The biggest fish in the ocean, the Whale Shark may look intimidating, but it’s a gentle giant that you can snorkel alongside at ease. The most popular location to meet them is in the Ningaloo Reef, with dozens of tours offering encounters between April and July. Due to the large amount of plankton in the reef during this time, Ningaloo is one of the only places in the world where Whale Sharks congregate to feed in large numbers. Due to licensing laws, only 10 people can swim with a Whale Shark at one time, which offers you an unbeatable experience, as well as keeping in mind the interests and safety of the Whale Shark.
Gracefully swimming through the shallow lagoons on the Ningaloo Reef, Manta Rays are beautiful to watch. Their nearly 7-metre width makes them appear formidable, but with a placid nature and minus the sting in their tail, travellers to the Ningaloo are able to snorkel in the water with them. To avoid disturbing them as they go about their day, make sure to book on a small-group tour to meet the Manta Rays, so you know you’re getting a great view without the crowds.
Heading further north, the Kimberley is blessed with an array of wildlife due to its untouched and unspoilt surroundings, one of which is the infamous crocodile. The freshwater crocs are pretty harmless and can be spotted around lakes, rivers, gorges and creeks, while the not-so-gentle giants are the saltwater crocs found nearer the coast around Derby and Broome. If you’re going to go crocodile spotting, make sure you go on a group tour with a knowledgeable guide, so you remain safe at all times.
Due to the dryness of the land and desert-like environment, the Western Australian outback is home to many reptile species including the intriguing-looking Thorny Devil. Your best bet to find one of these is to venture into Francois Peron National Park within the Shark Bay World Heritage area. Their shades of camouflage can make it difficult to spot them, but the spikes across the entire upper of their body make the search incredibly worthwhile. Despite their look, they’re not dangerous to humans – unless you happen to step on one!
If you’re a really determined wildlife spotter, one of the hardest but most rewarding finds is the endangered Bilby. Once two species of which the Lesser Bilby became extinct in the 1950s, there have been sightings of the Greater Bilby in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area and Peron Peninsula. The good thing is they’re quite recognisable, with very big ears and a long bandicoot nose.
Article courtesy of BBM Live