From the World Heritage inscription:
The 604,500 hectare marine and terrestrial property of Ningaloo Coast, on the remote western coast of Australia, includes one of the longest near-shore reefs in the world. On land the site features an extensive karst system and network of underground caves and water courses. Annual gatherings of whale sharks occur at Ningaloo Coast, which is home to numerous marine species, among them a wealth of sea turtles. The terrestrial part of the site features subterranean water bodies with a substantial network of caves, conduits, and groundwater streams. They support a variety of rare species that contribute to the exceptional biodiversity of the marine and terrestrial site.
I knew that eventually someplace I visited would be declared a world heritage site after I visited. This happened for the first time this year when the Ningaloo Coast and Wadi Rum were added to the list. I debated about how I should count them: should I add them to my list as I visited them, or put them later down the list reflecting when they were added? I eventually decided to add them as they were put on the list, not when I visited. If I put them on my list based on my visit then I could get in a nightmare situation of having to renumber everything, every year. So, even though I visited back in 2008 I’m counting it between sites I visited in 2011.
The Ningaloo Reef is the largest fringe reef in the world and is overshadowed by the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Also, because the northwest part of Australia gets so few tourists, few people know about it.
I went swimming with whale sharks on the Ningloo Coast in 2008. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the sharks themselves because I didn’t have an underwater camera. I did, however, get some photos of humpback whale tails which unfortunately is the best I can do.
View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.