First on our list was an early morning visit to Monkey Mia to see the dolphins.Monkey Mia is renowned for being a place where you can experience close encounters with their visiting Indo-pacific bottlenose dolphins. Every morning between 7.45am – 12.00pm, there is dolphin feeding on the beach. This is run by Department of Parks & Wildlife officers and you need to be very lucky to be picked out to feed a dolphin, and strictly no touching.We arrived early and decided to stand on the jetty to view the feeding, we’ve fed and swum with dolphins before, so thought the less crowded jetty would give a better view and photo opportunity (it did! And we also saw turtles aswell!).As the dolphins are wild, there is always the chance they won’t come in for a feed. Luckily for us quite a few dolphins came in while we were there. Up to 5 mature female dolphins are offered food the first 3 times they visit each day. If they come back again they won’t be offered food.The dolphins are only fed a small amount of food each feeding. As they are wild animals, they want to ensure that they keep hunting for their own food and teach their young this behaviour aswell. By limiting the food offered to the dolphins they can still live as the wild animals they are and won’t become reliant on humans for food.
After our early start to see the dolphins, we continued on with the day and headed into the national park for a look around. François Peron National Park covers an area of 52,000 hectares.
The park was named after François Peron in recognition of his contribution to recording Australia’s natural and social history. François documented anthropology, oceanography, meteorology and zoology during Nicholas Baudin’s 1801 and 1803 expeditions.
First we visited the Peron Heritage Precinct which included the old Homestead and also gave an insight into what life was like during the pastoral era, and how they shearers lived and worked back in the day when this was a large working sheep station.
This area also had an artesian bore open to the public. Would have loved to go in this if it hadn’t of been so cold, the wind was fearce that morning!One of the things we love about travelling is that you never know what you might see each day. Well this was our first encounter with a thorny devil in the wild. This little guy was sitting right in the middle of the road having a little sunbake.Access to the park is via 4WD only and it wasn’t the best of roads in some places, but it was certainly worth it to see the views.The scenery in this area is spectacular, the dramatic colours of the rocks against the ocean are certainly a sight.The scenery throughout the whole park was ever changing and the colours changed each way you looked. This is another of those special places you need to visit to understand.One of the places to visit in the park is ‘Kraskoe’s Tank’. This was named after a one legged entrepreneur who would ride his horse from Denham to Herald Bight each week to buy pearls and collect mail. He perished trying to reach this water tank after falling off his horse and breaking his remaining good leg. How bad can your luck be!
One of the highlights for us was Skipjack Point. Everything we read said to take binoculars to this lookout as there is so much to see. Well they weren’t wrong, as soon as we reached the lookout we saw a shark and from then onwards we saw turtles, rays, manta rays and whales. It was amazing to see so much.
Our last stop for the day was a visit to Ocean Park Aquarium. This place isn’t your typical aquarium, but we loved it.You are taken on a guided tour around all the tanks by a marine biologist and they explain and educate you, as well as answering any questions you may have. Speaking of Nemo, we found out a little bit about clownfish, go and google ‘The Truth About Finding Nemo’ …… you’ll never be able to watch the movie the same ever again!!!Also included in the tour is the shark feeding and informative talk.The whole tour goes for around an hour or so. Our guide was great, very informative and we all had a few laughs as well.
We even learned a few things …. eels have two sets of jaws, their ‘pharyngeal jaws’ are housed in the eel’s throat. When the eel’s main jaws close on its prey, its second set jumps forward into it’s mouth, grabs the prey and drags it back into the throat!We also found out that all crustaceans shed their skin, had no idea about that either! Go and google lobster shedding its skin, it’s pretty cool!
The weird things you come across sometimes!
While in Shark Bay, of course we also had to go visit the Shark Bay Hotel, Australia’s most Westerly hotel!We also happened to be staying at the Denham Seaside Tourist Village, which is apparently the most Westerly Caravan Park in Australia!