Coral Bay

Gateway to the Ningaloo Reef, a World Heritage Site, Coral Bay is a tiny settlement existing almost solely for tourism, primarily diving and snorkelling on the reef. It’s world famous for snorkelling with whale sharks, something that seems to have made most things to do before you die / people’s bucket lists over the past few years. They’re only around between March to June but there are plenty of other things to see on the reef, including coral, fish, sharks, turtles, and manta rays. Given that the reef is relatively shallow and visibility generally good there isn’t much to be gained from diving versus snorkelling, everything can be seen from the surface.

I spent the day on an Coral Bay EcoTours manta ray boat trip, involving a couple of snorkelling opportunities over the reef, lunch and a brief minute watching a manta ray barrel roll below as it fed. Unusually choppy seas and strong winds didn’t help the spotter plane (difficult to spot manta rays), being in the water (currents and swell), or being on the boat (freezing cold despite the sunshine), but it’s a pretty beautiful place to spend time. I don’t have a waterproof camera so will have to rely on my memory for the sight of the manta ray, which isn’t always reliable, as proved by thinking I’d lost my towel onboard the boat. I’d actually forgotten what colour it was…

The coastline is pretty stunning, sandy beaches and the most gorgeous sea colour. Note I haven’t done anything to these photos since taking them, the sea really was this colour!

Along the road to and from Coral Bay seemingly endless termite mounds covered the landscape.

On the long drive from Shark Bay to Coral Bay, Gladstone scenic lookout offered both epic (and extremely wind swept) views and three fitting memorials.

There was also a rather nice setting sun behind clouds.

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