This post was first published in 2019 but has been updated in 2020 with the most recent information about visiting Exmouth, Australia
Exmouth Australia (WA) is a town not many people have heard of. While it is not on the country’s main tourist trail, it is a hidden gem that is definitely worth a visit.
Located about a 13-hour drive north from Perth, Exmouth Australia is a small town that is best known for its resorts and marine parks. With lots of things to do in Exmouth WA and unique Ningaloo Reef accommodation, staying here is half the fun.
Pair this with some awesome nature to be discovered, and Exmouth Australia becomes a perfect getaway destination for any eco-conscious traveler.
Exmouth Western Australia is located on the tip of a small peninsula jutting out into the Indian Ocean. This makes it the perfect base for visiting top things to do near Exmouth such as Cape Range National Park and the Ningaloo Reef. It may be a small town, but Exmouth Australia has a lot to offer to those who are willing to venture off the beaten track!
Best Time to Visit Exmouth Australia
The region of Western Australia can see some pretty extreme weather and Exmouth is no exception. Although its climate is generally warm and dry throughout the entire year, peak temperatures are experienced in the dry season from August to December.
Moreover, there is a risk of tropical cyclones during this time in Exmouth, Western Australia. So, most people choose to visit during the Australian winter which spans June to August.
The wet season is in May and June.
Whatever you do, exercise caution while outside enjoying Exmouth activities at any time of year. It is not uncommon to see temperatures about 50°C, especially in the dry season.
However, the climate is not the only thing to be considered when deciding when to visit Exmouth, Australia. Most visitors come for Exmouth diving or snorkelling with the hopes of seeing some ocean life on the reef. So important to know the migration patterns of these animals ahead of time.
- The most famous marine life is the population of whale sharks, Exmouth hosts from March to June.
- If you’re more interested in seeing manta rays and humpback whales, try visiting Exmouth between June and November.
Whichever time you decide to visit, check in to the Exmouth Visitor Centre and they will inform you which marine life is making its seasonal stop just off of the Exmouth beaches.
Things to do in Exmouth Western Australia
Visit Cape Range National Park
Cape Range National Park is a massive park filled with rocky outcrops, austere gorges, rugged plains, and stunning coastline in Exmouth, Western Australia. The landscape is mostly composed of a limestone plateau and is the only one of its kind on the North West Coast making it and Yardie Creek one of the top Exmouth things to do and visit.
The park can be explored via one of the many roads or hiking trails that crisscross the landscape. Along your way, keep an eye out for wallabies, kangaroos, and emus.
Make sure to stay on the marked tracks, practice Leave No Trace Principles, and hire a local guide or partake in Exmouth tours to help support the local community.
Don’t Miss Yardie Creek
The most popular place to visit within Cape Range National Park is Yardie Creek, a small but flowing waterbody sandwiched between two sheer cliffs. This resulting gorge at Yardie Creek is the park’s most well-known landmark.
Explore the Exmouth Ningaloo Reef
The Ningaloo Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, hides just beneath the ocean surface right off the western coast of Cape Range National Park and Exmouth beach. For many, a visit to the Ningaloo Reef is a highlight of a visit to Exmouth and an opportunity to experience incredible nature on the Coral Coast.
Most people spend time in Turquoise Bay with its pristine waters and white sand beaches. If swimming directly off-shore, just be aware of strong currents that can pull you out to sea if you’re not careful.
While in the water, make sure to protect the ecosystem – never touch any of the marine flora or fauna on the Ningaloo Reef.
Scuba Dive and Snorkel
While the Exmouth beaches are great, nothing compares to getting in the water to dive Ningaloo Reef and exploring beneath the surface.
On the reef, you’ll be able to see over 500 species of fish and some 250 types of coral. It is called the Coral Coast after all! If you’re lucky, you’ll also spot some larger pelagic sea life such as whales and dolphins on the Exmouth Ningaloo Reef.
You’ll need to book a tour to get farther out into the Ningaloo reef to scuba dive or snorkel. Some of the best locations are Turquoise Bay for snorkelling, and Marion Island and Lighthouse Bay for diving.
This full day diving and snorkelling tour takes guests to Marion Island where you will visit two Ningaloo Reef dive sites and you will be provided lunch. It’s suitable for all levels of divers and snorkelers so it’s perfect if you have a mixed group.
READ NEXT: SUSTAINABLE GUIDE TO VISITING NINGALOO REEF IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA: SWIM, SNORKEL, DIVE, AND MORE
Swim with Whale Sharks
Swimming with a whale shark on the Ningaloo Reef is often one of the first things that comes to mind when people are wondering what to do in Exmouth. It was one of the best experiences of our visit!
While it was not a cheap tour, it was worth every penny to get to swim with these gentle giants. If swimming with a whale shark is on your to-do list while in Exmouth, be sure to choose a responsible operator, whose focuses on the research and preservation of the whale shark population as much as on the enjoyment of their guests experience with the sharks.
