Ningaloo Marine Park, Exmouth
Australia is at its best when it’s at its wildest and on this seemingly endless stretch of beach near the Western Australian frontier town of Exmouth, Kangaroos and Emus outnumber tourists by a wide margin. Squeezed between Ningaloo Reef, a SCUBA mecca and Whale Shark hot spot, and Cape Range National Park, this strand of sun-bleached sand is lonely in all the right ways. The water here is warm and full of life. The <a href=”http://www.exmouthdiving.com.au/english/exmothdc.htm” target=”_hplink”>Exmouth Diving Centre</a> rents snorkeling gear for would-be Cousteaus eager to look for the improbably named Wobbegong, a delicately tasseled and harmless shark that lazes listlessly on the smooth ocean floor. The town can be quiet in the evenings, a perfect excuse to linger over some oysters or a Roo loin at <a href=”http://www.whalersrestaurant.com.au/” target=”_hplink”>Whaler’s Restaurant</a>, a real outback steakhouse.
<strong>Where to Stay</strong>: The <a href=”http://www.novotelningaloo.com.au/” target=”_hplink”>Novotel Ningaloo</a> offers the most refined rooms in town for $280 as well as a views east and north, towards East Timor and Indonesia. For a homier option, head to the <a href=”http://www.potshotresort.com/” target=”_hplink”>Potshot Hotel Resort</a>, which offers apartment style accommodation for $200. (It should be noted that hotel was named for a WWII operation involving American submarines, not for its trigger-happy neighbors.)
<strong>Getting There</strong>: The best way to reach remote Exmouth is to fly into Learmonth Airport not too far south. A <a href=”http://learmonthairportcarhire.com.au/” target=”_hplink”>rental car </a>makes getting to and from the beach significantly easier.
Photo: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/robertpaulyoung/2770964830/” target=”_hplink”>robertpaulyoung</a>/Flickr