THE NINGALOO REEF

The Ningaloo Coast is a World Heritage Site located in the north west coastal region of Western Australia. The World Heritage status of the region was created and negotiated in 2011.

The 705,015hectare  heritage–listed area is located approximately 1,200 kilometres north of Perth. The distinctive Ningaloo Reef that fringes the Ningaloo Coast is 260 kilometres long and is Australia's largest fringing coral reef and the only large reef positioned very close to a landmass . The coast and reef draw their name from the Australian Aboriginal Wajarri language word ‘ Ningaloo ‘  meaning "promontory", "deepwater", or "high land jutting into the sea". The Yamatji peoples of the Baiyungu and Yinigudura clans have inhabited the area for over 30,000 years.

Although most famed for its whale sharks which feed there during March to August , the reef is also rich in coral and other marine life.  During the winter months, the reef is part of the migratory routes for dolphins, dugongs, manta rays and humpback whales. The beaches of the reef are an important breeding ground of the loggerhead, green and hawksbill turtles. They also depend on the reef for nesting and food. The Ningaloo supports an abundance of fish (500 species), corals (300 species), molluscs (600 species) and many other marine invertebrates.

The reef is in close proximity to land , especially off the west coast of Exmouth and Coral Bay.