Best Time To Swim With Whale Sharks

Mar 28, 2022

Ningaloo Reef | Australia

It’s well known that Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia is the best place to swim with whale sharks, but you may be wondering, when is the best time to visit?

Australia’s Coral Coast is bucket-list destination and an aquatic playground for scuba diving, whale sharking and water based adventure. Home to myriad of marine species, Ningaloo Reef comprises of approximately 200 species of hard corals, 50 species of soft corals and over 520 species of fish, including the world’s biggest fish, the whale shark (Rhincodon typus). The Ningaloo Reef is one of the only places in the world whale sharks appear regularly in large numbers, with over 235 individuals recorded so it’s no wonder this remote stretch of paradise is well sought after by nature lovers and discerning travellers.

A day trip to Coral Bay is the best place for an eco tour with the ocean’s other equally gentle giants; manta rays. You can see wild dolphins up close in Monkey Mia, while Shark Bay is one of the world’s most significant strongholds for the protection of dugong.

Water adventures and wildlife enthusiasts should add the natural phenomenon of coral spawning to their marine calendar too, which occurs on the full moon around November each year. Scuba divers can experience the Navy Pier reef dive – voted one of the top 10 dive destinations in Australia, and one of the top shore dives in the world.

Ideally situated, Sal Salis is gently nestled amongst the sand dunes in the heart of the Cape Range National Park, right on the doorstep of the world heritage listed fringe reef. The eco tented accommodation offers guests a barefoot luxury home base to swim with whale sharks, hike the Cape Range, dive and snorkel the reef and lie in a hammock listen to the gentle sound of the aquamarine water lapping at the white sand shore just 50 metres away.

If you’re planning a stay at Sal Salis, you would have booked your tour to swim with the whales through a select local tour company, where you’ll be picked up from the lodge and an unforgettable day on the reef begins. Your whale shark experience begins after breakfast with a 25min road transfer to Tantabiddi Boat Ramp, where you’ll meet your experienced skipper and crew.

Sal Salis use trusted tour operators such as Exmouth Dive Centre and Live Ningaloo as they often use spotter planes to circle the sky, scouring the ocean from above. Onboard the boat, your crew will keep an eye out for turtles, dolphins, dugongs, rays and sea birds and there is usually time for a snorkel at the back of the reef. You’ll receive lunch and refreshments and a digital copy of the underwater photography capturing your whale shark swim experience.

Whale sharks are found in tropical and warm oceans world-wide and although technically the locals will tell you that whale shark sightings have been made on the Ningaloo all year round, the true whale shark season kicks off each year from mid-March – 31 July when assured sightings can be made. Swimming or diving tours need to be pre-booked as the boats tend to fill up months in advance.

While the reef has drawn intrepid and curious people into the water for years on the Ningaloo whale shark swim, it’s only since 2016 that a tour itinerary has included humpback whale swimming tours. If you’re a confident swimmer, able to snorkel and swim freestyle, you can now experience being in the water right alongside them. From August to October, an estimated 30 000 humpbacks migrate along the Ningaloo Coast on their way to and from their breeding and birthing ground in Exmouth Gulf. In peak season, humpback whales can be seen from Sal Salis camp breaching the surface just beyond the breakers as they lunge, slap the water and blow spray.

Experiencing the seasonal rhythms of such extraordinary creatures is truly a sight to behold.

Getting There…

Sal Salis is approximately 1hr drive from the town of Exmouth, WA

By Air – The nearest commercial airport to Sal Salis is Exmouth’s Learmonth Airport. Qantas flies to Exmouth daily from Perth. The team at Sal Salis will collect you from Learmonth Airport, please pre-book these transfers.

By Road – The drive from Exmouth town to Sal Salis takes 1hr – and most of this is on a good, council maintained gravel road. The drive from Learmonth Airport to Sal Salis takes 1.5hrs.

For further information, visit.

 


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