We’ve spent a fair chunk of time in the Shark Bay region and always left feeling like its one of the best areas in Australia. However, after spending another week in Denham itself, this has been re-iterated to a whole new level.
Shark Bay is a magic place, and there’s way more things to do in the area than you might realise:
Splash in Little Lagoon Creek
I have to confess, I never realised that this amazing place was in Shark Bay, let alone so close to town, and so beautiful. It’s literally 5 minutes by car, and is a spectacular place to check out. You can do the small 4WD track from the creek to Little Lagoon too, which is well and truly worth it.
Kick back at Little Lagoon
A few hundred metres away from the creek is Little Lagoon, which is accessible by 2WD and 4WD, and is actually very protected from the Seabreeze that so often howls in. In terms of places for kids to splash around, this is up there with the best and you can park right on the edge of the lagoon, and get a little slice of it all to yourselves.
Relax in the hot tub
At the start of the Francois Peron National Park lies the artesian hot tub, which despite looking less welcoming than you might have imagined is a great experience, and well worth spending some time.
They have a great informational building and plenty of history around, and if you can tolerate the 40 odd degree water (although I swear some days its hotter than others!) you’ll come out feeling like a different person!
Visit Big Lagoon
The next destination in Francois Peron National Park is Big Lagoon, which is significantly bigger than Little Lagoon, and is a stunning place. You can actually launch small boats here and drive them out the channel to the ocean.
Camping is available here, and you’ll get an off-road camper trailer or caravan in too.
Watch the marine life at Skipjack Point
At the top of Francois Peron National Park lies Skipjack Point; a brilliant location that the DBCA has done up for watching the marine life. There’s a number of signs, boardwalks and lookouts here that allow you to see the turtles, sharks, fish, dolphins, dugongs, manta rays, birds and other marine life enjoying their day to day.
The track to Skipjack point can be quite rough, but with low tyre pressures you’ll get in with no issues at all.
Explore Cape Peron
Just around the corner from Skipjack Point is Cape Peron, where the two oceans meet. This is quite interesting to see, as you’ll often have waves being made and we have seen Tuna jumping in the distance.
This is a spectacular beach with some DBCA amenities, and if you are adventurous you can find yourself on one of the best beaches on the planet!
Check out the Dolphins at Monkey Mia
Monkey Mia is well known for the dolphins, and if you are prepared to pay $15 per adult you can head in and see them. If you are staying at the RAC Monkey Mia Resort this fee will be part of your stay.
See the amazing Aquarium
On the way into Denham lies an Aquarium, which is very much worth a visit. They have a fantastic CAFE/restaurant and the aquarium is set up to show you what is in the ocean locally. The guides are great, and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit here (as did the kids). It’s also priced quite fairly too.
Give your feet a massage on Shell Beach
Shell Beach is one of the major attractions of Shark Bay, and you’ll drive right past it on your way in. Alternatively, you can head out to see if for the day; its a 29 minute drive, and there’s plenty of other attractions nearby to make a solid day trip out of.
Shell beach is literally made up of millions of shells, and is quite incredible. It’s also a beautiful beach to kick back and enjoy, with nice, long shallows going for a long way out to the ocean.
Drive to the top of Goulet Bluff
Asides from being one of the low cost camping options in Shark Bay, Goulet Bluff offers amazing views, and you can do the 4WD track to the top of the Bluff, or head north and drive up the hill with the big lookout. We spent a couple of hours kicking back on the beach too, and really enjoyed it.
Enjoy Bath and Birthday Beach
If you have Wikicamps (and if you don’t, you are mad), you’ll see a huge number of beaches south of Denham. Most of these are not for camping on, but they are great to pull onto for the day and you’ll often be able to get a pristine beach to yourself, which is a stark contrast to many of the beaches in town, and at Francois Peron National Park!
Find an Echidna crossing the road and help it to safety
Each time we’ve visited Shark Bay, we’ve seen at least one echidna crossing the road. These things are incredible creatures, but they are super slow, and won’t get out of the way of a vehicle in time. The best thing you can do is to pull over safely with your hazard lights on, and let it cross whilst warning those coming along. Obviously, don’t put yourself in harms way.
If you have a pair of thongs, you can scoop the echidna up and move it yourself, but they are seriously spikey, and even a jumper won’t be enough.
Head out to Steep Point
The Western most point of Australian mainland is Steep Point, and its an awesome adventure. It is possible to do a big day trip from Shark Bay, but its much nicer to stay out there for a night or two. You need a 4WD, low pressures, plenty of fuel and a sense of adventure.
The corrugations on the gravel road can be shocking, and then you’ll have a couple of soft dunes to get over, and then the rest of the track is fairly easy. You eventually pop out onto a beautiful beach at Sheltered Bay, and can stay there if you’ve booked a site, or you head further along to Steep Point, where everyone fishes off the cliffs for big Mackerel and other huge species.
We’ve spent a fair bit of time at Steep Point over the years, and rate it as one of the best places in the country if you are set up for off grid camping.
Go for an adventure on Dirk Hartog Island
If you want to take adventure to a whole new level, you can put your 4WD and trailer (as long as its not too long) on the barge at Steep Point, and head over to Dirk Hartog Island. This is similar to Steep Point, with a very rough and rugged Western Coastline, and the other sides being much calmer with beautiful beaches.
The island is deceptively big, with a lap taking a solid day to do. You won’t see too many people at Dirk Hartog Island, and that’s part of the attraction. It’s up there with the best 4WD and camping adventures you can do in WA, and that speaks volumes.
Shark bay is so under-rated
If you haven’t been to the Shark Bay region, you’ve been missing out. It’s absolutely incredible, and a world class destination. Book a visit when you can, and soak up these amazing places!