The Gorgeous Coral Bay Australia And The Tips You Need To Enjoy It!
If you love the sun and the ocean, and you find yourself in the “Land Down Under”, then consider heading out to Coral Bay. At this settlement on the northwestern coast of Australia, the shimmering blue water of the Indian ocean, the clear blue skies, the powdery sand and the stunning Ningaloo Reef will ensure that you experience an amazing vacation.
The history of Coral Bay really begins at “Maud’s Landing”. The landing of the schooner Maud in 1884 is the earliest recorded European activity in the region.
In 1896 a town site reserve was gazetted to protect the site of an existing jetty and government goods shed. In 1915 the town was officially named Maud’s Landing. Maud’s Landing played an important role in the settlement and development of the North West of Western Australia. The woolshed and jetty which included a tramway served the local pastoralists in the provision of supplies and in the outward shipment of wool and sheep from 1898 until 1947. Wood from the jetty was taken away and used at the whaling station at Ningaloo station near point Cloates. Only old pilings from the jetty remain today.
Three kilometres to the south of Maud’s Landing a very beautiful bay called Bill’s bay was fast becoming a popular recreational area both for locals and for the more adventurous fishermen. Bills Bay was named after Ruby May French, affectionately called ‘auntie Billie’. She was the wife of Charles French, the owner of Cardabia Station, the property surrounding Maud’s Landing and Bills Bay. The first building in Bills Bay was a holiday shack built in 1933 by Jack McKenna, the manager of Mia Mia station and used by him as a summer coastal retreat.
It was not until 1968 that formal settlement began at Bills Bay with the establishment of an hotel, caravan park and a service station. The Hotel was named the Coral Bay Hotel probably because of the outstanding Coral Reef. Consequently the settlement became known as Coral Bay.
The Ningaloo Reef & Activities
The Ningaloo Reef is one of the main reasons Coral Bay is considered part of the list of special holiday destinations. This reef system is among the few that exist on the west coast of any continent on the planet. Ningaloo is home to soft colored corals that possess very pleasant shapes. Their spawning cycle is unlike anything else in the world in the world. Spawning of these coral usually takes place on the first full moon after Easter, at night. Ningaloo Reef also supports a plethora of sea creatures including tropical fish moral eels, sea turtles and manta rays.
Snorkeling And Diving
Because of Ningaloo’s proximity to the town, Coral Bay makes an excellent base for snorkeling and diving expeditions. The town also experiences a warm sunny climate for majority of the year. This means that you can head out to Coral Bay at almost any given time and would still be able to explore its underwater beauty.
One creature that you may be lucky to meet and even swim with is the Whale Shark. These gentle giants, the largest fish in the world, swim their way to Coral Bay during the period of March through June. Even though they can stretch up to 18 meters long, whale sharks are harmless as their diet consists mainly of plankton. The presence of whales sharks filter feeding at the Ningaloo Reef is due to the reefís closeness to the continental shelf in which is believed to be the home of these giant creatures.
Turtle nesting occurs on local beaches between November and February. The Green, Loggerhead and Hawkesville turtles are often seen in the shallows and by the reef as part of one of the many tours operated locally.
Anyone who has snorkeled at Coral Bay will attest that such experience is absolutely amazing. The reef system is less than 100 yards from the shoreline. The farthest point of the reef is approximately 8 kilometers from the shore. If you want to see Ningaloo’s coral gardens but would rather stay dry while doing so, book one of the cruises that use a semi-submersible boats. Fortunately, there are several operators that can organize such a tour along with other activities.
Aside from snorkeling, it is not surprising that fishing is worthwhile activity at Coral Bay. You can arrange a charter fishing boat to take you out onto the deep ocean to catch fish. There are plenty of options, you may fish from the beach anywhere north of Point Maud and anywhere south of the bay. From a dinghy, fishing is permitted inside the reef south of Monk’s Head or north of Point Maud.
There is a boat launching facility located South of the townsite with ramps for two trailer boats together with a large parking area for trailers.
Access to the boating facility is via Banksia drive, turn just East of the Backpackers Ningaloo Club on the way into town and follow the bitumen road.
With a larger boat, fish outside the reef where the variety of fish is only exceeded by the number of spots to catch them. To reach the outside of the reef there are two options. Firstly there is the North Passage. This is about 5 Km north of Point Maud and is a wide, deep, safe all weather passage. Its only disadvantage is that other than at high tide when you can navigate across the bay it is a long way to get there. Access is via a channel marked through the coral just inside the reef. Boaters would be well advised to mark the position of the most northerly markers for their return from the North passage so as to find them more easily. The other option is the South Passage (Yalobia Passage) which is about 6 Km south of the bay and immediately West of the boating facility . This is a fairly narrow break in the reef and in certain weather conditions is not navigable. It is marked by three markers on the hill onshore. It is a convenient way to access some good fishing spots but only if the weather is suitable.
Inside the reef you are most likely to catch Spangled Emperor, Sweetlip, Charlie Courts ( a small but tasty cod), Trevally and Squid. However venture outside for all of those plus Red Emperor, Pearl Perch, Rankin Cod, Robinson Seabream, Baldchin Groper, Coronation Cod, Mackerel, Wahoo, Sailfish and more. All these species can be caught close to the reef however your chances of catching the prized Red Emperor are better further offshore.
