21 Unique Things to Do in Exmouth, Western Australia

Charlies Knife Canyon Exmouth, Western Australia

Exmouth is a picturesque coastal town situated at the tip of North West Cape in the far north-west of Western Australia. It is widely recognised as a perfect destination for adventurers due to its status as the gateway to the Ningaloo Reef, which offers numerous exciting activities and breathtaking views, but the truth is there is plenty to see and do here outside of the incredible Ningaloo Reef. This article will take you through 21 unique experiences exploring this charming coastal town.

If you’re looking for a perfect beach getaway, you’ll love Exmouth. You can relax on its pristine white sandy beaches or go for a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean. You can also explore the area’s abundant marine life and vibrant coral reefs by snorkelling or scuba diving.

Exmouth: A Glimpse into its History

Exmouth has a rich military history. During World War II, it served as a submarine base for the U.S. Navy. Later, during the Cold War era, the town was established as part of an American defence base. The Harold E Holt Naval Communications Base was built nearby, and Exmouth was home to the Navy families. It was like a small piece of America in Australia for three decades, complete with U.S. currency and American food imports.

Exmouth’s Unique Marine Life

Today, Exmouth is renowned for its diverse marine life. The town’s population triples during the peak tourist season thanks to its proximity to the Ningaloo Reef, one of the world’s most extensive fringing coral reefs. From swimming with whale sharks to exploring colourful coral gardens, Exmouth offers a range of marine experiences that will dazzle any adventurer.

Here’s a pick of 21 ways you can experience the myriad wonders waiting for you in Exmouth and Ningaloo Reef.

Related: If you are heading to Western Australia, put these incredible Pink Lakes on your travel list!

Experience Exmouth: 21 Unforgettable Activities

1. Swim with the Whale Sharks

Whale Sharks Ningaloo Reef

Exmouth offers the unique opportunity to swim with the largest fish in the ocean – the whale shark. Known as the gentle giants of the sea, these creatures are harmless to humans and a delight to observe.

Exmouth’s warm and crystal-clear waters provide the perfect habitat for these docile creatures, allowing visitors to witness them in their natural environment. Swimming with whale sharks is an experience that is both exhilarating and humbling, and it’s a must-do activity for any nature lover.

A full-day tour allows you to swim alongside these majestic creatures while a spotter plane helps locate the sharks.

2. Snorkelling at Ningaloo Reef

Large grouper Ningaloo Reef

Ningaloo Reef is a true haven for snorkelling enthusiasts. This mesmerising underwater paradise is home to an impressive array of marine life, including over 500 fish and 600 species of molluscs.

As you immerse yourself in the crystal-clear waters of Ningaloo Reef, you’ll be amazed by the vibrant colours and the diverse ecosystem. From schools of colourful fish to the majestic presence of turtles and whale sharks, the reef offers an unparalleled experience that’s hard to beat.

I suggest booking a snorkelling tour to get the most from this experience. By going on a boat, you can explore the pristine underwater sights without the crowding of the beach spots, enjoy an unforgettable adventure and discover the unmatched beauty of Ningaloo Reef.

3. Visit Turquoise Bay

Turquoise Bay Western Australia

Turquoise Bay is considered to be one of the world’s best beaches. The name comes from the clear, blue waters it is famous for. Its vibrant coral reef beds make it a popular destination for snorkelling enthusiasts due to its calm and relatively shallow water, teeming with abundant coral and marine life. Here, you can relax on the soft white sand, swim in the crystal-clear waters, and soak up the warm sunshine while taking in the stunning views of the Indian Ocean.

Related: Amazing Experiences You Can Only Have in Australia!

4. The Jurabi Turtle Centre

The Jurabi Turtle Centre
The Jurabi Turtle Centre

The Jurabi Turtle Centre offers a unique experience where you can observe female turtles laying their eggs from December to March. The centre ensures this activity doesn’t disturb the turtles, and proceeds go towards turtle conservation.

