Ultimate guide to things to do in Exmouth with kids
Home to some of the world’s most diverse marine habitats and pristine beaches, the town of Exmouth, half way along the Western Australian coast, is a must visit for nature loving families and the gateway to the stunning Ningaloo Reef.
The natural beauty and accessibly of Ningaloo Marine Park makes it one of Western Australia’s premier tourist destinations and a must visit for nature loving families. Here, as well as sighting the most magnificent marine wildlife, you can enjoy extraordinary close encounters with them in the crystal-clear waters. For those who’d rather stay dry, a kayaking tour over the startlingly blue marine park is one of the best ways to see the colourful coral and the sea creatures that call it home.
There’s also a bounty of beautiful beaches which are amongst the most stunning in the world. It doesn’t get better than that at the aptly named Turquoise Bay, a pristine beach with clear, inviting waters from which to explore a huge diversity of coral and marine life. But be warned, the currents can be strong so it is best for stronger swimmers. Less than two-hours south of Exmouth is Coral Bay where you can easily wade from the gobsmackingly pretty beach to the start of Ningaloo Reef.
It’s not all about the water, as the region is surrounded by spectacular landscapes just waiting to be explored. Yardie Creek Gorge is a popular spot for bush walking and wildlife spotting, or visit Charles Knife Canyon and nearby Shothole Canyon for views that will leave you breathless.
Top things to do in Exmouth
With outstanding nature in and out of the water, Exmouth and surrounds abounds with attractions for the whole family.
- Ride the vintage tram in Bendigo.
- Take a free walking tour to uncover the history and heritage of Ballarat
- Explore the Mildura Wreck
- Visit Yardie Creek Gorge
- Explore Shothole and Charles Knife Canyons
- Spot marine mammals and sea life at Ningaloo Reef and marine park
- Take the trek to Vlamingh Head Lighthouse
- Swim with Whale Sharks
- Take a dusk tour to watch nesting turtles at the Jurabi Turtle Centre
- Visit the Milyering Discovery Centre
- See Western Australia’s stunning wildflowers
- Take a hike along a scenic walking trail
Things to do in Exmouth with…
The little ones will love all the sun, sand and saltwater of Exmouth and there are plenty of gentle protected bays suitable for younger swimmers. Sandy Bay’s endless bone white sand and strikingly clear shallow waters are particularly appealing for families with little ones to explore.
While the young ones may not be ready to attempt snorkelling in the fish-filled waters of the Ningaloo Marine Park, a glass bottom boat ride is an excellent way to introduce them to the wondrous water world below the surface, allowing them to view the incredible coral reef, marine life and even the odd turtle, without getting wet!
Or if they are keen to spot something a little larger in the water, take them to Vlamingh Head Lighthouse where, if you time it right during the migration season, they might be lucky enough spot whales playing close to the shore.
Enjoy a taste of rural Australian life at Bullara, 30 minutes from Exmouth. Stay overnight in a self-contained cottage or under canvas at the campground and enjoy life on an enormous working cattle station set amongst a diverse Australian landscape. During muster season, kids will marvel at the cattle, or you can just enjoy the incredible bush walks, excellent fishing and stargazing.
Little pirates might also enjoy the sight of the shipwreck of SS Mildura, which can be seen from the shores of Lighthouse Bay. They might even enjoy a little treasure hunting of their own in the rock pools at low tide.
Wildlife warriors will love spotting the rare green, loggerhead and hawksbill turtles during turtle nesting season, from November to April. A visit to the The Jurabi Turtle Centre, an interpretive educational facility located alongside a popular rookery is the best place for kids to spot turtles in a safe and controlled atmosphere that leaves the animals undisturbed.
Or perhaps the kids would rather enjoy a taste of rural Australian life at Bullara, 30 minutes from Exmouth. Stay overnight in a self-contained cottage or under canvas at the campground and enjoy life on an enormous working cattle station set amongst a diverse Australian landscape. During muster season, kids will marvel at the cattle, or you can just enjoy the incredible bush walks, excellent fishing and stargazing.
