We’ve spent a fair bit of time at Shark Bay in the past, and had a heap of fun exploring. However, on our latest trip we based ourselves in Denham, and made a point of exploring as many locations as possible by 4WD, and there are a LOT more than I thought.
Shell beach 4WD track
As the kids were very keen to see a beach made of shells, we made our way out of Shark Bay to check it out. We’ve been there a number of times, and it is pretty incredible, but its always busy.
Rolling over the last hill, you go past a lookout to the north, and Sarah spied a track that looked like it would take you to the side of shell beach, so we turned around and checked it out.
Sure enough, right on the edge of a fence line is a short and narrow 4WD track that takes you right onto the beach, maybe a kilometre away from the formal shell beach. The difference though, is no one is here, and you can park your 4WD right on the beach!
We weren’t game enough to drive too close to the water, for fear of getting stuck and having to spend time recovering ourselves, but we did enjoy a slice of shell beach without the crowds. There was some seaweed up the beach that stank when the wind swung around, so we checked out the proper shell beach too, which admittedly is much nicer to swim, and is a better water colour.
Goulet Bluff Hill climb and tracks
On the way into Denham, you’ll go past a place called Goulet Bluff, which is actually available for camping at, providing you ring and get a permit to do so.
On your way in, you can take a number of different tracks. If you hang to the left, it will take you up a steep hill climb that is quite rocky, with a number of little holes and steps.
Once you’ve done this section, you get to the top of Gouley Bluff, and you can see in all directions for ages, and its pretty impressive. Coming back down, you can turn left and you’ll end up on the beach, or you can head along the track that takes you to the next Bluff, and back to the main road if you so desire.
This beach is pretty spectacular, and once you realise that the seaweed is a huge part of shark bays natural ecosystem, you appreciate how stunning it is.
Further north lies a great beach that you can access via one of the many tracks on the west side of the main road. It’s a short drive in, that takes you to the top of the cliff looking down at a stunning beach, or down the bottom right near the beach (but not onto it).
Just south of Bath Beach lies another beautiful beach known as Birthday beach, and there’s a couple of little bays in between that are worth a look.
Lagoon Creek to Little Lagoon
Having been to Shark Bay a number of times, I was gobsmacked that we never visited Lagoon Creek, which is literally a couple of minutes out of town.
The creek itself is stunning, and fills Little Lagoon, another great place to take your 4WD. If your tyres are down, and you are looking for a short track, head to the carpark for Lagoon Creek, and turn right at the tee junction on the gravel. This will take you up a sandy track, along the banks of the Creek and you’ll pop out on the bottom end of Little Lagoon.
We spent an afternoon here soaking up the scenery, splashing around and having a flick of the rods. To head out, you either continue around little lagoon and out the main entrance, or drive back the way you came.
West of Monkey Mia
On your way out to Monkey Mia, there’s a number of tracks that go into Francois Peron National Park, but from the other side. You can get to a number of red cliffs here, and a couple of great beaches, along with plenty that are covered in rocks, and quite soft, as we found out!
The first 4WD track in Francois Peron National Park takes you to Big Lagoon, and its another spectacular place. Camping is hugely popular here, as it’s the first place you can get to in the national park with Caravans that is actually reasonably suitable.
The track in can be relatively rough and sometimes soft, so you need a reasonable 4WD and trailer to handle the abuse. It’s about 12km of driving on gravel or sand, so not a massive distance.
Skipjack Point, Cape Peron and Herald Bight
To get right to the top of the National Park, you’ll need well deflated tyres, and be prepared to take it easy in some soft sections. It can be heavily corrugated, and you’ll cross a couple of well marked out salt lakes, but the views from Cape Peron and Skipjack Point are nothing short of stunning.
Check out the camp sites too, and don’t be afraid to walk a bit; there’s some magic beaches south of Cape Peron and South Gregories, if you are prepared to do a bit of walking.
You can also access Herald Bight, on the east side of the national park, or Cattle Gully and the different camp sites. Francois Peron National Park is nothing short of stunning, and if you haven’t been, we’d rate it as one of the best in Australia.
If you want to get to the western most point of Australian mainland, you need to take the 4WD track out to Steep Point. It starts off as bitumen, then goes to good gravel, average gravel, shocking gravel and then sand for a bit.
Once you are over a couple of dunes, the track in is relatively hard and simple. You are not allowed to tow caravans in, but people do tow some bigger boats (on really heavy duty trailers), and camper trailers in.
Shelter Bay is a stunning location, or you can stay out at the Oven at Steep Point, but you must book well in advance.
On the way to Steep Point, you’ll hit a tee junction. Left takes you to False Entrance, and right takes you to Steep Point. We did well fishing and cray fishing at False Entrance, but its quite rugged and remote, so go with the right intentions.
Dirk Hartog Island
The ultimate 4WD adventure in Shark Bay is Dirk Hartog Island, and to get there you must put your 4WD (and trailer if you’d like) on a specifically made barge, and cross the ocean for about 15 minutes. Dirk Hartog Island is absolutely massive, and you can spend weeks exploring it by 4WD, and camp at a number of places either run by the DBCA or Dirk Hartog Island itself.
You need to be fully prepared with everything including a heap of fuel, as you are a long way from help!
Shark Bay 4WD tracks are fantastic
We’ve been to Shark Bay a number of times now, and each time found more and more amazing places, and 4WD tracks. You couldn’t explore it all in 3 weeks in the area, and we were really surprised at how many places are open to 4WD’s, and are amazing to spend time at.
If you haven’t been to Shark Bay, do it; the region is stunning and well and truly worth your time.