charter for Gamex.
The reefs around the island of Exmouth create a diverse array of habitats for a multitude of colourful corals and more than 500 species of fish. Many other creatures regularly visit Australia’s Ningaloo region, including whale sharks, turtles, dugongs, dolphins and humpback whales, making it a must-see for divers, snorkellers and nature-lovers.
There are numerous snorkel sites that can easily be reached by the Virgin herself where you can simply anchor and snorkel off the swim platform, or alternatively take the tender (dinghy) to the reef.
Every year from April to July, the world’s biggest fish congregate along the Ningaloo Reef. These are the whale sharks! The chance to snorkel with these gentle giants is the opportunity of a lifetime and visitors from all over the world head to the Ningaloo Reef during whale shark season to do just this.
These massive but harmless filter feeders can grow up to 18m long. They cruise the world’s oceans in search of concentrations of plankton to feed on, and the Ningaloo Reef is one of the only places on the planet they appear regularly in large numbers. Very little is known about the biology of these creatures, so research is ongoing.
Cruise Ningaloo strongly encourages guests to speak to us if you wish to swim with Whale-Sharks so we can recommend and organise a tour for you with a licensed operator.
Gulf of Exmouth
Beadon Creek, Onslow
Bay of Rest