Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
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Monday, 23 May 2016

Another Day in Paradise - Coral Bay, Western Australia

I've been absent from my blog the last couple of weeks because we've been relaxing and living the beach life along Western Australia’s magical Coral Coast at the small seaside township of Coral Bay, located 1125 kilometres from Perth, 152km south of Exmouth on North West Cape, and 238km kilometres north of Western Australia’s banana growing region Carnarvon.



WA’s Coral Coast starts at Cervantes, a two hour drive north of Perth, and features 1,100 kilometres of stunning coastline, white sandy beaches, marine sanctuaries, the pristine coral reefs of the Ningaloo Reef, National Parks and World Heritage areas.

This was our fourth trip to Coral Bay, the first being in the mid 1980s during the early days of eco-tourism in Coral Bay when Coral Bay was not much more than a caravan park, hotel, and a general store. Coral Bay has grown since then but it still retains its relaxed beachside holiday feel visited by thousands of tourists, families, retired lifestylers, and holiday groups every year from around the world.  Today you will see a small collection of about 20 houses that can be rented, plus workers’ accommodation units, a hotel, backpackers’ accommodation, two caravan parks including cabins, a small shopping centre which includes a fantastic bakery, a tavern, several restaurants serving local seafood, and a host of dive and tour companies.

And of course there is the beach, only a short walk from your front door - look how blue and clear that water is.



We arrived at Coral Bay after two days on the road driving up from our home in the wintery south west. I recommend that travellers take the scenic Indian Ocean Drive which gives you access to the coastal communities between Perth and Geraldton, rather than battling with road-trains on the Brand Highway. I have blogged about the Indian Ocean Drive previously Return to Wedge - Indian Ocean Drive

We stopped overnight at Northbrook Farmstay, conveniently located just six kilometres north of Northhampton (475km north of Perth). The self-contained cottage suited us perfectly for the night and we were on the road early the next morning, stopped in Carnarvon for lunch and reached Coral Bay late afternoon.  

Northbrook Farmstay, Northhampton
Carnarvon banana plantations and waterfront
The ocean at Coral Bay sparkles bluer than blue.  One of the main reasons people visit Coral Bay is to experience the Ningaloo Reef, regarded as one of the world’s great ocean paradises. Ningaloo is Australia’s largest fringing reef, stretching 300 kilometres from Red Bluff, 140 kilometres north of Carnarvon to Bundegi Reef near Exmouth on the tip of North West Cape.  The Ningaloo Marine Park encompasses over 5,000 square kilometres of ocean and is home to around 300 species of coral and 500 species of fish.


Everything in Coral Bay is only metres from the beach, so park your car, slap on a hat, and walk. The beach at Coral Bay is sheltered and the shallow water makes it perfect for families with children, who can play on the white sandy beach, swim safely and wade into the water to see fish swimming along the shoreline and amongst the coral gardens only a few metres from the shore. All you need do is wade in with a snorkel and face mask. For those not confident with snorkelling a “noodle” is a useful addition to your kit to help keep you afloat. The ocean front at Coral Bay is within the marine sanctuary zone and the fish swim close to shore, making for an amazing experience.

THINGS TO DO:
  • ·        Relax! Bare feet mandatory. Check out my last post  - Rules of the beach
  •  See the Norwest Snapper fish feeding frenzy at 3.30pm on the beach at Coral Bay (when we visited Monday, Wednesday and Friday)
  •  Take a glass-bottom boat or sub-sea explorer tour over the coral.  Or join a See-doo Scooter, kayaking or snorkelling tour.
  • Snorkel from the beach

    
         Bottom left is an amazing blue clam which we saw only metres from the shore. 
For those interested, I don't have a complicated underwater camera set-up, just my little Canon G11 go everywhere camera in an underwater housing and no lights.  So I need to be in fairly shallow water for there to be colour in my pics (a bit of post processing helps too). Also I am not good at holding my breath diving down to get closer to take pics, so the water needs to be only a couple of metres deep for me.  Take at look at this blue starfish - cool hey?
 

  • For those who are confident snorkelling or deep sea diving and with dollars to spend, you can take a tour from Coral Bay or Exmouth to swim with the Whale Sharks (March to July), Manta Rays (all year) and Humpback Whales (August to October). The world’s largest fish, the Whale Shark which grows up to 18 metres in length, visits the Ningaloo Reef between March and July following the mass spawning of coral. I’ve not experienced it myself, but I am told it is an amazing experience to swim with these gentle giants of the ocean.
  •  Many visitors bring a boat to Coral Bay to go fishing outside the reef (please be aware of sanctuary-no fishing zones), or you can join a fishing charter boat tour to experience sport, reef, game or fly-fishing.  
  •  The Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area is also an important breeding ground for six varieties of turtles which come ashore to lay their eggs during December/January which hatchings in February and early March. The Jurabi Turtle Centre, located near Exmouth, provides information about Ningaloo’s marine turtles.
  •  Explore the beaches, bush tracks and dunes on a quad bike tour
  • Watch out for the wildlife. Here you can see a perentie lizard (also known as a bungarra) on our back verandah, a little crab, a herron, a red kangaroo in the caravan park more concerned about washing his face than looking at us.
  • Enjoy a sunset sail.
  •  Buy something yummy for morning tea from the bakery, or try local seafood cooked beautifully at one of Coral Bay's restaurants. (sorry I didn't take one food pic!)
  • Are you are a retired lifestyler? Coral Bay is the perfect place to getaway from the winter down south
  • Beach walk, sit, swim, read, sleep, relax, build sand castles, talk to friends, enjoy sunset drinks. 

