World Heritage-Listed Shark Bay is surrounded by a rich marine park, incorporates two stunning peninsulas and has a rich history and culture. As a result, there are so many things to do in Shark Bay for young and old alike.
The most popular thing to do in Shark Bay is to watch the world-famous wild dolphins that turn up in the shallow water of Monkey Mia for feeding each day. Its now so popular that the morning feeding session (around 7:45am) is a bit of a circus and it’s hard to get close to the action; hang around after everyone leaves until the second feeding for a more satisfying experience.
The area around Shark Bay is teeming with ongoing geological processes, unique natural phenomena and evolutionary history. Hamelin Pool, a marine reserve containing the world’s best known colony of stromatolites is one of the Shark Bay attractions worth visiting. These brown rocklike formations are made up of modest microbes almost identical to organisms that existed 1900 millions years ago and evolved into more complex life. Another Shark Bay tourist attraction is the miniature cockleshells that cover the extraordinary Shell Beach, 50km from Hamelin. These shells are peculiar to Shark Bay and cement together after rain, making sturdy white bricks – look out for them in Denham.
Shark Bay’s waters heave with fish, turtles, the world’s biggest population of dugongs, manta rays, sea snakes, and, June through October, humpback whales. One of the best places to view some of the marine life from land is from Eagle Bluff. Here, there are spectacular cliff-top views of the sharks and other marine life swimming in the clear waters below. The top of this bluff also offers fine panoramic views across Freycinet Reach, with a chance of seeing the eagles that nest on the offshore islands.
Francois Peron National Park
The national park in the Shark Bay area, Francois Peron National Park was a vast sheep station until 1990. At the tip of Peron Peninsula, this national park, now accessible by 4WD, is worth an excursion for panoramic views of cliffs and gorges, snorkelling and fishing sites and bushwalking tracks.
Australia’s most westerly town, laid-back Denham, with its crystal clear water and charming beachfront, makes a decent base for visiting the marine park, nearby Francois Peron National Park, and Monkey Mia, 26km away. Almost all visitor facilities are on the main thoroughfare, Knight Tce.