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Exmouth to play host to the once-in-a-lifetime Ningaloo Eclipse in 2023

Make your way to Exmouth on Australia’s Coral Coast for the total solar eclipse. It’s one of the best places in the world to view it.

Exmouth to play host to the once-in-a-lifetime Ningaloo Eclipse in 2023

Make your way to Exmouth on Australia’s Coral Coast for the total solar eclipse. It’s one of the best places in the world to view it.
Sun covered by moon surrounded by a ring of light.

On April 20th, 2023, at precisely 11:27 am, Exmouth in Western Australia‘s north will have front-row seats to one of nature’s most remarkable occurrences — a total solar eclipse. For 62 seconds, the sun will be covered by the moon’s silhouette, resulting in a vivid solar crescent. 

Dubbed the Ningaloo Eclipse, the small town is the most accessible land-based destination in the world to experience the phenomenon, with thousands expected to fly in from other countries to see it. Elsewhere, there will only be partial solar eclipses. Even nearby towns in Western Australia won’t see the total solar eclipse, with Perth set to see only a 70% eclipse, Geraldton 80%, and Coral Bay 99%. 

A total solar eclipse occurs every 18 months but is usually only visible somewhere at sea. The Ningaloo Eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime experience; the last total solar eclipse visible from land occurred on June 20th, 1974. 

Getting to Exmouth for the Ningaloo Eclipse

The milky way glistening over a rugged rocky outcrop
A starry sky | Ningaloo Eclipse

Exmouth is 1250km north of Western Australia’s capital, Perth. The drive up takes approximately 13 hours, following the spectacular stretch of coastline known as Australia’s Coral Coast. Slow right down and enjoy the drive, making overnight stops in Geraldton and Carnarvon. Alternatively, take a two-hour QANTAS flight from Perth to Learmonth Airport. It’s much quicker, and if you get a window seat, the swirling colours of the burnt outback below are quite spectacular.

The Shire of Exmouth estimates around 20,000 people will stay in the area for the Ningaloo Eclipse. A further 20,000 are expected to converge along the coast. If you’re planning on joining them, you need to be prepared. 

Accommodation is already scarce, so keep a close eye on the accommodation providers’ and the Parks Department websites for any last-minute room or campsite cancellations. As Exmouth has no public transport and only one road in and out, shuttle buses will be in operation to reduce congestion. Food trucks will also be brought in to back up the town’s cafes, restaurants, and pubs. Though it’s advised to bring plenty of your own food and water as a safety net.  

What To Do In Exmouth

Swim with whale sharks  

Woman in red bathers underwater snorkelling with whale shark and giving thumbs up to camera.
Swimming with whale sharks / Whale Shark Tours

Glide through the crystalline waters of the beautiful World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef and swim with Whale Sharks, dugongs, dolphins, humpback whales, turtles, and manta rays. Tick this experience off your bucket list before reclining on a luxurious catamaran cruise. 

Go stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking in the afternoon, or relax on the bow nets, daybeds, and bean bags for something with a slower pace. 

Morning tea, buffet lunch, and afternoon tea are provided. End the day with a glass of champagne and reflect on the day. 

Snorkel at one of the many beaches 

Exmouth to play host to the once-in-a-lifetime Ningaloo Eclipse in 2023
Below the surface at Oyster Stacks | Sunday Sunset

Filled with more than 500 species of fish and a plethora of vibrant coral, Exmouth’s beaches, reefs, and rocky pools are home to an array of world-class snorkelling sites.  

Turquoise Bay’s drift area is one of the most acclaimed snorkelling experiences in the state. Let the current propel you north over the colourful, fish-filled coral gardens, or head to Oyster Stacks to spot sea turtles, moray eels, and sea urchins.

Hike along gorges in the Cape Range National Park 

Green valley surrounded by red and brown mountains with blue ocean in background.
Cape Range National Park / Explore Parks WA

Exmouth is also known for its land-based recreations, with world-class hiking just one of the many reasons visitors flock to the town. It’s best to tackle the walks earlier in the day to make the most of the cooler temperatures. 

Following the dry creek bed to the northern ridge, the three-kilometre Mandu Mandu Gorge trail is one of Exmouth’s most impressive hiking trails. The trek offers views from Yardie Creek out to Ningaloo Reef, as well as the vibrant red cliffs. You may even spot rock wallabies keeping cool within the gorge walls. 

Another popular route is the two-kilometre Yardie Nature Trail and Yardie Creek Gorge Trail. Starting at river level, the path climbs up the red rock cliffs of the gorge and ascends the range. Catch your breath while taking in a different vantage point of Yardie creek and Ningaloo Reef. 

This article was originally posted on So Perth

Feature Image: Jongsun Lee

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