Hello Denham, our first stop in the World Heritage area of Shark Bay. The meeting place of three climatic zones, home to dugongs, loggerhead turtles, dolphins, rays and sharks. And also the best welcome we’ve received yet…emus at the entrance to town.
We thought that might have just been a fluke but later we found 3 more roaming the streets of Denham. Lovely and helpful people in town again, gave us tips on where to swim etc… The water here is a crystal clear turquoise colour and quite shallow until you get to the blue line. The beaches are lined with shells, so many varieties to see making a beach walk very interesting.
They have a beautiful foreshore area, WA is big on ‘Royalties for Regions’ a state government initiative to develop WA’s regional areas, and it seems lots of money has been put into developing foreshores and they look fantastic. Denham was no exception with a huge playground for kids, walking path, sculpture and more.
The weather was pretty hot and very, very humid. Thankfully every afternoon a sea breeze would pick up and cool things down a bit and keep flies away. One afternoon while I was out taking sunset photos I happened to turn around to look behind (sometimes the colour behind you is pretty amazing too) and there was a huge build-up of clouds. I was admiring the colour and spectacular formation of them until I noticed flashes of lightning happening continually in the cloud. A few quick snaps then out of there!
We visited the Francois Peron National Park which you can only do with a high clearance 4wd, and you must reduce your tyre pressure to make it easier on the track and your car.
There is only a single road to travel on so when a car comes from the opposite direction one of you has to give way, but it works well with plenty of pull off areas and it’s no drama. The park has incredible scenery starting with the red dirt which was covered with animal tracks criss-crossing the road. We could make out emu prints, I think a snake trail as well, and we saw plenty of lizards – although we had lots of “is that a stick or a lizard?’ moments.
Heading to the furthest part of the cape, Point Peron, we were rewarded with a brilliant view after scaling a red dune. The funniest thing was seeing an absolutely straight line of cormorants lining the beach at the water line, I guess each one of them had a perfect view too.
Next stop was Skipjack Point which was breathtaking. Really good interpretive signs here to know what you can see and we spotted many Manta Rays cruising by the coast. The red cliffs dropping off to white sand and then the turquoise water was just amazing, unlike any area we’d seen before. We were absolutely mesmerised by all the shades of blue in the water.
We dropped in to a number of other beaches and then found the heavenly Herald Bight. Yep, this one had our names written all over it, time to pull up onto the beach, set up some shade and chairs and enjoy the pristine environment. We couldn’t believe we had this paradise to ourselves. Here we also saw dolphins passing by, manta rays and we think, a small shark.
Another must see in Denham is the Shark Bay Discovery Centre. It’s easy to spend an hour or more inside looking at the displays and interactive screens that tell you everything about the history of the area, its people, lifestyles, natural wonders and more. While in town you have to have a drink in the most westerly pub in Australia too, the Old Pub
One of the stand out attractions for us was the Ocean Park Aquarium. Don’t expect a walk through air conditioned wrap around tank though, this is very much a learning and rehabilitation area for sick or injured marine life from around the area. There are large tanks you gather around and look into as a guide fills you in on all the species you see in them including cod, mulloway, coral trout, kingfish, lionfish, snapper, eels, lobster, stingrays and more.
Beautiful and frightening, especially when you hear about things like the stonefish which is found around these parts. Looking just like a rock you wouldn’t know it was there, and its barbs inflict the most excruciating pain apparently, which is only relieved by applying boiling water, to stop the toxin from working, but burns your flesh in the process. And we thought sharks would be the big issue!
But at the end the most awesome part of the tour happens when they feed the sharks in a large pool.
Such great information and passion by the staff who are learning more about the creatures of the deep in their work and spreading the information to visitors.