About Shark Bay

The Shire of Shark Bay is located in the Gascoyne Region of the Midwest and made up of two peninsulas on the western most point of Australia. Shark Bay is a 2.2million hectare World Heritage Area, the town of Denham is the main settlement within the Shire, located 800km from Perth within Western Australia's popular Coral Coast tourism region. Shark Bay has a permanent population of approximately 946 people (2016 census) and has a rich and diverse history. The Aboriginal people of the Shark Bay area are descendants of the Malgana people. Shark Bay is also home to the first recorded landfall by a European on the Australian coastline, with Dutch Skipper Dirk Hartog's vessel the Eendracht landing at Dirk Hartog Island, off the coast on Shark Bay in 1616. 

Shark Bay is a thriving community with the main local industries being tourism, fishing, salt production, pearl culturing, shell grit mining and pastoral (sheep, cattle and goats). The town boasts a wide range of local businesses providing services and goods for the local community. Outside Denham, settlements also exist at Monkey Mia, Nanga, Overlander, Billabong and Useless Loop. Useless Loop is a “closed” mining town located 250 km from Denham by road or 25 km across the bay by boat.

Shark Bay tourist attractions include:

  • World Heritage Listing
  • Monkey Mia (dolphins, dugongs, turtles)
  • Shell Beach
  • Hamelin Pool Stromatolites
  • Steep Point (fishing, diving and camping)
  • Cape Inscription (history of first landing)
  • Dirk Hartog Island (fishing, diving and camping)
  • Francois Peron National Park
  • Ocean Park Aquarium
  • Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery & Visitors Centre

The regions landscapes and habitats range from rugged sea cliffs along the coast to tranquil bays and inlets fringed with wide beaches of sand and shells. Shark Bay has a strong community spirit with several sporting, recreational, children and educational special interest groups, clubs and committees. Many of these groups organise annual and weekly activities for residents and visitors in the Shire of Shark Bay.