In June, I was lucky enough to find this little hidden town tucked away in a far corner of Australia. Here's why you should make a trip out to Exmouth, Western Australia next time you're down under.
1. Escape The Crowds
Every time I need to explain where exactly Exmouth is, I'm reminded of this fact: Exmouth is not a huge tourist destination, and most people don't even know it exists (yet). Exmouth has a local population of 2,000 which reaches 6,000 at the most during peak season.
Since it's on the west coast, it isn't as easily reached as the usual destinations of Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane (which makes it all the more worth the while!) Not many people get out to this part of the country, and the few people who do know about it tend to be Australian locals.
2. The Location
Exmouth is located about an hour and a half's flight north of Perth, on the west coast of Australia. The weather stays in a nice 80-90 degree Fahrenheit range during most of the year during the day, meaning that it's always nice enough to be outside on the beach and if it's a little cooler, to check out the Cape Range National Park.
Exmouth is a nature lover's paradise, since it's in this wonderful position of having canyons and this amazing park which reaches out right to the water, where the Ningaloo Reef is located. Ningaloo Reef is the largest fringe reef in the world, and it's like the lesser known cousin of Cairns' Great Barrier Reef. Although the corals itself are much less colourful than on the Great Barrier Reef, the marine life is incredible (more on that later!)
3. The Road Trip
Exmouth is about a two-hour drive from a cute town called Coral Bay, and the drive between the two takes you on a gorgeous trip through Cape Range National Park. Not only is the destination of Coral Bay a great little touristy area to spend a day or two in, the journey itself also lets you see some really neat things, like kangaroos, lots of sheep, and termite nests taller than you are (which can be enjoyed from a reasonable distance!)
On a side note, a couple of tips for this road trip:
Tip #1: If you rent a car to do this drive, remember that they are not insured after 5pm due to kangaroo activity at dusk!
Tip #2: If you take this side trip, it's a perfect opportunity to enter the Ningaloo Tourism Board's Photography Competition, where you can win up to $1000!
4. The Beaches
Clean, no crowds, cool sand, clear and warm water where you don't need a wetsuit, and calm lagoons created by Ningaloo Reef's fringing the coastline.
Need I say more?
5. The Marine Life
To be honest this was the entire reason I made the trek out to Western Australia. I took a whale shark trip with Three Islands and it just might have been the highlight of my life. The staff was so friendly and kept us entertained and well-fed in between shark swims. We were very well-informed of the marine park's regulations and our interactions with the sharks were not disruptive of the animals.
If you don't feel super confident snorkeling and swimming in open water, don't worry! There's a lagoon snorkel at the beginning of the day and they provide life jackets and noodles if you need them! I was lucky enough to see four whale sharks, as well as a hammerhead shark, dolphins, manta rays and a turtle the day I went out on the boat.
Amazing marine life can be viewed year-round, with manta rays always in Coral Bay. Other large pelagics like whale sharks and mantas make an appearance in Exmouth during the winter, with humpbacks coming in the spring and turtles nesting in the summer and fall. Check out this nifty wildlife calendar for more information, but know that no matter when you go you're bound to be amazed!
Exmouth can be reached through flying to Perth and catching one of the two daily flights up to Learmonth Airport. If you have any questions about places to stay or things to do, please drop me a message on the "Contact" page!