Photo: Restored VOC Ship - Amsterdam - Dirk Hartog
The grand ocean scenery and sweeping ocean beaches of this part of Western Australia, combined with the wildlife and gorgeous National Parks make for a great destination for both Australians and overseas visitors.
Dolphins abound in the Shark Bay World Heritage and Marine Park, as well as dugongs. This park, declared a World Heritage Area in 1991 is eminently suited for families, has large sand dunes that meet the ocean, while the many islands and bays thrive with marine life of all kinds, including turtles, whales, sharks and tropical fish.
The seagrass bed in the park is the largest known in the world, supporting the largest biodiversity of life in one spot found anywhere on our planet.
There are cruises available to spot dolphins, turtles, stingrays and dugongs. For the more adventerous, go snorkelling or scuba diving on the reef for colourful displays of the many thousands of fish in the clear waters of this wonderful World Heritage and Marine Park.
Monkey Mia, also in the Shark Bay Marine Park, has dolphins that visit the beach. See more about Monkey Mia WA.
François Péron National Park has great scenery, red rust sandy dunes meet the brilliant white sandy beaches, while the coastal waters shimmer with ocean blues and sunlight. Just a short drive from Denham, there are rare and endangered species, stunning ocean vistas and a serious effort to conserve and to protect the native animals here.
Although you need a 4WD to access the coastal region, the effort is well worth it. Besides glorious ocean sunsets, you can spot dolphins, dugongs, turtles and manta rays.
Other endangered species will be re-introduced into the area gradually. Woylies, bilbies and malleefowl have already been released. Other residents of the park include wallabies and the thorny devil, a small fierce looking lizard and a multitude of birdlife.
The aim is to make the Shark Bay World Heritage Area and the François Péron National Park, already stunning areas in their own right, a natural wonder of the world for the preservation of native species.
1616: The first European recorded to land in Australia was Dick Hartog, a Dutch captain working for the Dutch East India Company (VOC - Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie). Landing on the island, he left a pewter plate behind, nailed to a tree.
1696: This plate was later recovered by another Dutch mariner, Willem de Vlamingh, who took the time to chart the Western Australia coastline.
You can get more tourist information about Shark Bay and its many natural wonders from the Carnarvon Tourist Bureau located in Robinson Street, Carnarvon. Phone +061 8 9941 1146. You can also contact the Kalbarri Tourist Bureau, located further south in Kalbarri, Phone +061 8 9937 1104.
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Photo: Wild Dolphins at Shark-Bay