Swim Snorkel with Manta Rays

Swim with a Manta Ray & Help Protect the marine ecosystem!

Swim with Manta Rays! Snorkel or swim with one of the largest creatures in the ocean! Is it a ‘must do’, ‘bucket list’ kind of thing to do?

Best Place to Snorkel with Manta Rays

  • Bills Bay, Coral Bay
  • Sandy Bay, Ningaloo Marine Park
  • Bundegi Beach, Exmouth
  • Mauritius Beach, Exmouth
  • Town Beach, Exmouth

Some of the best spots to snorkel with Manta Rays are around the Ningaloo Marine Park in Western Australia where Manta Rays come close to the shore in search for food. Unlike East Coast Manta Rays where they spend most of their time in more than 10 metres of water. Along the West Australian Coastline Manta Rays can be seen close to shore allowing people to easily snorkel with this huge animal!

We have a few tips and some useful information to help you plan a trip to swim with Manta Rays … We even have some information on how to become a volunteer and help research the patterns and behaviour of these fish … Yep! A Manta is a fish!

Manta … a Fish?

A Manta Ray is a close relative of all sharks and rays, cartilaginous (meaning a skeleton made of cartilage) elasmobranch fish (sharks, rays, and skates … sub category of Chondrichthyes). Manta rays belong to the taxonomic family Mobulidae and research suggests they can live up to 100 years old! A manta (scientific name) can’t breathe air, instead their gills respire underwater, just like any other fish.

In conjunction with ‘Project Ningaloo Reef’ and ‘The University of Queensland’ about 800 Mantra Rays have been identified by their individual dots on their bellies. Coral Bay and the Ningaloo Reef has a resident population of Mantra Rays.

Some of these playful animals have even been given names by the Coral Bay locals… Swim with Isobel, Grace, Ouch and Whoopi just to name a couple of friendly favourite locals.

The Manta Ray identification program has now been expanded to include the northern part of the Ningaloo Reef, around Exmouth in Western Australia. Focusing their research in 2018 on how some environmental factors are affecting the movement of these large creatures in the ocean.

Best Time to Book a Holiday to Swim with the Manta Ray in Exmouth

Swimming with Manta Rays is safe, unlike a sting ray Manta Rays are completely harmless and can grow up to a huge 5.5 metres in length! Manta Rays are filter feeders, they eat zooplankton and coral spawn, just like a Whale Shark.

During the middle of May to around the middle of September Mantra Ray numbers increase in the waters around Exmouth and they become playful and curious towards divers and snorkellers.

When in the mood the Manta will often put on a show for a willing audience, swimming close by, breaching and sometimes these huge 5 meter animals will launch themselves flying out of the water and through the air … a David Attenborough wildlife moment!

Often the Whale Shark tours will locate Mantra Rays to swim with while on the Whale Shark tours. Ask when you book!

Volunteer for Project Ningaloo in 2018

The locals who live in Exmouth all year round cherish the delicate marine ecosystem that surrounds the beautiful Cape Range National Park. Scientific research leads to education and a better understand of the majestic Manta Rays that grace the waters.

Project Ningaloo Reef is asking for volunteers to help identify environmental risks these majestic creatures face. Snorkel as a volunteer and help protect the Manta Ray. Help gather information to build on an existing database of knowledge to support informed decisions on management. Signing up means you can help to protect the overall marine ecosystem and life that depends on the Ningaloo waters and reefs.

Calling all Ocean Photographers!

The Project Ningaloo expedition is perfect for volunteers who are interested in underwater ocean photography of marine life. As part of the 7 days expect to be …

  • Snorkelling with Manta Rays … Make sure you’re familiar and comfortable with ocean snorkelling.
  • Have the opportunity to capture many photos of Manta Rays
  • Help with the Manta identification database by identifying and processing images
  • Record usage and identify locations of manta cleaning stations
  • Conduct biodiversity surveys on the cleaning stations
  • Conduct shark counts
  • Observe the health of the overall marine ecosystem

When: Mar 25 – Mar 31, 2018 OR Oct 21 – Oct 27, 2018
Where: Coral Bay Ningaloo Reef
Duration: 7 Days
Cost: $2665
Includes: Accommodation, food, and all related research costs.

