Best things to eat, drink, see and do
For those in the know, Coral Bay is the definition of paradise. For those who don’t, maybe you should read on.
About 1,100 km from Perth is a small town hugging one of the country’s most beautiful and diverse stretches of coast.
The wonder of the place is in the name; Coral Bay is a destination for the mermaids among us, fishermen and boaters, swimmers and sunbathers.
As the world knows about the Great Barrier Reef, Ningaloo Reef is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. It is literally a UNESCO World Heritage Site – who knew?
Not only is this one of the most beautiful underwater wonders there is, but you can also take a stroll on Coral Bay beach rather than having to board a boat and be whisked into the middle of the ocean. like the Great Barrier Reef.
It’s no surprise that there is so much to see and do in Coral Bay.
Things to do in Coral Bay
Swim with whale sharks
It is one of the most unique things to do in Coral Bay. Whale sharks are – as you might guess – very large sharks. Huge. The biggest in fact.
And in Coral Bay, you can swim with them without a cage, unlike the experience of swimming with another shark.
The reason is of course that the whale shark is a very docile and slow animal that eats plankton, small shrimp and fish.
So, no, you are not in danger of getting eaten. Only amazed that this gargantuan slips past you and the other snorkelers.
Considering the rich Ningaloo Reef, a stone’s throw from the beach, it’s no surprise that Coral Bay is known for its fishing grounds.
Among the species you can catch are Queenfish, Salmon, Dart, Whiting, Star Emperor and Coral Trout.
There are some sanctuaries where you are not allowed to fish, so watch out for signage wherever you go.
You can fish right by the beach at Warroora Station – a huge stretch of coast less than an hour from the center of Coral Bay with various spots for fishing and surfing.
These include Lagoon, Stevens, Maggies and Sandy Point.
Closer to home, Five Fingers Bay is an ideal spot accessible by 4×4.
Look at the bottom of the sea
There is simply too much marine life to list them all individually. Rather than snorkeling or diving to see a single species, hop aboard a glass-bottom boat and see all manner of animals, from dugongs to turtles to manta rays.
But if you really want to familiarize yourself with the rays, there are snorkeling and diving tours that specialize in having you swim with these majestic giants.
Take a ride
The WA shoreline is particularly pleasant to enjoy on four wheels because it just stretches out again and again… and so on.
Heading inland, there are rolling hills and bumpy tracks to explore east of Coral Bay.
For those of us who don’t have all quad bikes on hand, there are tours you can book that give you the chance to see more of the area while cruising the dunes.
Don’t like pruning while floating in the bays of this coastal wonderland?
It doesn’t matter.
Kayaking is another way to experience Ningaloo Reef without getting wet.
There are even moorings for you to tie up and dive to get up close to coral and fish. They are spotted all around what is called the Ningaloo Kayak Trail, which you can try to follow on your own or book a tour and guarantee you don’t paddle in the wrong direction.
Panoramic flight tours
While you may have the chance to swim among the marine life if you take a boat or kayak on Ningaloo, you can only see so much.
Take a literal bird’s eye view from above and book yourself a flight instead.
There are many scenic flight tours on offer in Coral Bay and all of them specialize in giving you a glimpse of marine life from above.
Whether whales, dugongs or mantas, you are sure to see a slice of the great ecosystem that is the Ningaloo Reef.
Explore more of the coast
Exmouth is just 90 minutes away and famous beaches like Turquoise Bay are just waiting to be explored.
There is also a lighthouse right at the top of the peninsula – the Vlamingh Head Lighthouse. It is a great place to visit and enjoy the 180 degree sea view. It is particularly a good place to see whales passing through their migration between August and October.
Places to eat in Coral Bay
In a city of a few hundred people, there are a few key places where you will find yourself eating and drinking throughout your stay:
A must-see among locals and tourists alike, Bill’s Bar can be a place to relax with a drink or dress for dinner.
This is the kind of place that you will see sports fans and wedding guests alike, there is something for everyone, from oysters to pints, from seafood platters to schooners.
Fin’s is a more laid back place than Bill’s and proud to be proud of it.
It has a laid back vibe and is perfect for a hot coffee after a swim and maybe a cheeky egg bennie.
It’s not just a daytime spot, you can definitely eat here for dinner and enjoy a seafood rich menu as the sun sets.
Coral Bay Bakery
When the weather is as good as Coral Bay, you need a place where you can grab a hearty pie or sweet cake to go.
Enter the Coral Bay Bakery.
Another coastal town staple, this quaint bakery offers everything you’d expect from croissants to sausage, and is perfect for a take-out lunch.
Where to stay in Coral Bay
As you might expect, Coral Bay is a popular tourist spot. As such, there are plenty of motels, resorts, and campgrounds to choose from.
Ningaloo Reef Resort
This group of apartments and chalets are right by the sea, but of course it still has a children’s pool.
The apartments are self-contained and can accommodate up to eight people each.
There’s also an on-site restaurant – Shades – which offers good quality food and it’s even easier to grab a breakfast before hitting the sand and surfing.
Website: Ningaloo Reef Resort
Coral Bay Bayview
Also called a “vacation village,” Bayview has everything from villas, lodges, homes, cabins and backpackers.
Whatever your number and whatever your price range, you’re sure to find a place to rest your head for the night that’s right for you.
Website: Coral Bay Bayview
Although a little simpler than the reef complex, the People’s Park is still a stone’s throw from the ocean and is full of self-contained cabins that will provide you with everything you need.
For some rooms, the kitchen and other facilities are shared, so you’ll be sure to meet other travelers as you prepare your catch of the day (good luck).
Website: People’s Park
Ningaloo Coral Bay Backpackers
If just sharing a kitchen area isn’t enough, go full blast and enjoy backpacker life.
Considering the popularity of Coral Bay for tourists from all over the world, this backpackers is of a fairly high standard for shared accommodation and offers a swimming pool, ping pong table and all the facilities you will need.
Plus, you’ll make the friends you need to always make sure you have enough friends for your Ningaloo Reef snorkeling missions.
Website: Ningaloo Coral Bay Backpackers
Plan your vay-cay in Coral Bay via ningaloocoralbay.com.
Featured Image: Instagram @pam__sea
Australia’s Coral Coast reads:
More WA travel inspiration on SoPerth.com.au.