5. Froth Craft Brewery

For beer lovers, Froth Craft Brewery offers a delightful experience. With over 40 beers on the menu, the brewery is a perfect spot to relax after exploring. They also host various fun events like music gigs and movie nights and are dog friendly.

6. Swim with Turtles

Swim with turtles in Exemouth WA

Swimming with turtles is another unforgettable experience that Exmouth offers. These graceful creatures can be found at popular spots in the Ningaloo Reef, and visitors can join a half-day tour to swim alongside them.

7. Explore Cape Range National Park

Cape Range National Park

Cape Range National Park is a breathtaking natural wonder just a short drive from Exmouth. This magnificent park is teeming with diverse wildlife, including the iconic red kangaroos, which roam freely across the stunning landscape. It’s also home to some of the most gorgeous beaches in the region, including the mesmerising aforementioned Turquoise Bay.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or simply looking for a place to unwind and recharge, Cape Range National Park is a must-visit destination that will leave you in awe.

8. Swim with Humpback Whales

Swim with Whales in Exemouth WA

Between June and November, humpback whales migrate to the Ningaloo Reef. You can take a boat tour from Exmouth to swim with these magnificent creatures and create unforgettable memories. Located off the coast of Exmouth and Coral Bay, the Ningaloo Marine Park is the only place in Western Australia where you can have an in-water interaction with migrating humpback whales.

9. Scuba Diving at Ningaloo Reef

Ningaloo Reef is a haven for scuba divers who can indulge in the thrill of exploring the mesmerising underwater world. With an array of dive sites that cater to both novices and seasoned divers, the experience is nothing short of exhilarating. From the vibrant coral gardens to the fascinating marine life, the Ningaloo Reef boasts diverse underwater wonders that will leave every scuba diver in awe.

10. Relaxing at the Beach

Town Beach Exemouth
Town Beach

Exmouth boasts some of the country’s most picturesque and serene beaches. With crystal clear waters and soft white sands, the beaches in Exmouth offer the ideal setting for a tranquil and rejuvenating experience.

Among the popular spots are Bundegi Beach, known for its calm and shallow waters that are perfect for swimming, and Town Beach, which offers stunning views of the Indian Ocean and is ideal for sunbathing and basking in the area’s natural beauty.

Check out the breathtaking Dunes Beach if you want a great surfing spot. This stunning Beach is one of several beaches that can be reached from the Mildura Wreck Road, located to the west of the VLF towers.

Related: Discover the best beaches in Exmouth with this comprehensive guide

11. Explore Charles Knife Gorge & Shothole Canyon

Explore Charles Knife Gorge

Charles Knife Canyon is a must-visit place in Exmouth. It is located in Cape Range National Park and provides stunning views of the park and the red rocks of the canyon. It’s an excellent spot for hiking and enjoying the tranquillity of nature and offers an ideal location to witness breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.

You can reach Charles Knife Canyon by taking a 20-minute drive south of Exmouth. Although part of Cape Range National Park, it is accessible from the same peninsula as Exmouth town.

The Charles Knife lookout can be reached with 2WD vehicles. The road is sealed most of the way until the last uphill section, which is a gravel road. If you are uncomfortable driving up the hill, you can park at the end of the sealed section of the road and walk up the hill to the lookout. This lookout offers scenic views of the gorge below.

Access to Shothole Canyon is only for 4WD vehicles, as you need to cross the dry creek beds of the gorge. There is a short hiking trail and picnic area at the end of the drive.

12. Yardie Creek Boat Tour

Yardie Creek Gorge

Nestled within Cape Range National Park, Yardie Creek Gorge is a natural wonder boasting a permanent water source between steep cliffs. The rugged terrain and the sheer beauty of its red cliffs against the backdrop of the turquoise waters make it a unique and breathtaking sight. This magnificent gorge on the Ningaloo/Coral Coast is home to diverse wildlife, including the elusive black-flanked rock wallaby and various species of birds like ospreys.

