One of Australia’s most popular tourist towns, Coral Bay is a marine enthusiast’s paradise.

With pristine white sandy beaches, shops and restaurants, this picturesque and laidback seaside town is a must-visit destination, with so much to see and do.

To help you explore, here are the 7 best things to do in Coral Bay.


Where is Coral Bay? 

Coral bay is found in Western Australia, lying directly on the coast in the Gascoyne region.

Located approximately 1200 kilometres from Western Australia’s capital, Perth, Coral Bay is easily reached by car. However, it is a hefty 12-hour drive so do prepare some stops along the way.

If you prefer to fly, you can catch a 2-hour flight from Perth to Learmonth Airport in Exmouth and then drive the remaining 90 minutes to Coral Bay.

There is also a shuttle bus service which runs three times a week from the Exmouth Visitor Centre to Coral Bay. Tickets cost between $50 to $75.


What is Coral Bay Known For? 

Coral Bay is a premier holiday destination because the world’s largest fringing coral reef, Ningaloo reef, sits just off the coast.

Every year, thousands of visitors flock to Coral Bay to enjoy its sandy beaches and vast reef.

This UNESCO world heritage site is also one of the best places in the world to swim with whale sharks, attracting countless divers and adventurers every year.

With an endless array of marine activities, stunning beaches and a bustling boardwalk, Coral Bay is by far one of the best locations in Western Australia for a relaxing getaway.

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Best thing to do at Coral Bay in Western Australia

How Many Days Do You Need in Coral Bay? 

If you’re looking to enjoy all that Coral Bay has to offer, I recommend spending two to four days in the town. This will give you enough time to enjoy all that Coral Bay has to offer.


Is it Safe to Swim at Coral Bay? 

The waters of Coral Bay are relatively calm, with a tidal range that is only a metre or so long. The tides are rarely more substantial than a gentle inland drift.

The main beach of Coral Bay also restricts motorboat and jet ski traffic which makes it even safer to swim.  During peak times, lifeguards are also stationed on the beach making it one of the safest swimming areas in Western Australia. 

In Summer, temperatures in Coral Bay can reach into the high 30s – 40s. This means that it is important to pack high SPF sunscreen and plenty of water to stay hydrated and protected.


The 7 Best Things to Do at Coral Bay

Coral Bay is the gateway to Ningaloo Reef with a distinct range of coral gardens and marine life. This makes it easy to understand why the most popular activities take place in or on the waters surrounding Coral Bay.

Below, I have compiled a list of the best things to do at Coral Bay for adventurous souls.

1) Enjoy a Glass-bottomed Boat Tour Over the Ningaloo Reef

With dense coral coverage on the Ningaloo Reef, Coral Bay offers world-class cruising.

If you’re keen to witness the wonders of Ningaloo Reef without getting wet, a glass-bottomed boat tour will be one of your best options.

On these tours, you can enjoy relaxing on a custom-made luxury cruiser while taking in the vibrant colours and energetic fish species hidden beneath the ocean waves.

One particular tour that stands out is Coral Bay Ecotours’ Glass-bottom Boat Tour.

This 1-hour boat tour will allow you to relax on a glass-bottomed boat as you glide over the tranquil waters of the reef. Knowledgeable guides will also teach you about the reefs’ distinct marine and coral life throughout the tour.

With raving customer reviews and the price only $60 AUD per person, this could be a great thing to do at Coral Bay.

  • Price: $60 AUD per person
  • Length: 1 hour
  • Good to know: Free cancellation 24 hours beforehand & professional tour guide.

View on Get Your Guide

Best things to do at Coral Bay

2) Go Snorkelling at the Reefs Best Dive Sites

Snorkelling is another great activity to do at Coral Bay. Especially, if you love being in the water and want to enjoy the striking beauty of the Ningaloo Reef up close.

These is a vast range of snorkelling tours that you can do from Coral Bay that will take you through the crystal-clear waters of the East Indian Ocean towards some of the most diverse dive sites on the reef.

