About Coral Bay

ABOUT CORAL BAY

The World Heritage Listed ‘Ningaloo Marine Park’ encompasses Australia’s largest and most accessible fringing Coral Reef Systems. The Ningaloo Marine Park stretches over 260kms and hosts over 500 different species of fish and more than 200 species of coral.

Many marine animals frequent the waters of Ningaloo, including Whale Sharks (the world’s largest fish), Turtles, Dugongs, Dolphins, Manta Rays and Humpback Whales. The Marine Park has been divided into zones to protect the biodiversity of the natural environment, while allowing for recreational and commercial use.

Please be aware that the beaches and sand dunes along the Ningaloo Coast are all within the Ningaloo Marine Park Reserve.

Collecting of flora and fauna (including shells and corals) is not permitted anywhere in the Ningaloo Marine Park.

Please refer to the ‘Ningaloo Marine Park Sanctuary Zones’ and ‘Muiron Islands Management Areas Zone Guide’ for further information.

 

Sanctuary Zones

Sanctuary Zones are “look but do not take” zones and provide the highest level of protection. This means they provide fantastic opportunities for snorkelers and divers to view pristine areas of underwater habitat and marine wildlife. Sanctuary Zones are in place to protect representative areas of the varied marine park environments. These areas are protected from fishing and other extractive activities – nothing living or non-living is to be taken from these zones. This way they also help to provide a benchmark for evaluating the health of other areas in the marine park which are open to fishing.

Sanctuary Zones comprise 34% of Ningaloo Marine Park and provide opportunities for Research, Tourism and Recreation. They also provide ïnsurance” against natural and human disturbances which may occur in the future.

 

Coral

The fringing coral reef is what makes the Coral Bay area so special. Living coral is delicate, with only a thin veneer of living tissue covering the hard coral skeleton. Once damaged, coral often takes years to grow back, so please help to preserve it by following these guidelines.

*     Do not touch, stand on or break off pieces of coral.

*     Please be careful not to damage any type of coral or marine life while snorkelling or diving (watch where you put your fins!)
*     Remember, it is an offence to damage, interfere with or take coral from the marine park.

Being a coastal fringing reef, the Ningaloo Reef is more easily accessible than offshore coral reefs, such as the Great Barrier Reef, and is subject to increasing numbers of visitors each year. With these increased pressures come threats to Marine Life and the Marine Environment. We ask that you please respect the rules of the Ningaloo Marine Park – they help to ensure the reef is used in a sustainable way for future generations to enjoy!


Swimming and Snorkelling

Coral Bay has an ’Authorised Vessels Only Area’ to allow for safe, family friendly swimming and snorkelling

There is good snorkeling just off the beach from Bills Bay and Paradise Beach. For safety reasons, keep clear of boat traffic operating in the vicinity of the boating facility at the southern end of Paradise Beach. No swimming or snorkelling is permitted around this facility.

For your safety, swimmers and snorkellers should following basic guidelines, including:

*     Do not touch, damage or disturb any marine life
*     Stay clear of moorings at all times.
*     Keep an eye out for vessels which may be operating in the area.
*     Swim with a buddy, and let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
*     Do not swim or snorkel beyond your capabilities.

You may wish to join one of boat snorkel cruises to take you to snorkel the Outer Reef.

 

Fishing
There are good opportunities for beach fishing and boat fishing around Coral Bay.

Please ensure you are well informed on the Sanctuary Zones and follow some basic rules and guidelines.

Fishing is permitted in ’Recreation’, ’General Use’ and ’Special Purpose Zones’, in accordance with fishing regulations.

The recreational fishing rules that apply throughout the Gascoyne Region also applying in the Ningaloo Marine Park. The marine park has a number of additional rules which prohibit or restrict some fishing activities. Please make sure you check the Department of Fisheries website for general rules on bag limits, size limits and other rules, before wetting a line.

No fishing is permitted within Sanctuary Zones, however shore based fishing (for fin-fish only) is permitted in some designated areas.

