11 amazing things to do in Shark Bay, Western Australia
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Shark Bay is a beautiful coastal gem that you definitely need to visit in Western Australia. With panoramic views of the water, plenty of wildlife, and unique landscapes will give you a different experience.
Apart from swimming and relaxing, there are many other things to do in Shark Bay, Western Australia. From exploring 4WD trails to hikes along the red cliffs of Cape Peron with some amazing viewpoints where you can spot stingrays and sharks swimming close to the shore.
In this blog post, I will show you the most amazing things to do in Shark Bay, how to get there, and some extra tips.
How To Get To from Perth to Shark Bay
Shark Bay is located approximately 2.5 – 3 hours from Perth City Centre by car, or you can also go there by bus, train, and plane.
If you are driving from Perth to Shark Bay, you need to follow the NW Coastal Highway (N1) for about 700km until you reach the Overlander Roadhouse. From there, you will need to turn left and follow the Shark Bay Rd towards Monkey Mia.
Along this road, you have some amazing stops, like Shells Beach, the Stromatolites but also the road itself is beautiful.
Drive for an hour and a half until you see the signboard directing tourists towards Denham town. You can visit the Shark Bay Visitor Centre in Denham to get a map of Shark Bay and more info about Francois National Park, get fuel and do some groceries.
If you plan to go on a budget or you don’t have your own vehicle, this option is for you, however, I recommend having your own 4WD to experience Francois Peron at its best.
The Integrity Coachline services are driving along with the Coral Coast with stopovers at the major towns in Western Australia. The buses are going from Perth up to Broome and it has a drop-off point at Shark Bay, which is the Gateway to Monkey Mia and Francois Peron National Park.
The Best Time To Visit Shark Bay
The best time to visit Shark Bay is during the autumn and winter months, from April to September, as the weather is more pleasant with nice temperatures and gentle winds.
Although, if you want to spot whale sharks, you should plan your visit from January to March or June to September for Humpback whales.
Where To Stay In Shark Bay
If you are planning an outdoor experience with camping, this place is for you. With endless views and beautiful sunsets from your camping spot, Francois Peron has some of the best bush camps in Western Australia.
However, staying in Monkey Mia or Denham is a good option if you don’t have the right camping equipment. I stayed at the South Gregories Campground, The Big Lagoon Campground, Eagle Bluff in Shark Bay, and at the RAC Monkey Mia.
The RAC Caravan Park in Monkey Mia is without a doubt the best campsite I’ve stayed in 2 years road tripping around Australia.
If you are traveling with your family and would like to experience the famous Monkey Mia dolphins, this hotel is for you. The nearest town is Denham (more than 30 minutes away from RAC Monkey Mia).
However, RAC Monkey Mia is one of the best campsites I’ve stayed in whole Australia and even it’s a bit more expensive, it is totally worth every dollar!
To experience the best of Francois Peron National Park, I recommend camping at one of its amazing spots. On the Website of Western Australia Parks and Wildlife, you can find more information of all the camping zones. Prices are about AU$ 11,00 for a night and I highly recommend to stay at the Big Lagoon as it was one of my favorite places.
Tip: Make sure you bring cash money to pay at the entrance for your camping spot.
Things You Need To Know Before You Go to Francois Peron National Park
Entry Fees And 4wd Access
Before even stepping your foot inside Francois Peron National Park, you need to pay for entry fees as well as a 4wd vehicle pass. At the entrance of the national park, you can only with cash by filling in a National Park entry form. The prices are AU$15,00 per vehicle and AU$ 11,00 per night for a campsite.
On the website of the National Parks of Western Australia, you can find more information about the national park and camping zone but bring enough cash money and the right amount as you’ll need to pay for your stay at a self-register booth.
Let Your Tyre Pressure Down
Driving through Francois Peron National Park requires you to have a tire pressure of 20 or less. The road is very narrow with very soft sand, so make sure your vehicle can handle it by deflating your tires before driving in Francois Peron National Park.
If you get bogged, stay calm and ask others to help you out in case you need them.
Be Aware Of The Wildlife (Echidnas, Torny Devils, Snakes, Sharks…)
If you are planning to go on a four-wheel-drive adventure in Francois Peron National Park, make sure you are aware of the wildlife as it has some of the most rare species such as the Echidna and the Torny devil.
Some beaches of Peron National Park’s beaches are infested with sharks, dolphins and even dugongs, so tourists shouldbe carefull when tey go fishing or snorkeling.
Some years ago, I saw a Torny Devil on National Geographic and from that day it was a dream to see this beautiful creatur in reallife and that dream became true in Francois Peron National Park. I even saw Mantarays and dolphins from Inskip Point.
Take Enough Water, food, and fuel
There is no water, fuel, or electricity supply in the National Park area, so please make sure you take as much drinking water as possible. The only place to buy water or food is in the town of Denham, about 5km before the entrance of Francois Peron.
So if you haven’t packed your food yet, make sure to stop here. I also recommend getting enough fuel and cash money in Denham as the entrance fee of the National Park needs to be paid with cash and the right amount.
Things to do in Shark Bay
Relax at Monkey Mia
Monkey Mia is actually outside the national park but it is the perfect place to relax after a busy day of activities and tours. It offers shady trees and long white beaches, making it perfect for camping, picnicking, relaxing under the sun, or catching up with friends.
You can just sit back and enjoy the view while watching how the dolphins play in the water. You can also take a walk along the shoreline, where you might find some shells.
