This laid-back resort town on Australia’s Coral Coast is the place to be to explore the wonders of Ningaloo Reef – and it’s no.35 on your list of Top 50 Aussie Towns.
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It’s all about reef and range in Exmouth, Australia’s Top Small Tourism Town of the Year for 2022, which sits pretty at the northern gateway to the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area.
This rare and protected proposition covers 604,500 hectares and stretches more than 300 kilometres along the remote WA coast, incorporating the wonders of the Ningaloo Marine Park – where people come from all corners of the world to swim with awe-inspiring whale sharks, manta rays and humpback whales – and the grandiose landscapes of the Cape Range National Park.
In a fabulous contrast of the colourful underwater world and rugged, arid land, it includes the largest fringing reef in Australia, a must for keen divers and snorkellers, and an extensive karst system and network of underground caves and water courses.
There are so many underwater species in Exmouth. (Image: Exmouth Dive and Whalesharks Ningaloo)
From Exmouth town, you’re in plum position to explore it all. You’ll need sustenance before you start exploring, and the Ningaloo Bakehouse & Cafe will set you up nicely with its breakfast wraps and burgers, just-baked pastries, organic coffee and freshly made smoothies.
Emus are a common sight around Exmouth. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
For lunch, you can’t go past its fulsome selection of handmade pies. Or go for boutique coffee and a virtuous brunch at The Social Society, a community-minded, industrial-chic cafe, bar and wellness hub turning out vegan banana pancake stacks, tomato dukkah eggs, cold-pressed juices and Hemp Temple smoothies.
After a day spent exploring reef and range, there’s perhaps no better wind down in Exmouth than beer and pizza in a shed at Whalebone Brewing Co, owned by two local families with a love of craft beer and a simple vision: for people to enjoy it with mates and family in a no-frills setting under the stars.
Up the road, arty Froth Craft Brewery offers a rustic and welcoming vibe, serving its artisan brews alongside creative food pairings.
The Ningaloo Reef Coastline will blow you away. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Sleep in an oasis of palm trees, bougainvillea and frangipanis at Exmouth Ningaloo Caravan and Holiday Resort, which offers a range of caravan and camping sites, studio chalets and three-bedroom park homes for up to six people or Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort, which overlooks scenic Sunrise Beach and gives guests direct access to the reef.
Looking to really push the boat out? Drive 50 minutes around the cape to sink your toes into the sand in style at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef Safari Camp.
Check into barefoot luxury digs at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)