Located on the most western point of the coast of Australia the Shire of
Shark Bay is made up of the eastern coastal strip of the mainland, three large
outlying islands and two peninsulas: Peron Peninsula (on the right) and Edel
Land (the peninsula on the left). Edel Land ends at Steep Point, beyond
which is Dirk Hartog Island.
The Shark Bay region itself covers an
area of 2.3 million hectares, having achieved World Heritage status in 1991,
and was the first listed as such in Western Australia, and one of 16 in
Australia that fit all four selection criteria:
- an outstanding example representing the major stages in the earth's evolutionary history
- an outstanding example representing significant ongoing ecological and biological processes;
- an example of superlative natural phenomena; and
- containing important and significant habitats for in situ conservation of biological diversity.
In the brief description on the UNESCO World Heritage list, it describes some
of Shark Bays features and attractions:
Its vast sea-grass beds, which are the largest (4,800 sq. km) and richest
in the world; its dugong ('sea cow') population; and its stromatolites
(colonies of algae which form hard, dome-shaped deposits and are among the
oldest forms of life on earth). Shark Bay is also home to five species of
Source: UNESCO World Heritage:
Shark Bay, Western Australia
Shark Bay World Heritage Area is a must see destination for visitors both
here and internationally. The shallow waters of the Shark Bay Marine Park with
its bays and inlets provide a unique environment with its vast meadows of
seagrass, and where you can get the chance to see dugongs, manta rays, marine
turtles, dolphins and humpback whales.
Shark Bay is also home to the oldest
and largest living fossils in the world, the Hamelin Pool stromatolites. The
mystery surrounding their origins attract scientists from around the globe, who
have compared the find to that of a zoologist discovering a living dinosaur.
The main settlement in the region is Denham, with the popular Monkey Mia just 24
km away. Access is via the Northwest Coastal Highway and Shark Bay Road.
More information can be found on the
Shark Bay World Heritage
official site. In addition to our listed online travel guide information,
contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more
attractions, tours, local maps and other information.