Coral Bay is small village in Western Australia, reowned for Nigaloo reef, Australia's only fringing reef. Though recordings say, that people came here back in 1884, it was not until 1968 that serious settlement took place.
Coral Bay is a very remote place in the outback. The next big settlement is Exmouth abouth 120km in the North. Skywest airlines go to Exmouth, shuttle transfer to Coral Bay is available at the Airport. If you plan to go by car from Perth, plan at least 2 days for getting to Coral Bay (Shark Bay makes a perfect stop-over) if you do not want to rush.
Since Coral Bay is a tiny spot, the only option to get around is by foot.
From late March to July each year the Whale Sharks converge on the waters of the Ningaloo Reef. Tours can be booked taking you out to the sea to swim with these huge but harmless creatures.
- Swim with the whales Ningaloo Reef Dive (+61 8 9942 5824) offers 1-day-tours starting at 350 Australian Dollars. Necessary equipment and meals are provided.
- Quad Treks - Guided tours with 4-wheel motorbikes. Usually 2 hours long, these tours take you around sand dunes to see turtles, to go snorkelling or just see the sunset. A valid driving license is necessary, prices start around 75 Australian Dollars per bike. (Contact:Coastal Adventure Tours, Phone: +61 08 9948 5190)
- Coral Tours - A boat takes you out to the sea to explore the coral reef. If you are lucky you get the chance to see turtles, rays and dolphins. Snorkeling is available as well. Tours last usually 4 hours, include lunch. Prices start at 75 Australian Dollars. If you know the Great Barrier Reef, these tours might turn out to be a little disappointing since the corals are not that colorful. (Contact see above)
- Kayaking - Boats are available for rent starting at 20 Australian Dollars per hour. Snorkel, Masks and fins are available as well. Just head for the beach, you can't miss the shop.
There is a supermarket available daily from 7am to 7.30pm selling all you need for self-catering as well as locally caught fish.
- Coral Bay Photographics and Mermaid's Cave Boutique has single use cameras and laminating service.
There are some (rather cheesy) souvenir shops available as well if you are interested in buying T-Shirts or shells.
Options are limited to two cafes, a restaurant at Ningaloo Reef Resport and a supermarket for self-catering.
- Fins Cafe - Coral Bay WA 6701, phone +61 (0)8 9942-5900. A tiny cafe serving superb seafood. It has two computers with internet access as well.
Be aware that the cafes don't sell alcohol, but are BYO. There is a little store which sells alcohol located in the bar of Nigaloo Reef Resort.
Accommodation can be a huge problem when you are travelling during school holidays. Book in advance if you want to avoid spending the nights in your car.
- Ningaloo Reef Resort, 1 Robinson Street, Tel. +61 8 9942 5934, has apartments with cooking facilities for around 200 Australian Dollars and castaway units for around 150 Australian Dollars.
- People's Park is camping site with cooking facilities. Powered sites are available from 30 to 60 Australian dollars depending on the distance to beach. Simple apartments are available as well starting from 180 Australian Dollars.
- Ningaloo Club - a youth hostel providing single and double rooms, dorm rooms, internet access and a laundry. Expect to pay $35 for a twin room with shared bathroom.
If you are travelling north, head to Exmouth, if you are travelling south, Monkey Mia is worth to stop.