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Humpback Whales Exmouth

Humpback Whale Tour

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Testimonials

Read the tales of adventure from our magical Humpback Tours

Season

Early August - Mid October

Time

9:30am to 5:00pm

Humpback Whales Exmouth

Explore

Ningaloo Reef sees one of the largest populations of migrating Humpback Whales and is one of only a handful of places you can (legally) swim with them in the world. These majestic creatures cruise past the West Australian coast each year, providing the perfect opportunity to observe them up close on board our customised vessel. With our spotter planes overhead, snorkel alongside them in turquoise water and hear their mesmerising songs. The ultimate wildlife encounter.

Humpback whales breach playfully off Exmouth during their annual migration (early August – mid October), with mothers and their calves enchanting swimmers with their soothing singing on their journey to and from Antarctica. Travelling from their winter feeding grounds to their summer breeding grounds on North West Shelf, it is estimated that 40,000 whales pass through the Ningaloo Reef’s glistening waters each year. The calm waters provide refuge and a resting stop for mothers and their newborn calves on their long journey back to Antarctica.

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Swimming with Humpback Whales

Itinerary

Journey to the departure point

Early August – Mid September:

Your day starts at 9:15 am when our comfortable air-conditioned courtesy bus picks you up from your Exmouth accommodation.
Settle in for the 36-kilometre journey to our departure point and listen as we take you through Exmouth’s fascinating history, including the surrounding Cape Range National Park.

We’ll also go through the day’s program, so you’re informed and ready to go.

Mid-September – October:

Your day starts at approximately 9.40 am with a short transfer to the Exmouth Marina. Please note we do not pick up from Yardie Homestead once tours start departing from the Marina in Exmouth town.

humpback whale tour exmouth

Welcome aboard

Once aboard the 17-metre vessel, your comfortable home base for the day, you will be introduced to the highly qualified crew who have many years of marine experience and operate the vessel with precision to ensure your safety. Quality wetsuits and snorkel equipment are fitted and a vessel safety brief is given.

exmouth turtle

The Adventure Begins

Cruise through the turquoise Ningaloo Reef lagoon (from Tandibidi) or along the North West Cape (from Exmouth Marina) to your morning snorkel site close to the tip of the Cape, which is where we’ll find the majestic humpback whales.

During the morning cruise, take in the iconic Navy Pier (one of the world’s best jetty dive sites), Mildura Wreck, historic Vlamingh Head Lighthouse and the picturesque Lighthouse Bay, framed by the rugged Cape Range.

snorkeling with humpback whales

Your First Snorkel

At your introductory morning snorkel site you will have the opportunity to familiarise yourself with your snorkel equipment and have the chance to swim with turtles, sting rays, reef sharks, octopi, and a myriad of colourful fish amongst the coral.

For those needing some extra assistance or not beginner snorkelers, assistance and snorkel tuition can be provided by your tour guides. Floatation aids are also available.

humpback ningaloo

First Humpback Whale

Following your morning snorkel, our dedicated spotter plane will be overhead locating our first humpback whale for the day. Once a whale (or group) is located, we will observe them for a while and, if our experienced staff determine it is safe to do so, swimmers will be allowed to enter the water to try for an in-water interaction. Humpback Whales are known to be quite curious creatures, so the interaction is all up to them! They may approach you for a closer look, or they may just pass by.

As we can all appreciate with Mother Nature, every day is different and every tour unique. Our Humpback Whale Interaction Tours will be conducted with safety as our first priority, for the whales and for you! While we will do everything we can to ensure a Humpback Whale Interaction, we cannot guarantee that you will get to swim with these truly amazing mammals. Unfortunately, there are no repeat tours, refunds or guarantees that will be available.

humpback whale season exmouth

Let’s Eat

A delicious local morning tea, gourmet buffet lunch and afternoon tea are supplied during the day with hot and cold refreshments as we go.

Back to Exmouth

Conclude a once in a lifetime experience with a celebratory sparkling wine or local craft Exmouth beer and local WA fruit and cheese platter. Return to the boat ramp/marina for your transfer back to your accommodation (arriving at approximately 5-5.30pm).

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What can you look forward to?

Inclusions

The BIG things. Some might do one or a handful, but we are the ONLY company that does it ALL. As a genuinely bespoke tour, we want to deliver the best value you can find. Please see here for full Terms and Conditions.

  • Courtesy transfer to and from the tour
  • Highly qualified skipper & crew
  • An onboard photographer & free photos of your day
  • Morning tea, delicious buffet lunch, afternoon tea and refreshments throughout the day. We can cater to dietary requirements.
  • Extra in-water support if required e.g. buoyancy aids, noodles, snorkel tuition, hand to hold
  • 14 swimming passengers maximum. In-water groups of 7 at a time
  • A chance to swim with Whale Sharks and Manta Rays during the day, if spotted
  • No hidden costs. All DPAW fees & taxes included
  • Morning snorkel on the Ningaloo Reef
  • Dedicated spotter plane to locate the star attraction
  • Snorkel gear & wetsuits for adults & children. Prescription masks also available
  • Well-maintained 17-metre vessel, with large spacious decks, cushioned seating, marlin board & in-water ladders
  • A complimentary glass of champagne or beer for the cruise home
  • Carbon Neutral - we are partnered with Carbon Neutral and have planted over 5000 trees in WA since joining the program
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With he best no-sighting policy

Pricing

Adults

Swimmers or observers
$400
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Swimming Child

13 to 17 years old
$350
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Observing Child

12 years old and under
$150
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No-sighting guarantee

While we will do everything we can to ensure a Humpback Whale Interaction, we cannot guarantee that you will get to swim with these truly amazing mammals. Unfortunately, there are no free repeat tours, refunds or guarantees that will be available. In the event we are unsuccessful with an in-water interaction, we can offer a second trip at 50% off.

