Monkey Mia, Coral Coast, Western Australia © Tourism Australia
Guide to Monkey Mia
With blue skies and sunshine almost every day of the year, Monkey Mia is ideal for a leisurely getaway or exciting outback adventure.
By Allie Metz
One of only a few sites in the world to meet all four of the natural criteria for World Heritage listing, the enormous 2.2 million hectare (5.4 million acre) Shark Bay World Heritage area is the place to go if you want to see marine life in spectacular abundance.
- Feed wild bottlenose dolphins
- Explore the crystal waters of Shell Beach
- Take an Aboriginal tour for a unique perspective on Shark Bay World Heritage Area
How to get there
Monkey Mia Reserve is located on the eastern shore of Peron Peninsula in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, about 850 kilometres (528 miles) north of Perth. You can fly to Monkey Mia airport from Perth in two hours or drive there in a day.
Things to do and top attractions in Monkey Mia
Day trip to Shell Beach
Pack a lunch and drive about 50 minutes south of Monkey Mia to see one of only two beaches on Earth where shells replace sand. Shell Beach is a picturesque and stunning natural wonder formed from billions of tiny shells. The beach stretches for over 100 kilometres (62 miles) and is a popular place to swim and explore. Spend the afternoon collecting shells, soaking up the sun and floating in the hyper-saline, crystal clear water.
Feed the local bottlenose dolphins
At Monkey Mia, dolphins visit the beach to interact with visitors as they have done for more than forty years. You can stand knee-deep on the water's edge and help to feed them under the supervision of park rangers. As the bottlenose dolphins are wild, numbers and the exact time of their visit varies. However, they usually visit the shore up to three times a day and more frequently in the mornings. While feeding is allowed with supervision, visitors are not able to swim with the dolphins. Stay close by at the Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort. If you want to spend more time with the dolphins, you can volunteer to work with them.
Visit Western Australia's largest island
Just west of Monkey Mia is Dirk Hartog Island, a peaceful island retreat that is great for relaxing on white sandy beaches, scuba diving and snorkelling or fishing. Join a wildlife cruise and see an array of marine life including dolphins, dugongs, whales and turtles around the island. Take a walk along the 91-metre (300-foot) high cliff face on the island's west coast or 4WD over stunning beaches and massive sand dunes. Stay overnight in the historic Homestead, originally used a shearer's quarters.
Be Inspired by an Aboriginal experience
Australia's Coral Coast is rich in Aboriginal art and culture. From didgeridoo Dreaming tours to learning to catch and cook your own meal on a camping safari, there are plenty of opportunities to connect to this incredible landscape with the guidance of Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Adventures. Let their guides teach you about the ancient cultural ties of the region's first people – the Nhanda and Malgana Aboriginal People.
See the world's oldest living fossils
The Hamelin Pool Stromatolites are the oldest and largest living fossils on Earth. Less than a 30-minute drive from Monkey Mia, these rare Stromatolites are located in the shallow waters of Hamelin Pool. Walk along the specially constructed walkway to get a clear look at them as you read the educational displays that explain their role in the evolution of the planet. Scientists have likened it to discovering a living dinosaur.
Located halfway between Monkey Mia and Shell Beach, Denham offers history, adventure and the perfect starting point to explore the Shark Bay region. Visit Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre to learn about the region's cultural and ecological diversity. Head out for a stroll along the Shark Bay World Heritage drive, which has interpretive signage that explains how this area meets all four of the criteria for its heritage listing. Or simply walk the streets to search for buildings made from the shells of Shell Beach (St Andrews Anglican Church and the Old Pearler Restaurant are perfect examples).