Shark Bay

Shark Bay is a World Heritage Site, in Gascoyne, Western Australia. It is famous for its amazing sites, and for its dolphins. It is located 830km north of Perth.

Understand

Steep Point

Despite its adjacent ocean and bays, the world heritage shark bay area has a very dry climate, and very arid landscape. That said, there are seasonal rains from the north, and weather from the south does intrude, but generally it has a sense of the rest of the coast towards the north west, dry, vast and endless.

History

The European history of the area goes back to when Dirk Hartog, the Dutch explorer landed at Shark Bay in 1616, over 150 years before Captain Cook made his first landing at Kurnell in 1770 leading to the establishment of the British colony at Sydney 18 years later.

The Dutch were not attracted to the area, as it contained none of the spices or other valuables they were looking to trade or acquire. Their further visits were largely the result of being blown off course on route to the Dutch East Indies (modern day Indonesia).

Francois Peron National Park is named after a French naturalist who visited Shark Bay in 1801 and 1803. For many years it was a sheep station. The government bought it in 1990. The old homestead is now a museum.

Landscape

Shark Bay region is a large set of islands and bodies of water. There are beautiful beaches, including Shell Beach, made entirely of shells.

Flora and fauna

A large section of Shark Bay has been cleared of non-native wildlife and fenced off at the narrowest point to provide a conservation reserve for rare Australia wildlife. The project is called Project Eden. Many native animals have been released including the woylie, mallee fowl, southern brown bandicoot and bilby.

The Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve is home to the stromatolites, a rare and ancient form of life.

Get in

By plane

Shark Bay Airport (MJK) is around 8km from Denham, and around 16km from Monkey Mia on the Monkey Mia Road. The airport has a sealed landing strip, but no terminal facilities of any substance.

Skywest services the airport from Perth four times a week, and from Exmouth weekly.

Carnarvon is 350km from Denham/Monkey Mia, and has daily flights from Perth.

By car

Shark Bay is around 1000km drive north from Perth. It is around 5000km drive from Sydney, and about as far away from Sydney as you can get on the Australian mainland.

Shark Bay Car Hire is a local operator. None of the majors operate in the area.

Fees/Permits

Holiday and annual passes are also available at Department of Environment and Conservation offices

Get around

Access to Shark Bay region and its features is via the towns of Monkey Mia and Denham. These two locations are a small entry point to the larger area.

Named features of the region include: Francois Peron National Park, Dirk Hartog Island, Shell Beach, Shark Bay Marine Park, Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve. It was given World Heritage status in 1991.

Monkey Mia is pronounced Monkey-My-Ah, not Monkey Mee-Ah.

The Shark Bay World Heritage Discover Centre is in Denham.


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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, July 01, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.