About Coral Bay

Coral Bay & the Ningaloo Reef

The landing of the schooner Maud in 1884 is the earliest recorded European activity in the Coral Bay area. This landing site – slightly north of where the Coral Bay township sits today – became known as Maud’s Landing.

The township of Coral Bay started life as a holiday camp, built by local pastoralist and owner of Carbadia Station, Charlie French for his wife Ruby May ‘Billie’ French in the 1920s. Back then the campsite was known as ‘Billies Bay’, a name which later became corrupted to ‘Bill’s Bay’. The first building in Bill’s Bay was a holiday shack built in 1933 by Jack McKenna, manager of Mia Mia Station, and used as a summer coastal retreat.

In the late 1960s, former chemist Ken Ryan established a hotel on the shores of Bill’s Bay. The hotel was named the Coral Bay Hotel in reference to the beautiful coral reef in the bay area, and subsequently, the settlement became known as Coral Bay.

The reputation of Bill’s Bay as the home of possibly the easiest to access, most pristine coral gardens in the country is what fuelled Coral Bay’s development and popularity, and continues to do so to this day.

Coral Bay is a manta ray hot spot year round, and one of very few places in the country offering a reliable chance to swim with these huge, playful creatures.

A Brief Overview:

Coral Bay is a small coastal community located on the west coast of Australia, approximately 1200km North of Perth.
The resident population is approximately 220, whilst it can swell with visiting tourists to over 1800. An estimated 200,000 people visit Coral Bay every year to enjoy the wonders of Ningaloo, the worlds’ largest fringing reef on the western margin of a Continent.


Ningaloo Reef stretches nearly 300km from Quobba Station in the South to Exmouth & the Muiron Islands in the North.


Ningaloo Reef is home to over 500 species of fish, over 250 different varieties of Coral & abundant species of invertebrates. With a unique mixing of warm tropical and cool temperate waters, as well as minimal anthropogenic influences, Ningaloo reef is among the healthiest of reef systems worldwide.


At the heart of Ningaloo Reef is Coral Bay. Previously on the map as a fishing hotspot, it is becoming increasingly popular as a destination for people who wish to have an encounter with one or all of the many charismatic megafauna which visit or inhabit the local waters. These include the world’s largest fish, the whale shark; one of the most spectacular whales on the planet, the humpback whale (during its annual migration); the largest ray on the planet, the manta ray; the endangered dugong; as well as several species of dolphin. The loggerhead and green turtle annually nest along our clean white sandy beaches, and are present in high numbers in the offshore waters year round.


The largest attraction however is the breathtaking beauty of the landscape and easily accessible snorkeling directly from the beach. Coral Bay has a diverse range of activities on offer to suit all who visit.


Please see our list of different tour options and for further information on tour times and availability contact our friendly professional staff.


Aboriginal history plays a big part in the Ningaloo Marine Park and Coral Bay. Our rugged coastline contains numerous Aboriginal middens & burial grounds which hold historical accounts of early habitation. The earliest Aboriginal groups to inhabit the peninsula were the Jinigudira and the Baiyungu people. The local pastoral station Cardabia is run by the local Baiyangu people, whose presence in the local community maintains a strong indigenous link to the unique cultural values of the magnificent arid landscape.


Our Policy :

Ningaloo Marine Interactions is committed to providing environmentally and socially sustainable tours of the highest quality. All tours are designed to show the unique qualities of the reef and adjacent desert, whilst having the least impact possible. We understand the importance of customer satisfaction and strive to provide services and tours at the forefront of those available not only at Ningaloo but globally.


We Strive to:

  • Pass on our knowledge and encourage all our guests to join us in protecting our oceans, its reef systems and its inhabitants.
  • Improve and monitor environmental performance in all of our tour operations.
  • Use relevant information to educate our staff and guests in maintaining the Ningaloo Reef marine park and encourage minimizing negative impacts.
  • Support our local community and build strong cultural awareness.
  • Comply with all government laws and regulations.
  • Support research and provide information to the Department of Environment & Conservation (DEC) on activities and marine sightings.
  • Provide survey forms to ensure that Ningaloo Marine Interactions can better our standards and achieve a high standard of customer service by listening directly to our clients.
  • Encourage recycling and using environmentally friendly products on our vessel Utopia.
  • We are committed to working towards providing a fantastic experience for all of our customers while maintaining the importance of sustainability in the Marine Park for future generations.


Official Protocols of Ningaloo Marine Park :

For more information please see the DEC Visitor Information and Parks of the Coral Coast hand out. For fishing guidelines and fish identification please see the Department of Fisheries Gascoyne information handouts. These can be obtained at Coastal Adventure Tours or at district offices (Below).


Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC):

22 Nimitz Street
Exmouth WA 6707

Postal: PO Box 201
Exmouth WA 6707

Phone: (08) 9947 8000

Milyering Visitor Centre:

Yardie Creek Road
Cape Range National Park WA 6707

Phone: (08) 9949 2808

Department of Fisheries:

Payne Street
Exmouth WA 6707

Phone: (08) 9949 2755