Best known as the home of the Monkey Mia dolphins, the Reserve is a must-see for families and nature lovers alike. It’s located on the eastern shore of Peron Peninsula, about 23 kilometres from the town of Denham in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. Famous for their almost daily ritual of swimming to shore to interact with humans, the dolphins of Monkey Mia attract thousands of visitors to Australia’s Shark Bay region every year.
Why is it called Monkey Mia when it's home to dolphins? Good question!
It's unusual name and many Shark Bay locals debate its origin, the Mia part comes from an Aboriginal term for home but many believe is that the Monkey refers to the name of a ship which visited the area, others believe it refers to the Malaysian pearl farmers who worked the area during 1850s and would have pet monkeys.
How does the Dolphin experience work?
- Times for the dolphin experiences depend on if and when the dolphins visit the beach. Whilst they are only offered fish during their first three visits between 7:45am and 12 noon, they often visit the beach outside these times.
- As the bottlenose dolphins are wild, numbers and the exact time of their visit varies just generally the first sighting of the dolphins arriving anytime from 7.30am.
- The dolphins usually visit the shore up to three times a day.
- Between four to seven dolphins visit for daily feedings, with up to 20 others visiting occasionally, often sighted in the bay with swimmers or on wildlife cruises.
- Protected by WA’s Parks and Wildlife Service, the dolphins are well looked after and four provisioned dolphins are provided less than 10% of their daily requirement, to ensure these dolphins continue to hunt and remain wild.
- You may get the opportunity to feed the dolphins under the supervision of a national park ranger, though this privilege is not guaranteed.
- Swimming with and touching the dolphins is prohibited by law - however, these monitored feeding experiences allow you to get up close and personal with the dophins.
Learn more about Meeting a Monkey Mia Dolphin
Access to the reserve is subject to a separate Reserve fee - this is different to a National Park pass. You can also learn more about these fascinating creatures at the Dolphin Information Centre, the proceeds of which support WA’s Monkey Mia Appeal Trust.