Ningaloo Marine Park

The beach at Maud’s Sanctuary looking south to the village at Coral Bay.

The ocean to the right is a shark nursery (no swimming!) while some of the beach is protected at some seasons to allow the turtles privacy to lay their eggs


The Ningaloo Reef is 300 km long – one quarter the length of the Great Barrier reef but it is the World’s longest fringing coral reef. It is entirely composed of hard corals which only grow in relatively shallow water, depending on light for photosynthesis. THese corals are more muted in colour that the soft ones, lacking the reds and oranges, being mainly greys, blues and greens with a few shades of yellow. While the entire area of Ningaloo Marine Park has restrictions, they do vary. The main beach allows snorkelling, the glass bottomed boat coral viewing and a daily fish feeding exhibition there is no fishing at all, or collection of shells or coral. The coral grows up to about two metres from the beach in some places. The coral, while not as colourful as on the Barrier Reef,  swimming a couple of hundred metres out, while no deeper, there are many more shades of blue, green and yellow amongst to coral “gardens”.

At 3.30 everyday the fish are fed on the beach and a great school of spangled emperors arrive for a late lunch.

Fish up to 60 cm long swim between your legs and hassle each other for a feed


Five hundred metres south along the beach line fishing from the beach is allowed. Apparently the big fish know where the sign is and stay in safe waters. There a myriads of smaller fish, blues, greens yellows and striped, sometimes in bait schools of thousands

This lad was quite fearless in feeding his new friends but was careful to keep his fingers out of the water


It was as interesting to watch those gathered to see the fish fed as the creatures themselves

It’s not quite “Jaws” but this school of spangled emperors look like little girl is on the menu


The most frustrating thing about swimming amongst the coral in this wonderful place was the lack of an underwater digital camera. While I bought two disposable film cameras I know their quality is limited and I won’t get to see my results until Perth, or be able to share them on my blog. You will just have to take my word that this is an amazing and unforgettable experience.

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5 thoughts on “Ningaloo Marine Park

  1. Dear Mr Lawrence
    It sounds like you are having a really nice time. I really liked your photos. What else did you see at Ningaloo marine park?
    Have you met anyone that you know recently?
    Love Caleb

    • Hi Caleb,
      It is lovely to hear from you. I miss everyone in Sutherland very much especially Sunday School. At Ningaloo I saw coral the was grey, green blue and yellow and every shape that you can imagine. I saw lots of fish – the biggest ones were silver and called Spangled Emperors and one fish would have been enough to feed your whole family with some left for Grandpa! The were lots of smaller, very colrful fish as well. The best thing I think was I got to swim with big green turtles way out on the reef. I hope when you are older you get the chance to visit Ningaloo.

      • Caleb, the bad thing about a trip like this is missing people you know. The last people that I spent time with was about 10 weeks ago in a place called Darwin at the top, north end of Australia where I had fish and chips with Mr & Mrs Wright from Cammooweal and their three children. They are coming to visit Sydney in December and you will get to meet them too.
        Lots of love from Western Australia
        Gary lawrence

  2. Dear Mr Lawrence
    I liked the picture of the boy with the fish. It looks like he is swimming with a shark! I am glad that you are having a nice time. Where are you going tomorrow?
    Today Grandpa is here and we played table tennis and jumped on the trampoline.
    Damon is getting to be a bigger boy now. He eats lots of food and he sleeps a lot.
    Love Elliot

    • Hiya Elliot,
      It is so nice of you to write to me on the blog – I am glad you liked the picture of the boy with the fish.
      Some of the children were a bit frightened because the fish would brush their scaly bodies against your legs, but they really just wanted to get the food.
      Today I went to a place called Monkey Mia – no they don’t have monkeys there they have dolphins and they come right up to the beach to get fed some fish. We went out on a big sailing boat so that Mrs Lawrence could see a big sea creature called a dugong which are pretty rare. I am glad to hear that Damon is getting bigger and getting lots of sleep. How do you feel now you are not the littlest person in your house?
      I think it will be cool when Damon can walk and talk and have you to help him as he grows up.

      Missing all your family Elliott and looking forward to seeing you in December

      Gary Lawrence

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