Once a ramshackle town that grew up around a pearling camp, Denham is now the main administrative and population centre of the Shark Bay area. Located on the western coastline of Peron Peninsula, with views across the waters of Shark Bay towards Dirk Hartog Island, it is an attractive town with a lot to offer. Totally surrounded by the World Heritage Area, it is an excellent place from which to explore the natural attractions of the area.
The tourism industry is a key employer for the 600 residents of Denham and there are a range of services in town to cater for tourists. Whilst you explore the World Heritage Area, you can easily spend a week or more based in Denham, with everything you need close at hand.
Denham is 128km from the Northwest Coastal Highway via a fully sealed road. It is approximately 840km by road from Perth, 330km from Carnarvon and 420km from Geraldton. Denham is 24km from Monkey Mia via a sealed road. Flights linking Denham with both Geraldton and Perth run several times per week and arrive at the airport located six km from town. Tourist coaches service the town on a regular basis.
A comprehensive range of facilities are available in Denham including:
- Accommodation – motel rooms, units, cabins, self-contained accommodation, bed and breakfasts, caravan parks, backpackers and campgrounds
- Shops – including food outlets, newsagent, chemist, souvenir shops and car hire outlets.
- Service stations, mechanics
- Restaurants and cafes
- Tour companies – fishing charters, 4WD and scenic tours and flights
- Airport – 10min drive from town
- Post Office
- Department of Parks and Wildlife office
- Shire of Shark Bay office
- Department of Fisheries office
- Boat ramps
For all the information on Denham and the facilities available visit this site.
Activities and highlights
There are a range of activities available in Denham from eating out, to 4WD tours, fishing charters and even mini-golf. In addition to the sites below, a range of activities are covered at this website.
The Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre
For everything there is to know about Shark Bay and the World Heritage area visit the Shark Bay Discovery Centre. Essentially a one-stop informative display covering all of Shark Bay’s natural and cultural features, this centre is a must-see for every visitor to the area.
A range of fascinating artefacts are exhibited including items from early maritime expeditions to sections of a real stromatolite. Of particular interest are some amazing historical artefacts including a bottle left behind by the French in 1772 when they annexed Australia for France, and old coins and clay pipes from the 1800’s, unique 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 to pearling. Those speaking are clearly filled with emotion as they recall their involvement in the area.
Entry fees apply. Visit the centre’s website for more information.
Only four kilometres from town is this spectacular lagoon, a popular recreation site for tourists and locals alike. Almost perfectly circular in shape the lagoon was once a land-locked birrida (gypsum pan) that was inundated by the sea several thousand years ago. An important nursery for several fish species, the lagoon is a marine recreation zone that allows recreational fishing but prohibits the use of nets.
A popular spot for fishing, swimming, canoeing and kite-boarding, the lagoon has facilities that include shade shelters and BBQ’s around the lagoon shore. Close by there is a viewing platform and disabled fishing platform over the narrow channel linking the lagoon to the sea.
Access to the lagoon is via the Monkey Mia Road leading to within a few metres of the water’s edge. A pathway also leads to the lagoon from Denham for cyclists and walkers.