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The beautiful Coral Coast stretches from Shark Bay, an ecological and evolutionary hot spot of the highest order, up to the arid spike of land on which Exmouth and Coral Bay rest. People head here to see the stunning 260km Ningaloo Reef that fringes the western edge of the peninsula, never more than 7km offshore. In some areas, such as the coastal campsites of Cape Range National Park, the reef is accessible right off the beach. Increasing numbers head to the tiny, laid-back resort of Coral Bay at the southern end of the reef, rather than basing themselves in sterile Exmouth, near the tip of the peninsula.

Aside from viewing the reef, people flock here for the rare opportunity to swim with the world’s largest fish, the whale shark, which feeds in the area between April and July each year. In between Shark Bay and Exmouth is Carnarvon, a good base for exploring the exhilarating 4WD track north to Gnaraloo Station, past wild beaches and tumultuous seas.

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