The largest fish in the ocean – the mighty whale sharks – have made an early appearance last week at Ningaloo Reef on Western Australia’s Coral Coast.
These extraordinary marine creatures, which can grow up to 18 metres long, usually visit the pristine waters of Ningaloo Reef between April and July each year following the mass spawning of coral in the area. With mouths stretching to 1.5 metres in diameter, swimming with whale sharks conjures images of a Jonah-and-the-Whale experience, but the ghostly behemoths are completely harmless.
Those that don’t want to get their feet wet can opt to take a ride in one of the glass bottom boat tours or explore the rugged Cape Range National Park by 4WD.
But it is not just the awesome whale shark which you can encounter at Ningaloo. Whales, dolphins, turtles and over 500 species of tropical fish all swim in these warm waters, but perhaps the most graceful of them all is the manta ray. Watching these other-worldly creatures perform synchronised somersaults as they feed is a magical experience you can see all year round.
Ningaloo Reef differs from other famous reefs as it is a fringing reef, meaning visitors can snorkel over corals and exotic sea life just metres from the shore.
For your chance to win your own special swim with the whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, enter to become a passenger on The Extraordinary Taxi Ride – an epic nine week odyssey around Western Australia. For more details visit www.westernaustralia.com
From: Australia & New Zealand Magazine | March 16, 2010