Families who love bushwalking should head to the Cape Range National Park, adjacent to Ningaloo Marine Park. There are trails to suit every level through incredible rocky gorges, past beds of seasonal wildflowers and to stunning outlooks. Yardie Creek, which flows between sheer rock walls, is an especially popular spot for families to hike and enjoy boating. More intrepid hikers should trek to Charles Knife Canyon or nearby Shothole Canyon for the unbeatable views.
For those kids seeking watery thrills, Ultimate Watersports operates from the Exmouth Town Beach from May to September. They offer an enormous range of wet and wild water sports including jet ski hire and guided jet ski tours, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, tubing, wake boarding, knee boarding and water skiing. Those adventurous types who feel like getting a little air can even test their skills at fly boarding or Jet Packing over the calm waters.
Marine loving teens are going to want to swim with the whale sharks which, despite its name and size, is not a whale but a filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest fish in the world, growing up to 18-metres in length. Between April and July, the gentle giants visit the waters of Exmouth to feed on the zooplankton that is abundant in the warm water. Visitors can join the marvelous creatures in the water on an exciting and educational snorkeling tour of the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef.
If you’d rather explore the area from above the water, there’s no more exciting way than on a microlight flight over the Ningaloo Reef and the Cape Range National Park for a bird’s eye view of this natural wonderland.
Best time to visit Exmouth as a family
With mostly sunny days all year round, the region surrounding the little town of Exmouth offers a great array of things to do. There are two distinct seasons. The wet season, which is generally the quietest season due to skyrocketing temperatures and occasional cyclones. Peak season is the dry season from April to October when, with temperatures around 20 degrees, it’s warm enough for most to swim and enjoy the wonders below the water.
However, if you are visiting to view wildlife like whale sharks and turtles, you will need to time your visit around nature’s cycle. March to May is coral spawning season, April to July is the best time to see and swim with gentle Whale sharks and June to November is peak season for Manta rays and best for sighting migrating Humpback whales. Lovers of turtles should visit between November and March, as this is the best time to see them nesting and hatching.
Family-friendly places to eat in Exmouth
One thing Exmouth does not lack is good seafood. SeaSalt, in the centre of downtown Exmouth is open for breakfast lunch and dinner every day of the week, and is popular with locals in search of great seafood. For the best fish and chips try Blue Lips Fish & Chips
But Exmouth isn’t just about seafood. From cafes to bakeries to fine dining to take-away burgers and everything in between, all tastes are catered for in this lovely little town and its surrounding districts.
The Exmouth Yacht Club is a great family-friendly venue offering good food overlooking the beach. On Friday nights, they’ll often host a great value ‘Cook-your-Own-BBQ’.
Whalebone Brewing Company is the spot for pizzas and craft beer, The BBQ Father is another top spot for delicious wood-fired pizzas, as well as pasta and home-made yummy gelato that the kids will love.
Things to do for free in Exmouth
- There are so many fun free things to do in this glorious location. Take a scenic drive or walk and see stunning scenery, the rugged pristine coastline and WWII ruins. The Lighthouse Scenic Drive is a must to see panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and Ningaloo Reef as well as the Valmingh Head Lighthouse.
- Pitch a tent in the Cape Range National Park, near Ningaloo Marine Park, which covers 50,000-hectares and is home to deep canyons, multi-coloured cliffs, amazing flora and fauna, and 50 kilometres of pristine beach to explore.
- World Heritage site, Ningaloo Marine Park, is a major drawcard for visitors to the region. It’s home to a large variety of marine species including tropical fish, coral and whale sharks, the largest known fish species. Turquoise Bay is just one of the many beautiful beaches to enjoy along the coast which is perfect for snorkelling or just a relaxing day on the beach.
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Janeece Keller is the founder and editor of Family Travel. She mostly travels with her husband and two young kids. She has a large blended family that lives in Australia and Europe. She has visited 52 countries and lived on 3 continents. From camping to luxury resorts Janeece tries to make sure her family has diverse holiday experiences each year. She is an avid hiker and ocean swimmer who loves good food, margaritas and heading off the beaten path.