The World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef in WA’s Coral Coast is set to become home to the first licensed swimming with humpback whales industry in WA, following a successful four-year trial. During the trial period, more than 900 in-water interaction tours with humpback whales were conducted with about 9,500 in-water participants. The trial will continue in 2020, with the season commencing in Coral Bay in July and Exmouth in August, running until October 30. During this time a management program will be put in place, with licences to be allocated for commercial in-water humpback interaction tours starting from 2021. Ningaloo Reef is one of the only places in Australia where people can swim with these ocean giants.
Ningaloo Reef will also soon welcome the start of the 2020 whale shark season, when tours begin operating from Exmouth and Coral Bay in March. The typical WA whale shark season runs from March to August, with consistent sightings expected from mid-March. The tours allow visitors to have a face-to-fin encounter with the friendly marine giants, which generally grow between six and 11 metres in length.