Award-winning snorkelling experience
At 3 Islands our goal is to provide the highest levels of customer service and to give you the most opportunity we can to swim with whale sharks. After all, that is why you are here.
Are we allowed to touch the whale sharks?
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.
What size whale sharks visit Ningaloo?
The whale sharks encountered at Ningaloo Reef are commonly juvenile males between 4 and 12 metres in length.
What is the biggest whale shark ever recorded?
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.
Where do the whale sharks go after Ningaloo?
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.
Can whale sharks eat me?
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.
What brings the whale sharks to Ningaloo?
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
Is it a whale or a shark?
The whale shark is a slow-moving filter feeding shark. But not to worry, these gentle giants are very docile creatures!
How does Three Islands help the environment?
Three Islands Whale Shark Dive is committed to the protection and conservation of the environment and ranks environmental considerations equally with commercial and operational factors in managing its operations. Read about our full Environmental Protection Policy.
What is the difference between the ‘Whale Shark Interaction Tour’ and the ‘Whale Shark & Ningaloo Reef Tour’?
Our Whale Shark Interaction Tour operates daily during the peak Whale Shark season of March to mid-August. The chances of seeing whale sharks during this time are extremely high.
Our Whale Shark & Ningaloo Reef Tour operates from mid-August to early October, which is outside of the normal whale shark ‘season’. Although sightings are still common from late August to October, we cannot make any guarantees.
Therefore, the main difference between the two tours is the ‘No Sighting Policy’. From March to mid-August, if on the rare occasion we do not see a whale shark, we offer our No Sighting Policy which includes a choice of; free repeat tour on the next available day, free repeat tour voucher valid for 2 years, or a $100 refund per person.
Our Whale Shark & Ningaloo Reef Tour from mid-August to early October, does not have this option available, which is reflected in the cheaper fare rate.
When do I need to book?
We highly recommend to book in advance so as to not miss out! The Whale Shark Tours are very popular and spots are limited per tour. If you are travelling during School Holidays and Long Weekends / Public Holidays then be sure to book well advance!
Do you have your own spotter plane?
Yes! We sure do! We have our very own exclusive and dedicated spotter plane looking for whale sharks and humpback whales just for us! They will let us know if they spot anything else cool too, like orca, other whale species, manta rays, large pods of spinner dolphins or even dugongs!
What are chances of swimming with a whale shark during the season?
To be honest, the chances are extremely high! Ningaloo is fortunate to have a large population of whale sharks that visit the WA coast during the season. Doubled with our experienced spotter pilots at Ningaloo Aviation, the chances of seeing and swimming with a whale shark is very high! We aim for multiple swims during the day and we often get to swim with more than just 1 whale shark.
What happens if I need to cancel my booking due to COVID?
Our standard refund policy is extremely flexible and under normal conditions, we just ask for at least 72 hours notice for any cancellations (groups of 1-4).
COVID has proven it knows how to throw a spanner in the works though, so if WA is locked down or travel restrictions are put in place within that 72 hour period and you are unable to join us on board, we are happy to offer a full credit for use at another time.
Customer satisfaction and peace of mind starts well before the tour and we will work with you all the way to ensure your experience is memorable from start to finish.
What happens if we don’t see a whale shark?
On the rare occasion if we do not see a whale shark during our Whale Shark Interaction Tour (March – mid-August), our ‘No Sighting Policy’ gives snorkelers 3 options to choose from; 1. Free repeat on the next available day, 2. Free repeat tour voucher valid for 2 years, and 3. A $100 refund per person.
What happens if we don’t see a humpback whale?
While we will do everything we can to ensure a Humpback Whale Interaction on our Humpback Whale Swim Tour, we cannot guarantee that you will get to swim with these truly amazing mammals. Unfortunately, there are no free repeat tours or refunds, but we can offer a second trip at 50% off.
What are the age restrictions for your tours?
We have no age limits for our Whale Shark Interaction Tour, or our Whale Shark & Ningaloo Reef Tour! We will happily assist the young (and the young at heart) to tick whale sharks off the bucket list. The youngest we’ve had swimming with the biggest fish in the sea was just 3 and a half!
We do however have an age minimum when swimming with Humpback Whales. We require children to be 13yrs and over, to be very competent swimmers and confident in the water.
What is your cancellation policy?
- A full refund will be given for tours cancelled due to bad weather minimum number policy or mechanical breakdown.
- Standard Terms for Groups of 1-4
Notified cancellation up to 72 hours before tour departure (0800 on tour date); 100% refundable of total tour price
- Notified cancellation within 72 hours but more than 24 hours before tour departure; 50% refundable of total tour price
- Notified cancellation within 24 hours of tour departure or a ‘no show’ on the day; 0% refundable
- If cancelling due to covid restrictions (invoked by Govt) standard terms apply OR receive a full credit for use
Groups of 5-9
- Notified cancellation more than 5 full days prior to tour departure; 100% refundable of total tour price
- Notified cancellation within 5 days to 72 hours prior to tour departure; 50% refundable of total tour price
- Notified cancellation less than 72 hours prior to tour departure; 0% refundable
- Covid related cancellation up to 5 days before tour departure; 100% refund. Within 5 days standard terms apply OR a full credit for another time.
Groups of 10 or more
- Notified cancellation more than 14 full days prior to tour departure; 100% refundable of total tour price
- Notified cancellation within 14 days but more than 5 days prior to tour departure; 50% refundable of total tour price
- Notified cancellation within 5 days; 0% refundable
Covid related cancellation more than 14 days before tour 100% refund. Within 14 days standard terms apply OR a full credit for another time.
3 Islands reserves the right to cancel any tour if minimum passenger numbers are not obtained to run the tour viably. If this occurs, either a full refund or an alternative date will be arranged with the passenger.