25 Incredible Things to Do in Exmouth (2024)

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There’s something extra special about the small coastal town of Exmouth. As the gateway to the awe-inspiring Ningaloo reef, there is no shortage remarkable things to do in Exmouth. This Exmouth travel guide explores the 25 ideas for the best things to do in Exmouth WA.

From encounters with vibrant marine life, exploring unique natural formations to thrilling adventures, your trip to Exmouth is bound to be a memorable one.

This post was published in February 2022, and last updated in October 2023.

Planning Your Exmouth Activities

Many of the attractions in Exmouth are nestled within Cape Range National Park, on the west side of the Exmouth Peninsula.

For first-time visitors, be aware: the drive from Exmouth to the Cape Range entrance station takes at least 30 minutes. Reaching Yardie Creek (the furthest site from the town), can take over an hour!

I recommend grouping these Exmouth attractions and planning your days to reduce driving time from Exmouth town.

Alternatively, you can camp within the National Park, if you plan on spending most of your time here. Make sure to book in advance (bookings open 180 days in advance), particularly during peak season from April to October as sites are limited and extremely in demand during this time. 

With this essential information under your belt, let’s explore what to do in Exmouth WA.

Doing a longer road trip along the Coral Coast? Make sure to check out my detailed travel guide for all you need to know about the road trip from Perth to Exmouth.

Things to Do in Cape Range National Park

Explore Charles Knife Gorge & Shothole Canyon

You’ll find the picturesque Charles Knife Canyon a 20-minute drive south of Exmouth.

Whilst technically located within Cape Range National Park, it is accessed from the same side of the peninsula as Exmouth town.

Sitting over 300m above sea level, this spot is a stunning sunrise and sunset spot. Watching the sun rise over the Exmouth gulf was one of my favourite experiences from our time in Exmouth.

The Charles Knife lookout is 2WD accessible. The road is sealed most of the way until the last uphill section which is a gravel road. If you aren’t comfortable driving up this section, park at the end of the sealed section of the road (there’s a small parking bay) and walk up the hill to the lookout.

This lookout offers scenic views over the gorge below. I definitely got Grand Canyon vibes from exploring this place, particularly at sunset when the gorges begin to glow a crimson red with the last light of the day. 

Access to Shothole Canyon is for 4WDs only, as you traverse the dry creek beds of the gorge. There is a short hiking trail and picnic area at the end of the drive. 

Sunset at Charles Knife Gorge Exmouth

Snorkel the Famous Turquoise Bay 

Dubbed one of the world’s best beaches, and undoubtably one of the best in Australia, Turquoise Bay is a snorkeller’s paradise. The water is fairly shallow, calm and you’ll find abundant coral and marine life.

There are two key snorkelling areas at Turquoise Bay – the Drift Loop and Bay Loop

The Turquoise Bay Drift Loop is accessed from the southern car park.

Enter the water at the southern end of the beach, and let the natural current drift you along the reef to the north. Be careful to exit before you reach the northern sandbar where the beach loops around to the east, as the tides here can be quite strong. 

The Bay Loop is accessed from the northern section of the car park.

The best snorkelling spots in Exmouth are Turquoise Bay, Oyster Stacks and Lakeside. Weaker swimmers should snorkel at Lakeside, where the tide is calmer. All of these are located within Cape Range National Park, or you can join a small group tour that will take you to the best spots on the Ningaloo Reef.

Turquoise Bay in Cape Range National Park Exmouth

Go on a Kayak and Snorkel Tour

Explore the Ningaloo coastline from a different perspective on this small-group kayak tour.

Kayak and snorkel around the coral reefs of the Ningaloo Marine Park. Be prepared to spot marine life such as turtles, rays, colourful fish and the occasional dolphin or dugong.

Transport from Exmouth town is included in this tour.

Image Credit: Tourism Western Australia

Snorkel at Oyster Stacks 

Oyster Stacks is another favourite snorkelling spot.

This snorkelling spot area is the closest to the Ningaloo Reef, so you don’t need to swim very far out to reach the coral. The water here is very shallow, so you can only swim and snorkel here at high tide.

Check tide times online before you go, or check the sign at the beach entrance for allowed swimming times. Snorkelling is only allowed with a tide of 1.2m or higher. The coral here is abundant, with lots of marine life.

Take care when entering, as the shoreline does have sharp oyster shelled rocks.

With all snorkelling spots in Exmouth (and elsewhere in Western Australia), remember to look but don’t touch the fragile coral ecosystem. 

