Pastoral land and white sandy beaches slowly transform into open red dirt country as you travel from Perth to the Shark Bay region.
This 10-hour drive from Perth can be done in a day but an overnight stop is recommended and Geraldton is the ideal halfway point. Along with its beautiful beaches, Geraldton’s revitalised waterfront and a flourishing café scene make it well worth a stop. From Geraldton, it’s 380km along the North West Coastal Highway to Western Australia’s first World Heritage Listed area – Shark Bay.
Start your sightseeing by stopping at the Hamelin Pool stromatolites, the world’s oldest living fossils, and then Shell Beach where trillions of tiny shells in layers up to 10 metres deep fill a 70km stretch of dazzling white beach. The shells were once quarried and used to build walls in local buildings.
Denham is your gateway to the region. Visit the Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre there for a detailed and visual insight into the history and geology of this special region. Not far from Denham is Francois Peron National Park with its spectacular coastal scenery. Once a working sheep station, you can visit the park’s Peron Homestead Precinct to learn more about the area’s Aboriginal and European history. You can also take a dip in the hot tub filled with hot artesian waters.
To the west of Denham on Dirk Hartog Island, visit the 1616 landing site of Captain Dirk Hartog and explore many fascinating natural attractions, including the island’s blow holes. Day trips are available.
Just 26km east of Denham is the region’s most popular attraction – the world famous Monkey Mia dolphins. For decades, dolphin pods have been visiting the beach and interacting with humans. Visitors can take part in daily feeding sessions, strictly supervised by Rangers and learn more about the dolphins’ remarkable social behaviours, many of which are unique to the dolphins of Monkey Mia.
Stay at RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort
RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort is the only accommodation at the famous dolphin beach. RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort is situated midway up the West Australian coastline within the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, home to one of the world’s best-known dolphin encounters.
The Resort offer holidaymakers a truly unique experience in unspoilt surrounds. With beachfront accommodation situated on the pristine shores of Shark Bay, you won’t have to go far to feel the sand between your toes.
Inside the Resort, which has undergone significant expansions and upgrades (due for completion in July 2018), there are accommodation options to suit all travellers. From luxurious beach front villas, to brand new 2 and 3 bedroom family villas, powered and unpowered caravan and camping sites, some in absolute beach front location to motel-style rooms, RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort gives holidaymakers the opportunity to experience the natural wonders of Shark Bay- regardless of their budget.
Things to do
- Meet the friendly dolphins of Monkey Mia
- Hire a kayak and explore Shark Bay along with the abundance of wildlife
- Set sail on a Catamaran cruise
- Go stargazing from the beach
- Visit Ocean Park Aquarium, an eco-friendly attraction home to turtles, sea snakes, stingrays and view the hourly shark feedings
- Take a dive tour from Steep Point, the westernmost point of Australia
- Explore Dirk Hartog island on a day tour
- Take an Indigenous cultural tour, learn about bush tucker and medicine
- Stroll along Shell Beach, only one of two beaches in the world made entirely of tiny cockle shells
- Dine at the Boughshed Restaurant at sunset, with spectacular views over Monkey Mia