My friend Jackie and I have just returned from a week of adventuring up the North of WA. We drove the 1,264 km to the small coastal town of Exmouth, located at the tip of the North West Cape in roughly 14 hours from Perth.The trip to Exmouth came about as I concluded it would be much more rewarding to embrace rather than deny and despise my reaching of a quarter of century this month. I decided to mark the occasion by venturing off into the wilderness and being one with nature, opposed to the less active usual alternative. A very dear friend, Sam had moved up there earlier in the year, after deciding her life required a sea change and conveniently scored a job working for one of the many Whale Shark Tour Companies, which also contributed further to the appeal to go bush. When you find yourself up in this part of the world make sure you stop by Coral Bay for a day or two. This touristy, little town with bleach white sandy beaches is a perfect introduction to what is in store for you once your reach the rest of the Ningaloo Reef and National Park. On arrival to Exmouth’s town don’t be deterred by its appearance! It is a bizarre let down compared to what’s in store for you in the surrounding natural landscape. If you have not already booked yourself into a whale shark tour DO THIS IMMEDIATELY, as this truly is a bucket list essential. The day we went out on a tour began with sighting hump back whales, pods of spinner dolphins and a group of tiger and reef sharks feeding off a giant bait ball (not really what you want to see minutes before you jump into open water to swim with the whale sharks, but there you go… you’re in nature now!). Whale Sharks are the biggest fish in the sea, growing potentially to a whopping 12+ meters in length. They’re also devastatingly close to extinction due to poaching, which is still happening today in more areas of the world than where they are protected. We were fortunate enough to swim with eight throughout the day and see another two quizzically come right up to the boat! Swimming with the docile creatures completely takes your breath away and will be like no other experience. The rest of our afternoon was spent snorkelling inside the reef’s lagoon, capturing glimpses of turtles, dugongs and every other kind of fish featured in ‘Finding Nemo’. Once returned safely to dry land we headed to the William DeVlaming Lighthouse with a bottle of wine for sunset. Exmouth I must say, knows how to put on a rather good sunset. For the rest of our time in Exmouth Sam gave us the local tour. We snorkelled at Turquoise Bay, Oyster Stacks and Sandy Bay. Again, we were stunned at the natural fauna of the reef. Swimming with more reef sharks, turtles and even spying 3 surly lionfish. We camped overnight in the national park where we indulged in another beautiful sunset (and bottle of wine). The whole experience has made me appreciate just how lucky we are in Australia and particularly Western Australia to still have access to such amazing, healthy marine life. It also makes you realize that any marine life should not spend its existence in a tanks, they are meant to be free. So start saving you petrol pennies and get north, it really is where it’s at.