Whale Sharks arrive to Ningaloo Reef
Whale sharks have arrived early to Ningaloo Reef this year, with Coral Bay operator Coral Bay Eco Tours sighting two of our spotty friends last week.
The Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area is one of the only places in the world where whale sharks reliably congregate in large numbers annually, drawn to the reef by coral spawning during the full moon.
When experiencing a whale shark tour on the Ningaloo Reef, the day starts with a snorkel on the inner reef, where guests can sight colourful coral reef and fish, before continuing to find the whale sharks. Operators use spotter planes to locate them, communicating with the tour boat’s skipper to guide them to the fish’s location where small groups then enter the water to swim with these gentle giants. Groups consist of up to 10 people at a time, ensuring a relaxed and sustainable experience for both swimmers and the whale sharks.
In 2019, over 30,000 people travelled from around the world to Ningaloo to swim with the largest fish in the ocean in either Exmouth or Coral Bay. Whale shark tour operators saw a 96% success rate, and the average in-water interaction time with the whale sharks was just over 13 minutes.
Ningaloo’s whale shark season traditionally runs from the middle of March to the end of June in Coral Bay and July in Exmouth. This year, Coral Bay Eco Tours and Exmouth-based Ningaloo Discovery Whale Shark Tours will commence their whale shark tours on Sunday, 1 March 2020, and Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks Ningaloo will commence tours on Wednesday, 4 March 2020. Other Exmouth whale shark tour operators will commence their tours shortly after, from the middle of March onwards.
According to Australia’s Coral Coast Chief Executive Officer, David O’Malley, this life-changing experience is highly popular, so visitors are recommended to book their experience early to avoid disappointment. “Both Coral Bay and Exmouth based whale shark tours operators are highly experienced at delivering a well-managed, sustainable and enjoyable activity”.
Tours are available to anyone over 5 years of age who can swim, although children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more information or travel itineraries, visit Australia’s Coral Coast – www.australiascoralcoast.com
Learn More About the Whale Shark Experience
How does a tour work?
Top 5 reasons to swim with Whale Sharks
Source = Australia’s Coral Coast