Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Coral Bay - Ningaloo Reef W.A.

I can't believe it has almost been 2 weeks since Cyclone Heidi hit the coast and a week since I posted about it in true Drama Queen style. Thank you so much for all your lovely comments on our little brush with the Cyclone, I really appreciated it! I'm so sorry I haven't updated since then but rest assured it is only due to the fact that I have been flat out relaxing (it really is tough you know :-) ) as well as enjoying the company of my lovely relatives in Perth. So I have a wee bit of catching up to do on all the little adventures we have been having as we waltz our Matilda down the gorgeous Coastline of Western Australia.

So here we are at Coral Bay, the heart of the World Heritage Listed Ningaloo Reef. This Reef is unique in that it is the largest fringing Coral reef in Australia meaning you just step off the beach and bang, there is the reef all ready for you to enjoy. This place is so spectacular and literally in the middle of nowhere with warm, pristine water and white sandy beaches. It is perfect for families with little ones too because the sea is knee-deep until it reaches the reef and the fish swim right up to you really don't have to exert much energy experiencing all the reef has to offer.

We spent 5 glorious days here and wiled our time away swimming, snorkelling and collecting shells. We marvelled at the sting rays and enjoyed standing on the sand dunes and spotting reef sharks in the natural reef shark nursery just a little walk up from the bay.

We tried our luck with some fishing again but still no cigar.

But the star attraction is exploring the reef itself, which is home to the largest fish in the world, the Whale Shark. There are also over 200 species of Coral and by the end of a glass bottom boat tour to the outer reef the bigger kids could differentiate between Brain, Staghorn and Cauliflower Coral.

The kids have been practising using their snorkels in the Caravan Park swimming pools every day since they got them for Christmas for the sole purpose of being able to use them here at Ningaloo Reef. It was such a thrill to see them mastering this new skill and we had so much fun snorkelling together.

Look at the colour of the water!

The little boys were just as keen to swim around with us and look at the fish and Coral with their 'gaggles'  on but were also kept busy with some fish feeding while we took the bigger kids snorkelling to some more remote locations.

The highlight for me was when Miss Fancy and I went snorkelling just the two of us. It was so quiet and serene. We pointed out all the beautiful fish and clams and coral to each other as we swam along. And then suddenly we caught a glimpse of a huge turtle. It was the most unexpected and exciting moments. We didn't want to come up for air so just looked at each other under the water, hand signalling our complete and utter amazement and did a little under water excitement shimmy as we followed this most graceful creature. But what really made my heart swell with joy was seeing Miss Fancy suddenly leave my side to dive down even further so she could gently touch the turtles back. Up she came blowing all the water out of the snorkel like a pro. It was awesome. At that point we couldn't contain our excitement anymore. So we came out of the water and burst into the most joyful chatter about how amazing the moment was. Hugs all around. It was a moment I will never forget. It was a highlight for her too. Isn't it just so much better experiencing wonderful things with someone else?

So we watched our final sun set over Coral Bay and left the next morning for, you guessed it, more sun, sand and sea. The only variable would be a different sea creature. Can you guess what it is?

Hope everyone is having a great start to the week. I'll be back again very soon!


  1. Wow that is a beautiful place. The water looks like a pool so clear. What a beautiful adventure you are all having. Australia is a beautiful place, I love looking at your pictures here in cold snowy New York. Someone from Australia sent me a tiny shell that she said looks like a cooka bera bird(sorry I can not spell that bird) it was very nice and I treasure it.

  2. Oh Mel, how utterly amazing, beautiful and wonderful.
    You're making me want to pack up my kids and travel (might wait til Bubby is a bit older though).
    Fantastic Photos.
    Enjoy more of the same!

  3. I say this every post - this is the most amazing adventure for the children and you.
    Thanks to you - a trip like this is on the 'must do' list here.

    Those photos are absolutely breathtaking - and your snorkelling sounds just brilliant.
    Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

  4. WOW! I think I could stay a while at Coral Bay. Love your photos Mel, the water is just incredible and I love the way you tell the story of your stay. It sounds completely blissful. Your turtle experience with your little girl sounded breathtaking, truly magical moments. Hubby and I followed a turtle on The Great Barrier Reef, during our honeymoon. Like yourself, we were in awe of the amazing creature and it is a moment I'll never forget either :o) xo

  5. The first and last photos actually made me sigh outloud - just stunning.

    Yours and Miss Fancy's shared encounter with the turtle sounds like it may be one of the highlights of the trip.

    p.s sorry, have not been on for a while and have missed the whole cyclone encounter - glad to hear you're all ok!

  6. What an amazing place. Lucky, lucky people to be able to snorkle there!

  7. Or even snorkel! Where's spell checker when you need it!

  8. Mel one of my favourite spots on our trip, absolute heaven!! We saw a resident h-u-g-e groper around at the jetty, not sure if he is there all the time....have a look....Your cyclone/bushfire adventure was 'gripping', eeek!! it is the 'wild west' isn't it?? stay safe....

    1. We went to the jetty on the last evening to see "Merv" but missed him. Apparently he is 3m long! Hope you are keeping dry up there

  9. HI there,
    D & I have just had a great time looking at your blog. D laughed alot about the sleeping arrangements.
    You have some fanatastic photos to remind you of this most amazing adventure.
    D wants to see the picture of the caravan that you didn't want to show...
    P.S. glad we only know about the natural disasters you've encountered after the fact! Safe travelling for the road home xx

  10. I am so envious, I work in the head office of Australia's marine observing system, and I see all these amazing photos of Ningaloo. I'd love to go one day, it sounds as amazing as it looks!

    1. Oh Hazel then you would absolutely love it. I could have gone on and on and on about the amazing marine life :-)

  11. Oh Mel. Such a sensational post. I am so delighted for you, Lovely! What precious photos, especially the one with you in it - you look so relaxed ☺. Keep it up - it becomes you! J x

  12. Great pictures you got here! :) I love the white sand of the beach! The color of the water is gorgeous also. Whenever i'm on vacation, I always like watching turtles, fishes, colorful corals and the lovely sunsets. I can't wait to dive in Coral Bay! By the way, the kids look so cute and adorable!