Swimming with Whale Sharks in Coral Bay: Ultimate Guide

Swimming with these big, beautiful creatures is a once in a lifetime experience, and I highly recommend you do it at least once in your life. Don’t worry I have a slight fear of open waters and this swim did not freak me out at all! When you are swimming along these giants, you are so immersed by their beauty, that you generally forget how far out from shore you are. Plus, the tours are very safe and conducted by professionals.

Trust me when I say, this is a bucket list activity! The Ningaloo Reef is one of the best places to tick this one off as the tours are extremely ethical, and they care about the health of these animals. It may not be as cheap as other countries, but you will feel good about yourself knowing you are not putting these endangered animals at any risk.

A Couple of Facts

  • Did you know that Whale Sharks are the largest fish in the sea? The largest confirmed Whale shark was 18.8m, but most of the ones you will see off the coast of Coral Bay will range from 5.5-10m.
  • Whale sharks are filter feeders, which means they can neither bite nor chew. They process more than 6,000 litres of water and hour through their gills. Their mouth can stretch up to 4 feet wide, but they only have tiny teeth, meaning their diet mainly consist of small shrimp, fish and plankton.
  • They can be very old; some can live up to 150 years.
  • Most of the Whale Sharks spotted in Coral Bay are male!

Best time to Visit?

If you are looking to swim with Whale Sharks, the season is open from March to August. You are most likely to see these beautiful creators in the middle of the season, however you might get lucky like myself and see them very early on.

How much will it cost?

For an ethical Whale Shark swim in Coral Bay, you are looking at anywhere between $350-$400 AUD for a full day tour. It seems like a lot but trust me, it’s worth it. Most companies also offer a “no sighting return policy”. Where if you unfortunately do not spot any Whale Sharks on your tour, you will be able to book another tour within 2-3 years at no cost.

Which Company to Choose?

There are two companies that operate out of Coral Bay, and like always it advised to do your own research before booking. I can recommend Coral Bay Eco Tours. Everything about this tour is amazing, from the employee’s knowledge, to their care for each diver. Everything about the experience was magical.

On a Whale Shark Tour with Coral Bay Eco Tours you will receive:

  • A wetsuit
  • Snorkel
  • Morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, free drinks
  • Some amazing shots of the day’s adventures (at an extra cost), from the onboard photographer
  • Plenty of knowledge about Whale Sharks
  • Two snorkel swims at exclusive spots, and a Whale Shark Swim

Another company to check out is Ningaloo Reef-Dive and Snorkel.

Coral Bay or Exmouth?

You have two options to swim with Whale Sharks on the Ningaloo Coast, Coral Bay or Exmouth. You have a good chance of seeing these giants at each location, if you are in season. It just depends on where you are located for your holiday!

Who’s ready for a once in a lifetime experience?

Photos by @elle_gillett.