Sea Breeze Resort4 Star Rating

Exmouth, Ningaloo Reef /
Western Australia

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Phone +61 (0)8 9949 1800

Exmouth in Western Australia – Gateway to Ningaloo Reef

Exmouth, a small town of 2500 people situated 1270 km north of Perth, is the “Gateway to Ningaloo Reef”, the largest fringing reef system in the world. It is 300km long, famous for its coral formations and marine life, boasting some 200 species of fish and over 500 species of coral within metres of the beach. Exmouth offers fantastic snorkelling from the beach or scuba diving on the outer reef and is renowned for its Whale Sharks, Manta Rays, Humpback Whales and Sea Turtles. Cape Range National Park has picturesque views over the stark limestone ranges, gorges, sparkling blue ocean and white sand.

Yet, its historical beginning lays in the development of the H.E. Holt Naval Communication Station in the late 60th. The US Navy built a VLF (Very Low Frequency) Transmitter and as it fits Australia, the biggest in the world, too! The Base was established and a support town for it’s officers and their families to live in houses away from the single men in the Base. The now recognised Sea Breeze Resort was the last accommodation building, build in 1972 as Chief Petty Officers Quarters. The US navy did their homework and found extreme flooding due to Tsunamis, Cyclones and massive rain depressions. So they built the town (wisely) away from the beach. They also chose to build it on the East Coast of the Peninsula. Unfortunately it is a bit warmer during the summer with the sea breeze pushing hot air over the Cape Range, heating it further.

Qantas fly from Perth into Learmonth Airport (LEA). The airport is located 37 km from Exmouth. Sea Breeze Resort offers a free shuttle service for our guests. (Must be pre-booked) A shuttle bus also meets each flight and for a fee you can catch a ride into town. Coach company’s service Exmouth and the Ningaloo Reef. Smaller operators like Easy Rider, Red Back and Red Earth Safari offering a “hop on – hop off” service along the WA Coast!

Exmouth is away from the ocean, and the marina development looks like an abandoned building site. A rough outback town at the end of a long trip! Yet the town centre has recently been renovated with pleasant shade and seated areas.  The “CBD” has 2 supermarkets, bakery, pharmacy, surf /sport shops, liquor store,  newsagent and a few specialised shops. A couple of restaurants and cafes offer lunch and dinner. Mechanical services are also available and a few tackle shops for your daily needs of fishing equipment. There are three petrol stations – the most expensive on the main road, tucked one street back is Exmouth fuel supplies off Nimitz Street and are usually cheaper than the others.

Whale Sharks are the big thing from mid March to early August and some dive shops as well as specialised Whale Shark Tour operators offer snorkelling with the largest fish in the ocean! Visitor activities range from the amazing Microlight Flight, Glass Bottom Boat Tours, to Sailing and staying overnight on the reef! Just be aware that during the summer and cyclone season some services may not be available.

Main industries in Exmouth are commercial prawning and fishing, defence activities at Learmonth Airport (RAAF) and Exmouth at the H.E. Holt Communication Station ( RAN ). Oil and gas mining is increasing dramatically as well as limestone mining and heavy support industry to the mining activities.

Tourism is the other lifeline for most of Exmouth residents and the balance between Eco Tourism and mining is at a tipping point. With most tourism operation being seasonal and historically only one airline flying into Exmouth at extremely high cost,  Exmouth has never reached it’s full potential. Exmouth have a very dry summer climate with hot temperatures during the peak time of the day, but beautiful temperatures for the rest of the day/night. Water temperatures in summer increase to 35 degrees Celsius in the lagoons over unspoiled coral reef. Exmouth climate is desert like  – a very dry and harsh environment that is unable to support trees! Sparse vegetation mainly bushland and Spinifex grass are building the main landscape. Mixed in are lime stone rocks, deep red dirt, white sandy beaches and turquoise lagoons covered by the deep blue of the Indian Ocean!

Around 24 islands are mainly closer to the eastern side of the Exmouth Gulf which is the most important nursing place for Humpback Whales on their annual migration from June to December. Approx 30,000 Humpbacks are hanging around Exmouth at its peak in September and October!

If you are after the real deal in tourism and want to visit a place where mother nature is unspoiled, vast, rough and natural, then Exmouth is your destination! But be aware, you may fall in love with it and it will be very hard to leave. Plan enough time and give it the attention it deserves as it’s real treasures are hidden and need discovering rather than being “ticked off” a list.

Vlamingh Head Lighthouse during the approach of a cyclone