Coral Bay – Ningaloo Reef Marine Park

Looking West from the boat ramp into a threatening sky, the Ningaloo reef protects the Bay

Coral Bay is 150 km south of Exmouth, in the middle of the Ningaloo Marine Park, sheltered from the Indian Ocean by Australia’s second largest Coral Reef.

Atop the sand dune that separates the Caravan park from the beach showing the sweep of the section of the bay called Maud’s sanctuary.

This reef runs closer to the shore than the Great Barrier reef – about a 20 minute paddle in a kayak actually and in the protected water behind it coral grows along the beach within a couple of metres from the shore.

The last boats are leaving the reef for the sanctuary of the very new boat launching ramps south of Coral Bay


Mingling of cold and warm water currents here means an enormous variety of sea creatures. We missed the whale sharks and the dugongs but there are huge manta rays, turtles and reef sharks that you can swim amongst in an amazing “octopuses garden” of coral formations all year round. The town itself is a small resort/hotel, two caravan parks and some tourist shops – that’s it! Not even a school – workers here mostly live in the parks and if they have kids either home school them or send them 150 km each way to school in Exmouth by bus. Therefore most employees are backpackers.

It is not just the water that shows a diversity of life. The sand dunes themselves look arid from a distance, but closes up these were plenty of small wild flowers to photograph but the butterflies were a little too fast and flighty for this photographer.

Purple Mulla's have been found throughout the Pilbara from this one on the coast to Tom Price in the western parts

Pigface seems to grow and flower on sand dunes all over our continent

Growing out of white sand with no sign of water source this plant still flourishes and flowers

The flowers of two different plants mingle together with a sandy background


6 thoughts on “Coral Bay – Ningaloo Reef Marine Park

    • Yes Paula I am inclined to agree. In all the time in Northern Territory and most of our time in northern WA the skies have been cloudless and, despite the azure blueness and the amazing contrasts with the earthy colours of the landscapes, clouds give depth,scale – dare I say character, to a landscape. It’s a pity in our youth oriented society we couldn’t get to agree that lines do the same to a face. Glad you loved the pics

  1. On the second last day of term, love the wide screen clouds, the flower colours, shapes and structures and the wonderful place names. 🙂

    • By the time you read this Lynne it will be last day of term, Spring time in Sydney and opportunity to have a good break yourself. You are right about colurs shapes, textures, everything the West is different and I feel privileged to have been able to spend quality time here. It is amazing the number of travellers who are on their second, third trip around. Julie and I think there is more to life than circumnavigating the continent mind you, but I can see the incredible diversity means that the usual fly, fly out spend a fortnight just wouldn’t give you even a taste.

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