Ningaloo Reef Resort
Ningaloo Reef Resort’s beachfront accommodation is the ideal place to unwind and experience Western Australia’s very own tropical playground – Ningaloo Reef in Coral Bay.
The Resort features accommodation for all tastes. Choose from Beachcomber Units, Castaway Units and Apartments. You can’t go past the Grand for larger groups (max 8 people). For couples or honeymooners, the Penthouse, with kingsize bed and private spa bath is the place for romance in Coral Bay.
Ningaloo Reef Resort is the ideal accommodation to relax and revive located less than 100 paces from the beach and central within Coral Bay.
Rooms include features for comfort such as air conditioning and complementary in house movies. Refresh in our swimming pool. Relax in the warm sunshine with a book, lounge on our manicured lawns and gardens or take a walk by the serene shores of Coral Bay.
Enjoy casual dining at Shades or cook up a storm at our onsite communal BBQ facilities.
Coastal Adventure Tours
Coastal Adventure Tours Visitor Centre & Internet Cafe is located in the heart of the Coral Bay shopping arcade We offer a huge array of information on Coral Bay, the Ningaloo Reef, marine life, wildlife, accommodation, tours and dining out. Our friendly staff can organise all your tour arrangements for you whilst you are in the area.
Hop aboard the luxury Coral Breeze on a full day or half day snorkeling cruise to the amazing Ningaloo Reef. Cruise the crystal clear waters, snorkel magical coral gardens, see an array of marine life, search for turtle, dolphins, rays and more. Sit back, relax and enjoy the peace & tranquility!
Quad Treks – the original & best ATV tour in Coral Bay. Experience the thrill of riding along white sandy beaches, through bush tracks to secluded bays. We offer a 3 hour Snorkel Trek, 2 Hour Turtle Trek, 2 ½ hour Sunset Snorkel or a 2 Hour Sunset Trek. A ride you will never forget, an experience you will never regret!
Take advantage of a twilight cruise along the Ningaloo Reef operated by this tour company. Discover the romance of sailing. Bring your favourite sunset drink to accompany our complimentary anti-pasta platter! Sit back & soak in the beauty & serenity.
Ningaloo Marine Interactions
Get onboard to see these gentle giants on an action packed tour. The Mantas are around all year in the safe and sheltered waters surrounding Coral Bay and the world renowned Ningaloo Reef.
topia is a customised vessel that personalises the in water experience by catering for a maximum of 20 passengers. Many visitors come to Ningaloo Reef to get away from the crowds, so we offer a private, professional tour with genuine personalised service.
The tours EDU-TOURS and draw upon a wealth of knowledge gathered from our very own marine biologist and over 20 years combined crew experience in the Ningaloo area. The operator offers you the chance to participate in research and identification and give you the opportunity to name any newly discovered Manta Rays!
Luxury 4×4 Adventures
This tour takes you through Ningaloo Station to Lefroy Bay over Yardie Creek into the Cape Range National Park onto Mangrove Bay, breathtaking views from the other Lighthouse, a quick stop at Exmouth Town Centre then onto one of the Canyons. The scenery takes you from red rugged coastlines & gorges home to Kangaroos, Euros, Emus & Birds to pristine white sandy beaches where the crystal clear waters are a haven to Turtles, Dugongs, Dolphins, Humpback Whales and of course fantastic Fish & Coral Gardens. All this and more with complimentary Lunch and Refreshments.
Sail Ningaloo’s philosophy is focused on immersing our guests in a purely natural world class experience, with a high emphasis on interpretive and educational interaction whilst maintaining a minimum impact, environmentally sustainable tourism policy. Get ready for an unbelievable adventure of a lifetime when you join our luxury live aboard sailing tour from Coral Bay between the months of March and December. The underwater world of the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park is a hidden treasure. It is amongst only a handful of coral reef systems in the world that is still in pristine condition. The abundance and variety of marine life and spectacular corals is believed to be second to none in the world, it is very likely we will encounter Humpback Whales, Dolphins, Dugong, Manta Rays, marine Turtles, giant cods and reef sharks, quite possibly all on the one cruise. Activities while on board “Shore Thing” include snorkelling in the protected reef lagoons, scuba diving (additional cost), and kayaking peaceful lagoons or to a secluded beach, observing marine life in their natural environment, photographing the beautiful natural surrounds, star gazing, beach combing or just plain relaxing, surrounded by the pristine beauty of the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park.
Skywest airlines and Qantas fly to Learmonth (Exmouth) from Perth. Check their schedules for flights.
Coral Coast Tours tel: 0427 180 568 ( +61427 180 568 from overseas) or email will pick up from the airport. Telephone to make arrangements.
Hire cars are available from Exmouth, they may charge a relocation fee for pick up or drop off at the airport. Allens Car Hire (08) 9949 2403, Budget (08) 9949 1534, Pilbara Europcar (08) 9949 2940.
Alternatively, fly to Carnarvon with Skywest and travel by bus or hire car. Avis and Budget both operate from Carnarvon
For Air Charters, there is an airstrip at Coral Bay.
Greyhound Pioneer Buses visit the settlement.
For those travelling by road, driving time from Perth is approximately 11 hours, plus any time spent sightseeing on the way. The road is sealed all the way to Coral bay.
Enjoy your vacation to Coral Bay this year!
Visit the Australia destinations category to explore other places to visit in Australia!