Joining a tour will give you the opportunity to find the best snorkelling locations and immerse yourself in this incredible underwater world, filled with over 500 different species of tropical fish.

Alongside their glass-bottom boat tour, Coral Bay Ecotours’ also offer a 2-hour Coral Viewing and Snorkelling Tour.

This tour will give you the chance to enjoy a trip to two different dive sites within their custom-built glass-bottomed boat. Therefore, you get to enjoy both the views from the glass-bottomed boat and a snorkel.

This tour is led by experienced guides and is a fantastic way to discover the beauty of the reef up close.

Similar to their glass-bottomed boat tour, this tour has raving reviews on Get Your Guide and is reasonable priced. It’s definitely worth checking out if it sounds up your alley.

  • Price: $88 AUD per person
  • Length: 2 hours
  • Good to know: All snorkelling gear included, free cancellation 24 hours beforehand and professional tour-guide.

View on Get Your Guide


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3) Spend a Day Swimming with Turtles

Straight off the bat, who doesn’t love swimming with turtles? Well I definitely do.

I find it to be a truly serene and relaxing experience as they are just so graceful, pretty and calm. In my opinion, this is definitely one of the best things to do at Coral Bay. 

Ningaloo Reef is home to several varieties of turtle which can be found almost all year round including the green, loggerhead and flat-back turtle.

These turtles typically mate between December and March before pulling themselves ashore to lay eggs. This provides the perfect opportunity to see turtles both on land and in the water.

The Ningaloo Reef Turtle Eco-Tour will give you the perfect chance to see and even swim with these gorgeous marine creatures.

This 3-hour tour will take you out to the reef on a large glass-bottomed boat (similar to the above) while the experienced crew direct you to two of the turtles most popular feeding grounds.

Here, you can snorkel with green sea turtles, while your local guide provides in-depth information about them and their habits.

  • Price: $110 AUD per person
  • Length: 3 hours
  • Good to know: All snorkelling gear included, hot drinks and biscuits, free cancellation 24 hours beforehand and professional tour-guide.

View on Get Your Guide


Go swimming with turtles at Coral Bay

4) Go Whale-watching off the Coast

Coral Bay is also a great place to go whale-watching.

Many types of migratory whales pass through or around the Ningaloo Reef which provides the perfect opportunity to spot humpbacks, blue whales, orcas, dwarf minke whales and many more.

The impressive amount of whales at Ningaloo Reef make whale watching another great thing to do at Coral Bay. One of the best ways to guarantee sitings of whales is to book a tour.

This 3-hour whale watching tour by Coral Bay EcoTours is one of the most luxurious ocean tours in the area.

While aboard you can enjoy whale watching on a spacious multi-level leisure boat with a viewing deck and resting area. Ensure to scan the horizon for the majestic 50-foot-long humpback whales that migrate to the reef’s safer waters between June and October.

During this time of year, it is common to see humpback pods with resting mothers and calves which is a super cool and cute experience.

If you’re lucky, you may even get the chance to spot groups of up to twenty whales gathering in the deeper waters around the bay or see other whale species like orcas, dugongs or even the enormous blue whale.

The tour is led by knowledgeable guides who can educate your about the whales whilst on the tour.

You can even enjoy some pampering with a complimentary glass of champagne and finger food throughout the course of the tour.

  • Price: $120 AUD per person
  • Length: 3 hours
  • Good to know: Free cancellation 24 hours beforehand, professional tour-guide, finger food and champagne, can also BYO.

View on Get Your Guide

Go whale watching in Coral Bay

5) Swim with Manta Rays

Swimming with Manta Rays is another popular thing to do at Coral Bay and something that makes Coral Bay very special.

This stand-out Manta Ray swimming tour is also run by Coral Bay Eco-tours and goes for around 5-6 hours. 

You will hop aboard the Kurni-Ku which has been custom built to navigate safely around the heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef.

You will then head out for your first snorkel experience in Bills Bay. Here, you will encounter numerous fish, reef sharks, and other marine species in addition to the beautiful coral gardens.