Explore Ningaloo On a Trekking Adventure

One of the more unusual things to do in Exmouth, this small-group tour allows adventurers to explore off-the-beaten path of the Ningaloo Coast on foot.

This tour includes exploring spectacular canyons, wildlife spotting, cooling off with a refreshing dip at remote beaches and stunning views of the Ningaloo Coast.

Included is an experienced wilderness guide, transfers from your accommodation, lunch, snacks and refreshments, hiking poles and sun cream.

Learn more about this unique adventure tour here

Image Credit: Tourism Western Australia

See the Best of the Ningaloo Reef On a Snorkelling Tour

This half-day snorkelling tour will allow you to explore some of the best hidden snorkelling sites on the Ningaloo Reef.

By venturing out by boat, you’ll be guaranteed to snorkel the pristine underwater delights away from the crowded beach spots.

Guests on this tour often spot turtles, dolphins, rays and even the odd dugong.

Read the glowing reviews here

Image Credit: Tourism Western Australia

Relax at Sandy Bay or Osprey Bay

Sandy Bay in Cape Range National Park is a popular swimming spot for families thanks to the shallow and clear water. This spot also has several shaded picnic tables, making it a good lunch stop. 

Osprey Bay is another top beach in Exmouth. Another calm swimming spot, this bay is also home to one of Western Australia’s best campsites.

If you want to get a booking here, make sure to book when bookings are released on the DPAW site 180 days beforehand! 

Hike the Yardie Creek Trail 

Yardie Gorge Trail is one of the best hikes in Exmouth.

Located right at the most southern end of Cape Range National Park, this hike follows the creek for a stunning scenic lookout at the end.

There is a short, easy trail from the car park. This 1.2km return walk takes you along the northern side of the gorge. Watch out for the resident rock wallabies!

From the end of the nature walk, you can begin the more challenging class 4 Yardie Gorge Trail. This trail requires some more rock clambering but offers a scenic lookout point over the river bend.

Hop-Aboard a Yardie Creek Boat Tour

Yardie Creek Boat Tours are eco-friendly cruises that meander along the creek, with guides sharing interesting facts about the region, history and local flora and fauna.

Advance bookings are recommended, as the boat tours only depart twice a day.

Whilst doing the hike, we saw a couple of people paddle boarding and kayaking down the creek. This looked like an incredible way to explore more of the creek if you have your own equipment (or hire them in Exmouth town). 

Image Credit: Tourism Western Australia

Hike the Mandu Mandu Gorge

Mandu Mandu Gorge is another amazing hike in Exmouth.

Located in Cape Range National Park, this 3 km hike will take you along a dry river bed before scaling the gorge cliff for views across to the ocean.

Make sure to bring sun protection and plenty of water with you when doing these Exmouth hikes!

Snorkel at Lakeside

This snorkelling spot is located within a Sanctuary Zone, and is closest the National Park entrance.

Access the snorkelling area by walking about 500m south along the beach from the parking area. 

Top Things to Do in Exmouth

View the SS Mildura Wreck 

A relic from the past, the SS Mildura Wreck is a haven for history aficionados. This cattle steamer met its fate in 1907, leading to the construction of the iconic Vlamingh Head Lighthouse. Today, its remnants can still be viewed from the shoreline.

Image Credit: Tourism Western Australia

Enjoy a Wildlife Spotting Sunset Cruise

After a morning of exploring, swimming and snorkelling, spend the late afternoon cruising off the coast of Exmouth in this seasonal Wildlife Spotting Cruise. Watch out for whales, turtles, dolphins and more as you enjoy drinks and snacks in the sun.

Cap off a wonderful afternoon with watching the sun set as you cruise back into the Exmouth marina.

Check availability here

Swim with Whale Sharks

Experience the thrill of swimming alongside the majestic whale sharks, the world’s largest fish. These gentle giants grace the Ningaloo coast between April and August.

There are many options for tours. See my detailed guide for all you need to know about swimming with whale sharks in Exmouth.

Woman swimming with a Whale Shark

Visit Bundegi Beach

A stone’s throw from Exmouth town, Bundegi Beach is a versatile destination, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and even stand-up paddleboarding. With a boat launch facility, it’s a hub of water activities.

Take a Dip at Exmouth Town Beach

As the name suggests, Town Beach is the closest beach to Exmouth. This spot is suitable for swimming, but there isn’t good snorkelling here. Best to head over to the National Park for this.

The sand at Town Beach is quite firm, and you might see a few cars (mostly 4WDs) pull up onto the beach. 

Drink Craft Beer at the Exmouth Breweries

Quench your thirst with a cold one from Exmouth’s twin craft beer havens: Froth Brewery and Whalebone Brewing Co.