On all expeditions Manta rays will be seen. Volunteer tasks will vary, depending on the abundance of each species.

If you decide to join the research team and would like to extend your stay in Exmouth to spend time exploring the area we offer a range of accommodation options.

For more information on Project Ningaloo Reef  visit the Earthwatch Group and sign up to become a volunteer during March and October.

Plan a trip to Swim with Manta Rays

Book ahead! Each year we see an increase in tourists and visitors from all over the world planning to swim with a Manta Ray. Tours and accommodation are booked out in advance. To ensure your spot, plan and book ahead of your stay. We offer self contained accommodation to suit all budgets. We live in Exmouth and can help you plan a snorkel with the Manta. Check out our list of tours available or contact us directly for more information.


Ningaloo Visitor Centre Summer Hours

The Ningaloo Visitor Centre is a great spot to start your holiday in Exmouth and the Ningaloo Reef. Get to town. Grab some brochures. Check into your Ningaloo Reef Holiday Home accommodation. Crack open a beverage, and check out what the region has to offer.

Summer trading hours:

As of November 1st 2018, the Ningaloo Visitor Centre will transition to its summer opening hours. Which are;

Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm

Weekends 9am – 1pm

Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day and Australia Day.

The Ningaloo Visitor Centre’s normal, 9am – 5pm, 7 days a week opening hours will commence from March 2018. At some stage over the summer months the Ningaloo Visitor Centre will be relocating to the Ningaloo Centre (that’s the fancy big building on the same side of the road). It is going to be amazing when it does as you will be able to not only grab some brochures, but you will also be able to do the interpretive tour. Yes, in fact, I think you can even do that now. At the moment the library and some of the Shire offices have relocated to the new building. But when the cafe opens and the building is in full swing!! Watch out WA, Exmouth is on the map for more than just whalesharks.

Make sure you pop into the Ningaloo Visitor Centre when you get to Exmouth and ask when you can access the Ningaloo Centre. It is so amazing!!

Fishing Spots in Exmouth

Fishing Spots in Exmouth

Fishing spots in Exmouth are spectacular both for beach fishing (including spearfishing in designated areas) and boat fishing.  It does not seem to matter what size boat you have or what beach you go to.  If you know where the fishing spots in Exmouth are you are generally guaranteed a catch.

Popular beach fishing spots in Exmouth are Learmonth Jetty, Pebble Beach and the Marina and Canals on the Gulf Side where you can use both lures or bait depending on species you wish to catch.

Popular beach fishing spots on the West Side are Five Mile Beach, The Oysters Ledges off Mildura Wreck Road short walk to the right and Trisel Access just a short distance past the Lighthouse Caravan Park. The West Side does have sanctuary zones so check with Department of Parks & Wildlife https://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au located at 20 Nimitz Street Exmouth.

Popular fishing spots in Exmouth for boating in the Gulf is in any area with bombies (reefy coral structures) maps of these spots are available from the tackle shops Exmouth Tackle and Camping and Blue Water Tackle You can anchor or drift over these areas where many species of fish thrive.  There are plenty of spots close to the shore and further afield if you want the bigger deep water fish.

Popular fishing spots in Exmouth for boating on the West Side are behind the Ningaloo Reef accessible from Tantabiddi Boat Ramp again you need to check where the sanctuary zones are.

Other excellent fishing spots in Exmouth is by boat from Bundegi or the Marina out to Murion Islands (just over an hour) where boat, beach and spearfishing are good.

Ladies can also enjoy the Fishing Spots in Exmouth the

above photo shows how proud this lady was to catch an elusive bluebone on her first time out just 5km offshore in the Gulf.

