World Heritage

In June 2011, the Ningaloo Coast was bestowed the highest level of international recognition with its inscription on the World Heritage List for its natural beauty and biological diversity.

The listing covers an area of 604,500ha and includes the State and Commonwealth Ningaloo Marine Parks, Cape Range National Park, the Learmonth Air Weapons Range, Bundegi and Jurabi coastal parks, the Muiron Islands and Muiron Islands Marine Management Area.

The landscapes and seascapes of the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area are comprised of mostly intact and large-scale marine, coastal and terrestrial environments. The lush and colourful underwater scenery provides a spectacular contrast with the arid and rugged land. The Ningaloo Coast supports rare and large aggregations of whale sharks along with important aggregations of other fish species and marine mammals. An annual mass coral spawning leads approximately 300-500 whale sharks to gather, making this one of the largest documented aggregations in the world.

In addition to the remarkable aggregations of whale sharks the Ningaloo Reef harbors a high marine diversity of more than 200 documented coral species, over 500 reef fish species, roughly 650 mollusc species, as well as around 600 crustacean species and more than 1,000 species of marine algae. The high numbers of 155 sponge species and 25 new species of echinoderms (starfish, sea urchins and sea cucumbers) add to the significance of the area. The Ningaloo Coast hosts an unusual diversity of marine turtle species with an estimated 10,000 nests deposited along the coast annually.

The majority of subterranean species on land, including aquatic species in the flooded caves are rare, characteristically diverse and not found elsewhere in the southern hemisphere. The combination of relict rainforest fauna and aquatic invertebrates within the same cave system is exceptional. The cave fauna of the peninsula has the highest diversity in Australia and one of the highest in the world. Above ground, the diversity of reptiles and vascular plants in the drylands is also significant.

Residents of Exmouth are extremely proud that the beauty that surrounds their hometown is now recognised worldwide as unparalleled natural phenomena.

Learn more about the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage area on the fact sheets below: 

World Heritage Area, Cultural History, Things To Do, Ancient Reef, Ningaloo Reef, Wild Flowers, Turtles, Humpbacks, Dolphins and Karst System.