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Exmouth is a town on the Coral Coast of Western Australia, a 15-hour drive north of Perth. It’s a small town with a laid-back atmosphere, incredible beaches, and is the gateway to the world heritage Ningaloo Reef, a reef we are told by many other Aussies that rivals the Great Barrier Reef for its marine life.
But even if you’re not a fan of diving, there’s still plenty of things to do in Exmouth WA.
They’d stopped in at Exmouth during their travels and ended up staying permanently – they loved it that much.
Our expectations were already high, mainly because this town is located on the doorstep of world famous Ningaloo Reef.
And Exmouth and the surrounding region didn’t let us down. Here’s what to do in Exmouth Western Australia and some of the best attractions in the region.
- Things to Do in Exmouth
- 1. Snorkel in Ningaloo Marine Park
- 2. Visit Turquoise Bay, Ningaloo
- 3. Bask on Sandy Bay Beach, Cape Range National Park
- 3. Catch a Sunset at Vlamingh Head Lighthouse
- 4. Check Out Jurabi Turtle Centre
- 5. Visit the Cape Range National Park
- 6. Swim With Whale Sharks
- 7. Drink Craft Beer at Froth Craft Brewery
- 8. Swim with Manta Rays at Coral Bay
- 9. Check Out the SS Mildura Wreck
- 10. Visit Osprey Bay
- 11. Eat Fresh Seafood at Whalers
- Exmouth Accommodation
- Popular tours of Exmouth, Western Australia
Planning your trip to Exmouth WA last-minute?
Don’t forget to plan ahead when visiting Exmouth! Here are some of the top tours, hotels, and useful items you may need before your trip!
Top Experiences and Tours in Exmouth
- Ningaloo Centre Aquarium & Discovery Centre (great educational experience!)
- Multi-Day Whale Shark Diving Experience (the best way to explore the Ningaloo Reef)
Top Accommodation and Hotels in Exmouth
- Gecko – On the Marina with Pool & Private Jetty (holiday home right on the marina)
- Driftwood Villa (cute and cosy villa in Exmouth, excellent for families)
If you need to rent a car to travel to Exmouth in Western Australia, we recommend Discover Cars for their ease of booking, full coverage options, and great prices. Click here for rates and availability.
Things to Do in Exmouth
Whether you’re into diving or not, one thing is for sure – Exmouth is all about nature! So slap on your suncream and sun hat, it’s time to get out there are start exploring…
1. Snorkel in Ningaloo Marine Park
Ningaloo Marine Park protects Ningaloo Reef – Australia’s largest and most accessible fringing reef that stretches 300 kilometres – and is just a stone’s throw from Exmouth off the North West Cape.
Experiencing Ningaloo is one of the top things to do around Exmouth and why most people come to town. And when they say accessible, they mean accessible!
“The awesome thing about Ningaloo is the easy access, you can just walk in off the beach and be snorkeling 10 metres from shore. No 60-minute high-speed boat rides like the Great Barrier Reef”.
Because we were spending a week in Exmouth we finally decided to purchase our own snorkeling equipment from Tackleworld. The guys were super friendly and helpful and had us kitted out in no time.
Instead of camping in Cape Range National Park caravan park, we had decided to base ourselves in town in a holiday home and drive in and out each day to the amazing snorkeling spots on offer, just over an hour away.
We don’t dive, but our friend Janina from 1770 Liquid Adventures worked at Exmouth Dive Centre a few years ago and says if you get a chance to go diving, do the Navy Pier dive. One of the BEST dives you’ll ever do.
2. Visit Turquoise Bay, Ningaloo
When you dive into the waters of Turquoise Bay you’re swimming within metres of Ningaloo Reef. The “Bay” is brilliant for swimming, snorkeling or just relaxing.
Besides the Bay, try your hand at the popular drift snorkel, one of the coolest snorkeling experiences you can have in this area of Ningaloo.