The RAC Monkey Mia is actually a dolphin conservation center and you’ll need to pay a fee to enter, even just to relax on its beach but it is more than worth it!
I visited Monkey Mia and planned to stay for 2 nights but ended up for 12 days at this amazing place. It is the best campsite I have experienced during my 2 years traveling around Australia.
Swim In The Big Lagoon
The Big Lagoon is located 15km away from Denham, inside Francois Peron National Park. You can see a lot of different species of fish and other aquatic animals here. It is also where you can kayak, swim or just relax at one of the platforms on the camping.
Moreover, this place is just magical as the color contrast is unique and probably the most beautiful landscape you’ve seen. And if you stay here overnight, you can also enjoy an epic sunset.
Watch The Sunset At Cape Peron
Cape Peron is the most Western viewpoint of Francois Peron National Park and from my experience pretty hard to get. The last part of the road to Cape Peron is very soft sand and I got bogged a few times but in the end, it was worth coming here.
The sunset here is favorite among tourists and visitors. You can sit on the red cliffs and enjoy the amazing views and sunsets while you have a beer or some snacks.
Walk Along With Skipjack Point
Skipjack Point is a famous highlight in the Francois Peron National Park. It features a viewing platform on top of the red cliffs and rock formations, making it ideal for taking photos or watching dolphins, rays and even dugongs.
There is also a walking trail from Skipjack Point to Cape Peron along the cliffs with beautiful views, especially at sunrise and sunset. Just be aware that the sand and rocks can be slippery.
Go camping in Shark Bay
Shark Bay has some great camping spots. Some of them are in Francois Peron National Park, while others are along the way.
I stayed at Eagle Bluff and South Gregories, which were definitely some awesome places to spend the night. Eagle Bluff Campground is located near the Eagle Bluff lookout and the sunset here is wonderful, however, to stay here, you’ll need to call or visit the visitor center to pay for your stay.
The South Gregory campground is located in the Francois Peron National Park. Here, you can pitch your tents or park your caravan at the edge of the cliffs or sit around a campfire to tell stories and share drinks with your friends.
From some camping spots, you have access to the beach which is perfect to watch the sunset. The campground has a toilet and some bushes to protect you from the wind.
Try Not To Walk On Shells At Shell Beach
Shell Beach is located in the southern part of Shark Bay and is actually outside the National Park and it is one of the few beaches in the world that only exist out of shells. It is a beautiful white beach covered with tiny shells and you can even swim here.
This beach is very unique and should be on your list when you visit Western Australia.
Make Some Photos On The Road of Shark Bay
The road to Francois Peron National Park is another favorite among photographers. This road is so scenic and a perfect spot to make insta-worthy pictures, especially during sunrise and sunset.
The beautiful coastal scenery of dunes and cliffs along the way will captivate your eyes.
Watch, Swim (Or Feed) The Dolphins In Monkey Mia
Monkey Mia is located on the southern side of Francois Peron National Park. It is known for its high-energy dolphins, who come for fish every day. Your experience will be unforgettable when you get the chance to see, touch, and interact with these amazing creatures up close.
Visitors can watch, swim and feed the wild dolphins here during dolphin feeding time (8:30 am daily). At Monkey Mia, you can also see manta rays, sharks, turtles, and molluscs on the beach.
Visit Denham Town For Some Shopping And Fuel
Denham town is located on the western side of Francois Peron National Park. Here, you can find plenty of restaurants and shops where you can buy some souvenirs or do some groceries before you visit Francois Peron National Park.
Denham is also the nearest town with fuel stations for travelers who need to refuel their tanks before heading back to Perth or any other places along the Ningaloo Coast. You can stop by at the 24-hour Woolworths gas station to fill up your tank or buy some snacks and drinks.
Try To Spot Some Marine Wildlife At The Eagle Bluff Lookout
Eagle Bluff Lookout is located on the western side of Francois Peron National Park. It provides panoramic views of coastal areas, including rocky cliffs and sandy beaches. You can also spot dolphins, manta rays, sharks, and turtles here. If you are lucky enough to visit it during whale season (June to November), you will be able to see whales migrating with their calves.
Boat tours are also available here so you can have a closer look at the dolphins, sharks, and many fish. Tourists are advised to dress in warm clothing as it is windy during this time of the year.
Discover the Stromatolites in Shark Bay
Stromatolites are very important creatures and are considered living fossils on our planet. The Stromatolites in Shark Bay are unique and consist of the most diverse stromatolites and microbial in the world.
It is definitely worth visiting this place and witnessing these living fossils yourself. From the car park, it is a small walk to the wooden boardwalk that unfortunately collapsed due to a cyclone in 2021 but it will be rebuilt soon. Although you can walk next to the shore and see the incredible Stromatolites under the surface of the ocean.
The Francois Peron National Park is a great place to visit for anyone looking for an adventure. Whether you want to go camping, find amazing and rare wildlife or just explore the natural beauty of Western Australia’s outback, this national park has something for everyone.
I’ve compiled 10 things you should do while visiting! So pack your bag and head down under because it looks like some amazing adventures are awaiting you at Francois Peron National Park. I can’t wait to hear from all of our fellow travelers about their experiences in the comments below!
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PICTURES AND EDITING
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The camera gear I used for this trip
I never go out without my camera and many people ask me which gear I use. So to make it quite easy, I listed all the gear I used for this trip below.
Most of the time, I travel with the Sony A7III and the Sony 24-105mm/f4 as my primary lens but depending on the location, I change to another setup. However, I love the Tamron 17-28 to shoot in the big cities.