With warm weather year round, stunning beaches and world-class snorkelling, Exmouth is the perfect destination for those seeking some winter sun. Located along Western Australia’s coral coast, the town may be small but there are so many awesome things to do in Exmouth, you certainly won’t be bored!
The biggest draw to Exmouth is whale shark season which occurs from April – July when they can be seen migrating along Australia’s west coast. Besides whale sharks, you’ll also get the chance to swim with manta rays, humpback whales, sea turtles, and so much more! Exmouth is the gateway to the UNESCO listed Ningaloo Reef which makes it the ultimate destination for ocean lovers.
Whether you’re seeking a relaxing poolside holiday or an action packed adventure, Exmouth has something to suit everyone. It also makes a great stop on your road trip along the coral coast. Follow our Perth to Exmouth road trip itinerary to ensure you don’t miss any highlights.
Read on to discover the 18 absolute best things to do in Exmouth that you can’t miss during your stay!
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18 Epic Things to do in Exmouth WA
Swim With Whale Sharks
Swimming alongside the largest fish in the ocean is hands down the most popular thing to do in Exmouth! It’s certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you’ll never forget. During the months of March – July, you’ll have the chance to get up close to these majestic giants on a guided whale shark tour.
The tour company uses a spotter plane to locate the whale sharks and guarantee that you will see one on your day trip. If by chance you get unlucky and don’t see one, you’ll get to join another tour for free.
If you’re not planning to stay in Exmouth long enough to do another tour, a refund will be provided. This only applies if you book your tour from March – June.
This full day trip includes pick up and drop off from your accommodation in Exmouth, lunch on board the boat, snorkel equipment, live commentary by Marine Biologists.
It’s best to secure your spot before you arrive in Exmouth, these tours fill up quickly during whale shark season! To avoid disappointment, book your whale shark swimming experience online at the link below.
Spending a day at the stunning Turquoise Bay was one of the highlights of my time in Exmouth. With crystal clear water and soft white sand, this beach is truly breath-taking and it’s easy to see why it’s considered one of the best beaches in Western Australia.
Besides the beautiful scenery, the best part about Turquoise Bay is the coral reef that can be found only metres from the shore. Don’t forget to bring your snorkelling gear and GoPro!
This is a protected area where you can spot an abundance of marine life. Come face to face with turtles, reef sharks, colourful fish, vibrant coral formations and much more.
Keep in mind that Turquoise Bay is classified as a drift snorkelling spot. That means you will jump in at one end of the beach and be carried across to the other end by a strong current.
If you’re not a confident swimmer/snorkeller, this is not the best place to learn. For beginners and families, the calm waters of Lakeside Beach provide a safer environment to try snorkelling for the first time.
Drive for about 15 mins down the coast from Turquoise Bay and you’ll arrive at another paradise beach which is popular for swimming and snorkelling. The calm turquoise waters of Osprey Bay are ideal for a relaxing swim, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and snorkelling.
There is a government operated campground with fantastic coastal views offering the perfect location for secluded beach camping. It gets quite popular during the high season so it’s a good idea to book your campsite online in advance. The road to this campground is unsealed but it can be accessed with a 2WD vehicle.
Sunset Whale Watching Tour
From June – October each year, humpback whales can be spotted migrating along WA’s coast. This 2-hour boat cruise will give you a front row seat to watching these playful whales while sipping a glass of champagne at sunset. Keep an eye out for other wildlife as you’ll likely see dolphins, turtles, and more.
Humpback whale sightings are seasonal and are not guaranteed. Dolphins, turtles and other wildlife can be seen throughout the year. The boat tour includes champagne, plenty of snacks and coffee/tea. Bring your own drinks on board if you think you’ll want more than one.
If you want to get even closer to these majestic whales, then check out this ‘swimming with humpback whales experience‘ which is offered through the same tour company.
Snorkelling at the Ningaloo Marine Park
The Ningaloo Marine Park runs along the coast of the North West Cape and has no shortage of epic snorkelling spots. The Ningaloo Reef is Australia’s largest fringing reef and one of the world’s largest coral reefs, home to an incredibly diverse species of coral and fish.
Whether you prefer to snorkel from the shore of a beautiful beach or book an organised snorkelling tour, you’re guaranteed to have an amazing time. Here are a few of the most popular beach snorkelling spots near Exmouth:
- Turquoise Bay
- Osprey Bay
- Oyster Stacks
- Lakeside Beach
If you’d prefer booking a day trip with an experienced guide who knows all the best spots, check out this half day snorkelling tour. This small group tour takes you to some of the best coral gardens by high-speed boat. You’ll get to swim with turtles, dolphins, reef sharks, stingrays and more.
Turtle Hatching Tour
The magical experience of witnessing turtles hatching and nesting on the beach is something most people only dream of. If you happen to visit Exmouth between the months of December – March, you can book a guided tour to see it happen with your own eyes! This is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Exmouth and an absolute must if you’re visiting during this time of year.
