Kings ningaloo reef tours FAQ

frequently asked questions

You certainly don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer to participate in our snorkelling tour, however the ability to swim and to be comfortable in the ocean will enable you to make the most of your experience. Feeling comfortable in the water can make the experience much more relaxing and enjoyable. For those that require them, we do have pool noodles and swim vests available on board.

Please be aware that our encounters with megafauna such as Whale sharks and Humpback Whales occur outside the reef. As a fringing reef system we are still able to see land where we travel, however it is outside the reef where you may experience open ocean swells. There is also no guarantee that you will be able to see the ocean floor, as Whale shark encounters occur in various depths. So we ask that you consider these factors when assessing your capabilities.

Some Whale sharks travel slowly, others at pace. Sometimes you may need to swim quickly in order to keep up, whereas at other times, it will be a nice paced snorkel alongside a gentle giant. To participate in an in water encounter with Humpback Whales, participants will need to be able to snorkel unaided in open ocean for a minimum of 50 metres. The crew will have the final decision in regards to whether a passenger can safely participate in this experience.

Passengers will need to be physically able to move between the boat ramp into a tender then onto our vessel, be able to sit down and shuffle along the back deck and be able to support their body weight when exiting the water onto our marlin board. It is also a requirement that all passengers wear fins while in the water. If you feel you may have difficulties with any of these, please contact our office prior to booking. For passengers that may suffer from health conditions such as severe asthma, heart issues, panic attacks, recent injuries/surgeries or any other condition that may not be compatible with snorkelling,  we recommend consulting with your physician before undertaking a snorkelling tour on Ningaloo Reef.

We can take a maximum of 20 swimmers and 3 observers on our tour. So we charge per passenger rather than using the traditional fare types. So if you are booking for up to 4 individuals then you would select the Swimmer fare and indicate how many people you were booking for. However if you are part of a large group of 5-10 people then you are eligible for a discounted group rate, you would then enter the number of individuals in your group (between 5-10) in the  Group Discount per person 5-10 swimmer fare. With a further discounted rate if you are requesting a single group booking of between 11-20 people – this is great for family/friend groups travelling together.

We do offer family rates for 2 Adults and 2 children between the ages of 3-16yrs. If you are a family of 5 you would select the Family rate and then add an additional swimmer.

We often get asked for general advice about travelling to Exmouth and our tours. So we’ve put together a few important tips for you when visiting our area.

  • Travel insurance is always the safest bet . We recommend looking into travel insurance options even when travelling domestically.
  • We recommend booking your tour earlier in your stay rather than later to afford yourself some flexibility in regards to weather, minimum numbers etc.
  • Telstra is the main service provider for phone and internet reception in regional WA. If you do not have a Telstra phone, the local Australia Post Office do sell them. Otherwise we recommend calling into our office to reconfirm you tour details upon your arrival into Exmouth.
  • If camping in the Cape Range National Park you can still undertake a tour with us. We just ask that you meet us at the Tantabiddi boat ramp at 8am. To estimate travel time from your camp site to the boat ramp we recommend taking note of when you pass the boat ramp and the time of your arrival to your campsite.  Campsites can be booked online or directly with the Dept of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
  • Pre-booking your tour during the WA school holiday periods is highly recommended. These are particularly busy periods during our touring season so to avoid disappointment, advanced bookings are essential. For all other times throughout the season we find that we can generally book our 1-2 weeks in advance.
  • For those requiring Wheel chair access, we are able to accommodate you on our tours. Please call our office to discuss accessibility. When exploring the Ningaloo Coast, the Dept of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions do have a beach wheelchair available for use. Bookings are essential.

The Magellan is one of the biggest boats in the Whale shark fleet and measures 20m. It is the envy of many skippers with 48m2 of deck space which includes 32m2 of shaded area. The Magellan was purpose built by our owner and Skipper. His decades of experience at sea have culminated in the creation of a luxury vessel that not only looks the part, she is also built for stability and speed. CLICK HERE to see more details

To avoid disappointment we do recommend to book in advance. School holiday periods in April and July can book out months in advance so if travelling to Ningaloo during these times then pre booking is highly recommended.  We also suggest that booking your Whale shark tour earlier in your stay rather than on the last day is advisable. This will offer you some flexibility should the unfortunate occur and you do not see a Whale shark during April – June. 

If booking within one week of your tour date then full payment is required at time of booking. If you are booking in advance of one week of your tour date then we require a 25% deposit to secure your booking with the remaining balance due no later than one week prior to your tour date. Payment can be made over the phone or via our secure payment gateway site.  For those that have paid a deposit, our booking system will send through an automated email that will contain a hyperlink to our payment site in order for the final balance to be paid. Please note that final payments are to be finalised one week prior to your tour date. For full details on our terms and conditions please CLICK HERE

Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours have been conducting Whale shark tours for over 30 years on Ningaloo Reef. Swimming with Whale sharks and now Humpback Whales is all we do, we are passionate about the Reef and its inhabitants. We understand that for many people this is a once in a lifetime experience that can take months or years to plan so with this in mind we do all we can to provide the best experience and the most memorable day of your life. 

