Half way up the Western Australia coast, the Ningaloo Reef is one of those places everybody should go, and yet it’s so beautiful I almost don’t want to send anyone there at all, just in case the crowds spoilt things. Fortunately, it is tucked off the beaten path so it’s probably safe for a while, but if you’re keen, fly from Perth up to Learmonth and then stay at either Exmouth or Coral Bay, and spend a few days having amazing reef adventures like these.
Quad bike trek through the dunes
Sand dunes are the best tracks for a spot of seaside quad bike riding and the only risk is that the view is so distracting you could easily crash! I joined a quad bike tour at Coral Bay and screamed as we flew down nearly vertical dunes, but once we stopped and could stare out across the Indian Ocean I was at peace again. Some tours combine sunset with a quick snorkel on the Ningaloo Reef – it’s so close to the coast there that you can walk to it.
Swim with manta rays
Sealife is what it’s all about at the Ningaloo Reef and I went out looking for mantas. Despite a spotter plane going up to give us tips, we didn’t actually get to jump in the water with manta rays the day I went, but we saw whales and dolphins from the boat and snorkelled with sharks and sea turtles. Pretty amazing consolation prizes! They’ve just started trips where you can swim with humpback whales, too, and are hopeful the trial will be extended into future years.
Fly like a bird in a microlight
I wasn’t exactly prepared for just how small a microlight is, but pilot Gav from Birds Eye View coaxed me into the passenger seat, strapped me in and up we flew in our hang glider with engine. Once the terror left I was able to spread out my arms and imagine being a bird circling over the Ningaloo Reef, watching long queues of manta rays swimming along and seeing the coral of the reef from above. They say flying in a microlight is a once in a lifetime experience, but I desperately hope I get to have another go sometime.
I’m Amanda Kendle. I’m “Not A Ballerina”, but a traveller and a thinker, and I love to write about my travel experiences in a way that is both fun and meaningful.
Not A Ballerina: A Traveller and a Thinker is a travel blog which nudges those who think they might like to travel somewhere to get up and go.