It is located about 8 hours from Perth and is easily accessible via well-maintained highways. It is the ideal place for those who want to explore the “Far North” on a shorter trip, from five days to a week. It’s also a must for any longer trip along the West Coast. Be sure to check out our epic 10-day itinerary from Perth to Exmouth to be sure not to miss any of the highlights of the West Coast.
Below are the ten best things to do in Shark Bay to help you make the most of your trip and discover all that this extraordinary destination has to offer.
Top 10 things to do in Shark Bay
Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort
There is no denying that the main attraction for most visitors to Shark Bay is the daily interaction with dolphins. Every morning, Monkey Mia’s gamekeepers feed the dolphins that live in the bay.
There are up to three meals a day and anyone who has paid the entrance fee to the Monkey Mia sanctuary can participate in one or all meals. Feeding is done in small amounts so as not to disrupt the natural diet, and the rangers know all the dolphins by sight so they are not surprised with extra fish.
You can stand at the water’s edge and see wild dolphins swimming just a few feet away, often playing or interacting with the rangers in the water.
The resort itself has pleasant accommodation and campsites. There is a restaurant, bar and all kinds of amenities you may need. The beach is also very nice and there are many activities to organize in the area.
The first interaction with the dolphins begins at 7:45 a.m., but we recommend arriving early to have a good spot on the beach.
Feeding dolphins at Monkey Mia’s
Ocean Park Aquarium
If you thought you had a chance to see sharks at Shark Bay, you were right! It’s a place that can do that and more. The aquarium here is nothing like what you might be used to. The large, sturdy aquariums offer a bird’s eye view of the animals and give them all the space they need to live.
Admission to the Ocean Park Aquarium includes a guided tour of each tank with a marine biologist, where you will learn all about marine life and observe amazing interactions with a guide.
The main event is shark feeding, where many shark species come out of the water in a large aquarium to catch the food suspended from above. From the observation platform and decks you have the opportunity to watch the action.
Next to the aquarium is a beautiful bridge overlooking the turquoise waters of the bay where you can enjoy delicious local food and drink. A good tip is to arrive early to eat, because in the morning the sharks are the most predatory.
Opening hours: daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Tickets: $27 per adult, $19 per child.
Watch sharks feed at the Ocean Park Aquarium.
In the narrowest part of the peninsula leading to Shark Bay lies the amazing natural wonder of Shell Beach. A visit to this unique beach is certainly one of the most popular things to do in Shark Bay. The deposit, which consists of billions of tiny white shells instead of sand, stretches for 70 km and in some places the shells fall more than 10 meters high.
In the town of Denham, shells were once mined and made into bricks. There aren’t many left, but Old Perler’s Restaurant is one of them. It’s a great place for an evening meal, but be sure to reserve your table in advance.
The water here is super clear and beautiful as the light reflects off the white shells on the bottom. If you have time, you can enjoy a relaxing float as the high salinity keeps you afloat.
There are restrooms here, but no other facilities or camping is allowed. Since the beach is on the road to Shark Bay Peninsula, the most convenient time to visit is when you are entering or leaving the area.
Shell Beach is incredibly beautiful.
Discussion of coffee
The towering cliffs of Eagle’s Beak offer breathtaking views of the ocean and the sheltered bay below. The water is crystal clear and has an amazing color palette. If you’re lucky, you can see all kinds of animals swimming around.
At the top of the cliff is a boardwalk that overlooks both ends. Don’t get too close to the edge as it can become very brittle. Don’t forget to bring binoculars if you want the best chance of seeing the turtles, sharks and dolphins that live in the bay.
There is a campground nearby on a side road toward the cliffs. If you make reservations at the Denham Visitor Center, you can camp on the beach here and watch the epic sunset from the top of the cliffs.
Breathe in with a view of Eagle Bluff Lookout.
François Peron National Park
François-Péron National Park covers the entire upper half of the peninsula. Here you have a breathtaking view of fiery red cliffs tumbling over the virgin white sand before turning into the always stunning turquoise waters of Shark Bay.
Most of the park is accessible only by all-terrain vehicle, including the popular Big Lagoon campground. Further into the park there are a few campsites with barbecue areas and sanitary facilities, but otherwise you’ll have to make it on your own.
Cape Peron is the place you want to go to see the best parts of the red rock. There are some lookout points in this area and some great places to kayak and fish. The sunsets on the red rocks are a sight you won’t soon forget.
