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The best things to do in Exmouth, Western Australia

Updated On 27th March, 2022

Are you going travelling in Western Australia and looking for the best things to do in Exmouth? Are you looking for places to visit in Western Australia or best things to do in Western Australia and wondering what to see in Exmouth? Then you’re in luck, because these are the 9 best things to do in Exmouth, WA. 

In this blog post, I’m going to highlight the best things to do in Exmouth, WA, the best places to visit in Exmouth and the best adventures to go on. Exmouth is one of the best places to visit in Western Australia and definitely somewhere that should be on your Australia bucket list if you’re travelling in Western Australia! 

If you have been dreaming of turquoise waters and endless summer adventures, then Exmouth is absolutely one of the best places to visit in Australia to get your fix! Located in the north-west of Western Australia, Exmouth is a marine lover’s paradise. While it is best known as the northern gateway to the largest fringing reef in the world Ningaloo Reef and one of the few places in the world where you can swim with the largest fish in the ocean, the infamous Whale Sharks, this underwater paradise has so much on offer.

I recently spent over a month exploring this region and can attest that there really are so many awesome things to do in Exmouth. Here you can spend your days snorkelling, hiking, surfing, swimming with whale sharks and turtles, exploring beautiful cafes, and so much more. If you’re looking for the best things to do in Western Australia, you definitely need to come to Exmouth!

Before we dive into the best things to do in Exmouth, here are a few things to know before you go travelling in Western Australia! 

Other travel guides you might find useful…

Where is Exmouth, WA?

Exmouth is a small town nestled between the Exmouth Gulf and the Indian Ocean, on the North West Cape peninsula of Western Australia. This ex-navy town has become best known for being the neighbouring town to the UNESCO World heritage listed Ningaloo Reef that stretches over 260km, so big in fact that it can literally be seen from space. 

How to get to Exmouth, WA:

Located 1250km from Perth, it is roughly a 13 hour drive or a 1hr45 minute flight from this closest major city. While flying is by far the quicker option, depending on how many people you are travelling with and what you want to do while in town, driving may be the more cost effective of the two as you will most likely need a car to get around when in Exmouth.

Where to stay in Exmouth, WA:

While the North West Cape may look small, everything in this area surrounding Exmouth is relatively far apart. The township of Exmouth is around 15-minute drive from the major surf spots and a 50-minute drive to the snorkelling and other sights in the national park. This is something to consider while planning your trip as if you’re travelling in Western Australia and you plan to arrive by plane, you may have to account for additional costs like a hire car or planning activities that include transport. 

There are so many beautiful places to stay in Exmouth depending on your set up and what you are after! During my month stay in Exmouth, I opted for staying at Yardie Homestead which cost around 35 AUD/night for a powered campsite. Yardie Homestead is centrally located with a 30-min drive into town and 30-min drive into the national park. This is a great option if you have a car and want to be doing a bit of everything. 

If you’re planning on spending a lot of time in the national park, and don’t have pets or other restrictions, I would recommend booking in at one of the Cape Range national park Campsites, which are a competitive $11 per night. These have toilet facilities but require that you bring your own food and water. As these do sell out fast, be sure to book far in advance. 

Last but not least, if you’re wanting to be in the heart of Exmouth to take advantage of the nightlife and tours and other best things to do in Exmouth, WA, you may want to choose something in the township of Exmouth in a twin or double room. Ningaloo Lodge starts at $165 for two people per night or the local YHA charges $35 for a bed in a 6 bed mixed dorm room. 

See our top tips for staying in a hostel here.

Example prices in Exmouth…

Travelling in Western Australia can be done extravagantly or on a budget depending on what you’re hoping to tick off your Australia bucket list! 

As many of the major snorkelling and hiking activities are in the National Park, you will need to purchase a Western Australia Parks pass to get access to these spots. If you’re just planning a short visit then a holiday pass will be your best choice. You can choose from 5 days for $25, 14 days for $40 or a month for $60, which will give you access to all WA parks for the duration of the pass.

If you’re planning on staying in Exmouth and visiting the parks for longer than a month or travelling in Western Australia for longer than a month, your best option is the annual pass which is $120AUD. 

