Where do I find the words to describe Ningaloo Reef. ….. Probably best to start with just two ….. Landscape Heaven ……
Just flying in you get a sense of the expanse of the area and as we turn south from Exmouth and drive along into the Cape Range National Park I am struck by the beauty of this intense scenery. A rocky limestone range full of hidden valley’s and dry river beds carved by wind and water over thousands of years borders the road on one side and the white sand dunes and stunning turquoise water full of the vibrant sea life of the Ningaloo Reef stretching out on the other.
Our destination is our private camp near Yardie Creek where we will set up a base camp for the week. Taking all we need with us in the trailers, kayaks, food, water, clothing, sleeping gear and fuel for the duration, our group is thrust together into this intimate environment with no power, running water or electricity. In this fast paced world of internet connection and social media updates it is so nice to take a week out to unplug and it doesn’t take long for the group chit chat to take over as they get to know each other and it quickly becomes a lovely soothing camp noise.
Ningaloo Reef stretches for over 260klm and was declared a Marine Park in 1987 and listed as a World Heritage Area in 2011. It is one of the largest fringing coral reef systems in the world and one of the only ones that has developed so close to the land, which makes it the perfect playground for kayakers.
Sea Kayaks provide us with the perfect vehicle to move along the coast and take in its beauty on a deeply personal level. They allow us to paddle and pin point areas near its outer extremes where we can tie up or set anchor and venture under the water to snorkel with the amazing array of sea life that call these unique corals home. With the Leeuwin current and the Ningaloo current working together to keep the water temperate the underwater variety is truly abundant. We made it as big a part of the trip as the kayaking, stopping to snorkel several times during the day as we paddled past amazing coral bombies on the reef and at morning tea and lunch beach breaks.
The solitude of this trip is one of the things that make it so special. Watching the sun set in the west from the peace of our dunes, sleeping under the desert stars listening to the waves, enjoying each others company and laughs in our little bubble that was our private camp and being the only ones out on the reef all day we would really only bump into other people at the major tourist sites or camp grounds as we passed. We took time out from paddling in cooler morning and afternoon climates to hike into the range to catch glimpses of the Rock Wallabies and Ospreys doing their thing as the world turned around them.
Some of the places these Rock Wallabies can get themselves into is incredible and all with a baby on board. As the sun set spectacularly on a hike up Yardie Creek gorge one evening we watched an Osprey bring back some dinner to its nest. Taking a moment I really reflected on the scene in front of me, watching our group painted in this stunning picture.
After 5 days of epic adventures on the reef living like kings we headed back to Exmouth to prepare for our Whale Shark experience the following day. An early start had us out on the boat where our wonderful crew looked after us with gear and a briefing on how the snorkeling experience would unfold. We had a practice run inside the lagoon then took to the Indian Ocean where our spotter plane was put to work searching for Whale Sharks. After an anxious wait it was time to swim with our gentle giant. The Whale Shark that picked us was about 8 metres long and was a slow chilled out cruiser and we took turns snorkeling along side for about an hour. The sensation you feel as this graceful creature appears swimming at you out of the ocean darkness is overwhelming and the smiles and wide eyes could been seen clearly through everyone’s snorkels and masks!
Our trip to Ningaloo is really not to be missed. It is a fantastic mix of adventure kayaking, snorkeling and taking in the sights of the range from above. The colours, sounds and western sunsets transport you to another place in time where things were simple, unhurried, and focused so that you really do live in the moment.
I would like to say a massive thanks to Neri, Jeff, Dagmar, Rob, Pat, Laila, Kim, Leigh, Geoff, Dicky, Manda and John who made this years tour to Ningaloo such a delight. We shared some magic moments team (including our own very special Dawn Service for Anzac Day) and some very great laughs.
We have dates available for next years Ningaloo Reef Tour now live on our website so book your place quick for this fabulous experience.
Call us on 02-44417157 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.