Far north of Perth and south of Exmouth, the snorkeling at Ningaloo Reef is well known for whale sharks encounters. The Ningaloo Reef is a 260km long fringing reef located 1,200km north of Perth. Part of the Ningaloo Coast Wold Heritage Area, the Ningaloo Marine Park has over 450 fish species and 200 coral species.
The whale sharks concentrate near the Ningaloo Reef from mid-March to mid-May. There are guide boats guided by airplane scouts that head out daily looking for some of the 300-500 annual whale sharks.
In addition, the reefs are breeding grounds for green sea turtles, hawksbill turtles and loggerhead turtles. You may encounter reef sharks and manta rays as well. If snorkeling out to the Ningaloo Reef, keep in mind that it should only be undertaken by experienced snorkelers since it is 100m offshore at the closest approach. There are numerous popular shore and boat accessed Ningaloo snorkeling dive sites including Purdy Point, Oyster Stacks, Turquoise Bay and Lakeside.
The cities of Coral Bay and Exmouth make great bases for exploring the reef.
Note: Prior to snorkeling Ningaloo Reef, make sure to check with local dive shops about the jellyfish. This reef is known to be occasionally frequented by the venomous Irukandji jellyfish and also the larger box jellyfish. There have been 70+ deaths off Australia from jellyfish stings. In addition, the Ningaloo Reef is home to several species of sharks from blacktipped and whitetipped reef sharks up to great white sharks. There are shark attacks every year, though most encounters are by surfers and spear-fishermen. There is the occasional reef shark bite though in the shallow inshore lagoons.
Overall, Ningaloo Reef is the 1st most popular snorkel dive spot of all 24 snorkeling dives in Western Australia.