Coral Bay and Exmouth are a “Nature Lover’s Delight!” The two towns are situated on what is now known as the Ningaloo Marine Park. The name Ningaloo means “deepwater” for the local Yinigudura tribe.
What to See and Do
Coral Bay is a delightful small coastal town where everything within the town is generally within walking distance, including the beach. The beach was voted in the Top 25 Australian beaches in the Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice Awards. Coral Bay has a lot of outdoor activities available.
For those that like to get wet.....
Snorkel along the reef either independently, or on a tour to some of the best spots to view the amazing coral. Coral Bay Eco Tours have an amazing range of tours from a 2 hour snorkelling tour of the reef to see the amazing coral, 3 hour turtle tours, swimming with whale sharks, humpback whale safari and/or a 5 hour marine eco safari which includes snorkelling with mantra rays. They supply snorkelling gear as well. Integrity Coach Lines passengers receive 15% discount when booking a Marine Eco Tour.
There is a huge range of options depending upon what you’d like to see. Some tours are for particular times of the year such as swimming with the whale sharks as they migrate past, whereas other tours such as the marine eco safari tour is available all year round.
Photo: Coral Bay (Credit: Tourism WA)
Photo: Coral Bay (Credit: Liz Collins)
For those that like to keep dry...
You can walk the beaches and even explore the reef, some of which is just a few steps offshore (ok, your feet will get wet if you choose to paddle). Of the evening climb the viewing platform for a fabulous view of the sunset over the bay.
Photo: Coral Bay
Photo: Coral Bay
Take the glass bottom boat with Coral Bay Eco Tours to see the fabulous coral formations and the many varieties of fish as the boat glides over top.
Photo: Coral and fish in glass bottom boat.
Check out the succulent gardens at Bill’s while having a bite to eat, and the Coral Bay Bakery is yummy too.
Photo: Bills at Ningaloo Reef (Credit: Tourism WA)
Photo: Coral Resot Bakery (Credit: Wade Needham)
Exmouth is a small resort town, though larger than Coral Bay. Exmouth boasts a range of activities from swimming with marine life to walking trails.
For those that like to get wet...
Whale Shark Swims are available between April and July and is an experience not to be missed. Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours give 10% discount to Integrity Coach Lines passengers. Whale sharks can grow up to 18 metres in length with a mouth up to 1m wide, however they are harmless to humans as they are filter feeders. Kings use a spotter plane to locate the whale sharks and then take you out to swim alongside them. Photos are taken during the day and included in the tour price. Make sure you book in advance as places on these tours are highly sought after.
Photo: Whale Shark (Credit: Tourism WA)
Another option in the Exmouth area is to swim with humpback whales. This is another magnificent experience, however only available during August and September so plan carefully if you wish to do this.
Turquoise Bay, a beautiful beach is one of Western Australia’s best beaches. If you love snorkelling then this beach is ideal for a “snorkel drift”. Enter the beach at the south end and the current will take you over the reef. Take care to keep an eye on where you are as the current can be strong. If you are not a strong swimmer then you may wish to consider a licensed operator. Check out the “look out deck” while at the bay. Bus transfers from Exmouth can be booked.
Photo: Turquoise Bay (Credit: Yardie Creek Boat Tours)
For those that like to keep dry...
A boat cruise of Yardie Creek with Yardie Creek Boat Tours is a great way to see an awesome multi-coloured George that constantly holds water that has come in from the ocean, though being in the gorge the water is calm and flat. You can expect to see the Black-footed Wallaby, Ospreys and other birds as well as marine life. Although binoculars aren’t necessary, they may provide with a closer look at some of the wildlife on the cliffs. There is a bus transfer service from Exmouth to the Jetty.
Photo: Yardie Creek (Credit: Tourism WA)
Photo: Black footed Wallaby (Credit: Tourism WA)
Want to see the Whale Sharks from the boat without entering the water? Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours allow observers to travel out with them on their swim tours. Travelling as an observer you have the opportunity to see Whales sharks, manta rays, dolphins dugongs and turtles. Keep your eyes open and listen to the guides who are very knowledgeable and eager to point out all the marine life there is to see.
The Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival is held once a year, usually in May and involves a variety of activities and music. If this is of interest then keep an eye out for details of the gigs, activities and of course, the dates. In 2019, this is running from Friday May 24th to Sunday May 26th.
Exmouth has a variety of Walking Trails available. Care needs to be taken that you are properly equipped and temperatures can be very hot. Ensure you have plenty of water and you may like to check with the Ningaloo Visitor Centre prior to departing as to whether the weather is right for the walk you intend to do and whether you have the fitness level for the walk you’d like to undertake. There’s the following:
- Valamingh Head walk which has ocean views and the remains of a World War II radar station.
- The Mandu Mandu Gorge walk which is a 3km walk of a dry gorge with views of the gorge and Ningaloo Reef
- Yardie Nature Trail and Yardie Creek Gorge Trail has views of Yardie Creek and Ningaloo Reef
- Badjirrajirra Loop Trail takes you through rocky gullies and small gorges and has views of Shothole Canyon and Exmouth Gulf.