Spearfishing is not permitted in Sanctuary Zones, however this activity is permitted in other designated zones. There are strict rules governing what fish you are allowed to spear. You may NOT spear any species of Tuskfish, Wrasse, Cod or Coral Trout anywhere in the Ningaloo Marine Park. Please check the Department of Fisheries Website for up to date information.

Fishing for Rock Lobster, Boat Fishing and Net Fishing require a licence which can be obtained through the Department of Fisheries website.

If cleaning your fish along the coast, bury the offal at least 300mm deep below the dunes. Please use common sense and bury well away from popular swimming and recreation area. No cleaning or filleting of fish is permitted in the Restricted Area or the Authorised Vessels Only Area.

Fish for the future, abide by fishing regulations and take only the fish that you are permitted. Avoid catching more than you need. Everyone needs to take personal responsibility for ensuring that fishing is undertaken within the guidelines, so it can also be enjoyed by future generations.

Please go to www.fish.wa.gov.au for all up to date fishing information.

 

Boating
Boat launching – a boat ramp is located near Monck Head, approximately 1.5km south of Coral Bay. Please be aware that the boat ramp is within a Restricted Area which has a speed limit of 5 knots. The navigation passage heading west from Monck Head has a speed limit of 8 knots.

If travelling North from the boating facility, follow the channel markets – for your own safety and for the protection of fragile coral gardens, please do not cut across the shallow coral areas.

The waters directly off Paradise Beach and southern Bills Bay are designated primarily for swimming, snorkelling and other passive water activities. This area is restricted to Authorised Vessels Only. No power or sailing vessels (including wind surfers and kite surfers) are permitted in this area without lawful authority from Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

A Restricted Area has also been gazetted within Maud Sanctuary Zone. Specific rules apply to boating within this Restricted Area.

*     5 knot speed limit.
*     No anchoring or beach anchoring (except in an emergency)
*     No cleaning or filleting of fish – (please use the fish filleting facility in Coral Bay)
*     Written authority from DBCA is required for vessels with drafts greater than 1.2 metres to access the Restricted Area.

Please obtain a copy of the Coral Bay Boating Guide, available from the DBCA Information Centre, which outlines the Restricted Area rules, including the location of boundaries. It also provides information on moorings and other marine park rules relating to boating in the Coral Bay areas.

Anchor only on sand, never on coral. Remember – damaging coral is an offence.

Slow down when approaching corals, tilt motors in the shallow areas, and avoid travelling across shallow coral areas which are subject to changing depths with the tides.

Keep a constant lookout for snorkellers and swimmers

Divers are to display a dive flag, if diving from a boat. Vessels are reminded to slow down in the vicinity of divers and remain at least 50 metres clear of any other vessel displaying a dive flag.

A water ski area has been designated (south of Monck Head) for this type of water sport. Please see the Coral Bay Boating Guide for the boundaries of this area.

Always practice safe boating. Check tides and weather conditions, and log-on with Coral Bay Sea Rescue before launching. Ocean conditions can become hazardous quickly, especially near gaps in the reef. If in doubt, don’t go out. Your safety is our concern but your responsibility.

 

Walking

The beaches and shores around Coral Bay provide some excellent opportunities for walking, relaxing and observing wildlife. While beach combing can be lots of fun, please remember that collecting (including shells and corals) is not permitted anywhere in the marine park.

Walking along the coast – please help preserve this fragile coastal environment by keeping off the vegetation and staying on the main tracks only. Vegetation damage can leave dunes vulnerable to wind erosion.

If walking over rocky inter-tidal areas, (eg from Bill’s Bay to Skeleton Bay), please proceed carefully as these rocky areas can be very slippery and have sharp jagged surfaces.

Please do not leave litter on the beach. Take your rubbish with you and use the bins provided. If you see rubbish on our beaches please do your bit for the environment and take it with you. Littering is not only an offence but pollutes our oceans and can harm our Marine Life. Help us keep our beaches pristine and clear from litter!

