A Brief History

Exmouth has held a small annual Festival in September for years – catering mainly for the local community as well as any holidaymakers who may be visiting. The ‘Aquafest’ celebrated Exmouth’s close relationship with the beautiful, pristine waters of the Ningaloo Reef and the Exmouth Gulf. The Aquafest was a one-day event, first held on the town oval, then on a waterfront site of the new Marina development.

In 2002, when the Marina site was no longer available, the Ningaloo Whaleshark Festival was born. A one-day event held in May each year on the town oval.

In 2006, due to popular demand, the event was extended to three days, and included events such as the Whale Shark Challenge Triathlon, a new regional arts prize, the ‘Exibald’ prize for portrait painting and an annual cricket match on the town oval between a celebrity team versus the locals.

Unfortunately the festival didn’t run in 2008, 2009 and 2010 for a number of reasons. In 2011 the Ningaloo Whaleshark Festival returned to the Exmouth social calendar and has gone from strength to strength ever since, developing into the fantastic, multidimensional, four day event that it is today. Visitors from around the state, the country and the world come to Exmouth to enjoy all that this unique festival offers.

The Ningaloo Whaleshark Festival is possibly the only event held in honour of that unique and spectacular creature, the whale shark. However, the Ningaloo Whaleshark Festival also celebrates all that the World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef environment offers, promoting sustainability and environmental responsibility throughout the entire Ningaloo region.