The Place Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia.
The Route Fly from Perth to Exmouth’s Learmonth Airport, a two-hour journey on Skywest.
The Draw Ningaloo is home to the world’s largest fringing reef, which covers 5,000 square kilometers of ocean and is home to some 500 species of fish and 300 types of coral.
What Else? Bush walks in Cape Range National Park, a limestone plateau of weather-chiseled canyons and caves.
Why Now? Ningaloo’s whale shark season runs April through July, when you can snorkel alongside these gentle giants as they feed on krill and plankton. Exmouth, the area’s gateway town, hosts its annual Ningaloo Whaleshark Festival on May 24–26.
Where to Stay Book a room or bungalow at the new Novotel Ningaloo Resort (doubles from US$238) in Exmouth Marina, or splurge on one of the luxe tents at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef (doubles from US$1,060, including meals), a safari-style camp on the dune-fringed shores of Cape Range National Park.
This article originally appeared in the April/May 2013 issue of DestinAsian (“Reef Respite”)