 

Four Wheel Drives
Please observe all signs in relation to vehicle access areas.  The rules regarding vehicle access to beaches are currently under review. Further restrictions may be imposed in the future. In an effort to provide improved safety for other beach users and to reduce environmental impacts from increasing numbers of visitors each year please stick to existing tracks only and be aware of your tyre pressures.

Be aware that a seasonal closure occurs North from Maud Landing, to protect nesting sea turtles, from 15 October to 30 April each year.

Four wheel drives are not permitted on any beach within the Maud Sanctuary Zone (without lawful authority from DPCA)

For your safety, and the protection of the environment, when driving around Coral Bay please observe the following conditions:

* Please be aware of the hazards associated with driving on beaches, such as soft sand, washouts and drop-off’s, as well as tides and waves. Some of the beaches around Coral Bay have very soft sand and, during high tides, waves can wash up to the vegetation line making these beaches impassable.

* On soft sand your tyre pressure should be reduced to between 15 and 20 PSI. Lowered tyre pressures provide extra traction, help to provide a more comfortable ride, and also help to protect tracks for other users. Driving on soft sand is for experienced four wheel drivers only. Remember to re-inflate your tyres to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure before travelling on hard surfaces.

* Vehicle tracks present special hazards and risks. Stay on the main tracks to protect the vegetation. Passing or overtaking other vehicles can be dangerous. Be aware of blind corners and hill crests. Slow down and look out for other vehicles, including four wheel motorbikes.

* Visitors planning to drive the Ningaloo coast should be very cautious after sunset, when large numbers of kangaroos and other animals make driving hazardous. If driving at night is unavoidable, please look after your own safety and conserve wildlife by driving slowly and carefully at all times.

* Whenever driving in remote areas, take necessary precautions such as carrying sufficient drinking water, vehicle spares, recovery equipment and communication equipment. Always advise someone of your trip details, including an estimated time of return.

 

Quad Bikes (all terrain vehicles)
Quad Bike tours offer a great opportunity to experience the remote coastal areas around Coral Bay. These tours are conducted by commercial operators in accordance with environmental guidelines set by DBCA.

Please note that only registered all terrain vehicles (recreational and commercial) are permitted on beaches along the Ningaloo Marine Park with lawful authority from DBCA.

Many of the tracks along the coast are on private leases (pastoral stations), unallocated Crown Land, or marine park tenure, and are not officially gazetted as off-road areas. Riders are responsible for their own safety, and must only traverse these lands with the approval of land managers.

Riders are reminded there are certain lawful requirements regarding the registration and licencing of quad bikes and the areas in which they can be used. Please contact the Department of Planning and Infrastructure for further information.

 

Camping / Accommodation
There are two caravan parks in Coral Bay, which provide services and facilities for camping. There is a range of other accommodation, including chalets, backpacker hostel, resort and holiday houses. Public telephones, fuel, food and other supplies are also available. There is NO free camping areas in or around Coral Bay.

Camping is not permitted on the beaches or dunes – there are no designated beach camping areas in or around Coral Bay.

The nearest coastal beach camping to Coral Bay are:
* To the south: Warroora Station (ph 9942 5920)
* To the north: Bruboodjoo Point (on Cardabia Station ph 9942 5935)

*Further north: Ningaloo Station (99425 936)

Special rules apply at each of these camping areas. Contact the station office, homestead or on-site caretakers for further details.

 

Dogs
Dogs are permitted on Paradise Beach only, and must be kept on a leash – dog owners must dispose of dog droppings properly. Dogs are not allowed on any other beaches of the Ningaoo Marine Park within the Coral Bay area.

Please be aware that 1080 poison baits are used along some sections of the Ningaloo coast to control foxes – please contact DBCA for further information.

 

Fires
Fires are not permitted on the beaches or sand dunes in the Coral Bay area.

 

Wildlife

Feeding of fish and other wildlife is not permitted in the Ningaloo Marine Park (except for special licenced commercial operators).

 

For further information please visit the sites below:

**Links to:

www.fish.wa.gov.au

www.dpaw.wa.gov.au

www.transport.wa.gov.au