  1. Owner operated business, well established company with over 30 years experience on Ningaloo Reef.
  2. Highly qualified, knowledgeable and passionate local crew. Marine Biologist/s on board each tour.
  3. Maximum of 20 places per tour, and only 10 snorkelers at a time with any individual whale shark.
  4. Eco Certified Green Travel Leader. Over 10 years accreditation in operating sustainably & in an environmentally conscious way.
  5. One of the largest, most stable boats in the fleet.
  6. Spacious, shaded deck area and low marlin board with rails and ladder for accessibility.
  7. 100% safety record . Your safety is always our priority.
  8. Sighting Guarantee (April – June).
  9. In water tuition and support, buoyancy aids available as well as a supportive hand to hold if required.
  10. Quality equipment in leading brands.
  11. We use a spotter plane and pilot with years of Whale sharking experience.
  12. Sumptuous meals, snacks and hot and cold refreshments prepared on board throughout the day.
  13. Free photos of your day, both above and below the water.
  14. Free Manta Ray swims included if they are found.
  15. Complimentary Gift pack and certificate.

For our Whale shark Snorkel Adventure tour the maximum number of swimmers that we take on board is 20 with an additional 3 observers. Two groups of 10 are formed with only one group at a time in the water with a Whale shark. For our Humpback Whale swims we can take a maximum of 21 swimmers with 3 groups of 7 people in each. 

Our tours are all inclusive of transfers, equipment, meals, refreshments, government charges and photos. All you need to bring on the day is your personal effects such as swimwear, hat, towel, sunscreen and sunglasses. We do recommend a jacket or change of clothes in cooler weather. You are more than welcome to bring your own camera if you like however our photographer is on board to capture all those special moments. 

If required, please bring your seasickness medication with you for your tour as we are unable to dispense any medications on board.

Absolutely.  We have a spotter plane in the air for all of our tours to find Whale Sharks and Humpback Whales for us to swim with. Using a spotter plane reduces the amount of time spent searching for a Whale shark but they can also alert us to any other marine life that is in the area such as Manta Rays, Humpback Whales, Dugongs, Orcas and more.   

Sharing a plane allows us and a select few companies to pool resources and keep the spotter plane up in the air for longer. This means that if the Whale sharks have decided to have a sleep in, our plane is able to stay up for several hours until we can locate one.

We can absolutely cater to your dietary needs. If you have any allergies or dietary requirements please let us know at time of booking. Our dedicated crew will take all requirements into consideration and any food served will have an ingredient list onboard to ensure the wellbeing of passengers. 

Our Whale shark Snorkel Adventure Tours run from March/April – July. Please note our sighting guarantee is valid on tours between March/April – June. So if you come out on one of our tours (March/April – June) and do not see a Whale shark, we will offer you the next available tour for FREE as a second chance to do so. If you are not available for this repeat tour a partial refund can be provided *see terms and conditions* Our success rate for the past few years for the April - July period has been 90- 100%. So the odds are definitely in your favour.

Humpback Whales will begin their migration along our coastline generally between June – October. With an estimated 30 000 whales making this journey there are plenty of opportunities to see them during tours within this period.  

Throughout the season we are able to offer our Whale shark Humpback Whale Eco Tour participants the opportunity to enter the water with Humpback Whales. Our professionally trained staff will determine on the day whether conditions are suitable in order for our passengers to enter the water with a Humpback Whale. While every effort is made to provide you with the opportunity to see and interact with the wildlife, we cannot guarantee nature. Our passenger safety is our first priority so if the behavior of the Humpback Whales or conditions are not suitable on the day then our interactions will be from the vessel rather than in the water.

Should you not be successful in completing a Humpback Whale swim during your first tour we are able to offer you a second tour at a discounted rate should you wish for a second attempt.

Our experienced professional guides are able to put even the most nervous swimmer at ease. They are able to offer snorkel tuition during our reef snorkels and can even hold your hand as they guide you through the experience. On board we have a choice of swim vests, pool noodles and a safety tube for additional flotation and reassurance. If you aren’t confident or would like some additional tuition please let us know at time of booking so we can ensure you make the most of your Ningaloo Reef experience. 

Ningaloo Reef is a special place, anytime of the year. However if you want to specifically encounter Whale sharks or other marine life then there are seasons that will maximize your chance of seeing these creatures. Whale sharks visit Ningaloo Reef from March/April to July/August and Humpback Whales will commence their migration along our coastline from June to October. For a list of the marine life you may encounter during your visit to Ningaloo Reef then please visit our calendar CLICK HERE

Seasickness is a possibility on any boat tour, with some people susceptible even on the calmest of days. There are some great remedies and preventative measures available for those that are worried about getting seasick while out on the boat. Our recommendation is to visit a pharmacist prior to your tour date. There are a number of both medications and natural alternatives available to prevent seasickness and the pharmacist will assist you to determine which is the best for you. In conjunction with any preventative measures you may take we also have ginger tea and candies onboard, as well as ice packs and blankets for anyone experiencing symptoms. Our top tips are to head to the front of the boat, keep your eyes on the horizon and avoid indoor areas. As well as these our crew have a ton of tips they’ll share with you to prevent sea sickness and to feel better. Unfortunately no refunds will be given should you experience seasickness during your tour.

Unfortunately dogs (other than Assistance Dogs) are not permitted on our tour. There are a number of registered dog sitters available in Exmouth that will be able to take care of your dog while you enjoy the day with us. There is a local business, Walkabout Dog sitting, run by Renata that can help-  0427 877 728 . Otherwise the Ningaloo Visitor Centre and Mutts Café will have a list of people that are offering dog sitting services while in town.

Whale Shark Swim

Humpback whale swim