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3 Islands Whale Shark Encounters

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3 Islands Whale Shark Marine Encounters

Why we Love 3 Islands Whale Shark Encounters

Swimming with a whale shark is the experience of a lifetime – a unique wildlife interaction that will live with you forever and 3 Islands Whale Shark Encounters are dedicated in making the best possible day for travellers and committed to sustainable tourism.

Apart from the thrill of swimming with the world’s largest fish, the tour raises awareness of the worldwide need to protect this threatened species.

Tours schedules are guaranteed due to owning their own spotter plane that was chosen specifically for whale shark spotting and lower impact on the environment. This plane uses 30% less fuel than other planes and runs on unleaded rather than leaded aviation fuel.

Three Islands whale shark encounters have been proud finalists in the Western Australian Tourism Awards for the last nine years running and medal winners on seven occasions.

Your tour will include the following highlights;

  • Snorkel with a Whale Shark growing up to 10 meters!
  • Introductory snorkel on the inner Ningaloo Reef
  • Passionate crew who love our marine life
  • Opportunity to see Manta Rays (from late May)
  • See a Humpback Whale breach (from late June)
  • Courtesy pick up and drop off from your Exmouth accommodation
  • All quality snorkel gear and wetsuits
  • Morning tea, delicious buffet lunch, afternoon tea and refreshments
  • FREE photo CD from your day created by our experienced photographer
  • Start the day a morning snorkel on World Heritage Listed Ningaloo Reef
  • Complimentary beer and champagne for the cruise home



Morning Pick-up

Your day starts at approximately 7.15am when the Three Islands Whale Shark air conditioned courtesy bus picks you up from your Exmouth accommodation. There is a 36 kilometre journey to the Tantabiddi Boat Ramp departure point.

During the drive to Tantabiddi, an informative and factual commentary on local points of interest is given, including the Cape Range National Park. The day’s program is also outlined, helping to ensure you feel relaxed, informed and comfortable about the upcoming day’s events.

From the boat ramp you are transferred to the 17 metre “Draw Card”. Once on board, wetsuits and snorkel equipment are fitted, the crew are introduced and a vessel safety brief is given.

Snorkel the inner Ningaloo Reef

A short cruise through the lagoon and the marine adventure begins with an introductory snorkel on the beautiful inner Ningaloo Reef. If required, assistance and snorkel tuition can be provided by your tour guides. Have the chance to see a turtle swim past, a ray resting in the sand and a myriad of colourful fish amongst the coral.

Following the morning snorkel, a whale shark interaction briefing is given over morning tea where the code of conduct is explained by one of your guides.

At the conclusion of the brief the vessel fires into life and you can feel the anticipation build as we head to the outer reef waiting for the spotter plane to notify us that a whale shark has been found.

Whale Shark Encounters

The radio crackles and the adventure is about to begin, the deck starts to buzz as the crew and passengers get ready. A mix of sheer excitement with a hint of apprehension is visible on even the most experienced swimmers’ faces.

“What am I about to do? I’m jumping in the ocean with the world’s biggest fish!?”

As the skipper lines up the boat, what awaits our first group of swimmers? Faces down, you see it emerging from the distance with it massive mouth wide open, as it gets closer and swims past, apprehension becomes amazement and the excitement builds as you swim along with your own big spotty fish! Groups are rotated through the water to snorkel alongside; always with the company safety zodiac following behind if anyone requires assistance.

Guests often let out a cheer while waiting to be picked up, ready to do it again and again. Our photographer is always there capturing images and moments that will long be remembered for the complimentary CD. Alternatively BYO USB or request a download link emailed to you.

Buffet Lunch and Afternoon Tea

During all the excitement, a delicious lunch is served buffet style. If time permits, we head back to the inner reef to conclude the day with a reef snorkel. You may have the opportunity to swim with manta rays if spotted (from late May) and see humpback whales from the boat (from late June).

A fruit and cheese platter finishes off the day, with a complimentary beer and champagne as we cruise back to the boat ramp, and then back home to your accommodation.



This tour departs seasonally only dependant on the movement and migration of the Whale Sharks.

General Season: Early March to the end of August

  • Exmouth Pick-ups: from 7:15am
  • Returns Exmouth: approx. 5:00pm
Whale Shark No Sighting Policy:

On the rare occasion not sighting a whale shark our policy gives those snorkelling the following options;

    1. Free repeat tour on the next available day
    2. Partial refund up to 50%
    3. Or a repeat voucher valid for 2 years

Observers are entitled to the partial refund of up to 50% only.

