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In 1991, Shark Bay was inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage list in recognition of its outstanding natural beauty, biological diversity, fascinating ecology and unique insights into the Earth's history. Here, you can meet the Monkey Mia dolphins, the world's largest population of dugongs, walk among the largest and oldest living fossils on the planet and discover the 30,000 year history and culture of its Indigenous people. The only town in the Shark Bay region is Denham. It's an eight hour drive or a two hour flight from Perth and, from here, you can join the Shark Bay World Heritage Drive, taking in all the main attractions. If you don't have wheels, there are plenty of extended tours from Perth, or day and half-day adventures from Denham. A closer look at this vast landscape will reveal an abundance of rare and unique plant and animal life, some of which are found nowhere else on Earth. It's home to over 100 known species of reptiles and amphibians, 240 varieties of birds, 320 types of fish, 80 different corals and 820 species of plants, including 700 flowering species. Protecting many endangered species, Shark Bay's Francois Peron National Park is one of the most important wilderness areas in Australia. Just off-shore, in Shark Bay Marine Park, lies Dirk Hartog Island National Park - a haven for rare burrowing frogs and white fairy wrens, and a top spot for fishing, diving, snorkelling and four-wheel-drive adventures. Today, you can arrive by barge with your 4WD, chartered flight or in your own boat. Further south in Shark Bay, you can walk along one of only two beaches in the world formed entirely of tiny white shells, or visit the Hamelin Pool Stromatolites and get a glimpse of life on Earth over 3,500 million years ago. By far the most popular and spectacular attraction is Monkey Mia, where wild dolphins come in to shore every day to meet and interact with people. Choose from a huge variety of accommodation options in Denham, or base yourself in Monkey Mia for an early morning dolphin encounter.
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