Western Australia’s Coral Coast

The Coral Coast is a long piece of Indian Ocean coastline extending from Cervantes in the south to Exmouth in the north, and contains some of Australia’s finest

coastal scenery.

In this section of coastline you will experience some fascinating natural wonders.  Here you’ll see stromatolites, which are the world’s oldest living life forms. These

The Pinnacles

are seriously old, and ancient fossilised forms of stromatolites have been dated as far back as 3,500 million years ago.  Another truly unique site is Nambung National Park, home to the fantastic Pinnacles, thousands of weathered columns of rock, the remnants of a long-retreated sea.  The Coral Coast also includes Ningaloo Reef, 260 kilometres long and, literally, only a few metres from the shore so that it places you can walk out to it and snorkel.  Then there’s the amazing Shark Bay, where you can interact with dolphins at Monkey Mia and visit Shell Beach, which extends for 120 kilometres and is comprised solely of billions of cockle shells.

There is much history to experience here too. The Coral Coast was the first place on the Australian continent to be visited by European explorers. Its treacherous reefs were also the cause of many shipwrecks, including that of the Batavia off the Abrolhos Islands, which led to mutiny and the brutal killing of 125 people including many women and children. In Geraldton you can visit the HMAS Sydney II Memorial, which commemorates the sinking of the ship during World War II and the loss of 645 men.

If you like your beaches then you are in for a real treat on the Coral Coast, which has an abundance of bays, beaches, rocky headlands, tiny fishing villages and sophisticated resorts.  You can visit popular holiday destinations such as Jurien Bay, Dongara, Geraldton, Kalbarri, Shark Bay, Coral Bay and Exmouth, or you can move inland to enjoy the endless carpets of colourful wildflowers and visit historical towns of follow historical trails for an understanding of how the area was first developed.

Then there are the adventures, some of which you will experience nowhere else in the world.  In Exmouth you can swim with the world’s largest fish, whale sharks, which can grow to 15 metres and weigh up to 20 tonnes but which, despite their tremendous size, east only plankton and small fish so are harmless to humans.  Drift snorkel along Ningaloo Reef. Save energy, swim out to the reef then let the gentle current do all the work as it carries you along. Feed wild dolphins at Monkey Mia, for an experience of a lifetime.  Stand on the cliffs at Shark bay and watch the giant rays and sharks swim below you.

There is so much to do along the Coral Coast that you will want to return for more.  The best way to tour here is to hire a car or campervan and drive yourself, or book onto a tour.  Remember to give yourself plenty of time. The roads aren’t crowded, but they are long. There are flights between Perth and Geraldton, Shark Bay,

Feeding dolphins at Monkey Mia

Carnarvon and Exmouth, but they do tend to be expensive, especially during school holidays.  Do your research, and find out when the West Australian school holidays occur because if you do travel at those times you will need to book accommodation beforehand as the Coral Coast is very popular with West Australians. And that’s a great sign.  For if the locals like it, then it must be worth visiting.

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