Other prices:

  • Accommodation: range from $11 for a NP campsite – $165 for a double ensuite room
  • Eating out: $35-45 per person for a drink and a meal
  • Drink at the local tavern is around $9 AUD for a pint
  • Whale shark tours (definitely one of the best things to do in Western Australia and not one you should miss!): $250-400 AUD per person

Check out the best things to do in Australia here.

Best places to eat and drink in Exmouth…

One of the best things to do in Exmouth is eating at The Social Society. This little industrial style cafe offers a range of modern brunch options in a beautiful cosy atmosphere. This came highly recommended by tourists and locals alike, and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s the perfect place to come on the occasional day when the winds are too high to go out on the water or you are just in need of a cosy brunch spot. 

If you’re like me and travel with your dog (or are missing yours and want to get a dog fix) then be sure to check out Mutts which is incredibly dog friendly! They have a range of toasties, gelato and coffee. Adrift is another great place to eat and with its competitively priced range of burgers and a beautiful patio area, and is the best place to go if you’re craving a burger. 

If evenings with craft brews and live music are your scene, then be sure to check out Froth Craft Brewery in the heart of Exmouth. You can see for yourself why they were awarded the 2019 Hospitality Awards for excellence ‘Best Outdoor Area’ as you sit beneath the fairy lights and enjoy live music under the starry sky.

The best things to do in Exmouth, WA

Top tips for exploring Exmouth…

This region is best known for its incredible sea life and is one of the few places in the world, never mind one of the best places to visit in WA, where you can swim to the reef to experience the 500 species of fish and the 200 varieties of coral that are found in this region. Snorkelling is by far one of the most fun things to do in Exmouth while you’re travelling in Western Australia. 

While you can hire snorkels and flippers in town, if you are in Exmouth for more than a week, to get the most enjoyment out of your time, I would recommend you to come with a well fitting snorkel and flippers that won’t rub. A decent set will cost anywhere between $50-$150 or more if you’re interested in freediving flippers. 

You also may want to look at hiring a wetsuit if you’re visiting Exmouth in winter for the Whale shark season, one of the best things to do in Exmouth. While it stays warm all year round, the water definitely doesn’t! Wetsuits are a great addition to help you enjoy your time in the water.

With all that in mind, time to explore the best things to do in Exmouth, one of the best places to visit in Western Australia!

The best things to do in Exmouth, Western Australia...

1. Go snorkelling on the reef.

Snorkelling is by far one the best things to do in Exmouth. There are so many places to go snorkelling in Western Australia, each with their own unique coral and snorkelling, but all offering enviable opportunities to explore the beauty of this region.  

If you’re new to snorkelling the best places to go snorkelling in Exmouth are Turquoise Bay and Lakeside. Both offer very calm snorkel areas with lots of coral, fish, resident turtles and you may even see a little reef shark. Don’t be alarmed, they won’t be bothered by you and will just keep doing their thing. Snorkelling is definitely one of the best things to do when you’re travelling in Western Australia!

The more challenging level of snorkelling is Oyster Stacks which is much more shallow, even at high tide. There is a huge diversity of coral at this snorkelling spot, but you don’t want to end up with a coral cut, so be sure to check tides always before going to this one. 

The most advanced of the snorkelling spots are Osprey Bay and a more locally known place named Jacob’s Access. These are fantastic places for freediving as they offer the deepest reefs. However, as these are 200-300 metres out from the beach, these require strong knowledge of freediving and currents as well as a reasonable swimming ability and level of fitness. 

The best things to do in Exmouth, WA
Photo credit: Frame Chasers, WA - - @framechasers

2. Go surfing in Exmouth.

The two best places for surfing in Exmouth are Dunes and Hunters Access. Dunes is located on a reef, so is geared more toward the intermediate and advanced riders. Hunters Access is another surfing spot located a little further down toward the lighthouse. Be urchin aware as you make your way out, and keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles and dolphins who may drop in on your wave!

See our top tips for beginner surfers here.

3. Hike the Yardie Creek trail.

Of all the best hikes in Exmouth, Yardie Creek is one of the most popular. Yardie Creek is located at the end of the road in Cape Range national park, with the hike winding up to the top of a beautiful sweeping gorge. 