Either park at the “Drift” car park for direct access, or park at the “Bay” car park and walk about 300 metres south on the beach. Swim out a few metres and let the current carry you north, just make sure you exit before the sand bar which is prone to strong currents!
3. Bask on Sandy Bay Beach, Cape Range National Park
Looking for paradise? We found it at Sandy Bay. This beach made our list of 38 best beaches in Australia for good reason!
Endless white sand, crystal clear water, dark blue skies. The shallow waters of Sandy Bay made it an excellent beach for our kids, and when the wind is right apparently it’s a popular place for kite surfers.
We didn’t snorkel as much here as at Turquoise Bay, but grab your towel, your snorkeling gear and be prepared to be wowed.
There’s a picnic table with shade with prime positioning overlooking the beach for a lunch break or brekkie, or just as good is grabbing a spot on the sand (there’s plenty of space) for a few hours. Bring your own shade!
Other snorkelling spots in Cape Range National Park
We didn’t get to these spots but they came recommended from other travelers within our community and members of the tourism board:
- Oyster Stacks – great for fish life and best accessed on a high tide or incoming tide. Enter the water at the end of the walking track and snorkel either north or south.
- Lakeside – great snorkeling spot for swimmers of average fitness. From the carpark walk 400 metres south along the beach to the marked entry point. Snorkel out in a northerly direction for 150 metres before returning to your original entry point.
3. Catch a Sunset at Vlamingh Head Lighthouse
For a spectacular view of Ningaloo Reef and to witness another famous Western Australian sunset, grab some nibbles, a bottle of wine and some beers and watch the sun go down at the Vlaming Head Lighthouse.
And if you visit at the right time of year you could even be lucky enough to spot humpback whales migrating south.
4. Check Out Jurabi Turtle Centre
Sea turtles can be encountered on the Coral Coast all year round and hatchlings may be sighted during turtle nesting season between November and April.
Green turtles, loggerhead turtles and hawksbill turtles nest on mainland beaches adjacent to Ningaloo Reef.
Located 13 kilometres from Exmouth the Jurabi Turtle Centre is an interpretive educational facility to help manage turtle-visitor interaction and minimise disturbance on nesting marine turtles along the Ningaloo coastline.
If you would like to view nesting turtles I recommend you visit the turtle centre and participate in a guided experience.
5. Visit the Cape Range National Park
You enter Cape Range National Park when driving from Exmouth to the above-mentioned snorkeling spots, its northern boundary is just 40 kilometres from town.
It’s a spectacular park of rugged limestone ranges, deep canyons and 50 kilometres of incredible beaches, including our favourites Sandy Bay and Turquoise Bay!
Besides the beaches and the snorkeling, this is what else we recommend in Cape Range:
Visit the Milyering Visitor Centre
Make your first stop the Milyering Visitors Centre located in the heart of Cape Range National Park and chat with the staff to get some great insider tips.
The centre features interpretive information with videos, models and graphic displays to help make your visit informative. It’s also a handy bathroom break once you’ve driven the 52 kms from Exmouth.
Walk to Yardie Creek Gorge
Drive to the end of the sealed road in Cape Range and you get to Yardie Creek where you can explore the spectacular gorge either on foot via walking trails or on a Yardie Creek boat tour.
We decided to hike the 1-hour return Yardie Gorge Trail along the cliffs which offered brilliant views. We didn’t spot any of the local rock wallabies but the views were spectacular.
The only downer was the pesky flies, and I mean they were pesky, and a lot of them. Besides dealing with the flies, it can get very HOT here so best to walk early in the morning and bring adequate fluids.
Drive to Charles Knife Canyon and Shothole Canyon
This drive was totally unexpected, and we felt like we were back in the south-west USA.
An un-sealed road follows the ridges of Cape Range NP and takes you high up into the sky providing breathtaking views down into the multi-coloured gorges and all the way to the Ningaloo coast.
We stopped at several of the lookout points along the way for photo opps and then drove until you can drive no more and then turned around and came back down the hill.
If you’re lucky, you may even spot some of Australia’s native wildlife such as kangaroos, echidnas, and black-flanked rock wallabies roaming around the park.