The Jurabi Turtle Centre is an unmanned outdoor interpretive centre open to the public at all times. During the nesting season of November to March the Department of Parks & Wildlife also run turtle observation tours from this centre.
Where To Stay
The Ningaloo Club is an ideal stop for backpackers and other budget conscious tourists as it hosts a variety of rooms types from dorms to private rooms, added bonus is that Integrity Coach Lines pick up and drop off here. There is also the Ningaloo Coral Bay Caravan Park and the Ningaloo Reef Resort which is only a short walk.
The Potshot Hotel Resort is located in the town centre and within walking distance from the departure and setdown point for Integrity Coach Lines. They have a range of accommodation from Backpacker, Hotel/Motel to Deluxe. Exmouth has a large variety of accommodation available, so you may like to check out other options on the Ningaloo Visitor Centre website.
How to Get Around in Coral Bay and Exmouth
Within Coral Bay, everything is within walking distance.
Within Exmouth town, walk or call a taxi depending on distance, cabs are available, they are Cabs on Call or Ring a Ride.
From Coral Bay to Exmouth, you can travel with Integrity Coach Lines on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Timetables are available here. Bookings are recommended to ensure a seat.
From Exmouth to Coral Bay, you can travel with Integrity Coach Lines on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Timetables are available here. Bookings are recommend.
From Exmouth to Yardie Creek there is the YCBT Bus Transfer, bookings are essential as seats are limited.
From Exmouth to Turquiose Bay there is the TBBS Bus Transfer on a seasonal basis, bookings are essential as seats are limited.
How to Get There and Back
Perth to Coral Bay and Perth to Exmouth
Integrity Coach Lines have a bus that travels from Perth to Coral Bay and Exmouth 3 times a week. Integrity Coach Lines leave Perth on Sundays at 7pm arriving in Coral Bay on Monday at 10.30am and Exmouth at 12.45pm the following day. The bus also leaves on Tuesday and Thursdays from Perth at 9.30pm and arrives in Coral Bay the following day at 3pm and Exmouth at 3.00pm. Passengers can also get on the bus at other departure points along the way such as Jurien Bay, Geraldton and Carnarvon, just to name a few. The departure point in Perth is at the Tourist Bus Stop, which is on Wellington Street, out front of the Perth City Train Station. This makes it easy to take the train into the city to catch the coach from Perth to Coral Bay and Exmouth.
Broome to Exmouth and Coral Bay
Integrity Coach Lines have a bus that travels from Broome to Exmouth and Coral Bay twice a week. The coach leaves the Broome Visitor Centre on Thursday and Saturdays at 8pm arrives in Exmouth at 1.10pm and Coral Bay at 3.10ppm the following day. You can also get on at Karratha or Hedland (3 services a week from those departure points).
Return from Coral Bay or Exmouth to Perth or Broome
Integrity Coach Lines travel south 3 times a week. Passengers wishing to return can leave Exmouth at 1.40pm or Coral Bay at 3.25pm on Sunday, Tuesday or Friday. They arrive in Perth the next morning at 7am.
Integrity Coach Lines travel through to Broome twice a week. Passengers wishing to travel north to return to their initial departure point leave Coral Bay at 11am or Exmouth at 3.30pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.
The departure point at Coral Bay is from the Carpark of the Ningaloo Club and from Exmouth is from the carpark next to Federation Park on Maidstone Cres, opposite the Ningaloo IGA.
Coral Bay Departure Point (rear Ningaloo Club)
Map: Exmouth Departure Point (carpark next to Federation Park, off IGA)
Note: Heading north there is one more service leaving Coral Bay at 11am and Exmouth at 12.45pm. This service can take you to Tom Price (for Karijini National Park), Hedland or Karratha, however it does not go to Broome).
What to Expect on an Integrity Coachlines Journey
1) Short comfort stops approx. every three hours. This allows you to stretch your legs, use facilities at the roadhouses (there is also a toilet on the coach) and purchase food and drinks it you wish. You may also wish to bring dry snacks or meals that do not have distinctive odours such as eggs and tuna. And, of course, your water bottle is most welcome.
2) Capture glimpses of various towns along the way if you are using an Express ticket (point to point ticket). If you are using a Hop on Hop off pass then you may wish to stop and enjoy other towns for a couple of days rather than just pass through. The choice is yours!
3) Friendly, Personal and Knowledgeable Drivers. Drivers are knowledgeable on all locations and can provide tips and hints as needed. Two professional drivers per trip ensures they are well rested to get you to your destination safely. Best of all, they are a friendly crew that are very approachable.
So, why not catch a bus from Perth to Coral Bay or Exmouth, or Broome to Exmouth or Coral Bay, and visit either or both these towns. There is so much to see and do, it really is a nature lover’s paradise. Call Integrity coach lines now on 08 92747464.
Courtesy of Judy Purkiss