The whale sharks encountered at Ningaloo Reef are between 4 and 12 metres in length. A 12 metre whale shark may weigh as much as 11 tonnes with a mouth over a metre wide.
Read our Frequently Asked Questions below to find out more about the Whale Sharks, Ningaloo Reef and the Three Isalnds Whale Shark Dive company.
The whale shark is a slow-moving filter feeding shark. But not to worry, these gentle giants are very docile creatures!
Very little is known about whale sharks. Nobody is certain why they do come to Ningaloo so there are a few reasons;
- Whale sharks are found in tropical waters around the world. The Leeuwin Current brings the warm tropical waters from the equator southward along the West Australian coast. The current is strongest during March to November. The current is also responsible for upwelling’s, bringing cold nutrient rich water
- The whale sharks annual visit also coincides with the annual mass coral spawn after the full moon in March and April, this provides a rich planktonic ‘soup’ for the whale sharks to feed on
The whale sharks encountered at Ningaloo Reef are commonly juvenile males between 4 and 12 metres in length.
Touching the whale sharks and any marine life is strictly prohibited. In line with the Code of Conduct, for the safety of customers and the whale sharks, swimmers must stay a minimum of 3 metres away from the body and 4 metres away from the tail. A full and comprehensive briefing is given onboard by the guides before the whale shark interaction.
Our whale shark season operates from mid-March to early August. Anytime during the season is a great time to visit. There is no month that is better than the other in terms of whale shark sightings. The best time all comes down to your own travel times and commitments.
No. Even though their mouths can be up to a metre wide, whale sharks are filter feeders. They might be the biggest fish in the sea but they feed mainly on one of the tiniest organisms, plankton.
It was unknown where the whale sharks go after they visit Ningaloo. Recent tagging programs have indicated some whale sharks migrate north to the warm tropical waters of Indonesia, some seem to circumnavigate to the globe in time for their next visit to Ningaloo and some just move offshore to the deeper waters below the level of the continental shelf, where unfortunately at this depth the tags are then released and it is unknown where they go after this.
The biggest specimen recorded measured in at 12.18 metres long, weighing 11 tonnes and a mouth 1.36 metres long. There have been numerous claims of whale sharks of up to 18 metres long but are unconfirmed.
In the rare event of a no sighting, our no sighting policy gives whale shark snorkellers 3 options to choose from;
- Receive a free repeat tour on the next available day
- Receive a free, transferable, repeat voucher voucher for the remainder of the current season and the following 2 seasons
- Receieve a partial refund and pay just $192.50 for your tour
Conditions do apply. Please see our full Terms and Conditions on our website.