The breathtaking scenery of the Grand Lagoon, François-Peron National Park
The Hamelin pool has the largest collection of stromatolites in the world. If you don’t know what a stromatolite is, don’t worry, you’re not alone! These oddly shaped structures that look like a cauliflower cut from sandstone are known as “living fossils.”
They consist of the activity and secretions of a form of bacteria that has been around for about 3.5 billion years. These bacteria are capable of photosynthesis and have contributed to the production of the large amounts of oxygen that have enabled other living things to thrive on Earth.
So come walk on the boardwalk, and you will have the opportunity to say thank you to these strange rocks that are part of the reason for your current existence!
Camping in the wild / Dirk Hartog Island
If you really want to get away from it all, this is the place to do it. Dirk Hartog Island offers a beautiful and rugged landscape with cliffs, beaches and endless ocean views. Load your SUV onto a barge and start exploring this remote destination.
There are several wilderness campsites on the island with no facilities. You can easily find a secluded spot and shut down completely. How can you enjoy the last sunset in Australia for a romantic experience?
If you want a little more excitement, you can climb the sandy slopes of the huge dunes, visit the pink lake, see the smoke canals that spit water into the air, or admire the abundance of sharks and turtles from the various cliffs that surround the island.
If you don’t like camping in the wilderness, you can always stay on the island at the Eco Lodge, Ocean Villas or Homestead Camp Ground. Right next to the island you will also find the westernmost point of mainland Australia!
Exploring the endless 4×4 tracks around Shark Bay.
The Peron Legacy Page
The Cité du patrimoine Peron is located directly in the François Peron National Park and is accessible by all-terrain vehicle. Its purpose is to show what life used to be like. The whole area around Shark Bay was once covered with sheep pens and there is a lot of history to discover.
There is an outdoor grill and hot tub, fed by the underground water that used to supply the station. It’s an ideal place to relax in the evening with a cool can of beer. Don’t forget to bring cans, because they won’t let you in with a drink.
It is also the perfect place to photograph a classic Australian windmill spinning in the wind. There is only a short 7km detour from the main road between Denham and Monkey Mia, unless you go further into the park.
This round bay is fed by a narrow U-shaped inlet of the nearby ocean, making it almost a miniature inland sea. The waters here are calm and beautiful. There is a fantastic view of the lagoon from the highway above, and it gets even better when you get close, as you can go straight to the beach.
This is the perfect place to bring out the air mattresses, as you can sit back and relax without worrying about swimming in the ocean! You can also whip out your kayaks and go fishing if that’s your thing. There are hideaways with grills to cook anything you can catch.
Swimming in the pristine waters of the Little Lagoon ….
Getting out of the water and into the midst of marine life is probably the best way to view it, not to mention the new and amazing perspective one can get by viewing the equally beautiful coastline from the water.
There are several places that offer wildlife cruises where you can see dolphins, whales, dugongs and other marine life. You can also take a sunset cruise and explore the beautiful coastline of Dirk Hartog Island.
From Monkey Mia Marina, Perfect Nature Cruises offers several excursions per day on a well-equipped catamaran, including a sunset cruise. There is a fully licensed bar on board, but BYO is also allowed.
From Denham, the Ocean Park Aquarium organizes a sea safari if you want to get even closer to the wildlife! They offer a wide range of activities, including whale watching, sunset cruises, Dirk Hartog Island cruises, and a wide selection of tours and dive courses. Visit their website for more information on booking trips.
We hope you will enjoy these beautiful things in Shark Bay, bravo!
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Frequently asked questions
Is Shark Bay worth a visit?
Finally, to answer the main question of this post – in my humble opinion – yes, you must visit Shark Bay! Don’t doubt your expectations, maybe check if it’s high or low season, but it’s definitely a useful addition to any west coast trip.
Why is Shark Bay famous?
Shark Bay is famous for its marine life. Its population of about 10,000 dugongs, for example, is one of the largest in the world, and dolphins are abundant, especially at Monkey Mia. Humpback whales use the bay as a resting place as they migrate along the coast.
Can you swim in Shark Bay?
The most common shark is the Nervos, a small shark that gets its name from its fearful nature. Shark Bay is a perfectly safe place to swim and enjoy the beautiful turquoise waters.
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