Things you will need

Be Ready

For most things, we’ve got you covered. But there are a few things you should make sure you bring along to ensure the best possible experience!

Hat and sunglasses
Towel and bathers
Camera
Dry clothing and a warm jacket
Seasickness medication

If you are prone to seasickness or unsure

Snorkelling gear

If you prefer to use your own snorkelling gear

frequently asked questions

FAQs

What is the best season for swimming with humpback whales in Exmouth?

The best season for swimming with humpback whales in Exmouth is during their annual migration, which typically occurs between August and October.

What are the guidelines for swimming with humpback whales?

Here are some general guidelines that you should follow for a responsible but enjoyable tour:

  • Give them ample space to move freely and avoid disturbing their behaviour.
  • Approach whales slowly and calmly. Avoid sudden movements or loud noises that could startle them.

Never swim directly in front of a whale. This can be perceived as threatening.:

  • Do not touch or attempt to ride the whales. This can cause stress and injury.
  • Avoid using flash photography or bright lights. This can disorient the whales.
  • Do not feed the whales. They have specific dietary needs and human intervention is unnecessary.
  • Follow the instructions of your guide. They are trained in responsible whale
  • interaction and will ensure the safety of both you and the animals.
  • Stay with your designated group and avoid separating. This ensures everyone’s safety and avoids chaotic situations around the whales.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for other boats, divers, and snorkelers to prevent collisions.
  • Move slowly and calmly in the water to avoid startling the whales.
  • Be respectful of other participants and enjoy the experience responsibly.

Can children participate in humpback whale swims?

We require children to be 13yrs and over, to be very competent swimmers and confident in the water.

What marine life can we expect to see besides humpback whales?

In addition to whale sharks and humpback whales, you may also see the following wildlife during the tour:

  • Manta Rays: These graceful creatures are a common sight year-round, with Ningaloo being one of the few places where you can swim with them.
  • Turtles: Ningaloo Reef is home to several species of turtles, including the green, loggerhead, and hawksbill turtles. They can be seen throughout the year, but nesting season (around November to March) is a particularly good time to see them on the beaches.
  • Coral and Reef Fish: The reef itself is a vibrant ecosystem, home to over 250 species of corals and over 500 species of fish. Snorkelers and divers can expect to see a colourful array of hard and soft corals, as well as a multitude of fish species, including angelfish, butterflyfish, and parrotfish.
  • Sharks and Rays: In addition to whale sharks and manta rays, Ningaloo Reef is home to reef sharks, including blacktip, whitetip, and nurse sharks, as well as various species of rays like the stingrays and eagle rays.
  • Dugongs: These gentle marine mammals are occasionally spotted in the seagrass beds of Ningaloo Reef, feeding on the seagrass.
  • Dolphins: Several species of dolphins, including bottlenose dolphins, can often be seen playing in the waters around Ningaloo Reef.
  • Seasonal Visitors: Depending on the time of year, visitors might also see other migratory species such as other whale species (e.g., minke whales, blue whales) and sea birds.

What should I bring for the humpback whale swim tour?

Participating in a humpback whale swim tour in Ningaloo Reef is an extraordinary experience, and being well-prepared will enhance your enjoyment. Here’s a list of essential items to bring for your adventure:

  • Swimwear: Wear your swimwear under your clothing for easy changing. Most tours are conducted from boats, and you’ll need to be ready to get into the water at a moment’s notice.
  • Towel and a Change of Clothes: After your swim, you’ll appreciate having a dry towel and a fresh set of clothes to change into.
  • Sun Protection: The Australian sun can be very intense. Bring high-SPF waterproof sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and UV-protective sunglasses. Consider wearing a long-sleeved rash guard or swim shirt while in the water for additional sun protection.
  • Seasickness Medication: If you’re prone to seasickness, it’s a good idea to take medication before you leave. The sea can be choppy, especially on windy days.
  • Dry Bag: A dry bag is useful for keeping your electronics and valuables safe and dry while on the boat.

Are there any special conservation policies in place for humpback whale tours?

Yes, there are several special conservation policies in place for humpback whale tours in Ningaloo Reef, aiming to protect these majestic creatures and ensure sustainable interactions. Here are some key points:

Licensing and regulations:

  • Commercial licences: Only licensed operators adhering to strict regulations can conduct humpback whale tours in Ningaloo Reef. This ensures adherence to best practices and minimises potential disturbance to the whales.
  • Quota system: A quota system limits the number of vessels allowed near whales at any given time, preventing overcrowding and reducing stress on the animals.

There are multiple interaction guidelines as well, which our guides will discuss during the tour.