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About halfway down the West Coast of Australia is the beautiful Shark Bay World Heritage area. It’s where you’ll see crystal clear turquoise waters, framed by golden sand and red cliffs – the quintessential colours of Western Australia. The things to do in Shark Bay let you get right to the heart of the area and will show off just how unique this area is.
Some of Shark Bay is suitable for campervans like ours, but I feel it’s more of a paradise for 4x4s with the Francois Peron National Park mostly being 4WD only. Because of this, we chose to just spend the day here and do some of the easily accessible activities in Shark Bay, following the World Heritage Drive.
So if you’re wondering what to do in Shark Bay if you’re also in a 2WD, this guide is perfect for you.
You might also like:
- The best things to do in Exmouth
- 16 Awesome things to do in Coral Bay
- The Ultimate Karijini 2 day itinerary
Watch my Exmouth to Shark Bay vlog!
How to get to Shark Bay
If you’re doing a West Coast road trip, stopping off at Shark Bay is an easy divert. The Peron Peninsula which the World Heritage site sits on is about halfway between Exmouth and Perth. To get to Shark Bay, you’ll turn off the main coastal road at Hamelin Pool and then you’re on your way into the World Heritage area.
Exmouth to Shark Bay – 6 hours drive, 589km
Coral Bay to Shark Bay – 4.5 hours drive, 462km
Perth to Shark Bay – 7.5 hours drive, 729km
How long do you need at Shark Bay
This might be controversial for all the shark Bay lovers out there, but we found 1 day to be enough. This allowed us enough time to do the free activities in Shark Bay that are suitable for 2WD. However, lots of people will stay there overnight just to relax and enjoy the area.
Shark Bay camping sites
Although we just visited for the day, there are places for camping in the Shark Bay area. If you’re on a budget and looking for a free campsite for the night, take a look at my WikiCamps guide which tells you how to find these.
If you’re looking for a bigger campground with more facilities, there are 7 to choose from. I personally like to use WikiCamps to find their locations and what facilities are available and then go over to booking.com to book the stay. Booking.com has a Genius Rewards Programme where you get a discount the more you book!
Do you need a WA Parks Pass to visit Shark Bay?
You don’t need a WA Parks Pass to explore Shark Bay unless you plan to visit Francois Peron National Park. Everything I’m recommending in this 2WD Shark Bay guide is completely free and you don’t need a pass to visit.
Top free things to do in Shark Bay
1. Visit the Stromatolites at Hamelin Pool
If you didn’t know any better (which I didn’t at the time), you might think you’re going out your way to look at a bunch of rocks. But these are far more scientifically significant than that. The stromatolites are the oldest living fossil in the world, dating back to 3500 million years ago – and they’re still here today!
Scientists have studied them for a number of years to learn more about our evolution as they are thought to be one of the earliest forms of life on Earth. The Stromatolites at Shark Bay are one of only two colonies left in the world.
To get a good view of these old fellas, take the boardwalk over the shallow water. You’ll also find plenty of information signs to learn more about them.
2. Check out Shell Beach
In the UK we have shingle beaches, in Australia, they have a beach made up of billions and billions of shells. what’s even more mind-blowing is that every single shell comes from just one type of animal – the Fragum Cockle!
These cockles are prevalent here due to the high levels of salt in the water, high amounts of evaporation and low water flow. All of these combined means there are few predators of the cockles which results in such a high abundance, and ultimately, a beach completely made of shells!
Visiting Shell Beach is one of the most famous things to do in Shark Bay, but as it’s a whopping 70km long and 10m deep in some places so there’s plenty of space no matter how busy Shark Bay is. If you fancy a dip in the water here, don’t be surprised when you find yourself floating as the water is twice as salty as normal!
3. Wildlife spot at Eagle Bluff Lookout
Nothing beats an ocean lookout in Australia. No matter how many I must have visited, it’s always spectacular. And Eagle Bluff was no exception.
Eagle Bluff lookout is located about halfway up the Peron Peninsula before you reach Francois Peron National Park and there’s a fantastic cliffside walkway overlooking the ocean. We spent wayyy longer here than anywhere else, looking for wildlife and soaking in the views.
Keep your eyes peeled as you’ve got a good chance of spotting dugongs, turtles and dolphins without too much bother as the water is so clear.
A little note from me:
One thing that you won’t find me recommending in this guide is Monkey Mia. Monkey Mia is one of the most famous things to do in Shark Bay as it’s where you can feed wild dolphins. But it just doesn’t sit right with me. These dolphins come up to the waters edge each day because they’re being fed by humans. I don’t feel this type of animal tourism should be promoted and this is why we also didn’t visit.