Exmouth is a remote coastal town that’s primarily a holiday location for those wanting to explore the Cape Range National Park and the northern end of the Ningaloo Reef.
The town is situated inside the cape on the Exmouth Gulf with the coastline facing the east. 10-15 minutes north by car is the tip of the cape with the northern part of Ningaloo Reef and Cape Range National Park to the south, where the coastline faces west, out to the ocean.
Surrounding the small town of Exmouth is dry, desolate land where trees are scare and fresh water even harder to come across. The coastline is the attraction of the area where there’s an abundance of sea life, mostly known for Turtles, Whales and a range of Sharks.
Visiting Exmouth Cape & Cape Range National Park
Exmouth is most popular in winter, as the weather is nice and warm but not too hot, attracting huge volumes of people from the cooler parts of Australia that are trying to escape the chill.
In Summer, people are attracted to the area to see the Turtles laying eggs on the beach from around October to April, although the peak season and best time to see the female Turtles make their way onto the sand is from late November to until early March.
Families usually choose to make their base in the township of Exmouth, mainly because this is the only place to find shops and other than some cabins at Yardie Homestead on the other side of the cape, this is the only place to find hotels/motels, short-term beach house rentals and other non-camping/caravan accommodation.
Those that want to be closest to the main beaches for surfing, kite & wind surfing, snorkeling and launching a boat, tend to stay at Yardie Homestead or camp in the Cape Range National Park, as this part of the coastline is where all of the main natural attractions lie, that being all the way from the Lighthouse down to Yardie Creek.
Snorkeling at Exmouth
Exmouth is one of the worlds best locations for snorkeling i the ocean, for people with both advanced or beginner level experience. It’s also a top destination for Marine Biologists to study sea life.
Heading for a snorkelling session at just about any beach, whether it be inside the gulf or around the other side of the cape near Yardie and in the Cape Range NP, there’s a great chance of seeing coral reefs, Turtles and Reef Sharks. If you prefer just sitting on the beach, you can still see the occasional Turtle popping it’s head up and Whales breaching in the background.
The most popular places to go snorkeling are in the Cape Range National Park, with the main one being Turquoise Bay. Here, you can easily swim to the coral reef and even if there aren’t any Turtles to see, there are huge numbers of fish plus the occasional Reef Shark and Sting Ray.
For something a bit further out to sea, tours can be booked to swim with Whale Sharks! A boat will drop you off near the Whale Sharks and then park in the distance where you’ll then swim with the sharks and other marine life until you reach the boat.
Where to go surfing at Exmouth
There are plenty of places to go surfing at Exmouth, whether you’re a beginner and just having a crack or have been doing it your whole life.
Beginners are limited for options, the main place to go where there’s minimal rips, small and soft waves and next to no rocks or reefs to be worried about is Wobiri Beach. This is also one of the main kite and wind surfing spots, although you’ll find kite surfers at a few different places in the Cape Range NP too.
Advanced surfers tend to head to the Dunes, which is over near the lighthouse. In the morning, you’ll often see the more experienced surfers getting a view form the lighthouse and then heading out to where ever the larger, better waves are rolling in.
More daring surfers can find large waves further off shore, some of them can be paddled out to, others are over a kilometre from the beach and a boat is needed to get out there. From Wobiri beginners surf beach, you can see some huge barreling waves right far out the back when the swell is right.
Cape Range National Park
Cape Range National Park is the best place to access the Ningaloo Reef and packed full of white sandy beaches with turquoise coloured water. It’s a great place for snorkeling, swimming, camping and kite surfing.
Holiday makes often launch their boat just before the park entrance to go and explore the reef, otherwise launch a kayak from just about anywhere and paddle along the coastline.
The most popular beach in the Cape Range National Park is Turquoise Bay, perfect for sun baking, swimming and snorkeling.
Exmouth is a coastal town about 1,250 kms north of Perth and around 1,370 kms to the south-west of Broome.
The Exmouth township has an eastern facing coast that looks out to the Exmouth Gulf.
10-15 kms across the cape, to the west is the coastline that faces west, out to the ocean where the northern part of the Ningaloo Reef is found. This part of the coast is also where Cape Range National Park can be entered from the north, with the most popular part of the coastal national park being Turquoise Bay.
No major cities or towns are located around Exmouth, it’s a very remote destination yet extremely popular in the winter months when those escaping the cold weather from the south head here for a warm, sunny holiday, often staying for many months at a time.
Camping at Exmouth
Exmouth isn’t an RV friendly town, meaning that there isn’t any free campgrounds or rest areas, although there’s a bunch of other options, none of which are inexpensive.
The most popular place in town to set up a tent or park the caravan is the RAC Exmouth Cape Caravan Park, which is suited to families. Although it’s in town, it’s still a bit of a long walk to the shops or any bars, however it is walking distance (not a short walk) from the beach, but the popular beaches are around the other side of the coastline closer to Yardie Homestead and Cape Range National Park. RAC Exmouth is $62 per night, no long-term discounts are offered, although RAC members are eligible for a 10% discount.
Around the other side of the cape is Yardie Homestead, a great place to stay. Compared to the RAC caravan park, Yardie is more of a bush camping experience (well, the sign says so anyway). The best thing about Yardie Homestead is the location. The caravan park is central on the coastline to all of the main beaches, whether it be the beginner surf beach Wobiri (popular for kite and wind surfing), the more advanced surf spot “Dunes”, near Vlamingh Head Lighthouse, a bunch of other rocky beaches and it’s a pretty short drive from both the boat ramp and entrance to Cape Range National Park.
Dogs are allowed at both Yardie Homestead and RAC Exmouth Caravan Park & there are decent facilities at both. Yardie has the big advantage of its location and plenty of shade.
For those that haven’t bought a dog along and don’t mind camping in full exposure to the sun, there’s a whole heap of beachside campgrounds in the national park.