12 best things to do in Shark Bay

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  • Post last modified:June 30, 2024
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Sure, come to see what the renowned Monkey Mia Dolphin Experience is all about. But don’t miss all the other jaw-dropping things to do in Shark Bay, ranging from exploring the red depths of Francois Peron National Park to conquering Australia’s westernmost tip.

1. Marvel at the playful Monkey Mia dolphins

Rise and shine to line up with fellow visitors along the shoreline of Monkey Mia Conservation Park. Soon wild Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins approach — they have almost daily since the 1960s — receiving handouts of fish from rangers and volunteers.

Marveling at the playful dolphins, splashing in the shallows just meters away, you can rest assured that the Monkey Mia Dolphin Experience follows strict guidelines. Not to interfere with the animals’ natural hunting instincts, only up to three feedings are offered each morning.

Rangers and volunteers feeding dolphins during the Dolphin Experience in Monkey Mia, Shark Bay
Be amazed by the famous Dolphin Experience.

2. Savour breakfast with a view at Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort

Just steps from the Dolphin Experience, the Boughshed Restaurant serves tasty fare with a breathtaking view. Dig in while admiring the glittering Shark Bay in front of you — this is holiday.

Want to wake up in this dreamy location too? Book a room at the Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort — the only place to stay in Monkey Mia.

Breakfast at the Boughshed Restaurant in Monkey Mia backdropped by glittering water
How about breakfast with this view?

3. Unwind in the sand on Monkey Mia Beach

Swaying palm trees, soft white sand and clear blue water backdropped by red cliffs — Monkey Mia Beach sets a stunning scene for lazy days under the sun. Enjoy soothing activities like sunbaking, swimming, paddleboarding and leisurely strolling along the coastline.

Oh, and keep an eye out for leaping dolphins throughout the day. Those friendly marine creatures often hang out by the water’s edge long after the ranger-led interactions have ended.

4. Learn about the region at Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre

On the UNESCO World Heritage List, Shark Bay boasts exceptional landscapes teeming with wildlife and more than a few inspiring human chapters. Learn all about it by uncovering the three themed sections at Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre.

The Living Place showcases Shark Bay’s diverse natural features, making it such a significant place on our planet.

The Mapping Place tells human stories, ranging from the Indigenous Malgana people to Dutch traders to the pastoral days.

The Experiencing Place colourfully displays how nature and culture come together in Shark Bay.

5. Discover the left-behind Peron Heritage Precinct

A former sheep station, the Peron Heritage Precinct offers a trip back to Shark Bay’s pastoral era. Take a self-guided walk around the property to see where shearers used to live and work, at least until the pub lured them away. Top if all off with a soak in the artesian hot tub, just as rustic as you can imagine it.

To get here, enter Francois Peron National Park and drive 6 km on the unsealed but 2WD accessible Peron Road. This is one of many highlights within the national park but the only one reachable without 4WD.

Structures at Peron Homestead, a former sheep station, in Francois Peron National Park
Inspect the historic Peron Homestead.

6. Four-wheel drive into the untouched depths of Francois Peron National Park

Exploring Francois Peron National Park past the Peron Heritage Precinct means that you need a 4WD vehicle. Either use your own car or join a guided tour to venture into its red depths.

At the Peron Peninsula’s northern tip, the 3.6-km return Wanamalu Trail — connecting Cape Peron and Skipjack Point — makes it hard to pick a favorite feature. Is it the magnificent collision of snow-like beaches, rising red bluffs and blue water? Or is it the superb wildlife viewing opportunities that this environment creates? From the elevated trail, scan for sharks, manta rays, turtles and dugongs in the ocean below you.

Red sandy road leading into Francois Peron National Park, WA
A 4WD adventure awaits in Francois Peron NP.

7. See ravenous sharks feed at Ocean Park Aquarium

Follow a marine scientist around Ocean Park Aquarium, immersing yourself in the underwater world. Slippery moray eels and sea snakes grab your attention, yet the showstopper during the family-friendly one-hour tour is the included shark feeding.

If the sharks’ appetite rubs off on you, continue towards the breezy Oceans Restaurant, commanding iconic Shark Bay views.

8. Conquer Australia’s westernmost Steep Point

Entering the aptly named Useless Loop Road from Shark Bay Road, you have a bumpy 3-hour ride (requiring a 4WD vehicle) in front of you to reach Steep Point. The bucket-list target makes up for the corrugation, though: Welcome to mainland Australia’s westernmost point.

9. Eat dinner at the one-of-a-kind Old Pearler

Book a table at homey Old Pearler, sitting along Denham’s oceanfront promenade, to indulge in some of the best seafood in Shark Bay. As memorable as the fare is the quirky building itself — constructed with heavily compacted shell bricks.

Table at the Old Pearler restaurant in Denham, with walls made of shell bricks
Savor a meal at the shell-built Old Pearler (zoom).

10. Find seclusion on Dirk Hartog Island

To the west of the Peron Peninsula, Dirk Hartog Island — Western Australia’s biggest island — marks the end of Shark Bay and Australia. The entire island, fringed by deserted white beaches, is a national park, allowing you to go off the grid and get back to nature.

For the full balsam-for-your-soul experience, bed down at the island’s luxurious eco lodge, complete with the Inscription Bar & Cafe serving signature gin and tonics. Alternatively, consider a compact day trip including a 4WD tour.

11. Tick off the sights along Shark Bay World Heritage Drive

The branded combo of Shark Bay Road and Monkey Mia Road, Shark Bay World Heritage Drive stretches for 150 km from Overlander Roadhouse, on the North West Coastal Highway, to the dolphins in Monkey Mia. Make stops along this only way into Shark Bay to capture some of the region’s signature features.

  • Hamelin Pool: Don’t let your eyes fool you: These living stromatolites, microbial reefs created by cyanobacteria, may look rather dull, but they are world-famous direct descendants of the earliest life on earth, going back some 3,500 million years.
  • Shell Beach: There’s no sand in sight here. Instead, trillions of tiny cockle shells — the material used to build the Old Pearler in Denham — form deposits as thick as 10 metres.
  • Eagle Bluff: Look for marine wildlife, including sharks and rays, as you stroll the 400-m Eagle Bluff Boardwalk, extraordinarily tracing the cliffs over Henri Freycinet Harbour.
Seemingly endless Shark Bay coastline covered with tiny white cockle shells
Shell Beach along Shark Bay World Heritage Drive.

12. Embark on a Shark Bay cruise

There’s no shortage of options to go out on that mesmerizing water, taking you to the heart of Shark Bay’s famous marine habitats.

Set out on a nature cruise from Monkey Mia to search for dugongs, which enjoy some of the richest sea-grass beds in the world —and turtles, dolphins, manta rays and sharks, of course.

Choose a full day marine safari from Denham to not only snorkel in beautiful wildlife-filled waters but also see the westernmost Steep Point and land on isolated Dirk Hartog Island.

Cruise boat on the waters off Monkey Mia in Shark Bay
Explore the diverse waters of Shark Bay.

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