Coral Bay, while smaller than Exmouth, I found to be more exciting and have more personality too. The village is directly on the beach, requiring no mode if transportation to enjoy the never ending wonders of the Ningaloo Reef.
The town was buzzing but the beaches weren't packed. Perhaps it was more to do with the cold temperatures as the waters are just beginning to warm up after winter.
For a small town, Coral Bay has options for the rich and the budget minded travelers. The biggest expense here will likely be the tour you go on, whether you're snorkeling with the Whale Sharks, Manta Rays or Sea Turtles, this place will provide a once in a lifetime experience.
Only a handful of tourist shops are in the shopping areas and they sell the usual tack that you buy anywhere, the main difference being this stuff says "Coral Bay" on it. The main street is short enough to walk in your sleep and finishes with a lookout of the town.
While accommodation here was a more expensive than Exmouth, the food was surprisingly less. Your regular baked goods were only a few dollars, not that anyone can put a price on a jelly donut. Bar fair is less than $10. They even accept dollar bills that have been soaked in seawater.
What made Coral Bay stand out was the two main bars in town having live music on a seemingly regular basis. Not bad for a town of less than 200 locals. The River Beats can be found playing on the West Coast of Australia, from Broome to Perth.
Across the street from town is the beach that hides the world famous Ningaloo Reef. This reef is said by many to be better than the Great Barrier Reef and the location is ideal for those traveling to Coral Bay. The reef begins only 50 meters from shore an easy snorkel to do if the water is warm. If you can't swim or hate shark bites, then you always have a refreshing coastal beach walk.
A walk up and down the beach is also sure to introduce you to the Mud Lark, a territorial bird known for dive bombing tourists with sunglasses on after it sees its own reflection in them.
The rugged beach by Coral Bay can be walked for miles as it continues past the town and on to more remote dunes and coastal bluffs.
Hey look, another sunset! Wow, I bet you never get tired of seeing those. If not, good, because this sunset is best enjoyed while having a jug of beer at The Ningaloo Reef Resort across the street.
While Coral Bay plays up the same tourist card as Exmouth (Ningaloo Reef) it actually has selling points. The people were friendlier and you can walk everywhere in town. It's a hard place not to like.
First Impressions of Melbourne