The Exmouth Diving Center offers a full day Whale Shark swim experience with a 100% guarantee of sightings! The friendly dive staff ensure guests keep a respectful distance. Most importantly, they are passionate about protecting the reef and its marine life.
Go Whale Watching
If you want to experience some of the famous wildlife in Exmouth Australia but don’t want to get in the water to do it, consider taking a whale watching cruise with a sustainable local operator. You don’t have to get wet for all of the Exmouth attractions!
Go between June and November and you’ll have a good chance of spotting humpback whales off the coast off Exmouth Australia.
Make the most of a whale watching Exmouth Western Australia by choosing a catamaran whale watching boat. This full day tour cruises the Ningaloo, Exmouth and gives guests the opportunity to go snorkelling at the Ningaloo Reef, stand up paddle boarding or kayaking in one of their glass bottom boats after lunch.
Enjoy a Sunset Cruise
Another great way to experience the beauty of the ocean without getting in the water is to take a cruise at the most magical time of the day – sunset. Book a cruise with a responsible eco-certified company like Ocean Eco Adventures, and then simply relax and enjoy.
Or combine whale watching and a sunset cruise. This 2 hour tour, takes you out to sea to see these magnificent creatures and provides refreshments and platters for the trip.
Places to Stay in Exmouth, WA
There are some really cool eco-conscious hotels in Exmouth, WA as well as Exmouth luxury accommodation. Some are located in the town itself and some on the fringes of the national park.
You can find everything from homey guest houses to five-star accommodation in Exmouth. Also available are luxury Exmouth camping and Turquoise Bay Exmouth accommodation. Here are a few that we recommend.
- Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef: As far as Exmouth hotels go, Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef in Cape Range National Park is not only a contender for the most luxurious Ningaloo Reef resort but also one of the most eco-friendly options you could find for Exmouth, WA accommodation. This eco-luxury Exmouth camping site is operated under the Parks and Wildlife Service of Western Australia. It has 15 glamping tents and a long list of eco credentials including almost 100% solar power and local sourcing of all materials used on the property. The camping tents themselves are all raised above the ground as to not damage any of the area’s wildlife.
- YHA Exmouth: When choosing where to stay in Exmouth, Australia, for budget travelers, YHA Exmouth offers a great option. We love that the YHA hostel network is committed to sustainability in their hostels. This accommodation Exmouth has both private and dorm rooms. Also, there are three swimming pools and is located in town close to the Exmouth tourist information centre. They also arrange for Exmouth tourism activities on-site which make planning your trip easy.
- RAC Exmouth Cape Holiday Park: The RAC Exmouth Cape Holiday Park is one of the best places to stay, Exmouth. They have Australia Exmouth accommodation for every type of traveler. The grounds have unpowered and powered sites for caravans and campers, as well as cabins, bungalows, and dormitories for rent. This Exmouth caravan park has made small steps towards sustainability. Plus, it has lots of communal facilities and is located in the center of town. It is a great place to base yourself while exploring the area.
Where to Eat and Drink in Exmouth
When eating out in Exmouth WA, the best way to eat sustainably is to make sure all the food is locally sourced. In this corner of the world, that could only mean one thing – seafood. Here are some of the best seafood restaurants in Exmouth Australia.
Whalers Restaurant is one of the top restaurants in Exmouth, WA, and it isn’t hard to see why. Here, you can sit outside overlooking the Exmouth Escape Resort, listen to some live music, and enjoy almost every kind of seafood imaginable cooked to your liking.
Located right at the Exmouth WA marina, Nemo’s Restaurant offers locally caught seafood in a casual café setting. It is also vegetarian-friendly.
This upscale restaurant specializes in local seafood and produce. With a bit of a French influence, Mantaray’s offers beautiful views of the gulf to enjoy while dining.
The Adrift Café has an extensive menu for each meal of the day that features plenty of yummy vegetarian options. The food is fresh and locally sourced.
The Exmouth Markets located in the Exmouth town centre take place at various times throughout the year. Stop by for some homemade goods and tasty snacks!
How to Get to Exmouth Australia?
Perth to Exmouth is a 13-hour drive and a must-see stop on any Perth to Broome road trip. Although people with less time tend to fly into Exmouth airport.
The flight from Exmouth to Perth Western Australia is less than 2 hours. Get a window seat if you can, this stretch of Coral Coast is stunning from the sky!
How Much Time do you Need in Exmouth, Western Australia?
It’s easy to let time fly by when in Exmouth Western Australia, so we recommend planning to spend at least 3-5 days in the area to fully appreciate all that it has to offer. You’ll need a few days for diving and snorkelling the Ningaloo Reef and for some time to enjoy the beach. Plus another day to enjoy the Cape Range National Park.
Add another day if you are hoping to go out on a tour to swim with whale sharks or for whale watching.
If you’re considering a trip to Exmouth WA, we can confidently say it was our favourite stop during our travels in Western Australia. If you have the chance to go, we highly recommend it!