It was blowing a gale when we arrived at our campsite in Denham, 30 minutes down the road from Monkey Mia.
I mean so bad that the pole that holds up the canvas roof over the girl’s bed in the camper trailer snapped. The Jayco strikes again.
We had to bring out the problem-solving smarts for a temporary fix so the girls had a bed to sleep in.
But, that’s how windy it was. It wasn’t welcoming, like the gentle, soothing breezes coming in off the ocean in Broome. Ahhh Broome, we miss you so.
This wind was freaking annoying.
It kept us awake at night with its howls and relentless shaking of the van. We thought it was going to fall apart on our heads.
Monkey Mia was not the experience we were anticipating. Our friends stayed there only a week after us and they had perfect conditions: warm weather, blue skies, sailing on calm water, and lots of wild dolphins.
It’s amazing the difference weather can make to your experience; their photos had me thirsting to return and experience Monkey Mia and Shark Bay without the wind!
It just wasn’t wow for us.
It was the first time in months we wore jumpers. On the morning we went to visit the dolphins, we even put beanies on the girls. It was freezing.
That is freezing after coming out of the Top End freezing. If you’re from Canada, you wouldn’t think it was so.
I think the wind scared away the dolphins too. But, crowd numbers were down so we had decent viewing opportunities. Feeding the dolphins at Monkey Mia can sometimes draw crowds of up to 700 strong. I just couldn’t imagine!
They all hustle for space at the water’s edge to watch as the dolphins swim up and down with one eye up wondering what the hell all these legs and beady eyes are doing.
“Why would you want to see me?” I’m sure they’re thinking. “I’m just a water mammal that likes fish. By the way, do you have any?”
Many years ago, before anyone cared about conservation, you could wade a few feet into the water to feed these precious dolphins.
Now they know better. They still feed them but have a set number of fish they can give per dolphin and only do it three times during the morning from 9-12pm.
The rangers hand pick a few people from the crowds to feed them. Just make sure you do not have even a big toe in the water during feeding time or they will not pick you.
Our girls did not get picked, but our friends did a couple of times when they went. They also had about 14 dolphins appear while we only had two. The experiences are vastly different.
If you hang around after the first feeding, more people tend to leave so you have more of a chance to be chosen to feed the dolphins.
While you are waiting between sessions, you can sit up at the cafe for a coffee or even breakfast, or stop for lunch after it. It has magnificent views. We only stopped for a coffee break, but our friends had lunch and loved it.
You can camp at Monkey Mia, which looked like a nice campsite on the water. We couldn’t as we could not get Optus internet there and had deadlines to meet, unfortunately, internet often gets in the way of things we want to do! (Like staying at the beautiful Lake Argyle!)
I wouldn’t hurry back.
We thought the Monkey Mia experience was a little overrated and touristy. It’s a long detour from the main highway to get there and in hindsight wished we skipped it and spent those three nights elsewhere.
For us, the wild dolphin experience was more accessible and better at Bunbury, just south of Perth.
We camped at Denham, which is also on the water and considering the wind would be absolutely amazing if you love kite surfing!
It was very quiet and empty during our visit. Our friends also loved the town of Denham. Again it didn’t show itself in the best light for us.
The World Heritage Drive
While we weren’t fussed by Denham and Monkey Mia, we did love the World Heritage Drive along Shark Bay.
This is a stunning area and more worth exploring. Just be sure to allow time as it will take longer than you think.
There are plenty of stunning lookout points along the way. Here are a few:
The stunning white sandy beach you see here has been created by millions of tiny shells.
There’s a short 100-metre boardwalk here along the cliff face with stunning views.
The Ancient Stromatolites
I found this a little underwhelming.
We did come at really low tide so they were all exposed. And it is amazing to learn about some of the oldest fossils giving us an insight into the evolution of the world. If you love science, then this is the place to visit.
Have you visited Monkey Mia and Shark Bay?
Did you think it was worth the drive?