Shark Bay in Australia – a unique ecosystem

Shark Bay, Australia

Shark Bay, Australia

Located in northwestern Australia, Shark Bay is also one of the most visited natural attractions in the world, with about 120,000 travelers from around the world coming to these unique places every year. The main value of the bay is algae, which covers more than 4,000 square kilometers and makes the bay considered a unique ecosystem. In addition to algae, the bay is home to various species of plankton, small fish and shrimp, and dugongs are also attracted to this area.

Shark Bay, Australia

At certain times of the year in the bay you can also see dolphins, large representatives of the underwater world in these places are also attracted to algae, which serve them as indispensable food. The unique ecosystem that has developed in the Gulf of Shark attracts zoologists from all over the world, as well as tourists who like to visit interesting natural places more than any other entertainment. The excursion program necessarily includes walks along the coast, which is characterized by a variety of incredible rock formations.

There is a campsite set up near the bay, so travelers always have the opportunity to stay longer in these places. There are many other interesting sites near Shark Bay that are also popular with tourists. Nearby is the world famous Shell Beach – a beautiful beach, which is studded with tons of snow-white seashells. Shark Bay is closed for swimming, when you visit it tourists should follow a number of strict rules. However, close by are excellent, accessible swimming beaches, these places will appeal to fans of active recreation. Next up – Heard Island and McDonald Island

The Convict Settlements of Australia, Australia

The convict settlements of Australia, Australia

Heard and McDonald Islands, Australia

Heard and McDonald Islands, Australia

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Shark Bay and attractions around

Be sure to stop by Francois Peron Nature Park, a mirror of Australia’s flora and landscapes. Australia’s famous Ocean Park Aquarium exhibits 53.8 kilometers away and is well worth a break and a lot of fun.

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Shark Bay – interactive map

Useful facilities nearby

Nearest ATM/ATM: ‘Cashcard ATM’ is 39 km away (see itinerary on map).

Cafe/restaurant: ‘Boughshed Restaurant’ 39 km

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Shark Bay – Australia’s Shark Bay

Of all the natural wonders of the world, Shark Bay is perhaps the most distinctive. This bay in northwestern Australia is famous for its small mounds of marine stromatolites, formed by some of the earliest life forms on Earth. These organisms have been around for more than 3,500 million years, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. The beauty of the surrounding landscape is amazing – take a virtual journey to this beautiful corner of Australia.

shark bay

The bay was originally named Shark Bay in the 17th century when an English ship under Captain William Dampier sailed into Western Australia and anchored in the bay. At the same time, Dampier charted the outlines of the bay’s shores. According to one assumption, Shark Bay was named for a shark caught by the ship’s sailors who had saved the hungry sailors from death. Another version of the bay got its name because of the many species of sharks that live in the local waters, among the rare species – a tiger shark

shark bay

The area has a population of just over 1,000 people and a coastline of more than 1,500 kilometers. The half-dozen small communities that make up this population occupy less than 1 percent of the total area of Shark Bay

shark map

The bay itself covers an area of 10,000 km², with an average depth of 10 meters. The bay is indented into many small bays, peninsulas, and islands. The unique location is at the intersection of three major climatic areas and between two major botanical areas. Here is the bay itself on the map:

australia reserve

Dirk Hartog Island is the main historical landmark of Shark Bay, as it was here that early explorers landed. In 1616, an explorer named Dirk Hartog landed on this island for the first time, and erected a commemorative plaque with the date of landing on the island. The plaque is now in the National Museum of Holland, and a copy is at the Shark Bay Research Center in Denham

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The Dorre Islands in northwest Bay are the only habitat for some of Australia’s rare, endangered mammals. The mammals have also taken up residence on numerous smaller islands throughout the marine park. These islands are uninhabited, so it is here that rare species of flora and fauna in danger of extinction on the mainland are tried to be kept safe


The Australian Wildlife Conservancy controls Fowre Island, home to the rare Mia monkey. Turtles periodically swim into Shark Bay and lay their eggs on this island


Shark Bay is an area of enormous ecological and zoological significance. The area is home to 10,000 dugongs (sea cows), bottlenose dolphins, and especially Mia monkeys. There are 26 rare species of mammals, over 230 species of rare birds, and nearly 150 species of reptiles. Many species of fish and crustaceans spawn here – more than 320 varieties


Some bottlenose dolphins of Shark Bay show the only case of auxiliary tool found here: they protect their nose with a sponge while mining for food in the sandy seafloor

shark bay

There is the largest known area of seagrasses here, with thickets covering 4,000 km² of the bay. Shark Bay also contains the largest number of species of algae ever recorded in one place. Algae are a vital part of the Bay’s complex environment. For thousands of years, seagrass beds have been breeding crustaceans and their remains have shaped the seafloor, making it taller. Seagrass serves as the base of the food chain in Shark Bay, providing shelter for many marine species and attracting dugong populations.

Hamlin Poole.

In the hot, dry climate of Shark Bay, evaporation has greatly increased the salinity of the water. Thus, seawater in shallow bays becomes very salty, becoming hypersaline. Seagrass also blocks the periodic flow of water into the hard-to-reach bays, preventing ocean waters from dissolving salt in the shallow bays. Therefore, the water of the bay is more salty than the surrounding ocean waters, in places the salt content is several times greater. But this amount of salt does not interfere with the fragrance of life in the bay, and Shark Bay is in no danger of turning into the Uyuni Salt Pond

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stomatolites australia

The Hamlin Pool Nature Preserve (Hamlin Pool) in the south bay is home to microbes that build stone formations, stromatolites, more than 3,000 years old. The Hamlin Formation contains the most diverse and abundant examples of stromatolite forms in the world. The stone formations grow due to the high salt content of the waters of Shark Bay, an ideal habitat for stromatous bacteria.


Shark Bay was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 as a unique ecosystem covering over 23,000 square kilometers. This includes many protected areas and reserves, including Shark Bay Marine Park, François Peron National Park, Hamlin Pool and Zuytdorp Reserves, as well as a huge number of protected islands. Also of interest is the fact that the Bay was Australia’s first World Heritage Site

Shark Bay

Among Australia’s other unique heritage sites is the Great Barrier Reef, an equally unique ecosystem that’s also worth reading about

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