No need to have a 4wd, our 2wd handled it no worries!
6. Swim With Whale Sharks
Exmouth is famous for being a place where you can swim with the incredible whale sharks, the world’s biggest fish.
These massive but harmless to humans filter feeders can grow up to 18m long.
The chance to snorkel with the whale sharks was one of our bucket list items for our road trip around Australia, but because this is a seasonal experience and we are on an 18 month road trip around our MASSIVE country, it’s so hard to be in the right place at the right time for every experience.
Every year from April to July they congregate along the Ningaloo Reef and unfortunately we were out of season and it’s one of those moments we’ll have to save for later.
Check out this list of Exmouth whale shark tours:
- King’s Ningaloo Reef Tours
- Ningaloo Reef Dreaming
- Ningaloo Whaleshark N Dive
- Ocean Eco Adventures
- Oceanwise Expeditions
- Three Islands Whale Shark Dive
- Exmouth Diving Centre
- Coral Bay Eco Tours
7. Drink Craft Beer at Froth Craft Brewery
If you’re looking for a family-friendly restaurant to kick back in, then Froth Craft Brewery is an award-winning, family-friendly restaurant and micro brewery that has delicious food made from local produce, served with a backdrop of live music and entertainment.
It has a rustic beer garden where you can enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, as well as sample craft beers from the local area.
Another popular brewing company you can check out, if you have more time, is Whalebone Brewing Company near Town Beach.
8. Swim with Manta Rays at Coral Bay
One of the best day trips from Exmouth is to Coral Bay, where you can swim with the majestic manta rays who visit the Ningaloo Reef here all year round.
The best thing is you don’t have to go scuba diving to see them. Because they eat plankton on the surface of the water, they swim to you while you’re snorkelling!
It’s also a great spot to see dolphins or go whale watching in the winter months (June to November).
9. Check Out the SS Mildura Wreck
The SS Mildura is a famous shipwreck in the Exmouth region, which washed up on the shores in 1907 after the cattle steamer was caught in a cyclone.
It was salvaged and used for bombing practice during WWII, but the rest of it can be seen from the shores of the headland past Vlamingh Head Lighthouse at low tide.
The wreck is only 80 metres from shore, but it’s not possible to walk up to the wreck and you can only see it from the headland.
10. Visit Osprey Bay
A great half day trip from Exmouth is to Osprey Bay, which is another beautiful bay where you can go snorkelling and bask on the pure white sands.
It’s possible to see a plethora of marine life from the shore here, including turtles, if you’re lucky.
If you enjoy camping, there is a great campground at the beach which has clean toilets and showers.
11. Eat Fresh Seafood at Whalers
Whalers is one of the most popular restaurants in Exmouth and is one of the best place to try the local seafood.
As part of the Exmouth Escape Resort, it has a family-friendly vibe but with a bit more sophistication. It has both indoor and outdoor seating, overlooking the grounds swimming pool and gardens.
It also often has live music with solo or duo acoustic acts.
We stayed in a holiday home in Exmouth, which is our preferred type of accommodation when looking for places to stay throughout Australia.
If you followed our road trip around Australia, more often than not you’d know we called our 5×3 camper trailer home.
Not only is it our sleeping quarters, but home office and classroom for Kalyra. Things get a little cramped in there.
When we can we like to upgrade to a little more comfort and space with a full-kitchen, our own bathroom, separate bedrooms for the kids, and a dining room to use as an office.
We stayed in a rustic cottage in Exmouth that could sleep up to 6 people and was an easy walk to the main shopping centre in town and proved to be a great base for us.
Kalyra was especially excited as she got to have her friend Maddie sleep over for the night who is also traveling around Australia, and we all had a fun Halloween party on the spacious back patio.
You can see more accommodation options for Exmouth, using the handy map below.
Popular tours of Exmouth, Western Australia
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Have you visited Exmouth? What activities or tours can you recommend? Let us know in the comments!