The Exmouth area on Western Australia’s Coral Coast is a happening place. Large tracts of land have been earmarked for development, one of the major caravan parks is nearly doubling its capacity, and the whole place is gearing up for unprecedented growth.
It’s not hard to understand why. The climate is beautiful, box jellyfish don’t come this far south and the swimming, diving and fishing around are just unbelievable. The attractions of Cape Range National Park and the iconic Ningaloo Reef are just down the road and the sunsets are spectacular.
Some people are now beginning to compare Ningaloo Reef favourably with the Great Barrier Reef and its ace in the hole is its accessibility. There is no need to take a long boat ride to snorkel over the reef. You simply take a short swim off the beach and there you are. Intricate coloured coral, spectacular tropical fish, even stingrays and turtles are all right there – and you don’t have to be a super fit, scuba expert to be a part of it. Not surprisingly the, the park itself is gaining in popularity and as one ranger said recently, “The reef is in danger of being loved to death.”
During the school holidays you can expect to queue to find a spot in the national park – and that’s if you’re lucky. The town of Exmouth, though, is well serviced with caravan parks and there is also one at the lighthouse on the way to the national park.
Turquoise Bay is perhaps the best place to snorkel over the reef and there are half a dozen or so camping spots dotted along the coast – national parks camping fees apply. There is a visitor information centre in the park so you can investigate which one is most suitable for you. The campsites themselves aren’t unduly attractive and are little more than car parks but you are on top of the beaches which more than makes up for it.
The wind is one other potential problem here and it can make a long stay uncomfortable – if you are unlucky. If you’re not, you’ll not want to leave.