must see, must do
This area is, simply, one of the most unspoilt and spectacular in Australia.
Discover beautiful extremes and a rugged coastline, brilliant blue water and red sunsets – the perfect backdrops for you to experience the rare scenery of the land. Many of the most scenic natural areas in the region are protected national and marine parks, which provide a safe environment for unique and endangered species of flora and fauna. The stretch of coastline between Shark Bay and North West Cape teems with marine life and exciting water-based attractions. The sub-tropical climate in this region is milder than the tropical North West, with no wet season and less extreme range in temperature, providing the perfect year-round environment.
Shark Bay is one of only a handful of areas in the world that meet the criteria for UNESCO World Heritage listing. The crystal clear shallow waters of the marine park give visitors the opportunity to view coral reefs, dugongs, manta rays, turtles and humpback whales in the vast seagrass meadows. See our UNESCO World Heritage page for more information about Shark Bay and the recently added Ningaloo Marine Park which was inducted to the List in June 2011.
Carnarvon is a busy commercial centre and makes a popular base from which to explore the region. Fertile, irrigated plantations produce export crops of bananas, mangoes, stone and citrus fruits and tomatoes. Be sure to visit the ITC Dish - a bygone reminder of Australia's participation in the 20th century's space race - for panoramic views of the town and surrounding countryside. At the southern entrance to the town visit the Wall of Remembrance that commemorates the greatest single Australian maritime loss of lives; the sinking of HMAS Sydney II in 1941. To experience local indigenous culture visit Gwoonwardu Mia which houses a display of images and artefacts including a 32,000 year old shell necklace. Here you can explore the native flora of the region, meet local Aboriginal people and even try some bushtucker cuisine. The Carnarvon coastline offers excellent fishing, swimming, surfing and coral viewing sports. Just north of the township powerful ocean waves create spectacular blowholes and formations, and 130km north of Carnarvon at the southern end of the Ningaloo Reef is Red Bluff, one of Australia's most amazing outback coastal locations.
Situated between the rugged mountain ranges of Cape Range National Park and the spectacular Ningaloo Marine Park, Exmouth is a vibrant, growing town whilst adjacent to the southern tip of the park, Coral Bay has sheltered bays where children can swim safely amongst tropical reef fish and coral gardens only metres from the shore.
Towns in the Ningaloo and Shark Bay area include Carnarvon, Exmouth, Coral Bay, Denham, and Monkey Mia.