Enjoy Swimming with Amazing Dolphins at Ningaloo Reef

By Josh •  Updated: 03/19/21 •  7 min read

If you are looking to go on a thrilling adventure and have experiences to remember then come to Ningaloo Reef and swim with dolphins. Yes, you heard me right. Ningaloo Reef offers you the chance to swim side by side and interact with the sea’s most popular creatures.

You can visit Ningaloo Reef to swim with the dolphins all year round. But the best time to do that would be from October to April. During this time, the water is warm for the dolphins, and they visit the reef more frequently. 

In this article, I will talk about what you need to know about going to Ningaloo Reef and swimming with the local dolphins. Like how to get there, more on when to visit and some dangers and safety precautions that you should know about before planning out your trip.

Where is Ningaloo Reef, and Why is It Famous?

As Australia has more than 25,000 km of coastline, it is easily guessed that a wide range of marine activities takes place in the country. One of the famous marine places of Australia is the Ningaloo Reef located in the western part of the country. 

The reef is under the protection of Ningaloo Marine Park, which covers over 600,000 hectares. These areas include Red Bluff, Cape Range National Park, Gnaraloo Bay, the Bundegi, and the famous Jurabi Coastal Parks. 

Ningaloo Reef is easily accessible. It is just a few meters away from the shores. Hence, Divers or snorkelers can easily visit the reef full of marine wonder and beauty.

Ningaloo reef is actually Australia’s largest fringing coast reef, and it is very close to the seashore. Therefore, snorkelers can enjoy the beautiful site of coral from a safe distance. 

Ningaloo Reef is known for its size (250km) and biodiversity. It is the safe land for nearly 300 coral species and 500 species of fishes. Among these species, the most famous are whale sharks, dolphins, turtles, manta rays, and humpback whales. 

Although Ningaloo reef is famous for swimming with white sharks and humpback whales, recently it is also becoming popular for swimming with dolphins.

In fact, Ningaloo has been named one of the best places to swim and dive with dolphins. The Bunbury bottlenose dolphins visit the reef frequently and interact with snorkelers with interest. 


If you want to have a tour to have a swimming experience with bottlenose dolphins, you should definitely consider visiting Ningaloo Marine Park to get more information.

Also, the Exmouth Visitor Center is always open for tourists who want to know the touring options at Ningaloo Reef. 

How to Reach Ningaloo Reef to Swim with Dolphins?

Ningaloo Reef is located in the remote parts of Australia but there are a few ways to go there. One of the ways is going through the town of Exmouth. There are several ways to reach Exmouth. Since the reef is far, the place is still able to retain its natural beauty.

The first option is by plane. This way you can save a lot of time and energy. However, it can be a bit expensive. There is a regular plane from Skywest Company to reach Exmouth’s Learmonth Airport. 

The second option is by bus, you can take the bus from Greyhound Company from Perth, The buses are available 3 times a week, and it takes about 20 hours to reach Exmouth.

The third option is using a car. If it is your car, then it is better. You can also rent a car from Perth to go to Exmouth. 

You can also snorkel on the Ningaloo reef directly from the shores of Coral Bay. By Plane, you have to land at Exmouth’s Learmonth Airport, and it takes a 12-hour drive to reach Coral Bay from Perth.

So, how you want to visit Ningaloo Reef depends on you. Both points (Exmouth and Coral Bay) have several locations to snorkel and see dolphins. 

When you visit the information center and learn about swimming with dolphins, a guide will instruct you about diving. The pristine natural beauty of the reef and turquoise blue water will surely refresh your mind and body. 

When to Visit Ningaloo Reef to Swim with Dolphins? 

As mentioned before, dolphins, especially Bunbury Bottlenose dolphins and humpback dolphins visit the Ningaloo reef the entire year. But they are easily spotted during October and April.


So, adventurers who want to swim with dolphins in Ningaloo reef should come to the reef during this time to have a higher chance to swim with these interactive mammals. 

The Ningaloo Marine Park Center and Coral Bay Eco Center have some tour options for people who want to snorkel in the reef. They provide boat service and sometimes tracking service for tracking white whales, humpback whales, dolphins, turtles, and manta rays.

There are many sites from Exmouth and Coral Bay to have a swimming experience with dolphins. One of the popular sites from Exmouth is Turquoise Bay Drift Snorkel.

To reach the site, you have to walk 100m from the ‘Drift Snorkel’ car park. Once you reach the water and dive, you will see yourself swimming on water decorated with a natural coral garden. 

The presence of bottlenose dolphins can make your snorkeling experience even more special. Dolphins are friendly animals.

Although the dolphins of the Ningaloo reef are wild, they are curious animals. If you are lucky enough, one or two dolphins may willingly interact with you and let you swim along with them.

Is It Dangerous to Swim with Wild Dolphins?

Dolphins can be friendly and co-operative, but you have to remember to keep your distance. The dolphins in the Ningaloo reef are wild, which means they are not trained to meet people. So, you have to understand that their behavior can be unpredictable.

There are many cases where wild dolphins behaved aggressively and butted people in close proximity. They can also bite people or pull them deep in the water. However, the animals are mostly peace-loving, but can act aggressively when they feel threatened. 

That is why it is better not to irritate the dolphins while you are swimming with them. To ensure your safety, you have to be attached with wire or rope from your boat.

People who are experienced with interacting with wild dolphins may not need any guide to assist them.

However, inexperienced divers must have someone experience with them when they are swimming with wild animals. Do not go far from your group and boat. You must remember that safety is more important than having a reckless adventure with wild dolphins.  

Safety and Precautions

If you have decided to have a trip to Ningaloo Reef, you must take some precautions. 

First of all, you should have travel insurance for scuba diving. It is better to have such insurance because you never know what can happen during the trip. Get insurance that will cover your medical expenses and assistance service. 

Secondly, take your training seriously. When your scuba diving instructor is teaching you the basics of diving, listen to him or her carefully. If you do not understand some instructions, ask questions. Check your diving equipment thoroughly before diving into the water,

Thirdly, know where you can swim and where you cannot. When signs are mentioning a restricted area, respect the rules and avoid those sites. 

Finally, do not misbehave with dolphins or any other animals under the water. You will never know when they get aggressive because of your actions.   


To visit Ningaloo Reef and to swim with the dolphins is a chance you should not miss out on. There is no better way to experience and learn about these majestic creatures than to visit where they live and observe them first hand.

Thanks for reading till the end. I hope this article was able to spark your interest to visit such a wonderful place. Wishing you the best of luck with your trip.


Josh is a loving dad and husband, writer, business owner, and someone who loves to explore the world. He last travelled to Australia to visit Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns and am looking to head back soon to see more! He is a huge fan of hiking, drawing, and so much more!