On the bucket list – to swim with the biggest fish in the sea, the incredible Whale Shark off Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth, Western Australia. This amazing adventure was made possible by Apollo Motorhome Holidays.
There are wonderful national parks on the drive from Perth to Exmouth. For our 7 day Whale Shark adventure though my boyfriend and I opted to bypass the Kalbarri and Karijini National Parks and concentrate on the gorgeous Ningaloo reef. If I did this trip again though, I’d hire the vehicle for 10 – 14 days at least so that I could visit Karijini and Kalbarri National Parks.
We took the fantastic 2 berth Apollo Euro Tourer. It comes with lots of space and a full kitchen and bathroom so we were completely self sufficient. Very handy when you need the bathroom on the long drives between Perth and Exmouth. We stayed at some wonderful caravan parks along the way including Kalbarri Tudor Caravan Park (part of the Family Parks network) and Exmouth Cape Holiday Park (part of the BIG4 and Aspen Parks networks). Apollo hirers get a 10% discount at all campgrounds in the BIG4 or Family Parks networks so it’s great value – you just have to show your keys at reception or mention it when you book. They’ve got great facilities and are perfect for couples, groups or families. Incidentally if you stay in Coral Bay you should check out the local bar with a stunning view of Coral Bay and an Indian Ocean sunset, it’s an Aspen Parks property – Ningaloo Reef Resort.
We visited the stunning Coral Bay and went quad biking out to see the Turtles in Turtle Bay. Then headed north to Exmouth where we on some long, beautiful walks in the Cape Range National Park. There was so much wildlife from Kangaroos, to cute Black-Footed Rock Wallabies and Emus.
The day of our whale shark dive was cancelled due to high winds so a word of advice is to make sure you have a buffer of a couple of days when you stay in Exmouth for the Whale Shark dives. The next day though we were out on Three Islands Whale Shark Dive with only a slight breeze and a beautiful sunny sky. It’s an amazing day and well worth the price tag – a fully day on the boat complete with catering, Whale Shark diving and a DVD of your own photos for $375.
The Draw Card, our boat for the day, took us out to some massive ‘Coral Bombies’ (reef outcrops) to snorkel and teach us about the Whale Shark diving etiquette. They’re completely benign animals and eat only krill but they are massive so it’s not worth upsetting them!! After a yummy morning tea the Whale Shark spotting began.
With the plane spotter reporting to our boat we jetted across the Indian Ocean in search of the sharks. On the way we saw Dugongs, Humpback Whales and plenty of turtles. We were lucky enough to swim with 5 Whale Sharks in total! The largest was 7m but they can grow up to 18m! It was an amazing day and the Three Island Whale Sharks company was fantastic with exceptional customer service I would highly recommend them.
Whale Sharks are around May – September usually but always check and the tours book out so book well in advance. Interestingly the peak season on the Western Australia coast are the cooler and dryer months between March to late July so you’ll need to book your motorhome well in advance as well.
You too can swim with the Whale Sharks for FREE if you win the Ultimate Motorhome Holiday Competition. To enter head to www.facebook.com/ApolloCamper and click on the Ultimate Motorhome Holiday Competition Tab at the top of the page. Be sure to ‘Like’ the page to get the hidden tips for how to win!