Shark Bay exploring

First on our list was an early morning visit to Monkey Mia to see the dolphins.IMG_7803Monkey 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.IMG_7800We 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!).IMG_7795As 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.IMG_7802The 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.IMG_7804

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.


Such an Aussie problem!

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!IMG_7811One 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.IMG_7824Access 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.IMG_7827The scenery in this area is spectacular, the dramatic colours of the rocks against the ocean are certainly a sight.IMG_7829The 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.IMG_7833One 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!
IMG_7843One 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. IMG_7848
Our last stop for the day was a visit to Ocean Park Aquarium. This place isn’t your typical aquarium, but we loved it.IMG_7856You 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.

We saw Nemo!

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!!!IMG_7866Also included in the tour is the shark feeding and informative talk.IMG_7860The whole tour goes for around an hour or so. Our guide was great, very informative and we all had a few laughs as well.

IMG_7875We 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!IMG_7880We 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!


View from the aquarium

 The weird things you come across sometimes!


Had to stop for traffic on the way back to town!

IMG_7892While in Shark Bay, of course we also had to go visit the Shark Bay Hotel, Australia’s most Westerly hotel!IMG_7896We also happened to be staying at the Denham Seaside Tourist Village, which is apparently the most Westerly Caravan Park in Australia!

Steep Point – Western most point of Australia 

So we have conquered the northern most point of the Australian mainland (Cape York, Qld), the eastern most (Cape Byron lighthouse, NSW) and now the western most (Steep Point, WA)!

Only the southern point (Wilsons Promontory, Vic) to go now!


Fishing off up to 200m high cliffs!

When we first planned to go to Western Australia we had our list of must see places and Steep Point was one of them.  So you could imagine our disappointment when a few months ago we sent through our camping permits for Shelter Bay, only for the ranger to contact us and say that the campgrounds are closed as there will be roadworks all throughout August and we wouldn’t be able to reach Steep Point!IMG_7929Well that’s when Shelly got to work to see if there was any way around this! Luckily she found a company in Shark Bay that runs day tours out there. Ocean Park Aquarium said that although the roads may be closed, they have other tracks they can use and could get permission to still run their tours. So we put our names down and left our contact details and asked if they could contact us if any more people were interested (they needed a minimum of three people to run the tour).IMG_7920A week or so ago we got the call to say that 2 people wanted to change their date and it coincided with dates we would be in Denham so we went for it! $600 for the two of us, but at least we were going to reach Steep Point. After all, we are on holidays and as dad (Johnny) always says, “it’s only money”!IMG_7906The day started with a 6.30am pickup from our caravan park and we then continued on to pick up another 2 couples from other parks. It was a couple of hours drive to even get into the National Park so this gave us a bit of time to get to know each other and learn a little about the area and its history.

One of the blowholes

Steep Point is the most westerly point of mainland Australia and it is situated in the proposed Edel Land National Park, WA. It can only be reached by high clearance 4WD or boat.IMG_7909The Zuytdorp Cliffs that frame this area run for about 200km from Kalbarri to Steep Point and make this area one of the most awesome views you will ever see. This sheer size of these cliffs is amazing, up to 200 metres high at some points.  IMG_7929These cliffs were named after the Dutch ship, the Zuytdorp, which wrecked against the base of the cliffs in 1712.IMG_7932After a long morning of driving we finally reached the point and that sign!  Of course we were all excited …. we were marking off number 3, for one couple it was their second and for the other couple it was their last one, they’ve now visited every point of mainland Australia. They were an elderly couple and it was so sweet to see them walk off arm in arm and say “we did it love, we’ve done them all”.
After our photos we then all signed the visitors book, which we thought was a nice idea. Just for the record, there is nothing like this at Cape York and no way it would survive up there. In the nicest possible way of saying this, some of the visitors up there unfortunately lack respect for the environment and other people and we doubt a book like this would last more than a week before someone destroyed or stole it. It was a pleasant change to see this at Steep Point for all to enjoy.IMG_7938Next it was time for lunch which was supplied as part of the tour (aswell as morning and afternoon tea and drinks). Couldn’t ask for a better view for our lunch break.IMG_7939We couldn’t have wished for better weather for the day, clear blue skies and not too much wind. Unfortunately this meant that the blow holes weren’t really blowing, but it did mean that we saw heaps of whales, and we mean heaps! Everywhere you looked there were whales swimming and breaching, even a few with calves.IMG_7940The Indian ocean that surrounds the area brings in its huge waves which crash into the cliff faces and at times actually go up and over the cliffs, nature is truely amazing.IMG_7945Throughout the day the landscape changed from tracks to beach to sand dunes, huge sheer limestone cliffs and great expanses of the bright blue Indian ocean with waves crashing against the rocks.IMG_7952The views were unbelievable from every location, uninterrupted views as far as you could see.IMG_7965One of best things about the day was that we were the only ones around for majority of the day. We saw the odd fishermen but that was it!IMG_7970 Our day ended up with us being dropped back to camp around 6.30pm.  We can’t thank Ocean Park Aquarium enough for helping us make this possible. Although we would have liked to make the drive ourselves, the whole tour was very well run and our guide, Ralph, was fun, friendly and knowledgable. He really did go out of his way to ensure that everyone was enjoying the experience. Would highly recommend this company if anyone is in the area. So yes it cost us $600 to reach Steep Point, but we had a great day and met some nice people. To be honest, we probably experienced more than we would have had we gone by ourselves due to having a local’s inside knowledge of the area.

At the end of the day, the main thing is WE MADE IT!