Shark Bay to Exmouth: 684 kms
Perth to Exmouth: 1252 kms
The drive to Exmouth means a longer day, but the roads out here are very good. The North West Coastal Highway doesn’t carry a lot of traffic, is gun barrel straight for what seems hours at a time. The scenery along the way is beautiful.
We make a detour into Carnarvon for a break from driving. What becomes noticeable up here is the ‘change of pace’. There’s a much more relaxed feel to the whole way of living. Living in larger towns and cities we are continually bombarded with noise, traffic jams and everything seems to happen at an ever increasing pace. Not here.
Back on the road to Exmouth. After a few more hours of driving we arrive at Ningaloo Lodge, our accommodation for the two days we’re here. Again, the pace is pretty cruisy. The Lodge has a large, shared kitchen and dining area that’s very well laid out and equipped. Adjacent to the kitchen is a covered, outdoor area with tables and chairs. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine towards the end of the day and enjoy the surrounds.
The next day we’re on the way to the Tantabiddi Boat Ramp to board Latitude 22, our 20 metre vessel to take us out onto the reef to swim with the Whale Sharks. This vessel is owned by Ocean Eco Adventures . Jimmy, skipper and owner, is at the helm.
Ocean Eco Adventures use ultralight aircraft to spot the Whale Sharks from the air. Their location is relayed back to Latitude 22 and the boat moves into position. The guests are divided into two groups. There will be nine drops maximum for each group on this particular trip.
Today, we are very lucky. On the first drop, we get to see a Whale Shark drifting by. It’s one of the best experiences anybody can have, to see these giants of the ocean up close. Very little is known about them, and to see them in their natural environment is awe inspiring. Strict rules apply to how close vessels and people can get to them. If divers get too close, the Whale Sharks simply dive to move away, which means they’re not comfortable.
For the next eight drops, almost every time each group gets to see a Whale Shark. Jimmy tells us this is more the exception, rather than the norm.
After a glass of bubbles, the boat heads back to the ramp. Yes, it’s one of the more expensive day trips at $379 per person. If you’ve come all this way on a Perth to Exmouth Road Trip, why not see one of the great wonders of the world in Ningaloo Reef and its unique aquatic world.
Later that evening we take a drive up to the old lighthouse site. Here we get panoramic views of the ocean. It is close to a full moon, so we get a private, uninterrupted view of the Staircase to the Moon. It’s a unique location; a visitor can see the moon rise and set over the ocean.
Next stop is Broome, with overnight stays in Karratha and the beautiful Eighty Mile Beach.
Previous stop: Shark Bay – First Look At The Coral Coast
Read about our Top 5 Places to Visit in Western Australia