Spouting off with humpback whales at NingalooAustralia
If swimming with majestic humpback whales isn't on your bucket list, what are you thinking? Coming face-to-face with these enormous mammals, who range in length from 12 to 16 metres, is a surreal and transformative experience. And the best place to do it? Western Australia's Ningaloo Marine Park, off the coast of Exmouth and Coral Bay.
The official whale swimming season kicks off on 1 August, when approximately 40,000 whales begin their migration along the coastline. At Ningaloo, you'll swim so close to these gentle giants that you'll be able to count the barnacles on their backs, and watch on in awe as they spout, lunge, breach and slap the water with their fins. With qualified marine biologists on hand to instruct and guide your every move, it's a safe and respectful environment to witness such an awesome spectacle.
While large numbers of whales migrate through Western Australia every June to November, you may be surprised to hear that interactions with humpbacks have only just been permitted. Ningaloo is already a renowned location for swimming with whale sharks, so the existing infrastructure and the fact the migration seasons run very close to each other (whale shark season is from April to July) has made it a wonderful spot for these marine encounters.
And did you know that male humpback whales produce a complex song that can last for up to 20 minutes? This is repeated for hours at a time with portions of the song audible to the human ear in the water. If that's not enough to get you over to Ningaloo, we don't know what is!
- Getting up close and personal with these gentle giants of the sea
- The opportunity to see whales breach, spout, launch and communicate
- Interacting with other marine creatures, including whale sharks, manta rays, turtles, dolphins, dugongs and sea birds
- If you can’t swim, this isn’t for you – it’s going to be no fun at all if you can barely keep your head above water, let alone swim alongside the whales
Qantas flies from Perth to Learmonth Airport twice a day during the week and daily on the weekend. Sal Salis is about a 90-minute drive from the airport.
Sal Salis has three-night accommodation packages starting at around US$2100, including all meals and beverages, activities, snorkelling equipment and a day trip out with Live Ningaloo to swim with the humpbacks and whale sharks.
You’ll need to be a reasonably confident swimmer, as you’ll be out in the open ocean with the whales battling strong currents and swell. You must also be able to snorkel.
Whale season runs from 1 August through to 30 September.