Western Australia’s Shark Bay on Australia’s Coral Coast is a perfect getaway for those seeking a healthy dose of adventure on this particular side of the sunburnt continent.
In Part 1 of this three-part series, we covered Perth to Overlander Roadhouse. Read on for Part 2…
Part 2: Overlander Roadhouse to Denham
After you’ve reached the Overlander Roadhouse, sitting along the North West Coastal Highway, you turn left for the last leg of the journey. That’s going to be either to the town of Denham or the Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort – if you’re not camping that is. In that case, you can find plenty of basic places where you can park it like a boss.
I really recommend stopping at the Overlander Roadhouse because it’s the last proper stop for another 130 km. If you run out of fuel or Red Bulls along the way, you’re out of luck. There’s not much traffic or cell coverage along the way, so prepare accordingly.
The North West Coastal Highway ain’t exactly the equivalent of Perth or Melbourne traffic during rush hour. But Shark Bay Road makes it seem so. I passed more Roos and Emus than cars (just 5) while I drove up to Denham. But then again, this was at the end of January, and this may differ depending on the season.
There are at least 3 stops you just have to do before Denham.
First, the Hamelin Pool Stromatolites.
Yes, it’s not a rollercoaster-ride of an adventure, but this one of the very few chances you have to get up-close-and-personal with the earliest lifeforms on this planet (we’re talking billions of years here). There are only a few extreme places left on earth where you can see these alive. That said, it’s a stunningly beautiful area to visit anyway. Your only access to the stromatolites is by way of a boardwalk – and no, there’s no swimming allowed.
Second, there is Shell Beach.
It’s exactly what it says on the tin. A pristine ultra-white beach made up entirely of the little shells deposited here over the years. It stretches for tens of kilometres and is a sight to behold. I wouldn’t recommend going there barefoot unless you want to paint the beach red with your blood. The water is hyper-saline, so if you always wanted to try a light version of the Dead Sea, then this is your chance.
Third, there’s Eagle Bluff.
A vantage point with a large boardwalk with an incredible view over this part of Shark Bay. You can see plenty of animals such as sharks, dugongs and manta rays below you. Mind you. There’s always a bit of luck involved when it comes to spotting wildlife. But the view here is great and I did make out a few sharks and manta rays far below in the bay. If you happen to have binoculars with you, now is a good time to use them.