Surrounded by the spectacular Cape Range National Park and a world-renowned coral reef, Exmouth is a nature-lover's paradise. Just off the coast of this small Western Australian town, travellers can visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Marine Park: a 260km-long reef teeming with tropical fish, turtles and manta rays. The town sits on a tranquil cape where hikers can roam through rugged gorges carved by long-gone rivers, now home to roaming emus and kangaroos.
Book an Exmouth hostel surrounded by tropical palms and green lawns where you can relax with other travellers and cook up a meal on the shared barbecue. Begin each day with a dip in the refreshing outdoor pool or enjoy a mid-afternoon beer under a shady umbrella on the patio. Many Exmouth backpackers hostels arrange boat tours and airport transfers: just talk to the staff at reception. After an exhilarating day of snorkelling or diving, unwind in a friendly bar or common room.
The centre of Exmouth has the feel of a peaceful coastal village, with large green open spaces and wide roads lined with trees. Along Murat Road, you'll find plenty of tour companies as well as a few artisan cafés and bars, all housed in cool bungalows tucked away behind gardens and towering palms. Town Beach is the closest to the centre, where you can swim in the calm waters close to the shore, have a picnic or go windsurfing and sailing.
Exmouth is known for its water sports. To see turtles and reef sharks close up, hire a sea kayak and paddle north to the Bundegi Sanctuary Zone, or join a tour group and explore the Exmouth Gulf. You can learn how to surf on Wobiri Beach on the other side of the cape or paddle board up Yardie Creek in the Cape Range National Park. If you visit between March and August, you might spot migrating whale sharks from a tour boat – you can even swim with these gentle creatures.
To reach Exmouth, you can fly to Learmonth Airport, which is 36km down the coast. There are daily Quantas flights from Perth. At arrivals, jump on the Integrity Coachlines bus heading towards Broome and get off at the Exmouth Visitor's Centre. Getting around Exmouth is easy: either go by foot or hire a bike in the town centre. You can also hire camper vans for trips to Cape Range National Park.