Head north to Denham and Monkey Mia on Australia’s Coral Coast and discover a World Heritage listed region renowned for its unique natural wonders and friendly dolphins. From the fiery-red cliffs of Francois Peron National Park and the ancient Hamelin Pool stromatolites to amazing marine life encounters, experience it all on the Shark Bay Explorer.
Perth to Kalbarri (Approx 570 kilometres)
Start your journey early and drive north from Perth along the Brand Highway towards Geraldton, and take a break for lunch and check out the foreshore. Take a refreshment stop at one of the many parks or cafes in Geraldton before continuing your journey to Kalbarri. Check into your accommodation, then take in the sunset views from one of the many coastal walk trails. Take a sunset cruise, or grab a surfboard and head for the renowned surf break, Jacques Point before tucking into a fresh seafood feast for dinner at one of the many local restaurants. After dinner, sit back and relax under the stars at the outdoor cinema (seasonal in school holidays).
Overnight: Kalbarri accommodation
Kalbarri to Denham (Approx 375 kilometres)
On your journey back to the highway, explore Kalbarri National Park, visiting the picturesque lookouts at Nature's Window, the Loop and Z-Bend Gorge, and the new Kalbarri Skywalk. Continue north to Denham, in Australia’s Shark Bay World Heritage Area. Follow the interpretive signage along the Shark Bay World Heritage Drive to the remarkable Hamelin Pool stromatolites – the oldest living fossils in the world – and the calm, crystal waters of Shell Beach – a 120km stretch of beach made entirely of millions of tiny shells. Stop at Eagle Bluff for spectacular ocean views along a 100m walkway, where reef sharks, dugongs and rays are regularly spotted. Continue onto Denham, check in to your accommodation, enjoy a drink on the foreshore and watch the sunset over the ocean.
Shark Bay and surrounds
Today, you can choose from a multitude of activities on offer. For some rugged adventure, join a day tour to nearby Dirk Hartog Island or Francois Peron National Park. Keen fisherman can try their hand at catching a prized fish, off the surrounding beaches or join a fishing charter. Drive out to Peron Homestead, to explore the remarkable history of the area surrounding Denham and Monkey Mia on Australia’s Coral Coast and take a revitalizing dip in the hot tub, fed with natural artesian water. Nearby, Little Lagoon is an ideal spot for an afternoon picnic and a refreshing swim. In the late afternoon, head to Monkey Mia and relax and unwind aboard a relaxing sunset catamaran cruise.
Monkey Mia, Australia’s best dolphin encounter
Spend the morning at Monkey Mia where Australia’s famous bottlenose dolphins visit the shores daily. The dolphins are fed up to three times each day, which accounts for just one-third of their daily diet. The first feeding is at around 7.30am. Enjoy an adventurous camel trek along the spectacular beaches of Shark Bay, or head down to the jetty to join a catamaran tour and visit a local pearl farm to discover the stunning beauty of Shark Bay pearls. Watch out for dolphins, dugongs and turtles in the pristine waters. Spend the afternoon enjoying the facilities of Monkey Mia including the natural spa, filled with warm artesian water. Enjoy dinner on the shores of Monkey Mia and join an astronomy or Indigenous cultural tour before turning in.
Monkey Mia to Geraldton (Approx 430 kilometres)
Enjoy a lazy breakfast on the foreshore this morning, before hiring a kayak to explore the surrounding waters or joining a land-based tour to find out about the Indigenous history of Denham, Monkey Mia and Australia’s Shark Bay region. After lunch, start your journey south towards, Geraldton. Stop by at Northampton for afternoon tea, and explore the town’s rich colonial heritage. Or why not get in tune with another dimension at Oakabella Homestead, considered Western Australia’s most haunted house. Continue on to Geraldton for dinner at one of the city’s restaurants.
Overnight: Geraldton accommodation
Geraldton to Perth (Approx 420 kilometres)
This morning, head up to the impressive HMAS Sydney II Memorial. Commemorating the lives of 645 sailors who died in World War II, it provides sweeping views across Geraldton and the Indian Ocean. Join a free 30-minute tour of the memorial from 10:30am before continuing your journey along the Indian Ocean Way to Cervantes to explore the mystical Pinnacles Desert. The road into the Pinnacles is sealed, and there is a car park within walking distance of the limestone structures. After exploring the Pinnacles, head to the Desert Discovery Centre to learn more about these fascinating formations. You can also pick up locally-made handcrafted souvenirs here. Enjoy a swim at Hangover Bay or Cervantes before making the final journey back to Perth.