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Shark Bay, Western Australia

Photo © Daggi.Oli

Travel Guide Oceania Australia Western Australia Shark Bay, Western Australia

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Introduction

The Shark Bay World Heritage Area covers over 2.2 million hectares on the Western Australian coast. The park was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1991, in recognition of its unique marine life, including the stromatolites which provide evidence of early life on our planet. The extensive seagrass meadows found in the park play home to numerous endangered and threatened species. Another world renowned special attraction of the park is Monkey Mia, where a group of wild bottlenose dolphins have been coming ashore to the beach for more than 40 years.

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Sights and Activities

  • Hamelin Pool Stromatolites - The waters in Hamelin Pool are twice as salty as normal seawater, which provides a home for the stromatolites. They are built by microbes called cyanobacteria, and are similar to life forms found on Earth up to 3.5 billion years ago. Hamelin Pool is one of only three places on the globe where living marine stromatolites exist.
  • Shell Beach - The beach here is made up of tiny shells all from one type of animal, extending up to a depth of 10 metres. The beach extends in parts for up to a kilometre in width and is many kilometres long. It is certainly not your typical sandy beach!
  • Monkey Mia is world famous for its dolphins - almost every day for more than 40 years a small number of wild bottlenose dolphins come ashore to be fed and to interact with the delighted onlookers.

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Opening Hours

Sunrise to sunset - there is no set opening or closing hours for the park.

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Cost

There are no fees to enter the Shark Bay World Heritage area.

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Getting There

By Train

Getting to Shark Bay by train is not possible.

By Car

Shark Bay is located 800 kilometres north of the capital city of Western Australia, Perth. A sealed road links Shark Bay to the North West Coastal Highway further inland. Denham and Monkey Mia, the main tourist centres, are easily accessed by sealed road. Many sites and the main towns are accessible by 2WD vehicles, however in more isolated areas of the park and at Steep Point and Dirk Hartog Island a 4WD vehicle is required.

By Bus

Greyhound buses stop off at both Denham and Monkey Mia several days a week. Many tour groups that leave from Perth and travel up the west coast also stop at Shark Bay on their way further north.

By Boat

No scheduled boat services operate to Shark Bay, however once you arrive at the park travelling by boat is popular.

By Air

Skywest Airlines has flights from Perth and Geraldton several times a week to the regional airport at Monkey Mia. There are also less regular flights from Carnarvon. The airport is a ten minute drive from both Denham and Monkey Mia.

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Sleep

Most of the accommodation options are in the towns of Denham and Monkey Mia.
There are several caravan parks at Denham, as well as further afield at Nanga Bay and Monkey Mia Resorts, and at Hamelin Pool Telegraph Station.

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This is version 16. Last edited at 20:10 on Oct 13, 10 by Utrecht. 6 articles link to this page.

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