10 hours' drive or a 2 hour flight north of Perth, in the UNESCO Shark Bay World Heritage Area, you'll find the seaside town of Denham. Captain Henry Mangles Denham charted this region of Australia in 1858 aboard the HMS Herald and gave the town his surname. Once a pearling port, this friendly coastal town is the main population centre (of approximately 1000 residents) of Shark Bay and offers safe swimming beaches, restaurants, a golf course and the Monkey Mia Airport.
The seaside town, gateway to the Shark Bay area, provides many accommodation options for couples and families, from resorts and hotels to campsites and tourist parks. Kids will love the shipwreck themed playground at Denham’s foreshore, with a nearby pontoon to jump off and swim around the bay. Add a flip-flop, jandal or holiday footwear to the “Thong Shack” – ask a local where it’s located on Denham beach.
The 5km Nicholson Point trail meanders from Denham across shrub lands to Little Lagoon and offers a large range of plant species and bird life. Denham’s Discovery Trail will take you past sites of interest in town, covering 2.3km.
The shallow waters and summer winds make Shark Bay the ideal place for kite-surfing for beginners and experts alike. Book a lesson or join a kite surfing safari, departing from Denham. Divers are spoilt for choice in Shark Bay. The jewel in the crown has to be a day at Steep Point exploring Monkey Rock. The crystal waters of Dirk Hartog Island offer excellent snorkelling conditions.
Boating, diving, snorkelling, watching marine life, fishing (outside sanctuary zones), windsurfing and swimming are popular experiences available from Denham and there are numerous boat ramps.
Self-drive routes, cruises and tours from Denham will take you to some of Australia’s most amazing natural wonders, including WA’s famous Monkey Mia dolphins, Hamelin Pool stromatolites, Steep Point, Shell Beach, Dirk Hartog Island and Francois Peron National Park.
Shark Bay’s Ocean Park Aquarium not only protects rescued turtles, sharks and fish, but allows visitors to meet them up close. Guided tours with marine scientists are offered continuously throughout the day, or simply a meal at Oceans Restaurant overlooking Tinkerbell Flats.
Just 20km south of Denham is Eagle Bluff, a scenic viewpoint featuring a 100m walkway along the ridge of a cliff face. The ocean views from this vantage point are breathtaking, with turtles, rays and large fish to be seen in the shallow waters below. Finish off your day with a visit at sunset for an extraordinary experience.