Humpback whale season has commenced in Australia’s Coral Coast, with whale watching and in-water interaction tours available from towns throughout the region.
An estimated 40,000 humpback whales annually migrate along Western Australia’s coastline, and the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef is the only place in the State where people have the opportunity to swim with these gentle giants. Small group tours run from Coral Bay and Exmouth, with guests entering the water with up to 7 people at a time for an exhilarating experience. The start of Ningaloo’s humpback whale season coincides with the latter half of the whale shark season, meaning guests may be lucky enough to swim with both megafauna on a single tour. Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks Ningaloo caught the unforgettable moment a humpback whale swum up behind a whale shark on a recent tour. For those who would prefer a softer adventure, all tour operators who offer in-water interactions also offer a whale watching option, and dedicated whale watching tours run from Shark Bay, Kalbarri and Geraldton.
The UNESCO Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area, celebrating its 10th anniversary of being inscribed on the World Heritage list this year, is situated at the northern end of the Australia’s Coral Coast region and is home to Australia’s largest fringing reef system, Ningaloo Reef. The reef stretches 300kms from Carnarvon’s Red Bluff in the south to the Muiron Islands in the north and Exmouth Gulf’s Bundegi Beach in the east, and is the only place in Australia where you can swim with the “marine big 3” – whale sharks (March to August), manta rays (year-round) and humpback whales – in a single location. Ningaloo is also one of Australia’s newest Hope Spots, with the Coral Coast region home to two of the seven Australian Hope Spots. Hope Spots are global locations considered critical to the health of the ocean. The world heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef and adjacent Exmouth Gulf were designated as having global significance by international marine science organisation, Mission Blue.
Swimming with humpback whales at Ningaloo is a bucket-list experience. Those who are interested in this experience should book their tour and accommodation early to avoid disappointment. Children who can swim can join a tour accompanied by their parents, however minimum ages vary depending on the individual operator. It is recommended that families confirm the terms and conditions and minimum age requirement directly with their preferred operator before booking. For more information on swimming with humpback whales, visit Australia’s Coral Coast – www.australiascoralcoast.com/see-do/swim-humpback-whales