A fringe reef that lines 260 kilometers (162 miles) of the western coast, Ningaloo Reef is one of the prime water destinations in all of Australia; and that includes the Great Barrier Reef! Although it is located far north of Perth (about a 13 hour trip by car), we assure you that there's no big city closer to this premiere chain of coral. You'd be surprised at how unique and gratifying a road trip can be made out some of the sparse settlements and stark desert lands along the way.
Snorkeling, diving, boating with a tour group, there are many things that get you close to the spectacular biodiversity of this reef, which comes nearest to shore along Coral Bay. A perennial favorite is the Whale shark, the largest creature in the submerged world, which is most likely encountered between March and June; but you can also catch manta rays, dolphins, and innumerable invertebrate species. There are quite a few dive companies and dive locations, so do your best to find ones that may fit your comfort and experience level.