“One of the last remote places on earth,” according to Alan Matthew, captain of 42 metre Ocean Alliance charter yacht Anda, Ningaloo Reef has long been overlooked in favour of its big sister, the Great Barrier Reef. “It is not as well known so you don’t get the thousands of tourists, which means you can virtually have the place to yourself,” he says. One of the longest fringing coral reefs in the world, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the northwest coastal region of Western Australia.

What to do and see: The reef is famous for its amazing diversity — it is home to whale sharks, dugongs, turtles, dolphins, humpback whales, 500 species of fish and 300 species of coral – and presents some of the best fishing in Australia. The coastline also offers a unique experience on dry land, where rugged red ranges create the feel of outback Australia.

When to visit: The best time of year to swim with whale sharks is between March and June, you can swim with manta rays between May and November, and spot humpback whales between July and November.

As seen in Boat International