Are you planning to go swimming with whale sharks in Exmouth, Australia? If so, you’ve got plenty to look forward to. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will be something to look back on and cherish for the rest of your life. But the excitement of a holiday in Ningaloo doesn’t end here. In fact, there are a host of other activities to enjoy before and after you’ve spent some time admiring these amazing creatures.
Exmouth is a compact town, with most of its facilities, shops and restaurants centrally located on or near Maidstone Crescent. There are also a few sights and attractions within walking distance – and a great deal more available if you opt for a hire car.
Here are some of the main things to see and do in Exmouth:
Plans are underway for Ningaloo’s newest attraction to open soon. This facility is expected to house an expanded visitor’s centre along with a collection of outstanding interactive displays covering the region’s natural and human history.
This is definitely one of the most popular beaches in the area. It’s located a mere 13 km to the north of Exmouth and attracts a fair number of cyclists for that reason. Once you’ve arrived head out into the sheltered waters for swimming, snorkelling or kayaking.
Jurabi Turtle Centre
This turtle conservation centre is unstaffed during the day, but there are pamphlets on hand that explain a great deal about the life cycles of the sea turtles that frequent this shore. During the nesting season (December to March), you can return in the evening to watch the hatchlings emerge and embark on the first great adventure of their lives. Just be sure to heed the warnings listed in the pamphlet and maintain appropriate distance. This is a great follow-up to diving with the whale sharks!
Mangrove Bay Bird Hide
Whilst in Cape National Park, visit this bird hide to watch migratory birds in the mangroves. A walk along the tidal flats is also enjoyable. Just be sure to bring insect repellent, as it’s not just the birds that come here to feed.
SS Mildura Wreck
The SS Mildura (a cattle steamer) ran aground on a reef here in 1907. You can actually see the wreck from the shore. Some people attempt to go diving and snorkelling here, but conditions are not ideal. Strong currents and shallow waters mean that caution is advised.
Vlamingh Head Lighthouse
More than a century old, this scenic lighthouse was built in 1912 and is open to the public. Informative panels are posted to tell you more about the sights you can see here. From July to November, you may be able to spot migratory humpback whales from this highflying perch, or come any time of year in the early evening for a spectacular sunset!
Harold E Hold Naval Communication Station
This communication station was built in the 1960s a few kilometres to the north of Exmouth. In fact, the town of Exmouth was built at the same time in order to support the base (and to provide housing for the US Navy personnel who worked there). Today, it’s more a point of interest than an actual attraction, but you’re sure to spot the VLF antennae array here if you pay a visit to Bundegi Beach.
Cape Range National Park
This national park features camping sites for those who fancy pitching a tent next to the sea. There are several activities here beyond simply enjoying the sand, sea and surf. The local gorges are ideal for bushwalks, and the snorkelling in this area is also good. Be sure to stop by Milyering Visitor Centre for more information on the park.
Aptly named, Town Beach is only a short walk from central Exmouth. It’s a popular picnic spot, with free BBQ facilities and picnic tables on hand. This is also a great place to watch kite surfers ply their craft.
This clothing-optional beach is located about 1.5 north of Vlamingh Head Lighthouse. Turtles nest in this area from October to April.