Shark Bay World Heritage Area became Western Australia's first world heritage listed area in 1991. It is one of two World Heritage areas within WA and one of only 16 Australia wide. Shark Bay World Heritage Area is a testimony to the wonders of the natural world.
The Aboriginal name for Shark Bay is “Gathaagudu” meaning “two bays”. The Indigenous people of Shark Bay are descendants of the Malgana tribe. They are the traditional owners of the Shark Bay area and are one of twelve language groups to be found in the Yamatji region which extends from Exmouth in the north, to Dongara in the south and across to Sandstone in the east.
Famous for its friendly Monkey Mia dolphins, there are few places in the world where you can experience marine wonders as you can in Shark Bay. On any visit, you're likely to spot turtles, dolphins, manta rays, whales and dugongs, be it on a boat or from the shore and at the end of it all, just relax amongst the stunning white beaches, crystal clear waters and rust-red sand dunes. Shark Bay World Heritage Areas wilderness and natural wonders make for a truly unique holiday.
No trip to the Shark Bay World Heritage Area is complete without visiting the following:
- Meet the wild bottlenose Monkey Mia dolphins who visit the Marine Park three times per day
- See the ancient Hamelin Pool stromatolites, only one of three stromatolite sites in the world
- Marvel at Shell Beach, 70km long and 10metres deep of white cockle shells
- Explore where the red-dirt desert meets the ocean at Francois Peron National Park
If you love wildlife, you will love Shark Bay.
The Marine Park is Australia’s largest marine embayment, with more than 1500 kilometres of meandering coastline. The bay is home to a myriad of aquatic wildlife including dolphins, dugongs, manta rays and turtles and some 17 species of mammals including humpback whales, 98 species of reptiles and amphibians including the thorny devil and more than 230 species of birds. And because of these creatures, Shark Bay is a popular destination for divers, snorkelers, and nature lovers.
While in Denham, discover the whole story of the area's natural and historical treasures at the Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre. With soundscapes, historic and contemporary film footage, multimedia interactive and objects of rare scientific and historic significance, take a journey around Shark Bay.
Francois Peron National Park and in particular Bottle Bay boasts stunning scenery as rust red sand dunes, or take in the expansive views of bright white sand and vivid blue ocean from SkipJack Point. Big Lagoon and Little Lagoon are two greats place for swimming, kayaking and a relaxing family barbeque.
Steep Point is the most western point in the country and features the magnificent Zuytdorp Cliffs, towering 170m above sea level. Accessible is by four-wheel drive only, visitors must bring all their own supplies and drinking water. For those who like a little seclusion, Dirk Hartog Island offers a peaceful retreat of beautiful scenery and private white sandy beaches. Boat and air tours need to be pre-booked.
At Hamelin Pool Marine and Nature Reserve you can view the oldest and largest living fossils in the world, the Stromatolites. At nearby Shell Beach, marvel at this beautiful snow-white beach made up of millions of tiny shells up to 10 metres deep and stretching for over 70 kilometres. Some 20 kilometres south of Denham, Eagle Bluff offers a bird’s eye view of the surrounding.
For more information, or to book your visit to the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, visit the Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery and Visitor Centre website or call +61 8 9948 1590.