Everything you need to know about Whale Shark season in Ningaloo

Whale Shark Season NIngaloo Reef
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Grab your bathers and your sunscreen because whale shark season has begun at Ningaloo!

From March until early August visitors have the opportunity to dive into the crystal clear waters of Ningaloo Reef and enjoy the once in a lifetime experience of swimming with these majestic creatures.

A fringing reef that stretches over 300km along the Western Australian coastline, Ningaloo is one of the only places where whale sharks reliably congregate every year. Although they are considered endangered by the IUCN, whale sharks dwell in protected waters in Ningaloo, with organisations like ECOCEAN using satellite tags to monitor the movement of these spectacular spotted creatures.

In line with this, all whale shark tours are run by licensed professionals who curate each tour to be sustainable and an eco-friendly whale shark experience.

Whale Shark Season NIngaloo Reef

If you’re thinking about visiting Ningaloo and doing a whale shark tour – here’s what you need to know:

Getting to Ningaloo

Whale shark tours depart from both Exmouth and Coral Bay. If you’re heading up to Exmouth why not drive up and fly back to Perth? Avis Australia have a handy discount on hire car fees between Perth and Exmouth from 1 April 2024 to 31 October 2024. 

Pick up your hire car from Perth and head north on the Coral Coast Highway to Exmouth. After seeing the whale sharks you can drop your car off and head home on a flight from Exmouth’s Learmonth airport. Or, fly north to Exmouth and then rent a car to drive home from Exmouth to Perth.

Whale Shark Season NIngaloo Reef

What are whale shark tours like? 

Tours are a full day experience – so be prepared to leave your accommodation at 7am and be back around 4pm or 5pm. There are multiple whale shark tour operators, so it’s important to choose one that suits you and the group you’re travelling with:

Live Ningaloo

Keeping their tour groups to a maximum of 10 people, a tour with Live Ningaloo is all about you, your family, your friends and the whale sharks. Departing from Exmouth, you’ll jump aboard the vessel, ‘Waverider’ and get the chance to experience megafauna tours, private charters, liveaboard packages and a tailor-made itinerary.

Ningaloo Discovery

Have you ever dreamed of sailing on a catamaran? If you opt for a tour with Ningaloo Discovery, you could be sailing on one of their two catamaran vessels off the coast from Exmouth to see the whale sharks. There are daybeds and beanbags to lounge around when you’re not in the water and 360 degree viewing all around the boat.

Ningaloo Whaleshark n Dive

If you’re planning a whale shark tour with the kids or some younger family members, Ningaloo Whaleshark swim is perfect for you as this is an all-ages tour. Departing from Exmouth, everything you need to swim with the whale sharks is on-board.

Whale Shark Season NIngaloo Reef

Ocean Eco Adventures

Ocean Eco Adventures caters to a range of different experience levels and has a team of educated crew of certified marine biologists, researchers, dive masters and commercial skippers. Guests will have a relaxing time aboard the vessel ‘Latitude 22’ departing from Coral Bay, Ocean Eco Adventures employ the use of their own Microlight Aircraft to search the reef for whale sharks.

Exmouth Dive and Whale Sharks Ningaloo

Exmouth Dive and Whalesharks Ningaloo were Exmouth’s original dive centre, specialising in swim tours that include both scuba diving and snorkelling. Given their experience they know all the best spots, and also offer a complete diver training service.

Coral Bay Eco Tours

The longest running operator in Ningaloo Reef, Coral Bay Eco Tours can get you up close and personal with whale sharks, turtles, manta rays and humpback whales, including an epic Glass Bottom Boat Tour!

Three Islands Whale Shark Dive

Three Islands specialise in snorkel interactions with whale sharks (and humpback whales) from March to October, with experienced staff who are all about making every tour feel safe, fun and informative. Their tours include all the bells and whistles including meals, gear, free photos, spotter plane and more.

Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours

With 30 years experience you’re in safe and sustainable hands with the team at Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours, aboard their spacious 20m vessel with shaded decks, environmentally friendly toilets and solar panels reducing fuel usage.

Whale Shark Season NIngaloo Reef

Ningaloo Blue Dive

Ningaloo Blue Dive puts a high priority on professionalism, while making sure everyone who participates has a fun, life-changing day on board. The team brings experience and knowledge while making sure you feel part of the action.

Ningaloo Dive Exmouth

Ningaloo Dive Exmouth are another operator that specialises in small groups, specifically on scuba diving tours in Lighthouse Bay, The Muiron Islands and Exmouth Navy Pier. The experienced crew will make sure you get the most out of your Ningaloo tour.

Ningaloo Whaleshark Swim

The award-winning team at Ningaloo Whaleshark Swim are all about keeping it simple, with a clear aim of making sure to delight, educate and entertain every single guest, all while keeping them safe as they experience these spectacular creatures up close.

Aussie Marine Adventures

While not a tour operator, Aussie Marine Adventures is an incredibly useful resource for booking your aquatic adventure in Ningaloo. Whether it’s whale shark tours, snorkelling with turtles, SCUBA diving or glass bottom boat experiences, this booking platform is a great way to find the right tour for you at a great price.

For more information on how to experience the once in a lifetime magic of swimming with whale sharks, head to Australia’s Coral Coast website.

This article is sponsored by Australia’s Coral Coast and endorsed by us. Please see our Editorial Policy for more info.