We’ve seen WA’s whale sharks appearing on billboards in New York City’s Times Square and London’s Piccadilly Circus – and now it’s time to get up close and personal with our state’s most majestic gentle giants!
That’s right, 2023’s whale shark season is about to kick off, and Ningaloo Reef is the place to see them!
The world’s largest fringing reef, Ningaloo has been a World Heritage listed site since 2011 and it’s an integral part of our marine biodiversity, home to an impressive array of wildlife – including one of the world’s largest whale shark congregations each year.
Typically occurring between March and July, the Ningaloo whale shark season is triggered by the annual coral spawning that occurs in conjunction with the full moon.
The first tours will start heading into the water from February 27 – just a few weeks away – and generally run until the end of June in Coral Bay, and the end of July further north near Exmouth. The reef had an absolutely cracking 2022 season, with an incredible 97.14% interaction rate – the world’s highest!
The otherworldly, bucket-list experience is made even more special by just a select number of tours operating and limited group numbers on each tour, with just 10 guests in the water at one time.
Guidelines and procedures for all tour operators have been set out by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions to make sure both you and the whale sharks have a great time, ensuring minimal impact on the whale sharks and the environment.
As well as this, a percentage of each whale shark tour ticket helps contribute to integral research and conservation efforts by ECOCEAN.
The interactive experiences begin with a snorkel in the calm waters of the reef’s inner lagoon – while eagle-eyed spotter planes overhead will locate the whale sharks at the back of the reef. Sightings also very often continue well into the shoulder season, which runs all the way to August-September.
Plus, if you happen to be one of the unlucky less than 3% that don’t get to see a whale shark on your tour, all Ningaloo whale shark tour operators offer a “no sighting” policy, allowing you to head back out on the next available tour free of charge.
Because of this, it’s recommended that you book your tour in advance and at the beginning of your holiday.
For more information on how to experience the once in a lifetime magic of swimming with whale sharks, head to the Australia’s Coral Coast website.
Image Credit: Supplied
This article is sponsored by Australia’s Coral Coast and endorsed by us. Please see our Editorial Policy for more info.