Shaun White snorkelling with whale shark

In Western Australia, a mere 12,000 metres north of Perth lies the unequaled marine wonderland of Ningaloo Reef. This fringing reef is not only Australia’s largest, it’s one of the world’s largest. But what makes it truly outstanding is its remoteness. A journey to Ningaloo Reef conjures the feeling of travelling back to a time before technology, before paths were all well-trodden. Ningaloo Reef is the ultimate destination for travellers who want to experience what it means to dwell in nature’s most pristine environment.

Shaun White, Sunrise Consumer Correspondent, knows this journey through and through. For Shaun, the World Heritage-listed Marine Park left an indelible mark on his heart.

Shaun White swimming

“Visiting Ningaloo Reef on an assignment for Sunrise was a highlight of my career. It’s so remote that while you’re travelling to get there, all of this anticipation builds up. Once you arrive, it’s this crazy contrast of the stunning backdrop of the Outback with the pristine waters of the Reef. I don’t know anywhere else in the world like this.”

As the trend of Australian travel shifts toward taking more off-the-beaten-path holidays, Ningaloo Reef becomes a target destination. “In the past, the remoteness of this destination might have stopped people from visiting. But now, more and more people are looking for a piece of magic that’s untouched, pristine, and worth the journey to experience something that’s really special,” Shaun explains. “Something that people love about visiting here is the technology detox. Without reception, visitors are forced to pay attention to what’s in front of them. They can’t be worried about getting a picture and posting it to Instagram right away - and that’s a good thing!”

To get the most out of the trip, Shaun recommends staying at least three days. “You can stay in Exmouth, the gateway to Ningaloo, and stay at one of the luxury accommodations. Or hire a car or campervan to take you all the way from Perth to extend the trip and feel how truly remote the Reef is.”

Luxury accommodation in Exmouth

When it comes to filling your days with memories-to-make, there’s one activity that stands above the rest: swimming with whale sharks. “It changes your whole perspective on earth. Gliding along the whale sharks is beautiful and insane at the same time. I went with a tour that specialises in smaller groups, so everyone got a lot of time in the water after important training on the boat to learn when we learned how close we could get to the sharks, how to swim in the group, and more.

“When you get into the water, you’ll think to yourself, ‘all right, I’ll see a whale shark today.’ But when you finally pop your head under the water, it’s breathtaking to see them only metres away. It’s just magic. When you’re swimming next to one, you’ll get lost in the moment. You could be swimming for 45 minutes and not even realise how much time has gone by and barely feel tired. You’re just laser-focused on this magical creature of the sea.”

Whale shark and swimmers2

Beyond this transformative activity, visitors can expand their itineraries with more of Mother Nature’s finest. “Not only do you have this experience underwater, but you can take walks in the Cape Range National Park or just stare endlessly at the colours you see between the contrasting Outback and Reef.”

Put the cherry on top of this incredible holiday by swimming, snorkelling, or sunbaking at the white sand beaches along the coastline. Turquoise Bay has become known as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches - the embodiment of Western Australia’s beauty.

Shaun White on beach in WA