The Friendly Dolphins of Monkey Mia
You can Swim with the Dolphins at Monkey Mia
No one can ever forget Monkey Mia. I certainly can't.
The tiny resort town of Monkey Mia on the shores of Shark Bay in Western Australia is famous for its dolphins.
One Summer I spent a week enjoying incredible conversations each day with dolphins, but then everybody talks with the dolphins in Monkey Mia - dolphins that swim up to greet you and bump your legs as if you're an old friend..
For more than forty years the bottlenose dolphins have been visiting and interacting with us, and we still don't know why. It seems they just enjoy the friendly contact!
Accommodation has been built right on the famous beach so visitors can spend a couple of days exploring this unique area.
Dolphins of Monkey Mia - Why are they so friendly?
Do the Dolphins come to watch us?
There's really no words to describe the feeling that you get from a dolphin rubbing round your legs like a cat.
Why do they do this? Do the dolphins come to watch us as we go to watch them?
Monkey Mia - Truly an experience
It's just about unbelievable. The dolphins come right up to you and swoosh around your legs like a cat.
More than Dolphins
Take an Eco Cruise
There's more to Monkey Mia than dolphins.
You can take an eco-cruise into the shallow waters of Shark Bay Marine Park where marine wildlife is protected. The vast seagrass floor of the bay is home to countless species of fish. manta rays, whales, turtles, and dugongs.
The Shark Bay area has 10 species of mammals, 98 species of reptiles, over 100 bird species and, with the longest wildflower season in the West, more than 700 species of flowering plants.
A postcard I sent from Monkey Mia.
People line up to talk to the dolphins.
Thousands of turtles live in Shark Bay
Thousands of loggerhead and green turtles live in Shark Bay.
The green turtle lives around coral, rocky reefs and seagrass meadows in tropical and subtropical seas. Given the enormous amount of seagrass in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, it's not surprising that the place is popular with turtles.
The turtles live here for decades, grazing on seagrass, seaweed and jellyfish before making their first migration back to their birthplace to breed. Like the loggerhead turtle and other species, they use a special 'magnetic compass' in their brain to find their home beach, which might be hundreds of kilometres away.
Plenty of cruises are available to view them in the wild.
Dugongs - Thousands of Amiable Vegetarians
The shy Dugong
Shark Bay is home to the world's second largest population of these amiable mammals grazing on underwater grasses day and night There are about 15,000 in the marine park.
These enormous vegetarians can be found in warm coastal waters from East Africa to Australia, including the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Pacific.
Dugongs are related to manatees and are similar in appearance and behaviour. Both are related to the elephant, although the giant land animal is not at all similar in appearance.
These mammals can stay underwater for six minutes before surfacing. They sometimes breathe by "standing" on their tail with their heads above water.
Tiger Sharks - Stay Clear of the Sharks
Watch the sharks from a boat
You can play with the dolphins and the dugongs, but stay away from the sharks. These large, blunt-nosed predators have a duly earned reputation as man-eaters and are second only to great whites in attacking people.
Striped or spotted tiger sharks up to 4.5 metres long are found in the bay. More than five hundred have been tagged and released in the past five years.
During the summer months you can join a cruise to watch the research scientists catch and tag the sharks.
This 3" brim hat is just what you need while in the sun.
SPF 50 sun protection rated with an ultraviolet protection factor providing the best sun protection with style.
Don't forget your hat! - Never go outside without a hat
In Australia, wear a hat.
Slap your sunscreen on too and, in the peak sunlight times, cover yourself with a long shirt and sarong as well.
Even on a cloudy day, don't leave home without a hat, the sun is still there behind the clouds.
Winter or Summer, stay out of the Australian sun. It's a killer.
Killer Whales - Whales make regular visits to Monkey Mia
The Right Whales come to Shark Bay to give birth. Regular visitors are Humpbacks, Minkes, Pilots and Killer Whales.
Once again, cruises are available.
Rare Birds - Endangered birds are in the carpark
Keep your camera handy
Nowhere else in the world will you find the Dirk Hartog Black and White Fairy Wren, and the endangered Thick Billed Grass Wren is happy to make an appearance in the Monkey Mia Visitors Car Park.
Stromatolites - You can call them our ancestors
Three and a half million years old
At the Hamelin Pool in the south of the bay, the Stromatolites are among the oldest fossils of life on earth. These microscopic organisms concentrate and recycle nutrients which combine with sedimentary grains to form mushroom shaped towers.
A Stromatolite is one of the first complex living organisms on Earth. They appeared about 3.5 billion years ago and they still exist in Shark Bay. Bill Bryson says in , "It's a curiously giddying moment to find yourself staring at living remnants of earth as it is was". A Short History of Nearly Everything
Stromatolites created our oxygen atmosphere and began the evolution of life from the water to the land, you can call them our ancestors!
A Dolphin Shirt
This beautiful design features dolphins leaping from the water in the twilight. The background is an unusual tie dye with blues and whites - dyed by hand in Australia.
Wild Planet Design is an award winning maker of 100% cotton printed T-Shirts.
They use special hand-dyeing and screen-printing techniques to make each T-Shirt a one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art.
Made in Australia by professional silk screen printers.
Where to stay
You don't have a choice
The Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort is the only accommodation at Monkey Mia.
It's an amazing place, the beach isn't separated from the resort by a road and you stay on the beach itself. It caters for all budgets with different options to accommodate backpackers, caravans and campers through to 3.5 star family and couples.
Please get yourself to Shark Bay before everything is pulled down to build a great big hotel, Dubai-style.
How to get there
Drive : Shark Bay is 850 kilometres from Perth, a comfortable day's drive through beautiful wildflower country. Make sure to leave early, as driving after dark can be hazardous along here. Many roads are unfenced, so watch out for wandering stock and wildlife.
Fly : There are both regular and charter flights from Perth to Denham. The small seaside town of Denham, once thriving in the pearl industry, is now the centre of tourism for Shark Bay. You'll love the street paved with pearl shell!
Coach : McCafferty's/Greyhound Perth-Broome-Darwin service stops at the Overlander Roadhouse 150km from Monkey Mia where a shuttle bus runs to Denham and Monkey Mia. Most Backpacker buses heading up the coast will call in, who could miss Monkey Mia?