Road Tripping - Denham to Monkey Mia

Dolphins

A road trip is a fantastic excuse to discover the coastal highlights of Western Australia. While many choose to holiday in Perth or Broome, it is what is in between these two cities that really excites tourists.

Within and around the Francois Peron National Park you will find an impressive array of coastal attractions. This area is considered one of Australia's most diverse natural marine regions, boasting uninterrupted access to a colourful playground of coastal and marine activities.

Shark Bay is located on the edge of the Australian continent, where the coast of Western Australia meets the sea. This World Heritage Area covers more than 2.2 million hectares, making it the perfect location for weekend road trips.

Shark Bay is comprised of two bays that are formed by peninsulas that rest side by side. It is a place of unique contrasting colours and textures, a unique array of plants and animals and a pleasant blend between land and sea.

Denham is a great place to start your road trip adventure as it is the administrative centre of the Shark Bay region. Denham is located on the western coast of the Peron Peninsula, 831 kilometres north of Perth and is actually the westernmost town in Australia.

The town is only populated by just over 600 people, which means that it relies solely on tourism for its main income. It is regarded as the gateway for tourists visiting Monkey Mia; however visitors should overlook the impressive array of attractions on offer here too.

The local jetty and beach are popular spots in town, and are perfect for keen fishermen. The town also has all of the conveniences one would come to expect from a rural Australian town, making it the ideal place to start your exploration of Shark Bay.

Monkey Mia is located just half an hour up the road and is the area's major attraction. This area is famous for the dolphin interaction experiences it offers. These rare encounters with these extraordinary creatures draw in tourists from across the world, all seeking to get up close to these clever creatures of the sea. .

Shark Bay

The amazing dolphin encounters have been going on for over 40 years, with dolphins coming to the shores every day without fail. These bottlenose dolphins are fed by a small amount of fish on their first three visits each day, which can happen at any time during 8am and 12pm. The dolphins tend to frequent the beaches the most during the early morning, so if you wish to avoid some crowds, go for a visit just as the sun is making its first appearance for the day.

However, the dolphins aren't the only thing on offer in Monkey Mia. The local boat ramp provides keen boaters with easy access to the calm waters of the bay, with boating providing a great platform for the great fishing opportunities on offer here.

Wildlife are also an important part of the lifestyle here, with several wildlife tours available to the general public. Join a wildlife cruise and you will encounter dugongs, turtles, manta rays, dolphins, and of course, the creatures the bay is named after, sharks.

Water activities are also extremely popular here, with swimming, snorkeling and sailing just some of the options on offer. Kayaking is another great thing you can partake in, with several places available to hire them.

Another fantastic way to pass the time here is to take a walk along the Monley Mia Walk Trail. This fascinating trail will expose you to the cultural history of the area and spans just 1.5 kilometres. The best times of day to embark on this walk are at sunrise and sunset.

Shark Bay is a must-see while in Western Australia. It boasts such a diversity of marine life that many other places in Australian and across the world often fail to top it!

Christine Barton

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