Road Trips Western Australia Road Trip

Shark Bay – First Look At The Coral Coast

Geraldton to Shark Bay: 408 kms

Perth to Shark Bay: 827 kms

After getting the vehicle sorted out in Geraldton, we head north towards Shark Bay.  Travelling into Denham, the town in the area, we’re amazed by the sparseness of the whole landscape. The town itself is out on the major peninsula of which Francois Peron National Park is part of.

Aerial – Jeep on the road to Francois Peron National Park

We pre-booked two nights’ accommodation in one of the roomy cabins in the Denham Seaside Caravan Park. They call them ‘Chalets’, but a cabin by any other name….  There is also a range of powered sites, extra-large powered sites for the bigger RVs and unpowered sites.  One of the things we’ve noticed is the introduction of ensuite sites.  A large powered site with a shower and toilet for exclusive use by that site.

One thing we notice immediately on arrival, the visitors really like their fishing!  The caravan park is full of some pretty serious boats.

After settling in to the cabin, we take a walk down to the ‘Old Pub’. It’s not too far away from the caravan park, and we’ve heard some good things about it.  I order a meal of ‘barramundi and chips with salad’.  I can tell you, dear gentle readers, I’ve eaten better fish and chips at much more modest establishments.  Far better.  Battered fish that looks and tastes like it’s been sitting in the food warmer cabinet for a day or so, soggy chips and a salad of questionable composition.  At least the décor is nice and cosy and the staff are friendly.

The next day, at the crack of dawn, we head over to Monkey Mia to see the feeding of the wild dolphins at the jetty.  On queue they turn up, to get a morsel of fish.  The policy is to only give them about 20% of their daily food requirements so they don’t become dependent on the morning feed.

After a coffee in the warm sun, we board Aristocat 2, an 18 metre catamaran to take us on a half day trip in the local area to spot turtles, dugong, and dolphins.  After talking with Greg, the skipper, for a while, I found out he comes from Cleveland in South East Queensland.  I’ve heard this story from a number of ‘locals’ up here. In his case, he and his wife started on a round Australia trip 15 years ago.  Got to Monkey Mia, bought a boat, and stayed.

Monkey Mia – View from Aristocat 2.

Greg points out a small pod of ‘sponge dolphin’.  These dolphins seek out bottom dwelling fish as their prime food source; and to protect their beaks (or rostra) from cuts and abrasions, carry a naturally occurring sea sponge in their mouths which they use like a broom.  First known occurrence of dolphins using a tool to obtain food.

Next day we are heading up to Exmouth to enjoy one of the great experiences on Ningaloo Reef.  A swim with the majestic Whale Sharks. 

On the way out of Denham, we stop a Shell Beach for a breakfast.  A beach where the entire shoreline is composed of tiny seashells.

Read more on the Western Australia road trip –

Previous stop: On To Geraldton – The Journey North Begins

Next stop: Exmouth – The Magnificence of Ningaloo Reef

Read about our Top 5 Places to Visit in Western Australia

Shell Beach – Shark Bay

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