Some other animals are seasonal and we that passengers will see all, or in rare cases any of the more sought after animals found on the reef. These animals include Humpback Whales, Dugongs and Turtles.

No Sighting Terms and Conditions

  • A No Sighting is determined by the company or its representatives.
  • Guests who on the day decide to not enter the water for whatever reason and therefore do not see a whale shark, are not entitled to the No Sighting Policy including the free repeat tour or the refund option.
  • Guests who enter the water and claim they did not see the shark, while other guests in the group did, will not be entitled to the No Sighting Policy including the free repeat tour or the refund option.
  • In the case of a second no-sighting, i.e. guests who had a no-sighting on their first trip and elected to take another free tour rather than a refund, will not be eligible for any further refunds or tours. There are no further conditions on the free repeat tour.
  • All of the terms and conditions are set by the management of 3 Islands Whale Shark Dive. Any variations or exemptions from some or all of the conditions will only be accepted on written advice from the management of 3 Islands.
Important Tour Information
  • Child age: 0-17 years
  • Family: 2 Adults + 2 Children
  • Most additional Dietary Requirements can be catered for – Please ask upon booking.
  • Please read the ‘No Sighting Guarantee’

What to Bring
  • Towel, swim wear, sun glasses and hat
  • Reef safe sunscreen – what is this?
  • Warm jacket for the afternoon
  • Reusable sustainable water bottle
  • Camera
  • If you are prone to seasickness, medication is advisable.

Cancellation/Refund Policy
  • If a group of 5 or more cancel at least 3 days in advance of the scheduled departure, there is a 20% cancellation fee.
  • If you cancel (1-4 persons) at least 3 days in advance of the scheduled departure, there is a NO cancellation fee.
  • If you cancel between 24-48 hours in advance of the scheduled departure, there is a 50% cancellation fee.
  • If you cancel within 24 hours of the scheduled departure, there is a 100% cancellation fee.
  • Unless otherwise stated all refunds will incur a 10% administration fee
We recommend you purchase Travel Insurance which would cover for such things as road closures, flight,  bus or other travel cancellations that would contribute to you missing the departure of your tour.
Eco-Certification Awards

The following Eco-Accreditation from Eco Tourism Australia had been achieved.

  • Eco Certified EcotourismEcotourism Australia: Setting Ethical Standards for the Travel Industry

Tourism in a natural area that focuses on optimal resources use, leaves minimal impact on the environment and offers interesting ways to learn about the environment with operators that use resources wisely, contribute to conserving the environment and help local communities.

Additional Conservation Initiatives
  • Tree Planting

As part of their ongoing commitment to the environment, in partnership with Carbon Neutral, 3 Islands Whale Shark Encounters now contributes native trees to an ongoing planting programme for every tour we conduct.

More information can be found here.

Where Booking Tours means Saving Rainforest

Tree Hugger Travel invest in rebuilding biodiversity hotspots around the world by funding land acquisition through the highly respected World Land Trust and their projects.

Saving Rainforest with David Attenborough, World Land Trust's No.1 Supporter and Patron

How Do We Do That ?

We fund it with Your travel bookings and our eco-rewards programme.

  • Every dollar earns an eco-reward
  • For example: Spend $100 ⇢ Earn 100 eco-rewards
  • Reaching 750 eco-rewards will enable us to fund the permanent protection of 1/4 Acre of Real Rainforest in Real Places.
  • Continue earning and every 750 eco-rewards Tree Hugger Travel will continue protecting.

☆ Recognising Your Contribution ☆

You made this happen and in recognition, You will receive a colourful and informative gift pack by post.

This includes a personalised certificate, information about the project you supported and a letter from World Land Trust thanking you for Your support.

More information? Head to our Eco Rewards Programme page.


Tree Hugger Travel - What is eco-certification - Eco Certified Tourism Certification

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Fares Departing Exmouth

Get in touch

Please ask our friendly support team as many questions as you need.

It is possible to make reservations with our personal travel managers.

Please contact us for:

Your Bookings Save Rainforest

Earn Eco-Rewards that fund the purchase of biologically important threatened rainforests around the world.

We partner with the World Land Trust to make this happen and you, our customers, will receive a personalised certificate in recognition of the land you have helped to save.

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3 Islands Whale Shark

Ningaloo Whale Shark Encounters

Full Day Experience | Departs Exmouth