The Jurabi Turtle Centre offers educational tours where you’ll learn everything about the turtles nesting and hatching process. You’ll have the opportunity to watch the turtles make their way up the beach to lay their eggs. You might also see turtle hatchlings leave their nest and scramble toward the ocean.
When you book this tour through the Jurabi Turtle Centre, you are directly supporting the conservation of marine turtle populations. Enquiries and bookings for this experience can be made by visiting or contacting the Ningaloo Visitor Centre.
Yardie Creek Boat Cruise
Cape Range National Park is home to some spectacular gorges and canyons. A great way to see this stunning scenery is by booking a boat cruise through Yardie Creek. The creek runs through an ancient gorge and opens up at the Ningaloo Reef. Head to the official Yardie Creek Boat Cruise website to book your tour online.
Admire the tall limestone cliffs rising up around you on this relaxing 1-hour cruise. Keep an eye out for some local wildlife as you may see rock wallabies, ospreys, and other sea birds who live in the small caves on the cliffs. The boat cruise will also provide a fascinating commentary about the region’s history and the animals who live there.
Another great way to experience the beauty of Yardie Creek is to follow the Yardie Gorge Trail that runs along the top of the cliffs. Epic views can be seen looking down through the gorge from several vantage points along the trail. Stay a while longer and book yourself a campsite at the Yardie Creek Campground.
Grab a Craft Beer at a Local Brewery
Exmouth is home to two popular breweries serving delicious locally produced craft beer. What better way to round off a full day of adventures than kicking back with a cold pint and a pizza?
Check out Froth micro-brewery in the Exmouth town centre. With laid-back vibes, a great menu and live music, this is the perfect spot to unwind after a long day.
Whalebone Brewing Co. is another great option for those who love to sip their craft beer accompanied by a freshly made wood fired pizza.
Remote Beach Camping
If you have a 4WD vehicle, this is the perfect spot to put it to use. Imagine waking up only steps from the stunning turquoise waters of the Ningaloo Coast. There are many beautiful remote campgrounds located right on the beach. Here are a few of the best in the area:
- North Lefroy
- Janes Bay
- Point Billie
- South Lefroy Bay
Booking your campsite should be done in advance, especially during the high-season (April – October) when they tend to book out quickly. Prices start from $8 per night and they can be booked online at the official WA Parks and Wildlife website.
Due to unsealed roads and soft sand, you can only access these remote campgrounds with a 4WD.
Stay in a Luxury Safari Tent on The Beach
If you still want the experience of remote beach camping with less of the hassle and a bit more luxury, then this is for you. At Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef you can sleep under the stars and wake up with the ocean at your doorstep.
This unique glamping-style safari camp is located within the white sand dunes of Cape Range National Park. Camp in luxury near a secluded beach with all the comforts of a hotel.
Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef features 15 safari tents only 1 minute from the beach, each one has a private eco-bathroom and a comfortable bed. There is a chef on-site that prepares delicious meals using only fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
What could be better than dining near the beach while watching the sun sink below the horizon?!
Take a Scuba Diving Course
What better place to get scuba certified than surrounded by the beauty of the Ningaloo Reef? If scuba diving is something you’ve always wanted to learn, you certainly won’t regret doing it here!
Getting your Open Water Diver certification takes 3 days and can be booked through Dive Ningaloo. If you don’t have the time to commit to a course but still want to try scuba diving, you can book a Discover Scuba Diving session. An experienced guide will show you the ropes and give you a great intro to diving.
If you’re already certified and interested in booking a diving day trip on the Ningaloo Reef, check out this popular full day scuba diving boat trip. It includes 2 dive sites, all diving gear, buffet lunch, snacks and drinks, experienced guide, and hotel pick up/drop off.
Vlamingh Head Lighthouse
You can’t visit Exmouth without a trip to the iconic Vlamingh Head Lighthouse. Perched on a hilltop, this historic lighthouse provides stunning panoramic views over the North West Cape, Indian Ocean and Ningaloo Reef. If you’re lucky you might even spot a few humpback whales!
Take a walk around the lighthouse to learn about its 100 years of history from a number of displays. It’s only a 15 minute drive north of Exmouth town centre and it’s a fantastic spot to watch the sunset over the ocean.
Charles Knife Canyon Gorge
Follow the winding road off the main highway into Exmouth that leads you up into this spectacular gorge. The road into the gorge is sealed and accessible with a 2WD. However, it turns to gravel part of the way up and gets quite steep in certain areas.
There are plenty of spots to pull over, leave the car and continue to the viewpoint by foot. This is well worth it as the view looking through the massive gorge toward the Exmouth Gulf is truly breath-taking!
Driving into the Charles Knife Canyon Gorge should be high on your list of things to do in Exmouth. If you don’t have your own car while visiting, you can book a trip into the gorge with Ningaloo Safari Tours.
Another great Exmouth attraction and worth checking out if you have a 4WD vehicle. Access to the Shothole Canyon is via a 12km rugged, unsealed road. The scenery is beautiful as the road winds along the floor of the gorge, through the steep canyon walls.
