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Five Finger Reef
in the Ningaloo Marine Park
Coral Bay, Western Australia
Five Finger Reef, about 4 - 5km south of the town of Coral Bay, Western Australia, is part of the beautiful and pristine Ningaloo Marine Park. These reefs are covered in coral and surrounded by water rich in fishlife right in close to shore, making it a truly fantastic snorkeling site.
Being just outside Maud's Sanctuary Zone, it's also a great place for beach fishing and spearfishing - one of the closest and easiest such places to get to from Coral Bay.
Long parallel lines of reef (the five-plus fingers) extend from up on the beach to about 100-200m out to sea. The water around these reefs is shallow and calm - absolutely perfect for children and beginner snorkelers.
The coral here is a bit different to further north near Coral Bay town, being more yellowish-greenish in colour compared to the mostly brownish reefs at Bills Bay and Purdy Point.
The other marine life also seems slightly different, for example, during one short snorkel we counted six yellow trumpet fish - far more than you usually see close to Coral Bay. We also found so many blue starfish that we lost count, and some beautiful nudibranchs.
Turtles are frequently seen at Five Finger Reef. In fact, during the turtle nesting season, you're almost guaranteed to see one!
When I went on the Coral Breeze sailing and snorkeling tour, they took us to an area of seagrass and seaweed not far out to sea from Five Finger Reef where we saw about 10 green turtles in the space of only a few minutes.
Snorkeling on the Outer Ningaloo Reef
The barrier reef is within 1km of the beach at Five Finger Reef - just within reach of strong swimmers. In fact there's nowhere else near Coral Bay where it's closer.
If you choose to swim from the beach to the outer reef, you'll need to be careful and keep a close watch for boats passing on their way between Monk Head and the South Passage.
Getting to Five Finger Reef
It's is quick and easy to get there by 4WD or boat from Monk Head. If these aren't options for you, then it's about an hour's walk along the coast over rocks and beach, or a slightly quicker walk (but far less pleasant) following the hot, sandy 4WD track through the dunes.
Read About More Coral Bay Beaches and Snorkeling Spots:
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Coral Bay Pages
About Coral Bay
Things to Do
- Coral Bay Boating Guide
- Monks Head and Merv