Cape Range National Park Exmouth

Taking a break from my series on the GR20 hike for a moment to bring you some pictures of where I’ve been hanging out recently, the Cape Range National Park near Exmouth in Western Australia’s north west. Nothing but beautiful white sand beaches and perfect blue waters here… unless you count the world heritage listed Ningaloo reef, or the nesting turtles or the gorge walks that is or any of the other natural wonders that abound up here.

The pristine waters off the beach at Messa campground

The pristine waters off the beach at Messa campground

The world class Ningaloo reef is said to rival the of the Great Barrier reef, and is easily accessible right off the beautiful beaches. The best snorkelling is to be found at Oyster Stacks, jump straight off the rocks and you’re right over the reef, however you can only snorkel it at high tide above 1.3 metres, so check tide charts. Another popular and beautiful beach is Turquiose Bay, great snorkelling off both beaches there. Drift bay you jump in up the beach and drift with the current down, jump out at the sand bar before you get sucked out. The other bay is much more relaxed and calm – perfect for beginners or families. Lakeside has some amazing snorkelling too, walk left up the beach and get in near the second yellow pole, let the calm current take you down the beach over the reef. There’s plenty more so take your pick.

The view looking back towards the west coast from in Mandu Mandu Gorge.

The view looking back towards the west coast from in Mandu Mandu Gorge.

There are also the gorge walks at Yardie Creek and Mandu Mandu. Both quite easy and not very taxing, still make sure you take plenty of water along.

Turtle hunting along the beach near Yardie Creek.

Turtle hunting along the beach near Yardie Creek.

The turtles nest all along the coast between November and April every year but can be seen all year round in the pristine waters. Take a walk just after sunset to try to see some hatchlings or a turtle laying eggs. Check in at the Jurabai turtle centre for information on how to best see and not disturb these beautiful creatures.

We were lucky enough to see this beautiful turtle coming ashore searching for a place to lay her eggs.

We were lucky enough to see this beautiful turtle coming ashore searching for a place to lay her eggs.

Camping is permitted though you need to book well ahead in the peak season. Best sites for shade are at Neds or Messa Camp or down at Yardie Creek. On top of all that up here at the right times you can see humpback whales, manta rays or swim with the biggest fish in the ocean – the whale sharks.

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