Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery & Visitor Centre


Touch Another World- Shark Bay is one of the few places in the world to satisfy all four natural World Heritage Criteria it ranks highly on the list of the most valuable places on Earth.

In Brief
  • Type: Visitor Centres
In Detail

Visitors to Shark Bay can now experience all the dazzling natural and historical wonders of the region’s World Heritage area in a single setting.

Denham now boasts the Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre, offering visitors a fascinating insight into all that makes the area so special.

The experience begins in overwhelming style in the first display area, the Living Place. This room provides a visual and sensory overview of the many amazing natural features of Shark Bay, which have earned the area World Heritage listing.

You’ll find yourself surrounded by sights and sounds from around the region. Stunning photographic mosaics of the unique natural features line the walls and include pictures of soaring cliffs, tranquil beaches and brilliant red sand dunes.

The visual beauty is also enhanced by sounds from the region. You may hear the sound of water lapping on Shell Beach, the waves crashing on a sheer cliff face, frog calls, bird cries, wind in the trees or the rustle of crabs in the mangroves.

Continuing your journey, you’ll come to the Mapping Place. This corridor section of the interpretative centre allows you to discover much about the region’s fascinating history.

Using interactive displays, you can track the area from the first recorded landing of a European on Australian soil by Dirk Hartog in 1616 through to the French expeditions of scientific discovery in 1801 to the conservation programs of recent years.

Continuing through the centre, you’ll enter the main display hall, called the Experiencing Place.

This display is set out geographically with each section representing a different area of Shark Bay. This allows you to get a good handle on where everything is located in the region.

This is a museum-style exhibit with fascinating artefacts from native animal displays to items from early expeditions, as well as sections of a real stromatolite. Of particular interest are some amazing artefacts, including a bottle left behind by the French in 1772 when they claimed Australia for France, and old coins and clay pipes from the 1800s –reminders of the area’s fascinating cultural history.

Another captivating part of the display is the two “talking points” where recorded interviews with Shark Bay identities recall past and present activities across the bay. The speakers cover a diverse range of topics from fishing to conservation, Aboriginal culture and pearling. You’ll find yourself transported to another age as you hear the speakers, their voices clearly filled with emotion.

You can also learn about the region’s dolphins, station history, the early sandalwood cutters, and the wealth of endangered native wildlife in this intriguing area.

The final display room houses visiting exhibitions such as art and photography works.

World Heritage Area community education officer Rory Chapple says people are simply astounded by the experience. “It has really blown people away,” he says.

“The centre gives visitors a chance to experience everything the World Heritage area has to offer in one place. A few hours in the centre can really give you a great idea of how special Shark Bay really is.”

Visiting the Shark Bay Discovery Centre costs $11 for adults, $8 concession and $6 for children aged six to 16. Children under the age of six are free and special family and group rates also apply. Call the centre on (08) 9948 1590 for further information.

The Visitor Centre's friendly and knowledgable staff can also help you with any tour or accommodation sales and enquiries.