Shark Bay World Heritage area
Monkey Mia, Australia
Shark Bay World Heritage area Monkey Mia Reviews
Shark Bay World Heritage area Jun 23, 2010
The area around Shark Bay is biological a unique area. This is the reason why the area is one of only 20 areas in the world which fulfil all of the four criteria to join the Unesco World Heritage List.
The area is as close to the beaten path as you can get in Western Australia. But the beaten path in WA is a pretty broad term. To get here you'll need to drive up along highway 1 from Perth to Overlander Roadhouse for about 700 kilometres - here you make a left turn to go out on the road towards Denham and Monkey Mia and from here it is less than 100 kilometres to the entrance of the Shark Bay World Heritage area. Then you are in the middle of the area.
The Shark Bay area is mainly known for the dolphins at Monkey Mia - where the dolphins have been coming close to the shore for many years to be fed at the resort. It is a bit of a shame this is what the area is known for - because the feeding of the dolphins are actually a bit of a circus show and not much else. And the dolphins alone are hardly worth the long drive up from Perth.
Fortunately there are several other attractions which you should enjoy instead. The water out in Shark Bay itself is quite interesting and you can go out on a cruise to watch the dolphins in their natural environment catching fish. There is lots of other wild life out on the bay as well and you should be able to catch a glimpse of the evasive dungeons (or manatees) which live out in the bay. Plus you'll see some of the local birdlife and a turtle if you are lucky.
On land you can be lucky to spot some of the rare wildlife out in the bush. But you'll probably have to search pretty hard for it and sometimes at night as well. Hence most people do miss the rare bilby's and the other small mammals inhabiting the area.
One attraction it is a bit easier to spot is the stromalites. The ancient life form doesn't look like much. But the stromalites are actually responsible for creating a climate which can sustain all other life forms on earth. Hence without these tiny creatures which look more like a rock than something living no other life would probably be around the planet today. During the billioniums the stromalites were forced on the defensive when more advanced life forms took over their old habitat - but here in Shark Bay at the Hamelin Pool is one of the few places on earth where the ancient stromalites still hang on to life.
From the Unesco website:
The criteria on the list
• to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
• to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
• to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
• to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
Part of the Walkabouts Down Under travel blog
Part of the list 1234 places to go before I die
Part of the list UNESCO world heritage - natural sights
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