When you reach the end of the walking track, find a place to sit near the edge of the gorge and look over at the rocks and you may be lucky enough to spot rock wallabies in their natural habitat, jumping along the rock faces. 

It is quite a long drive for this relatively short walk, but if you’re a nature lover, it’s worth the trip and definitely one of the best things to do in Western Australia. Better yet, bring a picnic, and make a day of it. Enjoy the beautiful beach or maybe pair it up with the other popular walking trail Mandu Mandu Gorge on the way back.

4. Watch the sunset from Vlamingh Head lighthouse.

I dare say that a trip to Exmouth when travelling in Western Australia would be complete without enjoying a sunset from the lighthouse. Located 15 minutes from Exmouth Township, the lighthouse sits atop a steep hill and offers 360 Degree panoramic views of the Exmouth gulf and Indian Ocean – definitely one of the best things to do in Exmouth!

Bring a beverage, some nibbles, set up your favourite chair or a rug, and enjoy the sunset light up the peninsula. Get here early as spots fill up fast, but don’t worry, with this being a perfect place to whale watch, you won’t be bored waiting for the sun to do its evening dance over the horizon. 

The best things to do in Exmouth, WA

5. Watch the sunrise at Charles Knife and Thomas Carter Lookout.

Charles Knife Canyon is located just 22km south of Exmouth and visiting is a must-do when you’re travelling in Western Australia. The range sits 320m above sea level and expands over 21km, it is striking to see from above. While you can visit anytime of the day, nothing quite beats that morning glow. 

Start off early, find yourself a spot at the edge, and see the sun rise over the Exmouth gulf. Watching the light pour over into the gorge is a magical sight and I couldn’t not put it on this list of best things to do in Exmouth. 

While this is predominantly 4WD accessible, the lookout can be accessed in a 2WD if you’re comfortable driving on gravel roads. If you’re not comfortable, you can drive to the pull out at the end of the paved part of the road to park, walking the last few meters, being mindful of traffic.

The best things to do in Exmouth, WA

6. Go swimming with whale sharks in Exmouth.

Despite being the largest fish in the sea, these gentle giants are placid creatures who are not bothered by humans as they explore the water surrounding Exmouth. This allows tours to bring you within a few metres which makes for an eye opening experience.

Tours typically cost around $250-400 per person (depending on how early you book in advance!), but if you’re tight on money and have time to spare there is still hope! Many of these companies offer volunteer positions where you can offer your time for seven days on the boat, and in trade, you are given the chance to swim with the sharks while on the boat. I think this is the one of the top things to do in Exmouth when travelling in Western Australia and should be on everyone’s Australia bucket list!

7. Drive along and park up on Town Beach.

Town Beach is one of the best places to visit in Exmouth if you want to just come and relax. One perk of this beach is that the sand is firm enough to drive on! Drive down to the beach, set up with a good book and enjoy the doorstep ocean views. It’s also a really safe beach to swim at, and a popular spot for sailing and windsurfing.

The best things to do in Exmouth, WA

8. Visit the SS Mildura Wreck.

If you enjoy a bit of history and are curious to learn more about Exmouth’s history as a Naval base, then be sure to check out the SS Mildura Wreck. One of the best things to do in Exmouth is to check out the wreck itself from shore and learn from the informational signs on the naval history of the area.

The best things to do in Exmouth, WA

9. Learn about turtles at Jurabi Turtle Centre.

One of the most magical things I saw during my time in Exmouth were the turtles. Some must have been at least a hundred years old judging by their size! Jurabi Turtle Centre is a great place to visit in Exmouth and learn a little about these beautiful creatures, especially the endangered loggerhead turtles. 

Turtle season in Australia runs from November to March, where you can see turtles coming up on the beach to lay their eggs and then hatch later in the season. While the majority of this happens in these months, if you’re lucky, you may also see female turtles resting on the beach, taking a break from mating just before the laying season begins. One of the best things to do in Exmouth is to stop by the centre to learn about these beautiful creatures, and then head down to the beach to see if you can catch the sea turtles in their natural habitat.

The best things to do in Exmouth, WA

What are your favourite things to do in Exmouth?

Where are the best places to visit in Western Australia? Anything you’d add?

Love as always and happy adventuring…

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