Originally I didn’t think of Exmouth as being much more than a small “mining town”. Then after realising that it’s the gateway to Ningaloo reef and where you go in Australia to see Whale Sharks – I was much more intrigued – I soon discovered all it had to offer.
Exmouth is located on Australia’s western Coast. Unless you want to drive for hours from any main city, flying to Learmonth Airport is the best way to get to Exmouth. The only flights into Learmonth are from Perth and the only airline that operates commercial flights is Qantas Airlines. Qantas operates daily flights between the two cities. Perth airport is one of the largest in Australia and accessible from pretty much anywhere in the world.
Upon landing in Learmonth airport you’re approximately 34km from Exmouth town. I would highly recommend hiring a car (and booking it in advance). You’re in a remote area and having your own car will give you the freedom and flexibility to get the most out of your adventure. Car hire starts from approximately $110 per day, plus insurance and most car hire companies will charge a relocation fee if you are picking up and dropping off at the airport, as their offices are in town.
The other option to get to and from the airport is booking a seat on the airport transfers shuttle bus that are provided by Exmouth Bus Charter.
Exmouth Town, I’m sorry to say, is nothing special. There’s one pub (Potshots) that gets busy but that’s about it. The food is average and overpriced like nowhere else I’ve been; I’ve had to pay $6.50 for a coffee. The locals in my experience are generally lovely and very helpful.
The main reason I went to Exmouth was to swim with Whale Sharks. This is a hot spot in Australia for Whale Sharks and from Exmouth there are a number of operators that you can book through. We chose 3 Islands Whale Shark Dive, they were fantastic and run trips from mid-March to the end of July.
Once you’ve locked in the date of your whale shark swim, try to give yourself at least one day to jump in your car and head towards Cape Range National Park (entrance fee charged). It’s basically just one road so you can’t get lost. Ensure you pack:
- Snorkelling gear (which you can hire from the visitors centre if needed)
- Beach towels / Bathers
- Drinking Water
- Car charger for your phone
And a full tank of petrol!
There are limitless snorkelling sites along the Ningaloo coastline. Along the way you’ll see such beautiful and raw landscape and maybe even a few emus wondering around. You’ll discover some incredible beaches and you’ll always be able to find a quite spot where there’s no one else in sight. I’d definitely recommend stopping at the following;
- Turquoise Bay, especially for drift snorkelling
- Sandy Bay
- Oyster Stacks
The whole area is so beautiful and as an Australian I’m so proud that we have managed to keep this area so pristine.
If by chance the weather isn’t great you could always head south out of town towards Charles Knife Road and check out Charles knife Gorge and the Thomas Carter Lookout.
It’s a little bit of a drive up some narrow dirt tracks; we were only driving a compact car and managed – just. Charles Knife Gorge is like their version of Americas Grand Canyon (but definitely smaller). It really is beautiful and untouched.
At the end of your day you must take the time to experience a West side sunset. Head to the beach with some drinks and a little selection of your favourite snacks and take the time to just sit, relax and witness something beautiful.
Check out my Whale Shark blog here!