Notification: Parks and Wildlife Service is part of the new Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

Ningaloo Marine Park – Celebrating 30 Years!

Swimming with whale sharks at Ningaloo Marine Park
Swimming with whale sharks at Ningaloo Marine Park Parks and Wildlife

The home of Australia’s largest fringing coral reef, Ningaloo Marine Park, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

Ningaloo became Western Australia’s second marine park on 3 April 1987 and is now enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year from across the world.

Ningaloo Marine Park coordinator Peter Barnes said that within 15 minutes of jumping on a boat, visitors can encounter sea turtles, dugongs, manta rays, dolphins, killer whales and of course the wonderful whale sharks.

“The park also provides a crucial migration pathway, resting and calving area for one of the world’s largest populations of humpback whales,” Dr Barnes said.

The entire Ningaloo reef became protected in 2004 when the marine park was extended south to Red Bluff, while the wider Ningaloo coast was granted World Heritage status in 2011.

Dr Barnes said whale sharks feed in Ningaloo waters from March to July, making it one of only a few places in the world where tourists can swim alongside the majestic creatures, which can grow up to 16 metres long and weigh 11 tonnes.

“We’ve built on this with the exhilarating swimming with humpback whales trial, which is now in its second year,” he said.

“The inaugural trial last year attracted 1,644 people from August to November and boosted tourism at Ningaloo Marine Park as well as Exmouth and Coral Bay.

“Numerous campsites are located on the coastal fringe of the marine park, including Osprey Bay campground, which is located at the southern end of the park and is popular for its sweeping ocean views.”

Marine parks protect marine biodiversity and provide a special place for people to enjoy, appreciate and learn about Western Australia’s spectacular marine life.

The Ningaloo Commonwealth Marine Reserve, adjacent to Ningaloo Marine Park and part of the network of reserves making up the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage area, will also celebrate 30 years on 7 May this year.

Last modified on Monday, 08 May 2017 15:13