After morning tea you will visit the sea turtle sanctuary where you can observe turtles feeding and surfacing for air.

Once you have seen your fair share of turtles, you’ll head out to Bateman’s Bay, where you will get the unique opportunity to swim and snorkel with Manta Rays.

The tour operates a spotter plane which which will help your “skipper” find the best place to settle the boat.

If you’re after something different from your standard snorkel adventure, definitely make sure to check this tour out.

  • Price: $250 AUD per person
  • Length: 5-6 hours
  • Good to know: Free cancellation 24 hours beforehand, snorkelling guides, snorkelling equipment, wetsuit, morning and afternoon tea and buffet lunch.

View on Get Your Guide

Swim with Manta Rays in Coral Bay


6) Go Swimming With Humpback Whales

Well, how awesome is that? I would love nothing more than to swim alongside these impressing creatures.

If you’d be keen to enjoy a hands-on experience with the whales of Coral Bay, you can take a snorkelling tour out to the migratory routes of the majestic humpback whales.

This incredible experience is hardly offered anywhere else in Australia, and Coral Bay Eco-tours provides one of the best trips possible.

This full day Humpback Whale Snorkelling Experience begins by taking you out to the reef for a snorkel. After your snorkel, the boat will head out to the open ocean to observe the whales on their migratory route past the reef.

From here you will enter the water with these impressive titans of the ocean (under the supervision of your divemaster). Surely, this makes it one of the best things to do at Coral Bay!!

After swimming with the whales, you’ll get to enjoy a fantastic lunch before completing a final snorkel back at the reef. Finally, your tour will end with a glass of champagne as the sun sets and your boat returns to Coral Bay.

  • Price: $468 AUD per person
  • Length: 8-9 hours
  • Good to know: Free cancellation 24 hours beforehand, professional tour-guide, snorkelling equipment, wetsuit, morning and afternoon tea, buffet lunch and fruit platter.

Interesting in learning more about this tour, you can read more about it via the link below.

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Swimming with Whale Sharks at Ningaloo Reef

7) Swim with Whale Sharks at Ningaloo Reef 

Every year from March to October, hundreds of whale sharks migrate to the Ningaloo Reef due to the high concentrations of plankton there.

This makes it one of the best places to enjoy diving with the world’s largest shark species.

The reef has one of the best whale shark interaction rates in the world and you are near guaranteed to enjoy an up-close experience with these docile ocean giants.

The full day Ningaloo Reef Swim and Snorkel with Whale Sharks Tour will start with you snorkelling amongst the delicate coral gardens of the reef at two different sites.

You’ll then head out to deeper waters to swim with the many whale sharks that dominate the fringes of the reef.

On this tour, you’ll also get to enjoy a buffet-style lunch on board the boat and end the day with champagne sundowners during your return journey to the shore.

This tour is not cheap, but is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime bucket-list experience. The feeling would be truly sensational!

  • Price: $515 AUD per person
  • Length: 9 hours
  • Good to know: Free cancellation 24 hours beforehand, professional tour-guide, snorkelling equipment, wetsuit, morning and afternoon tea, buffet lunch and fruit platter.

View on Get Your Guide

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In Summary:

The 7 Best Things to do at Coral Bay

Coral Bay is considered one of Western Australia’s most impressive marine paradises, filled with unparalleled ocean sites, hidden gems and underwater experiences.

Any trip here will have you enjoying beautiful strolls along the beach and swimming with some of the planets most fascinating marine life.

I hope that this article has helped to give you some inspiration on the best activities and things to do in Coral Bay including:

  1. Glass-bottom Boat Tour
  2. Snorkelling Tour 
  3. Swim with Turtles 
  4. Whale Watching
  5. Swim with Manta Rays
  6. Swim with Humpback Whales
  7. Swim with Whale Sharks 

I hope you have an incredible time at Coral Bay!


If you find any other top activities you’d recommend people do in Coral Bay, I’d love for you to get in touch to let me know.

You can also check out some of our other Western Australia articles below:

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