Whale sharks arrive off Ningaloo Reef

OPEN WIDE: A six-metre whale shark, the world's biggest fish species, cruises for plankton.
OPEN WIDE: A six-metre whale shark, the world's biggest fish species, cruises for plankton.

A curious whale shark has been spotted 40 metres off the edge of Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, heralding the arrival of the annual migration.

The whale sharks – the world’s largest fish - frequent Ningaloo Reef between March and July each year, affording human visitors one of the world’s greatest wildlife experiences.
To get travellers within viewing distance of the whale sharks, wild luxury bush camp Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef has released exclusive packages, and Qantas has announced the launch of a reduced-fare service between Perth and Exmouth.
Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef the camp in the dunes of the Cape Range National Park at the edge of the reef – has partnered with local operator Ocean Eco Adventures to offer an up-close experience of snorkelling with the juge but harmless whale sharks, which grow up to 12 metres in length.
Guests can stay three or four nights in camp and enjoy a private, full-day whale shark adventure aboard the 18-metre Keshi-Mer which works with a dedicated spotter plane.
While little is known about the migratory habits of the whale sharks, they reliably appear on Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef each March. Snorkelling alongside them – and getting a look at their huge mouths - 1.5 metres in diameter – is one of the world’s greatest wildlife experiences. The plankton-feeding sharks are harmless and have even been known to play with swimmers.

The wild bush camp of Sal Salis tented camp is set  located on a deserted stretch of beach where the magnificent corals of the 280-kilometre reef are just metres from shore. Nine individual wilderness tents are the only accommodation in the Cape Range National Park, and are the closest accommodation to Ningaloo Reef itself.
Camp visitors include kangaroos and emus and the wonders of the reef can be seen simply by wading in off the beach. Each tent is appointed with fine furnishings and linen and the guests enjoy the best and freshest Australian produce, prepared by the resident chef.
There three and four night Whale Shark packages between March 31 and July 17 cost from A$3100 (NZ$4145) and A$3700 (NZ$4950) per person.  Qantas's thrice-weekly Perth to Exmouth service starts on March 31 with one-way fares from A$199 (NZ$266) and connections to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney from A$299 (NZ$399), one-way.
More information and bookings: Sal Salis Whale Shark packages.