Shark Bay

Swim with dolphins, hike red desert sands and visit Australia’s most westerly point at this World Heritage Site, home to diverse marine species and living fossils.

Shark Bay’s extraordinary natural beauty encompasses hundreds of kilometres of coastline, limestone cliffs, white-sand beaches and desert landscapes. Home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna, it’s where you can see whales, dolphins, turtles and some of the oldest living fossils on the planet. Go on scenic drives and bushwalks and explore marine depths.

A good way to experience the bay’s scenic splendour is to take the World Heritage Drive, a 130-kilometre (81-mile) route that starts at Overlander Roadhouse. It passes numerous scenic attractions on its way to the town of Monkey Mia.  

Among the drive's most fascinating sights are the stromatolites at the Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve. These are rock-like structures built by microbes, similar to the first life forms on Earth. Stop by Shell Beach, a stretch of coast covered with millions of shells. 

At Monkey Mia, swim with the bottlenose dolphins. A small population also comes close to the shore on most days. Other wildlife in Shark Bay includes loggerhead turtles, manta rays and humpback whales.

Drive to the nearby town of Denham, Shark Bay’s main population hub. Go to the Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre for exhibitions about the region's ecosystems and indigenous cultures.  

Explore Shark Bay’s waters on a boat trip, snorkelling or diving expedition. The bay features vast areas of seagrasss, including Wooramel Seagrass Bank, the largest known meadow of seagrass in the world. For more natural phenomena, head to Point Quobba to see mighty bursts of water spray from the blowholes.

Hike or go on a four-wheel drive through the red desert sands of Francois Peron National Park and stay overnight in a campsite at Big Lagoon or Bottle Bay. One of the bay’s most popular places to pitch a tent is Steep Point, mainland Australia’s westernmost tip.

Reach Shark Bay by flying into its regional airport, which connects with Perth. Alternatively, take the 10-hour drive from the state capital. Get around by car to experience as much of Shark Bay's stunning scenic diversity and wildlife as possible.

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