Ningaloo Reef, Australia
When to go
It’s warm and sunny year-round, with slightly cooler temperatures from July to September (22–32ºC) and things hotting up from January to March (32–38ºC). The Indian Ocean here stays a peachy 24–26ºC. Visit in March and April to catch the coral spawning or between April and July to see the whale sharks.
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Tales from our travels
PlanesSkywest Airlines (www.skywest.com.au) flies daily between Perth and Exmouth (1 hour 45 minutes) and weekly from Broome. Exmouth’s Learmonth Airport is 37 kilometres south of the town of Exmouth itself; Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef is 70 kilometres south of Exmouth (an hour’s drive). A regular shuttle bus runs between the airport and Exmouth, or you can arrange private transfers to meet flights.
AutomobilesDriving the 1,270 kilometres from Perth to Exmouth will take about 16 hours, so most folk fly in. Hire a car from one of the car desks at Learmonth Airport, or in Exmouth itself from Avis (www.avis.com.au).
TaxisThis ain’t NYC, so don’t expect to hail anything other than passing fish. Transport chez Ningaloo is on a BYO basis, so hire a car or contact Exmouth Visitor Centre (www.exmouthwa.com.au) to join a tour.
I would love to mount an expedition looking for the night parrot. This small and secretive bird is ground-dwelling and nocturnal, and was thought to be extinct until a handful of confirmed recent sightings. It’s the definition of enigmatic and even if we didn’t find it, all that time searching in the dead of the night in the bush would be bound to reveal plenty of other amazing species. On a more practical note, I’d love to see and swim with the gentle whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, home to shoreside, safari-style stay Sal Salis.