Swim with humpback whales

When a Humpback Whale breaches the ocean, arcs through the air and slaps back into the water even for a seasoned whale watcher the experience is thrilling. These majestic creatures migrate up the coast of Western Australia delighting locals and holiday makers alike. Between June and November, travellers can go on guided in-water interactions with Humpback Whales and one of the best places to experience this is in the Ningaloo Marine Park off the coast of Exmouth and Coral Bay.

When time stands still

In the Aboriginal Wajarri language, Ningaloo means “deep water”.  These deep blue waters offer a haven for the biggest fish in the sea the gentle Whaleshark as well as the majestic Humpback Whales. When you do encounter these creatures, you will like Caroline from The Telegraph did, find that time will stand still.

Video by @danspillane_aerial_images as seen on @AlexKyddPhoto

When is the season?

The season starts in Coral Bay from 1 July 2019 and Exmouth from 1 August 2019, both locations running until 30 October 2019. However, being a natural event the migration period could conclude or extend around this end date.

2019 will be the fourth year of a trial Humpback whale swim program in Western Australia. There are only three countries in the world where you can swim with humpback whales, and Australia is one of them. There are three locations in Australia including the Ningaloo Marine Park (in Exmouth and Coral Bay).

How does a tour work?

All tours are full day affairs that focus on small group encounters for intimate, yet exhilarating experiences that will stay with you for many years to come!

By choosing the Ningaloo Reef for your Humpback Whale swim you not only get the experience of being in the water with a whale, but you also explore a world-class pristine reef! Snorkel its coral gardens, cruise the turquoise sheltered lagoons and spot other marine life such as swimming with manta rays, dolphins and turtles.

The Ningaloo Humpback Whale interaction guidelines have been modelled on world’s best practice Whale Shark swim tours which have been proven by leading scientists to be the most eco-friendly and least impactive tours globally.

Interactions are completely on the whale’s terms, so if the humpbacks behaviour and the weather allows, there will be the chance for a genuine wildlife encounter in the water with them. Not sure if you want to swim with whales? All tour operators offer what we call an Observer ticket price. Observers can still participate in reef snorkels and swimming with Manta Rays if found.

How to make it happen!

Exmouth and Coral Bay are a 90 minute flight with Qantas with 12 flights per week, access from Perth Airport.

Car Hire is available from Learmonth airport; we recommend pre-booking your vehicle. Don’t want to drive? There are other options! Exmouth Bus Charters (from Exmouth) provide a shuttle bus service from the airport to your accommodation in Exmouth for a per person fee.  If you will be travelling to Coral Bay, transfers between Learmonth Airport and Coral Bay must be pre-booked by contacting Coral Bay Airport Transfers.

Why not fly up to Learmonth Airport and drive back to Perth by booking this amazing one way rental offer from Avis?  Download our Road Trip eBrochure to plan your road trip adventure in Western Australia.

Marine life magic

The UNESCO Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area was established in 2011 and is regarded as one of the last great ocean paradises. The area was listed due to its marine and terrestrial (land) properties including rare flora and fauna such as the Whale Shark with 300 to 500 of these megafauna aggregating at Ningaloo annually.

By choosing the Ningaloo Reef for your Humpback Whale swim you not only get the experience of being in the water with a whale, but you also get to explore a world-class pristine reef! Snorkel its coral gardens, cruise the turquoise sheltered lagoons and spot other marine life such as swimming with manta rays, dolphins and turtles. Ningaloo provides an important resting area for the whales and offers one of the best chances to see them up close.

However, unlike the Whale Shark tours, the Humpback Whale tours will be conducted over the entire area of the Ningaloo Marine Park waters, which includes the 300 kilometres of reef between Coral Bay and Exmouth, the North-West Cape, Lighthouse Bay, the Murion Islands, concluding at Bundegi Beach within the Exmouth Gulf.

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