Our Region - World Heritage Area
In 1991 Shark Bay became Western Australia’s first world heritage listed area and one of only 14 world wide to satisfy all four natural criteria for listing. They are:
Major stages of the worlds evolutionary history
Geological and biological processes
Places of exraordinary natural beauty
Shark Bay’s wilderness and natural wonders make for a unique holiday. As well as the world renowned affable dolphins of Monkey Mia, the many bays and inlets in the region are ablaze with multicoloured sea life.
Today Shark Bay is recognised as one of the most remarkable places on Earth. Plan to spend time exploring the unique natural beauty, the 2,200 kilometres of protected coastline comprising pristine bays, inlets and islands and discover for yourself some of the rare plants, mammals and birds found only in Shark Bay.
The shallow waters of the Shark Bay Marine Park abound with a myriad of marine life. Vast seagrass meadows are home to one of the largest and most secure populations of dugongs in the world. Around 10,000 dugongs forage in the shallow marine environment of Shark Bay, representing 10 per cent of the worlds remaining population. The clear waters give visitors the chance to view dugongs, manta rays, marine turtles and humpback whales, and the famous dolphins of Monkey Mia visit the beach each day to interact with visitors.
Shark Bay is also home to the remarkable Hamelin Pool stromatolites – the oldest and largest living fossil in the world. The mystery surrounding their origin has attracted scientists from across the globe, who have compared the find to that of a zoologist discovering a living dinosaur.
Shark Bay is Australia’s largest marine embayment, with more than 1500 kilometres of meandering coastline. A mecca for travelers throughout the year, its natural marvels include Zuytdorp Cliffs and the Wooramel Seagrass Bank.
Shell Beach is another extraordinary feature of the area. This vast beach is made up not of sand, but of tiny white seashells that stretch for more than six kilometers and delve 10 metres deep.
Shark Bay is ideal for boating, fishing, snorkeling and diving. With accommodation to suit all budgets and styles, from resorts to caravan parks, discovering the magic of this World Heritage location is a must.
An estimated 10,000 or 10% of the worlds dugong population survive in the Shark Bay Marine Park. Extremely shy, these large docile marine mammals form one of the largest herds still in existence. Protected from hunting, dugongs are slow swimmers - grow to about 3.3 metres and weigh an average 250 kg. Associated with the mermaid myth due to its fluked tail and scientific name sirenia (Latin: siren-enchantress) the dugong is endangered in most of the world. Wildlife tours usually encounter these animals on cruises from Monkey Mia and Denham.
Green and loggerhead turtles are the most common species seen in Shark Bay waters. Dirk Hartog Island is the favoured nesting ground for the endangered loggerhead turtles in WA. Between 500-1000 females come ashore on Turtle Beach to lay up to 100 eggs per clutch. All turtles are protected under Wildlife legislation with Loggerhead turtles listed as facing extinction by the World Conservation Union.
A colourful display of wildflowers can be seen through winter depending on rainfall from July to October. Everlastings flowering in white, yellow and pink can be found on most inland roadways and the verges of highways. Flowering native bush and scrubland also occurs during this period.