We came for the Whale sharks and stayed for Cape Range National Park…

 

As mentioned in the last post, the main reason we came to Western Australia was to go swim with whale sharks up in Ningaloo. Since it is roughly a 12-hour drive from Perth up to Ningaloo, we decided to take a plane to Learmonth. The 1.5 hour flight was nothing short of spectacular: I was practically stuck to the plane window with my camera, documenting the ever changing landscapes, which are so different from anything we have seen so far.

We had around a week up in Ningaloo, and decided to spend a few days in Cape Range National Park, which is basically desert right next to a coral reef. After a visit to the Exmouth Tackle and Camping Gear store, where we hired everything needed for camping (including two gigantic sleeping bags), we were ready to go enjoy some days “off the grid”, with no phone reception and no electricity other than what the car battery provided (enough to charge all our camera equipment). There are a number of campgrounds in the park that are all right next to the ocean, and we had to bring all food and water as the only place with fresh water is a visitor center with highly overpriced water. On the first camping, I read a notice that said that it is not uncommon for the region to not see any rain in 18 months! And there are hardly any trees for shelter, so we were very happy for our sun shelter (a tent for the beach, prominent in many of the photos below).

We enjoyed a lot of snorkeling with sea turtles and other cool underwater wildlife, went hiking in some canyons, and enjoyed the nighttime sky without light pollution.

After four days in the park, we drove south to Coral Bay, where we went snorkeling with Manta rays. And last but not least, on our last full day in Ningaloo, we went swimming with a whale shark, which was a very humbling experience. And as an added bonus, we got to see Dugongs!

Ningaloo is a very special place, so different from anything we have seen so far in Australia (and the rest of the world for that matter). A big thumbs up!

PS: We are still going through all our underwater photos, as well as Simone’s amazing wildlife pictures. So make sure to come back ­čÖé