Australia // Western Australia //

Cape Range National Park and Ningaloo Marine Park

About 20km beyond the turtle centre is the entrance station for Cape Range National Park and the adjoining Ningaloo Marine Park. The proximity of the continental shelf gives this marine park a stunning variety of marine life: over 500 species of fish and 250 species of coral have been recorded here, attracting migrating whales and whale sharks.

Moving south from the Cape Range park entrance a sublime day can be had beach-hopping between deserted beaches and swimming in pristine lagoons. There’s superb snorkelling at sheltered Lakeside and in Turquoise Bay, where the famous drift snorkel floats you across 200m of colourful coral: drop your clothes by the sandbar, enter the water at the southern end of the beach and hop out in time to pick up your clothes – this should only be attempted at low- to mid-tide due to the strong currents. The pick of the snorkelling sites is at Oyster Stacks just to the south, where legions of colourful fish huddle under the archways created by the four shelly protrusions – the coral is so close to the surface here that you can only snorkel at high tide.

Numerous idyllic camping spots line the coast: the best are at Osprey Bay, with swimming in the milky waters of adjacent Sandy Bay and good vantage points for sunsets or whale-watching.

The final stop in the park for most will be Yardie Creek, approximately 91km in total from Exmouth without detours. Those with 4WDs can cross the creek at low tide with reduced tyre pressure and fingers crossed, before continuing south past Ningaloo Homestead, enjoying beach camping and picnics all the way to Coral Bay, a drive that takes about a day.