Swimming alongside majestic manta rays is a bucket list item for many. One of the best ways to have this experience is by booking a full day manta ray tour in Coral Bay, Western Australia.
Coral Bay is home to the World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef which is an underwater paradise for those who love snorkelling and scuba diving. In addition to manta rays, you can also swim with whale sharks, turtles and many other types of marine life.
Visiting Coral Bay is ideal as a winter holiday destination. You can either include it as a stop on your Perth to Exmouth road trip or spend a few days there as a short getaway from the cold.
On our most recent trip to Coral Bay, we booked a full day manta ray snorkelling tour and we couldn’t recommend it enough! Read on to discover the best manta ray tour in Coral Bay and why this epic experience deserves a spot on your Aussie bucket list.
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The Best Coral Bay Manta Ray Tour
Best Time to See Manta Rays in Coral Bay
Unlike whale sharks which can only be seen on the Ningaloo Reef from April – July, you can swim with manta rays year round! Aside from whale sharks, swimming with manta rays is one of the most popular things to do in Coral Bay.
Our most recent visit to Coral Bay was in September so doing a whale shark tour wasn’t an option. This turned out well in the end because we had such a fantastic day on the manta ray tour and saw so much more than just manta rays!
For optimal weather conditions, the best time to plan your holiday to Coral Bay is April – September. This time of year is ideal for enjoying the beaches and water activities that Coral Bay is known for.
Is It Safe to Swim with Manta Rays?
Yes! While manta rays are wild animals, they are calm and gentle sea creatures who keep to themselves as they swim peacefully through the water. Although they are quite big, they are not dangerous and will not harm humans.
Manta rays are not to be confused with stingrays. Manta rays do not have a venomous barb and have no way to sting or hurt humans. Swimming with manta rays is a very safe and amazing experience that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime!
Getting to Coral Bay
Coral Bay is located on the Coral Coast, which is 11.5 hours of driving time from Perth. For those who have more time, it makes an excellent stop on a road trip from Perth to Exmouth. Our 10-day road trip itinerary also features iconic stops such as Kalbarri, Shark Bay and Exmouth.
Marine Eco Safari – Full Day Coral Bay Manta Ray Tour
We first snorkelled with manta rays on holiday in Indonesia a few years ago. It was one of those epic once-in-a-lifetime experiences that we would never forget.
When we found out that we could also have this experience in Western Australia, we decided we had to include a manta ray tour on our trip to Coral Bay.
After doing some research to find the best tour to book, we decided on the Marine Eco Safari which is a full day manta ray tour run by Coral Bay Ecotours.
This 6 hour boat trip takes you to 3 of the best snorkelling spots on the Ningaloo Reef. You’ll get the chance to watch sea turtles swimming and feeding, swim alongside reef sharks and many other fish, and of course snorkel with manta rays!
The day begins by meeting at the Coral Bay Ecotours office at 8am. The boat will then take you out to the first location of the day, Bills Bay. After the first snorkel, morning tea will be served followed by a visit to the turtle sanctuary.
In the afternoon, a spotter plane will fly around searching for the manta rays in Bateman’s Bay. This ensures that you will definitely see a few of them no matter what time of year you book the tour.
There are no words to explain how surreal it is to watch these majestic manta rays swimming so close to you! Watching them feed, roll and glide effortlessly through the water is a magical sight that you will never forget. If you have a GoPro, make sure it’s charged and ready to go for this trip!
The buffet lunch that is included on this tour is excellent, with plenty of options catering to all dietary requirements. Morning and afternoon tea is also provided with a variety of drinks to choose from.
Overall, the Marine Eco Safari exceeded our expectations and we really cannot recommend this manta ray tour enough! It stood out as the biggest highlight of our entire Perth to Exmouth road trip. The staff were friendly, the food was great, and we saw far more marine life than we expected.
An added bonus at the end of our tour was on the way back to Coral Bay when we saw humpback whales breaching near the boat! This was an incredible way to finish off an already epic day of snorkelling. The staff stopped the boat and allowed everyone to enjoy the moment and take photos.
The tour includes a wetsuit, snorkelling gear, experienced tour guides, morning and afternoon tea, buffet lunch, 3x snorkelling locations and a guaranteed manta ray swim. See more detailed information for this Coral Bay manta ray tour at the link below.
Where to Stay in Coral Bay
Ningaloo Reef Resort – A lovely beachfront resort featuring clean, comfy, air-conditioned rooms with a pool and cafe/bar.
People’s Park – Treat yourself to a villa with ocean views at this highly rated Coral Bay holiday park! Each villa is spacious and features a kitchen, private bathroom and great location near the beach.
Bayview – Self-catering villas located across from the shops and restaurants in Coral Bay. There is a pool and restaurant on-site and the beach is a 2 minute walk away.
People’s Park Campground – Directly across from the main beach, this popular campground is clean and well kept.
Bayview Campground – Coral Bay’s largest campground with many powered and unpowered campsites.
Ningaloo Coral Bay Backpackers – If you’re on a budget but not camping, this is the only hostel in Coral Bay. Choose between dorms or private rooms. There’s also an outdoor pool, a lounge area and it’s a short walk to the beach.
More Things to do in Coral Bay
Day at the Beach – With some of the best beaches in Western Australia, a chilled out beach day is a must! Bills Bay is located only steps from Coral Bay town and is one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire state.
Lounge on the soft white sand and hop in for a snorkel to find turtles and many fish right off the main beach! Take a 20 minute walk along the coast to find the neighbouring bay. This is where you’ll find hundreds of tiny reef sharks swimming in the shallow waters.
Day Trip to Exmouth – Exmouth is only 1.5 hrs up the road from Coral Bay making it a perfect day trip. There are many awesome things to do in Exmouth but some of the highlights include:
- Driving into the spectacular Charles Knife Canyon Gorge
- Taking a scenic boat cruise through Yardie Creek
- Going for a swim/snorkel at the incredibly beautiful Turquoise Bay
- Watching a sunset at the historic Vlamingh Head Lighthouse
Swim with Turtles – Sea turtles can also be seen year round on the Ningaloo Reef. The best way to see them is by booking this 3-hour glass-bottomed boat tour. Watch them from the boat and snorkel alongside them at 2 different locations on the reef.
Whale Watching Tour – If you’re in Coral Bay between June – October, you can book a whale watching tour. Enjoy a glass of champagne and some snacks while watching humpback whales swimming and playing in the water.
Whale Shark Swim – It goes without saying that swimming with whale sharks is the most popular activity on the Ningaloo Reef. If you’re in Coral Bay anytime between March – June you can book this full day tour that takes you right up close to these gentle giants.
Coral Bay Quad Bike Tours – Discover the remote coastline around Coral Bay by booking one of these Quad Bike Tours. Choose from a sunset tour, turtle tour or snorkel tour. Each one lasts for approx. 2 hours and takes you to some of the best, off-the-beaten path locations around Coral Bay.
Discover More WA Travel Inspiration
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