Camera IconTender behind Ningaloo Blue cruise boat, on Ningaloo Reef off the north west part of North West Cape. Credit: Stephen Scourfield The West AustralianShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail UsCopy the Link
Exmouth has been a hotspot this year, as we’ve stayed home and travelled the State. More than 15,000 visitors crammed into a town where less than 2500 locals usually live. The caravan overspill overspilt and overspilt again, and people were charged $65 a night to park on vacant land. Boat ramps became battlegrounds. One local tells me that the end of the coffee queue was in Coral Bay, 150km away.
But all that’s over.
When we pull up at the Tantabiddi boat ramp, on the north-west coast of the North West Cape, and a popular place to launch for a day on Ningaloo Reef, there is no one there.
When we pull up the next day, the ramp is still empty, except for the solitary game fishing boat which has just pulled away.
There are just two people in the famous drift snorkel in Turquoise Bay, in Cape Range National Park — starfishing over coral as the current takes them north to a sandy spit. Step out, walk down the beach, and do it again.
The temperature in Exmouth today and tomorrow is about 33C — perfect for swimming over coral, looking at fish, before the breeze comes in. Locals tend to stay now, then take off in January and February “when it’s just too hot”.