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On Walkabout: Around Shark Bay, Western Australia

Denham

There is plenty to see and do at Shark Bay besides going to Monkey Mia. I highly recommend it visiting Shark Bay to go and see the surrounding country side of the peninsula. A four wheel drive vehicle would be ideal to really experience the peninsula. Since we had a campervan we really had a hard time navigating the dirt roads on the peninsula that we weren’t supposed to take the campervan on. However, by driving slow and careful we were able to see some of the incredible areas on the peninsula.

Here is a view over looking the harbor at Denham:

Denham Harbor Boats

You can see the various sailboats out on the water in this picture. What I will always remember about this picture was that after taking this shot; I had the scare of my life when I came face to face with a big black snake. It quickly slithered off once it saw me so I couldn’t get a picture, but taking a picture was the last thing on my mind. The only thing on my mind was hauling ass back to the campervan. Yet another encounter for me with some of Australia’s deadliest wildlife.

Here is a picture of Denham as seen from just outside of town:

Denham, Western Australia

There isn’t much to Denham, but I do have to say that my wife and I did have a fun time staying here and found the locals to be a welcoming and a nice group of people to interact with.

Eagle Bluff

The best views of Shark Bay can be found from a place called Eagle Bluff:

Eagle Bluff Sign

It took some time to get the campervan down that road, but it was worth the views. Here is a view looking towards the south from Eagle Bluff:

View from Eagle Bluff

This is supposed to be the best spot in the area to view the tiger sharks that give Shark Bay it’s name. In the shallow water below we could see some of the fish swimming around but none of the tiger sharks. Right across from the cliff we were standing on was a small island:

Small Island In Shark Bay

If you look closely at the island you can see the white coloring that is actually bird guano. Decades ago intrepid outback pioneers dug up the guano on the island and sold it to farmers as fertilizer. Just goes to show if you think your job sucks, it’s still better than standing in the hot sun and digging bird crap for a living.

Here is the view looking towards the north:

Shark Bay's Eagle Bluff 1

The sliver of land sticking out of the bay was used by the Aborigines to catch fish. They used to make a sand bar extending from the sliver of land that would prevent the fish from swimming out to the center of the bay when the tide rolled out thus trapping the fish. Additionally near the sliver of land is a natural water spring that the Aborigines used as their water source as well. To this day local Aborigines still make use of the water source.

Across Shark Bay we could actually see a salt mine that is still in operation on the isolated peninsula that brackets the western side of the bay:

Shark Bay Salt Mine

If you look closely at this picture you can see how the shallow sandy water turns into a darker green color towards the center of the bay:

Changing Colors of Shark Bay's Waters

The dark green color is the seaweed that grows in the salty Shark Bay waters and is what feeds the bay’s large colony of dugongs. From Eagle Bluff we then began hiking on a four wheel drive road towards the south. Looking eastward we could see the long lonely dirt we drove up to reach the bluff:

Road to Eagle Bluff

The trail continued to skirt the steep cliffs of the bay and all around us in the sand you could see the footprints of the various animals that call Shark Bay home:

Animal Footprints In the Outback

Fortunately there were no more snakes. At the end of the trail we came to a lookout that provided a view of the southern end of the bay:

Fishing In Shark Bay

If you look really closely in the above picture, you can make out a handful of fishermen that were fishing along the beach that day. You couldn’t ask for better fishing weather than at Shark Bay. Actually you couldn’t ask for better weather for any outdoor activity than at Shark Bay.

Next Posting: Shell Beach

Prior Posting: Sailing on Shark Bay

Back to the Western Australia Holiday Journal Archive

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