Western Australia

Whale sharks’ arrival signals excitement for 2018

Western Australia is preparing for another successful whale shark season, following sightings of the world’s largest fish at the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area on the State’s Coral Coast.

More than 29,000 people visited the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef in 2017 to swim with the gentle giants of the sea that migrate to WA shores between March and August each year to feed on plankton and krill.

Adding to the record-breaking year, 2017 saw a total of 1,742 tours take place across the season, with a whale shark sighting success rate of 94 per cent.

Whale shark swim tours have begun operating from Coral Bay and Exmouth, and will continue through to July 2018 enabling visitors the opportunity to have a face-to-fin encounter with the friendly giants.

Visitors will also be given the opportunity to interact with the humpback whale, as these massive marine mammals undertake their annual migration along the west coast. This activity is being trialled under strict conditions in Ningaloo Marine Park.

Ningaloo Marine Park’s tropical waters are considered one of the best places to swim with whale sharks due to reliability of numbers and accessibility to interact with them. At 300 kilometres long, Ningaloo Reef is one of the world’s largest fringing reefs. Visitors can walk straight off the beach and snorkel in the underwater wonderland teeming with brilliant coloured coral, manta rays, sea turtles and more than 500 species of tropical fish.

The annual Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival will celebrate the season with a family festival day, gala cocktail evening, movies under the stars and live music from May 25 to 27, 2018.

Source: WA Government