Froth Brewery is a micro brewery in the centre of town with a full restaurant with inside and outside seating, plus live music.

Whalebone Brewing Co is a rustic, relaxed venue with long outside tables. Perfect for serving up the cold brews and delicious wood fired pizza they serve up. Plus they have live music on weekends too. 

Image Credit: Tourism Western Australia

Take a Day Trip to Coral Bay 

Visiting Coral Bay is one of the top things to do near Exmouth.

A short 90-minute drive will transport you to the picturesque Coral Bay. Explore this neighbouring coastal paradise with its snorkelling opportunities, glass-bottom boat tours, or even swim with the local manta rays.

Image Credit: Tourism Western Australia

Swim with Manta Rays

Visitors to Exmouth and Coral Bay can swim with manta rays all year round. They are more abundant from around May – November, but tours do run all year. 

Brush Up on Your Turtle Knowledge

Exmouth is a renowned spot for turtle watching and hatching. Turtle season in Exmouth runs from November to March. You can visit the Jurabi Turtle centre year round to learn more about these amazing creatures.

From December to early March, join a guided Turtle Eco-Education tour for a chance to observe nesting female turtles. Bookings can be made via the Ningaloo Visitor Centre.

Entrance to the Centre is free. 

Visit the Ningaloo Centre

It’s hard not to notice the Ningaloo Centre in the middle of town, thanks to the giant prawn statue out front.

This Centre hosts the Exmouth Visitor Centre, as well as a discovery centre and aquarium. A great place to learn more about the history and natural ecology of this unique region.

The aquarium (entrance fees apply) has displays with interactive touch screens and information about the creatures that call Ningaloo and Cape Range home. 

Catch a Sunset at Vlamingh Head Lighthouse 

Vlamingh Head Lighthouse is THE sunset spot in Exmouth. Hence, it’s a pretty busy spot!

My advice is come here early to get a good spot. Located just 15 minutes from Exmouth, the lighthouse offers 360 degree panoramic views of the Exmouth peninsula.  

Go Whale Watching

Exmouth is a mecca for marine life. Following whale shark season, humpback whales begin to appear along the coast from August – November. The best way to see the humpbacks is to swim with humpback whales on whale watching tour.

This tour allows you to swim within safe proximity to these magnificent creatures, as well as snorkel the reef alongside the other abundant marine life such as turtles, manta rays and dolphins.

Image Credit: Tourism Western Australia

This eco-tour includes lunch, a glass of champagne and professional photos from the day. This is a great alternative option for those that miss out on the whale shark season.

Check prices and availability of the Humpback Whale Tour

You might spot the whales splashing and breeching off in the distance from Vlamingh Lighthouse. Town Beach and Bundegi Beach are also known vantage points for whale spotting in Exmouth.  

Coffee Time at The Social Society

Make a beeline to one of Exmouth’s best brunch and coffee spots, the Social Society cafe.

This cafe has vegetarian and vegan options, as well as a range of eco conscious products for sale.  

Go Surfing in Exmouth 

Exmouth is a popular surfing spot. The best Exmouth surf spots are Dunes Beach and Hunters.

Dunes is the more popular surf break for experienced surfers and located about 20 km north of Exmouth. A little bit further along the Cape is Hunters, which is a popular spot to learn to surf from the beach.

The best time for surfing in Exmouth is from July to October. 

Heading onwards north to Broome after exploring Exmouth? Check out my ideas for things to do in Broome!

Where to Stay in Exmouth

Budget:
RAC Exmouth Cape Holiday Park: I stayed here in the motel style Double Room. Clean, comfortable and value for money accommodation (for Exmouth).
This RAC resort is newly renovated and has two pools! They have a large range of cabins and private rooms available for different budgets and family sizes, in addition to campsites. 

Mid-Range:
Exmouth Escape Resort: Highly-rated self-contained accommodation. A good mid-priced alternative to Mantarays. 

Luxury:
Mantarays Ningaloo Resort: Mantarays is the only luxury hotel in Exmouth. Beachfront views with an infinity pool, restaurant and bar.  

Browse all other Exmouth Accommodation here.

Final Thoughts – Exmouth Things To Do

Exmouth is one of those truly remarkable places in Australia that leave you feeling in awe of this beautiful country. As I’ve shown you in this guide on what to do in Exmouth, there really is no shortage of fun activities or things to see in Exmouth.

From exploring the abundant underwater marine haven, to hiking adventures to boat tours, there is something for everyone.

Enjoy your time exploring this spectacular region, and happy adventuring!

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