Monkey Mia: Everything you need to know

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One of many highlights along the incredible Coral Coast is the world-famous dolphin experience at Monkey Mia.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is Monkey Mia?

Monkey Mia is part of the Shark Bay Marine Park, a World Heritage Site made up of red dirt dunes, long white beaches and some of the most marine life-rich waters in WA. Its main attraction is of course the bottlenose dolphins, which have been coming up to the shore and interacting with humans for over 50 years. While in the past visitors were able to feed and touch the visiting dolphins, it’s now a little more restricted and supervised, though no less exhilarating.

Where is Monkey Mia?

Monkey Mia Reserve is located on the Peron Peninsula, around 25km northeast of Denham and 850km north of Perth. You can tackle the 10-hour drive along north west coast highway and Shark Bay Road, or get a flight to Monkey Mia Airport in just a couple of hours.

What to do:

Get up close and personal with some friendly bottlenose dolphins – there are two main groups that like to visit the shallow waters, themselves making just a small percentage of the thousands that live in the bay! Dolphin experience times can vary, although they are offered fish by park rangers during their first three visits between 7:45am and midday.

Keep an eye out outside of those times though, they’ll often swim around the area over the course of any given day. You may be allowed to feed the dolphins, although it’s not guaranteed and will depend on park rangers on the day.

Outside of the dolphin visiting area makes for some excellent swimming, snorkelling or just lazing on the beach, with an abundance of marine life to be seen within the shallows. Keen walkers would do well to check out the Wulyibidi Yaninyina Trail (Malgana Aboriginal term for “walking Peron”), which is around 4km and will only take an hour or two (less if you do the short loop).

Monkey Mia is also on the border of the Francois Peron National Park, where the desert spectacularly collides with the sea and also home to some must-do Aboriginal Tours. There are plenty of camping and other accommodation options in the area, and if you want to be right in the thick of it the RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort scored a huge upgrade a couple of years ago.

The Shark Bay World Heritage Area is chock-a-block full of experiences to take in.

What not to do:

Touch or feed the dolphins – the temptation to do either is obviously there, but it’s important you let the dolphins check you out and that’s it – look but don’t touch!

Forget to book ahead – Monkey Mia is incredibly busy around the middle of the year.

Anything else?

If you’re looking for a little inspiration on what else to do along the Coral Coast, here’s an in-depth road trip guide to doing it right, and here’s a 10-day itinerary to follow.

Image Credit: RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort

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