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World Heritage Site

for World Heritage Travellers

Ningaloo Coast

Ningaloo Coast
(c) UNESCO / Tourism WA

The Ningaloo Coast holds a fringing coral reef known for its seasonal feeding concentrations of the whale shark.

It is located off the west coast of Australia, approximately 1200 km north of Perth. The reef is 260 km long and is Australia's largest fringing coral reef and the only large reef positioned very close to a landmass.

Adjacent to Ningaloo Reef, the limestone karst landscape of Cape Range has a remarkable density of more than 500 caves and other karst features, supporting globally outstanding fauna.

Map of Ningaloo Coast


  • Natural

Community Reviews

Justin Carmack USA - 22-Oct-17

Nigaloo has some of the best scuba diving in the world, along with the nearby Navy pier. I actually prefer it to the Great Barrier Reef, as you don't need long boat rides, and can dive right off shore if you want. Its really common to take road trips up the coast from Perth with a camper van, and you can camp anywhere on great beaches near the road. Besides diving, they also offer whale shark tours where a small plane flies over head searching for the sharks so that you don't have to search all day by boat. Awesome place.

John booth New Zealand - 14-May-17

Ningaloo Coast by John Booth

This site is located in the remote north-west corner of Western Australia where it rarely rains, and the scrub hardly grows more than knee high, so provides no natural shade from the rays of the sun. In April,when it was a balmy 39degC and the flies were in abundance, I drove from Exmouth along the bitumen to its end at Yardie Creek. From here southwards 4WD vehicles are mandatory. The drive was 170 kms each way, and there are numerous beaches where stops can be made to inspect the reef and its occupants.

For variety along the way there is the Milyering Information Centre providing a wealth of information about the denizens of the deep. Also there is the Vlamingh Head lighthouse, sited on the highest promontory, and overlooking the graves of the many ships that fell afoul of the reef before the lighthouse was constructed.

Garret Pittsenbarger USA - 05-Oct-09

I visited Ningaloo reef in 2005. It was beautiful and one of a kind. It should make the list just for the "Ayers rock" brain coral. But its also in the path of migratory animals like dolphins, manta rays, humpback whales, and dugongs. Then there are the whale sharks that pass through. Then there is the bush surrounding the area that lends its own beauty with wildflowers, termite mounds, and the occasional gorge.

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Community Rating

Community Rating 3.70. Based on 5 votes.

Site Info

Full name: Ningaloo Coast

Unesco ID: 1369

Inscribed: 2011

Type: Natural

Criteria: 7   10  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 2011 - Inscribed 


The site has 1 locations.

  • Ningaloo Coast


The site has 16 connections.




  • Coral
  • Turtles and tortoises: a wealth of sea turtles
  • Whales: humpback whales
  • Siraneans: "The endangered dugong (Dugong dugon) is found in the waters of the Ningaloo Coast. An unusually large community of about 1,000 dugongs feeds in the waters of the inshore lagoon, grazing the seagrass beds of Norwegian Bay and the lagoon north of Bruboodjoo Point." (Nom File) Shark Bay "Shark bay is renowned for its marine fauna, with 10,150 dugong Dugong dugon (V)" (AB) Komodo NP "Notable marine mammals include ...... Dugong dugon (V)." (AB)
  • Mangroves: Intertidal systems such as ... mangroves are also found within the property. (AB ev)
  • Anchialine Habitats: An unprepossessing exterior protects the secrets of Bundera Sinkhole; a closer look over its rocky edge reveals aquamarine waters and a wealth of anchialine life (Nom File)
  • Dunes: dune fields, coastal dunes (UNEP-WCMC)
  • Eucalypts: These landscapes support sparse eucalypt woodlands (UNEP-WCMC)
  • Ratites: emu
  • Sharks


  • Indian Ocean
  • Cape: North West Cape  Link
  • Marine sites: total nominated area of 708,350 hectares contains interconnected marine (71%) and terrestrial (29%) values and features (AB ev)


  • Late Pleistocene: Today, Ningaloo Reef grows on a substrate of fossil reefs that formed during the last glacial stage, which peaked approximately 20,000 years ago (nom file)