Discover the Coral Coast – Visit Ningaloo Reef UNESCO World Heritage Site

Ningaloo Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to some truly remarkable species of marine life which includes Manta Rays and Turtles to Humpback Whales and you can even swim with Whale Sharks.

Ningaloo Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to some truly remarkable species of marine life which includes manta rays and turtles to humpback whales and even whale sharks.

Located right on the coast of Western Australia, Ningaloo Reef is also a haven for swimming, surfing and anyone that likes to immerse themselves in nature.

You will find an immaculate stretch of pristine beach next to Ningaloo Reef which runs all the way along the Coral Coast. This is the largest coral reef in Australia and an incredible place where you can swim up close to the manta rays, whales and whale sharks mentioned above. There are also dolphins from time to time and the clear waters at Ningaloo Reef ensure excellent visibility.

But there’s much more to this stunning area than marine life because the nearby land is also carpeted with colourful wildflowers. You can also discover a bubble-gum pink coloured lake and perhaps venture into the lunar landscape at Nambung Park where giant limestone rocks reach for the skies. Later, you might decide to drink in the scenery at the Kalbarri Skywalk which offers unobstructed views of the many rivers, gorges and huge rock formations.

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Discover the Coral Coast – Visit Ningaloo Reef UNESCO World Heritage Site - Travel Times & Highlights

Please note: Distances and travel times are estimates only and may vary due to alternative routes, weather and road conditions. Please check with Main Roads Western Australia for updated information before commencing your journey.


Cervantes is situated at the centre of the Nambung National Park and the very start of the Coral Coast region in Western Australia. You will find stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters here and endless opportunities to swim, relax or perhaps even fish. Cervantes is also cited as the gateway to the Pinnacles Desert where you can follow the walking trails through limestone spires and stunning landscapes. It is common to see fauna on these walks and the geology and flora is as diverse as you will see anywhere in Western Australia. Due to the extent of nearby marine life, Cervantes is also a great spot to sample seafood in Western Australia and the town is overflowing with things to do whether you decide to get in the water or not.

Distance from Cervantes: 2 hr 25 min (223 km)


Geraldton is famous for Aboriginal trails, pink lakes and enchanting diving atolls. You will find a host of restaurants here serving some of the best lobster in Geraldton and a bustling city centre with galleries, street art and trendy cafes. 

The facilities make this a perfect pit-stop on a Perth to Broome road trip and a base for exploring the nearby attractions. The main attraction are the islands out to sea, and the incredible wildlife which has put Geraldton on the map for visitors.

Located 60km from Geraldton, there are three main groups of islands which are known as the Pelsaert, Easter and Wallabi Group of islands and they stretch for more than 100km across the ocean. Many people compare this region to the Galapagos Islands in South America due to the biodiversity and plethora of marine life.

You can also dive, snorkel and swim in the waters and even get off to explore some of the islands on foot. While you might have already visited islands elsewhere in Australia, there is nowhere like the islands along the Western coast and the charming town warrant a stop in Geraldton.

Distance from Geraldton: 1 hr 47 min (156 km)


Natures Window, Kalbarri[/caption] Kalbarri is situated next to the mouth of the Murchison River which is why the area is so popular for swimming and fishing. Inland you can find wildflowers and gorges with rugged cliffs and a unique natural attraction known as “Natures Window”. This natural rock arch is a spectacular sight which consists of layers of Tumblagooda Sandstone. There are also stunning viewpoints and short hiking trails which which offer unrivalled views of the Murchison River. Meanwhile, the dramatic cliffs in Kalbarri is one of the best places to catch a glimpse of Humpback Whales in Western Australia. With over 180,000 hectares to explore, Kalbarri is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and the near perfect climate make this a great place to get outside and immerse yourself in the nature of Western Australia.

Distance from Kalbarri: 4 hr (398 km)

Shark Bay

Shark Bay is a vast wilderness of more than 2 million hectares and the most western point in Australia. You will find flora and wildlife here that cannot be found anywhere else and local Aboriginals refer to this area as Gutharraguda which means ‘two waters’. 

Shark Bay consists of two sheltered bays which are protected by a long islands and peninsulas. This is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site such is the colourful and unique nature of the area. The bay is home to many of Australia’s bird species, endangered mammals and flora including 12 species of seagrass!

As for marine life, you will find everything from fish, turtles and crustaceans to a thriving population of dolphins. This is also a good stopover on a Perth to Broome road trip as the facilities and accommodation in Shark Bay are catered towards tourism.

Distance from Shark Bay: 3 hr 33 min (352 km)



Located in between Ningaloo Coast and Shark Bay, Carnarvon is a subtropical paradise where you can indulge in some amazing fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood. After all, Carnarvon is often called the ‘food bowl’ of this region and produces 80% of the fruit and vegetable in Western Australia. With this in mind, foodies and food lovers will not want to miss the town of Carnarvon. 

This is also a great place to learn about the colonial and indigenous heritage of WA as there are many historic buildings, landmarks and museums in Carnarvon.

You can also explore the waterway called the Fascine which features a swimming pontoon, playground and several picnic areas along the way.

Distance from Canarvon: 2 hr 28 min (238 km)

Coral Bay

Coral Bay is a paradise in Western Australia which features beautiful coral gardens along Ningaloo Reef, just metres from the white sandy shoreline. You will also find a very laidback vibe in the area which seems to compliment the quiet natural surroundings. 

There is also a 2km walkway along the reef from which you can often spot rays, dolphins and other marine life. A highlight is to swim with Whale Sharks the biggest fish in the sea!

This walk also travels through a large nature park where kangaroos, emus and a variety of bird life are common. That said, the pristine beaches are ideal for swimming and the perfect place to enjoy a sunset in the evenings.

Meanwhile, just outside town, Five Fingers Reef and Oyster Bridge are waiting to be explored by four-wheel drive and the Ningaloo Reserve will really help you feel as though you have escaped the beaten path in WA!

Distance from Coral Bay: 1 hr 34 min (152 km)


Exmouth is a small town with a big reputation and recently won an award as the best small tourism town in Australia. Located on the periphery of Ningaloo World Heritage Area, this small town is the perfect place from which to explore the marine park. 

You can often see humpback whales and whale sharks in the reef and the area is especially popular for diving and snorkelling. Some people even refer to Exmouth as an outdoor aquarium as the extent of marine life is always there to see.

This small town is also a great starting point from which to explore Cape Range National Park and the iconic natural landscapes that can make a Perth to Broome road trip so spectacular.

Distance from Exmouth: 1 hr 38 min (130 km)

Ningaloo Reef

Ningaloo Reef is a stunning location that features unspoilt coral and some of the clearest waters in which to see the marine life of Western Australia.

Whether diving, snorkelling or swimming, you are sure to encounter many species of this marine life and it is common to see humpback whales. You can get up close and swim with Whale Sharks and much more.

With pristine beaches and excellent surf breaks, this is also a hotspot for anyone that likes to surf or simply sunbathe and relax.

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