Text: Michaela Lauren
Photographs: Thorsten Joses
Blue sky, red earth and turquoise waters – it looked pretty much like a great location for a beachside holiday anywhere in regional Australia. But, this was a trip with a twist – the real beauty laid well concealed.
The mild, summery weather welcomed us as we landed on the airstrip at the RAAF Learmonth Base in June 2017– we were ready for our adventure. It started at nearby Exmouth, where we picked up the campervan, our home for the next two weeks.
Our FCA Christmas party lucky draw price, Tourism Australia’s flights anywhere in Australia for two, led us to the World Heritage listed Ningaloo Coast, located in the most North-Western corner of Australia. It is home to one of the longest fringing reefs in the world, boasting more than 500 species of fish and 220 species of coral, right off the beach.
It took a snorkel, a pair of fins and a wetsuit to uncover what was hidden underneath the calm waters. For 10 days, we swam amongst thousands of fish, cruised next to humpback whales, dugongs and turtles, and explored the massive, some thousands of years old, coral formations. Despite two attempts, we missed out on the whale shark encounter, which the area is renowned for. Swimming with sting rays and playing with majestic manta rays well and truly made up for that.
We stayed in Coral Bay and the Cape Range National Park. In comparison to the East coast, the area is remote and undeveloped. Only a few hundred locals provide services to tourists in Coral Bay during high season and a total digital detox is possible at the National Park, where a dip in the ocean is your only opportunity to bathe.
It was a fabulous two weeks of bare feet, salty hair and sunny days in nature’s very own playground. We will return. Our sincerest thanks to Tourism Australia for contributing to our amazing Australian holiday adventure.