The Edge of the World. (Ningaloo Coast, Western Australia.)

Day 2 Episode II.

Hooning along Yardie Creek Road into the Park, with a view of the Cape Range on the left and the Indian Ocean on the right. Stunning...
Hooning along Yardie Creek Road into the Park, with a view of the Cape Range on the left and the Indian Ocean on the right. Stunning…

Left Vlamingh Head Lighthouse and continued around the headland into Ningaloo Marine Park. “Ningaloo” is an Aboriginal word for promontory; I’m unsure which language group it’s from but the Cape’s original inhabitants were known as the Yinigudura people. I couldn’t find out much about them; they apparently left the cape before white settlement. Why – who knows? But Dave mentioned a large gap was discovered in the reef with pieces of it quite far inland… possibly a tsunami, between two and five thousand years ago.

Growing up in Carnarvon I remember hearing the Exmouth area was ‘taboo’ for Indigenous Australians but never knew why; if a neighbouring nation was wiped out by a natural disaster there it would be a completely understandable reason to avoid the place.

fossilised beach Ningaloo Marine Park, WA.jpg

Popped in to the Milyering Visitors Centre where I learned a bit about the park’s World Heritage values.

  • At 260 km Ningaloo is the longest western fringing coral reef in the world and a major food source for tropical reef and deepwater marine life. (And so pretty.)
  • It is the world’s largest reef lying close to a land mass; just swim to it from the beach! (Bonus! I hate getting seasick.)
  • At the back of the reef the water’s about 20 metres deep, 5km out it’s 100 metres, and less than 20 km away is the dropoff of the Australian continental shelf – over 500 metres deep! (Shit!)
  • Because of this Ningaloo has enormous biodiversity – the permanent and transient residents include loggerhead, hawksbill and green turtles, several dolphin species, 300 species of coral, hundreds more of molluscs and crustaceans, 500 species of fish, birds, manta rays, plus megafauna such as pygmy blue whales, humpback and minke whales, orcas, pelagic fish such as sailfish and tuna, as well as the infamous whale sharks and probably partridges in pear trees (!!!)

Got some souvenirs and important info about the Turquoise Bay drift snorkel I’m doing tomorrow,  then we all headed to Osprey Bay for lunch.

Coral probably older than humankind.
Coral probably older than humankind.

While Dave slaved away getting it ready we could either swim or wander. I opted for the latter.

Reminds me of Coral Bay... 150km away at the southern boundary of Ningaloo, it's a tiny settlement with a hotel, caravan park and even a couple of shops. We camped there when we were kids in the 1980s. We were also there as big kids for New Year's 2000...
Reminds me of Coral Bay… 150km away at the southern boundary of Ningaloo, it’s a tiny settlement with a hotel, caravan park and even a couple of shops. We camped there when we were kids in the 1980s. We were also there as big kids for New Year’s 2000…

I’ve never been here before but everything seems so familiar!! The dunes and vegetation look just like at my childhood home… the sand is whiter here though…

Ever wonder why there's always white sandy beaches near coral reefs?
Love it, and haven’t even seen the reef yet!
These guys are fast! Luckily he didn't see me for another 1/125 of a second.
These guys are fast! Luckily he didn’t see me for another 1/125 of a second.

Saw a tribe of Grey Nomads ensconced at the campground; so jealous. For a four week National Park Pass ($44 per vehicle) and a mere $10 per person per night, you too can camp here for up to a month. Book WELL ahead. Like, a year or so. And BYO everything, including water, because the only facilities are eco toilets. Well, and a road to get here… what else do you want? That’s what I call really getting away from it all…

Included with your Billion Star Accommodation: clear blue skies, wide open spaces, peace, quiet, and glorious sunsets over the Indian Ocean.
Included with your Billion Star Accommodation: clear blue skies, wide open spaces, peace, quiet, and glorious sunsets over the Indian Ocean.

Next in my trying-to-do-shorter-posts-but-not-really-shorter-at-all series, Yardie Creek Gorge!

– Michelle

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Great photos! Such a beautiful part of the world, would love to explore there myself one day!

    Like

    1. Michelle says:

      Thanks Sally! It is incredible, and even more incredible that not everyone knows about it. Half of me wants to shout it from the mountaintops and the other half is telling me to shut up and keep it a secret! But definitely, you need to go there one day, it’s gorgeous, and wild, and just fills you up again.

      Liked by 1 person

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