Visit the oldest and largest living fossils in the world at Hamelin Pool.
A visit to the remarkable Hamelin Pool stromatolites in the Coral Coast is a must when holidaying in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. Stromatolites are considered 'living fossils', part of the Earth's evolutionary history, and the stromatolites at Hamelin Pool are among the oldest and largest on earth.
Hamelin Pool in Western Australia is a place of great scientific interest to botanists and geologists as it gives an indication of what the earth may have looked like about 3.5 billion years ago when stromatolites grew widespread across the water. Visitors can view these amazing life forms, without causing damage by walking on a purpose-built jetty and looking down at the Hamelin Pool stromatolites below. Please note: the boardwalk is currently closed and due to reopen in late-2023. The stromatolites can still be seen from the Hamelin Pool quarry, however the view is limited. Scenic flights offer a great vantage point and unique perspective of the stromatolites from above.
Found by accident in 1956 by an oil company, the 202,000-hectare private reserve created by Bush Heritage Australia, will continue to protect Hamelin Pool and the stromatolites it is home to.
The marine stromatolites found in Hamelin Pool of Shark Bay are considered to be the best example of their kind found in the world. Stromatolites grow successfully and undisturbed at Hamelin Pool because the sea water is twice as saline as usual sea water, due to a bar across the entrance of the bay and also due to rapid evaporation of shallow water.
The Hamelin Pool stromatolites are located approximately 1 hour, 30 minutes' drive from Denham and 1 hour, 45 minutes' drive from Monkey Mia. Driving from Perth to Denham takes approximately 8.5 hours (subject to rest breaks and overnight stops), or it's a two hour flight with Regional Express Airlines from Perth.
The oldest Stromatolites in the world are found in Western Australia, and date back 3.5 billion years old. As such, the stromatolites provide a record of local environmental changes. Hamelin Pool in Western Australia is one of only two places on earth where living marine stromatolites exist, and the location contains by far the biggest colony on earth.
Stromatolites which are found up to a metre high are believed to grow at a maximum of 0.3mm per year - they are truly "living fossils". 80% of the history of all life was stromatolites – for that time, stromatolites were king.
The Stromatolites can currently be seen from the Hamelin Pool Quarry, however the Stromatolites Boardwalk is scheduled for completion in late 2023, which allows you to walk out across the Stromatolites to see them up close.
Alternatively, you can visit the site on tour with Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Cultural Adventures or see them from above on a scenic flight with Shark Bay Aviation.