Shark Bay is the name given to the two prongs of land and their corresponding lagoons situated west of Overlander Roadhouse on Highway 1. Denham, the only settlement, is on the western side of the eastern Peron Peninsula, while at Monkey Mia on the sheltered eastern side, bottlenose dolphins have been coming in to the beach almost daily since the 1960s. Shark Bay was World Heritage listed in 1991; this remarkable place qualifies for listing under no less than four of UNESCO’s “natural” criteria. Note that fresh water is very precious in the Shark Bay area: salty bore water is used as much as possible.
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After all the hype, you might be surprised to find that Monkey Mia is just a resort and a jetty by a pretty beach. It’s to this beach that scores of people flock to see the almost daily visits by between five and ten adult female dolphins and their attendant calves, all known by name. Get here at 7.30am to watch the first feeding at around 8am. There are usually another two feeds per day, always before noon, to encourage the dolphins to spend the afternoon foraging for food in the bay – these two later feeds can be a better option if you don’t want to fight your way through the excitable crowds standing in the shallows.