Snorkelling with whaleshark

Swim with Whalesharks on the Ningaloo Reef

On the bucket list for many a tourist or nature lover is to swim with Whalesharks, and there are only a few places on this planet where you can do that. Exmouth is a remote town, in the North West of Western Australia. Approximately 1270 km north of Perth with a population of around 2250 permanent residents. The Exmouth Peninsula runs the entire length of the World Heritage Listed, Ningaloo Reef Marine Park.

Swim with Whalesharks

Only from Exmouth can you jump on a charter boat and go swimming with the Whalesharks (season runs March – August). Only from Exmouth can you scuba dive or snorkel the Ningaloo Reef and the pristine waters off the Sanctuary zones.

Swim with Whalesharks on the Ningaloo Reef
Swim with Whalesharks on the Ningaloo Reef

Whaleshark Tours

With five whaleshark tour companies running out of Exmouth, you are spoilt for choice if you wish to swim with whalesharks on the Ningaloo Reef. Check out the websites of the companies listed below:

Ningaloo Whaleshark Swim

31 Maidstone Cres Exmouth
Western Australia 6707
Phone: 1800 994 210
Website: www.ningaloowhalesharks.com

Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours

3 Truscott Cres Exmouth
Western Australia 6707
Phone: (08) 9949 1764
Website: kingsningalooreeftours.com.au

Ningaloo Whaleshark-N-Dive

3 Truscott Cres Exmouth
Western Australia 6707
Phone: (08) 9949 1116
Website: www.ningaloowhalesharkndive.com.au

Charter 1 Whale Shark Tours Exmouth

1112 Murat Road (Opposite the VC) Exmouth
Western Australia 6707
Phone: 0428 604 794
Website: www.charter1.com.au

Three Islands Whale Shark Dive

Shop One, 1 Kennedy St
Western Australia 6707
Phone: 1800 138 501
Website: www.whalesharkdive.com

A Diving Mecca

The World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef is internationally recognized as one of Earths last ocean paradises. Among the largest fringing reefs in the world, the Ningaloo Reef can be accessed straight off the beach – something very few coral reefs offer. You can take a dive in the clearest turquoise water imaginable to view hundreds of colourful tropical fish and pristine coral gardens. Snorkel with sea turtles and graceful manta rays.

The Ningaloo Coast and in particular the Exmouth Gulf sees the highest density of humpback whales in the Southern Hemisphere during the annual migration from Antarctica (June to November). During this period, 30,000 humpback whales visit the Ningaloo Coast and can be sighted from shore, or you can take in a whale watching tour.

World Class Fishing

Or you can hook into world class fishing. The continental shelf runs closer to the Australian mainland off Exmouth than anywhere else in the country. The Region offers fantastic game fishing, especially for the marlin. All three Australian species of marlin are caught here in good to great numbers, along with an incredible range of other game and sport fish. Charter and tour boats specialising in game, sport, reef and fly fishing are available all year round.

The Ningaloo Coast offers visitors the freedom to independently explore and enjoy without restrictions. Spend a day snorkeling pristine coral gardens, find a deserted beach to enjoy all to yourself, hike the trails of the Cape Range National Park, observe the local emus stopping traffic on the main streets, camp along the shores of the Ningaloo Lagoon. You can swim our waters all year round, perfectly safe! The choices are endless and yours to make.

Plenty of Accommodation Choice

Accommodation in Exmouth is varied. But by far the most popular is staying in a unique and privately owned holiday house. Managed by Ningaloo Reef Holiday Accommodation, we are the only independent, non real estate managed, holiday home accommodation provider in Exmouth. All we do is manage holiday homes, so we think that gives us the advantage, and our returning guests agree! We have homes in town, on the Marina, budget priced to luxury. Many homes are pet friendly, and all are meticulously maintained and immaculately clean. We are your only choice for holiday accommodation in Exmouth on the Coral Coast and Ningaloo Reef.