Once you reach the end of the drive, there is a short hike from the carpark which brings you to a scenic lookout. Follow the steep, narrow steps for 100m until you reach the epic view looking back through the canyon walls toward the Exmouth Gulf.
Day Trip to Coral Bay
Coral Bay is an easy 1.5 hour drive from Exmouth and makes an excellent place to spend the day. If you have some extra time to spare during your visit to Exmouth, taking a day trip to Coral Bay will be a great addition to your holiday.
There are many great things to do in Coral Bay but here are a few highlights:
- Glass Bottom Boat Cruise – Book a 1-hr boat cruise to admire the beautiful corals and marine life without getting wet.
- Manta Ray Swim – Swim with manta rays on this full day boat trip from Coral Bay.
- Quad Bike Tour – From sunset tours to snorkelling with turtles, choose one of these popular quad bike adventures.
- Shark Nursery Beach – From the main beach in Coral Bay, take a 20 minute walk over to the neighbouring bay to see hundreds of reef sharks and stingrays swimming around the shallow water. The best time of year to see them is September – March.
Ningaloo Centre Aquarium
The perfect intro to the Exmouth region is a visit to the Ningaloo Centre Aquarium. Learn all about the region’s history and unique marine life that inhabit the Ningaloo Reef. You’ll find interactive displays and tanks of fish making it a great activity for the whole family.
The Aquarium can be found by visiting the Ningaloo Centre which is also home to the Exmouth Visitor Centre. You can book your ticket to the Ningaloo Aquarium online before you go or buy it when you get there.
Tickets: $19/adults, $14/children, $60/family
SS Mildura Shipwreck
Wrecked during a cyclone in the early 20th century, this fascinating piece of history can be seen from the lovely shores of Lighthouse Bay. The SS Mildura was shipwrecked about 80 metres from the shore and some of its remains were used for bombing practice in World War II.
The best time to view it from the shore is during low tide. Don’t forget your scuba diving gear, this wreck is home to an abundance of fish providing great diving or snorkelling opportunities for those who are keen.
Fly Over the Ningaloo Reef
If you’re into unique experiences, why not fly a microlight over the Ningaloo Reef?! Spot whale sharks and marvel at the contrasting landscapes of Cape Range National Park from a two-seater open air plane.
Birds Eye View in Exmouth offers the incredible experience to fly a microlight under the careful watch of a flight instructor. You’ll get the choice of booking 30, 60 and 90 minute trial flights. The flying route changes depending on which flight option you select, visit their website for more info.
Whale shark sightings are dependant on the season but you might also see humpback whales, turtles, dolphins, and manta rays as you cruise through the skies.
Find more info about prices and booking your flight from their official website.
How to get from Perth to Exmouth
Road Trip – The Perth to Exmouth drive is a very popular route for road tripping. From the ancient gorges of Kalbarri to the stunning landscapes of Shark Bay, there are so many amazing natural landmarks to be seen along the west coast.
I would recommend allowing at least 10 days to complete the journey. Check out our Perth to Exmouth road trip itinerary to help you plan your trip and maximise your time.
Fly – The quickest and easiest way to get from Perth to Exmouth is to book a flight. If you’re looking for a short getaway to catch some winter sun, this will be the most efficient way to get there.
Qantas offers regular flights between Perth and Exmouth (Learmonth Airport). Depending on the time of year, flights typically start at around $150. Check the Qantas website to search for and book your flight to Exmouth.
Best Time to Visit Exmouth
When Perth and the southwest begin to cool down from April – September, this is the ideal time to head up north to catch some sun. This is when the weather in Exmouth is perfectly warm and sunny. It also happens to be the best time to go if you’re hoping to swim with whale sharks!
How Long to Spend in Exmouth
From soaking up the sun on a beautiful beach to swimming with the biggest fish in the ocean, there are so many awesome things to do in Exmouth! You certainly won’t be bored if you choose to stay for five days to one week.
Where to Stay in Exmouth
RAC Exmouth Cape Holiday Park – This budget friendly accommodation caters to all types of travellers, offering a range of options from campsites to deluxe cabins. With 3 pools, BBQ and kitchen facilities, and a convenience store on-site, this is a great option for families. It’s only a 10 minute walk to the local shops and restaurants.
Ningaloo Lodge Exmouth – Conveniently located within the Exmouth town centre, Ningaloo Lodge offers comfortable air-conditioned rooms and features a pool, BBQ facilities, and a games room. An airport shuttle is also available to book.
Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort – A luxury beachfront resort featuring an infinity pool, restaurant & bar, gym, and ocean views from your private balcony. Mantarays is the best choice if you’re seeking some extra comfort and relaxation during your time in Exmouth.
Read More WA Travel Guides:
- Top 10 Things to do in Coral Bay
- The Best Manta Ray Tour in Coral Bay
- Top 10 Things to do in Shark Bay
- The Ultimate 5 Day Perth Itinerary
- Perth to Kalbarri Road Trip- The Perfect 5 Day Itinerary
- 10 Must-See Natural Landmarks of Western Australia
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