Cape Range is one of our favourite National Parks in Australia. The white sandy beaches against the backdrop of the range is magical.
What’s even more beautiful, is what lies beneath the crystal clear blue waters of the Ningaloo marine park. There are lots of different tours to choose from to explore the marine wildlife and coral of this region. We have previously joined a day tour to see the larger marine life of the Mantra Ray and Humpback Whales, which was amazing. However one of our favourites each time we visit this region, is the glass bottom boat and snorkelling onboard the coral explorer with Ningaloo Ecology Cruises. We would recommend it to anyone regardless of their confidence in the water as they have so many options to view and learn more about the marine biology of the Ningaloo. We headed out from the Tantabiddi boat ramp which was perfect as we were camping at Osprey Bay overlooking the ocean (Transport is also available from Exmouth). As soon as we arrived our skipper Todd showed us, on the interpretation boards, the areas we would be exploring. Once on board and the obligatory safety demonstration’s were completed, we started motoring out into the sanctuary zone.
Even before we reached it, we spotted our first large male turtle through the 1 inch thick bullet proof glass of the boat. We got an amazing view of the coral and fish through the glass as well as commentary from the crew about everything we saw.
The highlight for both Rich and I was seeing a huge octopus in one of the bolder corals. It was so much more fluid and larger than we expected. We also got to see Barramundi Cod which are not always spotted, as well as all the regulars of the reef; The larger darker coloured WA Clownfish, Butterflyfish, Sergeant Majors, parrot and flute fish and so much more. This blog could just be a list of over 500 different species that are found in the marine park. The next part of the experience was jumping in the water to snorkel. Although there was slight breeze and the water a little choppy, the clarity and visibility was incredible. We were shown exactly where to head out to get the best experience and saw so many beautiful stag and bolder corals and fish. Our favourite was definitely the Neon Damselfish, which are an electric blue colour and swam amongst the coral in big schools.
Once back in the boat we headed out to see the reef sharks and some more examples of the stunning coral before heading back to the boat ramp. We then had coffee at the Lighthouse Caravan Park Cafe and chilled on the bean bags, while reminiscing about what a great morning we had had.
The customers heading back to town on the bus, got to then visit the Mildura Ship wreck and lighthouse.