Coral Bay

Trip Start Jun 18, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's 9am, on a bright and warm Sunday morning.  Somewhere north of Carnarvon, we put the stereo on.  Blasting out of the speakers comes 2Unlimited's "No Limits".  Huge smiles break across our faces, and we know that today is going to be a good day.

I love some of the regional radio stations.  They are pretty much like those TimeLife CD's you can buy off the telly, normally late at night on some obscure digital channel.  The CD's that you "can't buy in the shops", assumingly because they wouldn't sell.  The radio stations, like those CD's, have all the hits* of the bands you barely remember.  I'm going to namecheck the better ones: Foreigner, Heart, Mr Big.  *By Hits, I do mean the "other" song the band released.  It's never the big hit single that's played, again I assume here, I'd guess because the hits cost more money to play.

Back to the travelling however, we were heading north, towards Exmouth and the Ningaloo Reef.  We had been told, by both Visitors Centres and the Caravan Parks themselves, that there would be no space in Coral Bay or Exmouth.  So we pull into Coral Bay, assuming we would be there for a few hours at most.  We end up there for three days.  We stayed in the same Caravan Park that the day before told us would be full for a few more weeks.  Weird then we got a space easily, and there were spares all the time we were there.  So frustrating, but thats the way they operate, for some reason.

So Coral Bay.  Well, I can see why it's so popular.  A tiny, one street village, right on the Ningaloo Reef, and therefore part of the Ningaloo Marine Park.  You come out of your accommodation, walk 50m down the street, across the beach and straight into fairly warm (in comparison to anywhere else we've been so far) water.  Swim 400 metres out and the reef is there.  Not something you can do at the Great Barrier Reef, I can assure you, which lays miles off the coast.  And is crowded. It's so different here.  Want the beach and ocean to yourself? walk 10 minutes north or south of the village, and it's deserted.  Which is where, for three days, we have done nothing but snorkel, eat, sleep, repeat.  It's fantastic.  

we also saw a huge Monitor Lizard at the Caravan Park.  It's made a home under a cabin, and the locals have named it Nelson.

Most of the time we snorkeled off Paradise Beach, with knee depth water 100m out, then a slight drop (to about 7 feet deep) and it's coral everywhere.  I won't reel off a list of the things we saw, because it's too long, but the highlight for me was swimming alongside a massive Black Blotched Stingray, for around ten minutes, then watching it burrow into the sand and watch me as I circled around it.  Surreal.  And not a single other person near me.  That's a life highlight, not just a holiday highlight.

Back in the UK, I bought an aquapak waterproof camera holder, so I took photos and videos of everything.  Sadly, the tides, moving objects (fish) and sand in the water meant the results were less than great, but I hope the examples here show just 5% of how good it was. 
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heatheravan on

G'Day mate, manager of the park you stayed in Coral Bay. Thought I could let your mind rest re the booked out but space scenario!. The park would have been booked out and the spaces paid for but then the guests have not arrived (thats actually the weird bit) We can not sell them in case the guest turns up in the middle of the night (believe me it happens, also weird given the roos etc on the road at night). Anyway the space you obtained would have been because a guest had confirmed they were not comming allowing us to to let someone else into the park. (the government has placed strict restrictions on the numbers allowed into Coral Bay). Hope this helps. Cheers

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