A boat tour is a perfect way to explore the gorge and experience this natural wonder’s vibrant colours and beauty. Keep your eyes peeled for the wildlife that inhabits the gorge, and enjoy the stunning views from the water.

If you prefer to stay on land, The Yardie Gorge Trail is a fantastic two-kilometre walk that offers breathtaking views of the ancient Yardie Creek Gorge. You’ll be able to see the stunning red limestone cliff faces and keep your eyes peeled for rare black-footed wallabies, euros, and red kangaroos. The beautiful birds and wildlife make for an unforgettable experience. The view of the creek and Ningaloo Reef from the top is simply breathtaking.

13. Fishing in Exmouth

Fishing is a popular pastime in Exmouth, with the waters around the town known for their affluent game fish population. Various fishing charter companies offer day trips, providing all the necessary equipment.

14. Ningaloo Aquarium and Discovery Centre

Ningaloo Aquarium and Discovery Centre
courtesy of Ningaloo Aquarium and Discovery Centre

The Ningaloo Aquarium and Discovery Centre offers visitors an opportunity to learn about the area’s unique coral reefs and the diverse marine life that inhabits them. The centre is open year-round, making it a great educational visit for all ages.

15. Enjoy a Round of Golf

The Exmouth Golf Club offers a unique golfing experience with stunning views of the ocean and the national park. With 18 holes spread across a sand green course, it’s a fun challenge for beginners and experienced golfers.

16. Check Out the Vlamingh Head Lighthouse

The Vlamingh Head Lighthouse

The Vlamingh Head Lighthouse, located on the tip of the North West Cape, offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. It’s a great spot to watch the sunrise or sunset and even do some stargazing.

17. Visit the Mildura Wreck

Mildura Wreck Exemouth

Close to the Vlamingh Head Lighthouse is the Mildura Wreck, visible from Lighthouse Bay Beach. The SS Mildura was wrecked during a cyclone in 1907, and while the wreck is considered unsafe for snorkelling or diving, it can be viewed from the Beach.

18. Exmouth Navy Pier Dive

The Exmouth Navy Pier is ranked among Australia’s top 10 dive sites and is considered one of the world’s premier shore dives. This 300m long pier is located just over 10 km from Exmouth and is still an active naval base, so it is not accessible to the general public. However, Dive Ningaloo has obtained the only license to operate scuba diving tours at the Navy Pier.

19. Take a Trip to Coral Bay

Coral Bay Western Australia

About 150km south of Exmouth, Coral Bay is a beautiful spot perfect for a day trip. Its calm, crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches make it a great place to relax and unwind.

Coral Bay is quieter than neighbouring Exmouth, yet home to the same natural wonders. Here you can experience swims with whale sharks and graceful manta rays, see turtle hatchlings and explore the incredible coral wonders of Ningaloo Reef.

20. Try Flyboarding

For thrill-seekers, Exmouth offers the exciting opportunity to try Flyboarding. This unique water sport allows you to soar above the water on a board propelled by jets of water.

21. Surfing

With its fantastic waves, Exmouth is a great spot for surfing. Dunes Surf Beach is particularly popular, offering excellent swells from July to October.

How to Reach Exmouth

Exmouth is approximately 1260km north of Perth and halfway between Perth and Broome. Exmouth is accessible through a scenic 13-hour drive or a quick 2-hour flight from Perth.

Qantas Airways operates flights on the Perth to Exmouth (Learmonth LEA airport) route, with two flights daily from Monday to Friday and one daily on weekends.

As you can see, Exmouth offers an array of experiences, from diving with whale sharks to hiking in national parks. Its stunning landscapes and rich biodiversity make it an adventurer’s paradise. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an avid diver, or just looking to unwind, Exmouth has something for everyone to do and see. So pack your bags and prepare for an unforgettable journey into this incredible part of Western Australia.

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