Recent Experience Snorkeling Australia’s Ningaloo Reef?

By Dennis

Does anyone have recent experience snorkeling Australia’s Ningaloo Reef? We were there six years ago but are curious as to any effects of coral bleaching, etc. We are looking to return as the reef had good shore access and the conditions of the reef at the time were better than the Great Barrier Reef.

Thank you.


  1. Hi Dennis, I was in Ningaloo 12 months ago if that helps. Coral Bay bleached badly a few years ago and has not seen much regrowth. We headed further north. Turquoise Bay was fantastic, the coral was vibrant and other marine life was abundant, but expect crowds.

    We also snorkeled Oyster Stacks and Lakeside, the latter we had all to ourselves in the late afternoon. At both sites, the coral and marine life was plentiful and in good health. The only downside was a lack of larger predatory fish other than the local cods. Visibility was pretty good with a southerly swell but northerly winds. This only caused wave issues at high tide at Oyster Stacks.


  2. Hey there, Dennis! I was just in Coral Bay (and environs), Ningaloo about end January 2024. I’m very happy to report what Dominic describes above is accurate and perhaps even improving somewhat. Specifically Bill’s Bay is what was affected by bleaching (I was surprised to learn a natural event–not man-made!) but the shift is dramatic once you reach healthy reef.

    Unfortunately my time was hampered by very windy weather and consequently colder than average water temps but I still had an amazing time. In my opinion, the west coast of Australia is equally worth your effort and money as the east coast!


  3. Hi everyone. As an Aussie, I would offer you have not lived until you have snorkeled this part of the world.

    With respect to Coral Bay – I cannot offer recent experience, but having been there a couple of times over the last decade or so, I would summarize “nice but not wonderful.”

    HOWEVER, you are now so close to the good stuff, and apologies to those who have only done Coral Bay. Exmouth is where to base yourself, which then gives access to Cape Range National Park, with multiple beach access snorkel bays, if you have hired a car.

    The pinnacle of my experiences there have been boat based tours swimming with whale sharks (March to August is peak season), and they now have a trial period of swimming with Humpback whales (August to October). So if you were feeling greedy, maybe aim for early August, as you might get both on the one day! Bear in mind these are wild animals, with no human interference allowed!


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