THINGS TO DO FURTHER AFIELD:
  • ·        Explore the rugged canyons and gorges of Cape Range National Park.
  • ·        Visit 100 year old Vlamingh Head Lighthouse and the remains of a World War 11 radar and anti-aircraft post at North West Cape
  • ·        Camp and snorkel in the Ningaloo Marine Park on North West Cape.
  • ·        4-wheel-drive the coastal track from Coral Bay to Exmouth.
  • ·        Beach camp at Ningaloo or Warroora Station.
  • ·        Enjoy a boat tour along Yardie Creek.
  • ·        Visit Milyering Discovery Centre in Cape Range National Park.
  • ·        Experience the Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival in May.
  • ·        Drive up to Exmouth for the day. 




We had two weeks in Coral Bay, and sad to say the weather wasn't kind for boating, either fishing or snorkeling out on the Ningaloo Reef from our boat (which is not big by Ningaloo standards), but the water inshore was warm enough to snorkel, the sun was shining, we had the company of good friends, we had little or no internet to bother us, and we had a lovely relaxing holiday. And with sunsets like this, who can complain?



MORE INFORMATION:

Coral Bay and Exmouth Visitor Information – www.visitningaloo.com.au
Cape Range National Park information – Milyering Discovery Centre, Email: milyering@dpaw.wa.gov.au
Northbrook Farmstay: www.northbrookfarmstay.com.au


Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this visit to Coral Bay. I am back in wintery south west Western Australia and the rain is pelting down, the wind is blowing, and our trip to Coral Bay is just a memory. Do you have a favourite beach-side holiday destination? Perhaps you'd like to tell us about it in the comments. 



 I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday 

Life Thru the Lens 
Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Image-in-ing
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global 
Worth Casing Wednesday 
Travel Photo Thursday

The Weekly Postcard 

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27 comments:

  1. You mat not have had great weather but the sand, blue sea, fish and the wonderful sunset makes up for that. I read a disturbing article about the dying off the Gt Barrier Reef unless something NOW is done. Some has already died. Very sad.

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    1. yes, it is a terrible environmental tragedy, like many others around the world.

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  2. Certainly nothing to complain about here! What a lovely holiday!

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  3. Your photos are wonderful - like a travel brochure!
    Thank you for sharing with us at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/05/american-tobacco-campus-durham-nc.html

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  4. Sounds like you enjoyed yourself. Great pictures.

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  5. Another fabulous blog post, Jill, thank you. I can absolutely recommend the whale shark diving as a must do for next time. I went with our son a few years back. We didn't see any the first day, so they guarantee you a free return anytime in the next twelve months (a good idea to book a day where you have a few more days there, just in case). The first day we saw Manta Rays, a dugong, and hundreds of different fish and coral species. The next day we saw a beautiful whale shark. One of the highlights of my life to date. I can't wait to take Greg there sometime soon. Thanks again. Catherine Curnow

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    1. If the weather had been better I would have booked a tour. So I am promising myself next time. Happy travels Catherine and Greg.

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  6. It looks so beautiful Jill. Glad you had a brilliant time even though it wasn't good boating weather. You've created a brilliant resource which I'll be referring back to when we finally get up there. Funnily enough it had been our plan to go in May too had we not gone on the cruise x

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  7. A great place for a vacay! Terrific shots!

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  8. looks like a fantastic trip!

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  9. Loved seeing this part of your world. Looks like a fantastic place to kick back, ditch the flip flops and enjoy life.

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  10. A beautiful place. I would love to go to Australia some day. Your underwater shots are my favourite. - Margy

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  11. Oh Jill you have taken me back to this magnificent section of the North WA coastline. We spent 3 to 4 leisurely days here prior to moving onto Exmouth and we snorkelled every day, took a diving trip to the outer reef and drove our 4WD on the beach on the northern beaches. We loved the laid-back feel of Coral Bay. Thanks for taking me back here. :)

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  12. Well, I see you were enjoying the beach life! I am hoping to enjoy to beach fun soon. Gorgeous photos as always!

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  13. I'm ready to pack my bag and go and visit. What a gorgeous spot. I hope to make it over there to explore one day. Sounds like a great holiday, despite the weather.

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  14. This looks like my idea of paradise

    Mollyxxx

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  15. Gosh your photos have reminded me what a gorgeous place Coral Bay is. W.A. is such a special place, I can't wait to return.

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  16. The color of the water is amazing. I have never been snorkeling but would love to try my hand at it. My favorite shot, hands down is the sunset silhouette.

    What a dreamy holiday.

    Lisa @ Life Thru the Lens

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  17. looks like a fantastic trip! Really awesome photos here. specially in the see.
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  18. Beautiful shots. I love the beach. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. Oh what a paradise there...I would be lost there not thinking about blogging....great photos.

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  20. This looks like paradise Jill and your photography is stunning. Perhaps magazine worthy again?

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  21. Where to begin Jill, maybe at the end, that sunset image is absolutely heavenly. Your under water, even shallow water images with a Point and Shoot camera are wonderful all the same. The scenes of your two weeks vising this magical seashore looks like it would be so relaxing and delightful in every way. I love going to the beach and you just have a different sense when you can take in the ocean air and hear the water lapping at your bare feet. Lovely post as always! Hugs down to you. Happy that you all had this amazing journey~

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I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.