Australia

How to Visit The Coral Bay Shark Sanctuary

No trip to Coral Bay would be complete without at least one attempt of seeing wild reef sharks swim around in the Shark Sanctuary.

Here you can see adult reef sharks, pregnant females and baby reef sharks. 

At the best of times you can see up to 200 reef sharks swimming in the water. On our most recent visit (2022) we saw close to 100 reef sharks, all swimming in close to the shore! It certainly was an incredible experience.

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Getting to the Shark Sanctuary

The Coral Bay Shark Sanctuary, also known as the shark nursery, is about a 20 minute walk north along Bill’s Bay.

The area where the reef sharks congregate is called Skeleton Bay and is a part of the Ningaloo Marine Park.

The walk from the main Coral Bay Beach to the Shark Sanctuary gets rocky in some places. If you have sensitive feet, definitely wear shoes!

When to See Reef Sharks at the Sanctuary in Coral Bay

The best time of the year to see the sharks is between September and March.

We found that reef sharks are more likely to be in the bay at the change of tide. So you will need to get information on the current high tide times during your stay. 

Alternatively, if your here during the school holidays just keep an eye out for the crowds heading towards the sanctuary area. If there are lots of people walking there, you are likely to see some sharks!

Visibility of the reef sharks is always better when the water is clear. So its best to visit when the wind is low. However, don’t let the wind stop you from visiting the sanctuary! Especially as there’s often a lot of wind at this time of year.

Best Practices for Viewing Wild Reef Sharks

When visiting the reef sharks it is your responsibility to minimise your impact and act appropriately. Simply observe the sharks and don’t interfere with them in anyway.

Tips for Visiting with Kids

  • If you are heading here with young kids, I suggest you take them in a carrier, since the walk can get quite difficult at times.
  • It can get quite warm on this walk, so try (with tides aligning) to visit early in the day and beat the heat!
  • While our 4 year old son was able to walk a good portion of the way, my advice is to incentivise them with an ice cream treat post walk! Trust me, you’ll be ready for one too!

Where to Stay in Coral Bay

  • Ningaloo Coral Bay Backpackers ($): Coral Bay Backpackers offers affordable accommodation, catering for budget travellers. There is an outdoor swimming pool, as well as barbecue and kitchen facilities.
  • Bayview Coral Bay ($$): Bayview Coral Bay not only has options for camping, but also has cabins of various sizes available to stay in.
  • Peoples Caravan Park ($$): Located opposite Coral Bays’ main beach, this caravan park also has a variety of apartment style cabins to stay in.
  • Ningaloo Reef Resort ($$$): Temporarily closed as undergoing renovations. Located at the end of the peninsula, Ningaloo Reef Resort offers stunning beachfront accommodation. Suitable for all travellers, your accommodation will be air-conditioned. There is also a swimming pool, barbecue facilities and manicured lawns and gardens.

Overall

Visiting the Coral Bay Shark Sanctuary is only one of the many things to do in Coral Bay. If you’re staying in Coral Bay for more than a week, you can definitely do this walk a few times. Even if you don’t always see the reef sharks, it’s a beautiful coastline to explore!

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