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Western Australia is the largest state on the continent and often overlooked by many backpackers because of its size and its distant proximity form the more lively and popular east coast. Most backpackers will never venture much further than the capital city Perth limits, it’s such a shame because Western Australia has so much to offer and is home to the gem that is the Monkey Mia dolphin resort. Although it’s situated far off the beaten track it’s definitely worth the effort to see, especially if you’re bang into you wildlife.
Monkey Mia a western paradise
In order to do the west coast justice, ideally 2 months and a campervan would be enough. Anyone that does decide to travel north from Perth on the way up to Broome and loves wildlife should definitely do the 100-mile detour to Monkey Mia dolphin resort. Situated 75 miles south of Carnarvon, on the Peron peninsula and edge of Shark Bay marine park and world heritage site, this part of the country is simply breathtaking, from crystal clear water to daily visits from wild bottle nose dolphins.
Nearby there is also Shark Bay Ocean Park Aquarium, two birds one stone!? At $25 a pop for adults and $18 for kids, not the cheapest and to be honest not the best aquarium I’ve ever been to… The place is called Shark Bay for god’s sake! I’m expecting Jaws in a tank! I’ve caught bigger pike than half their sharks. I haven’t but does anyone get the impression I was underwhelmed!?
The resort itself is right on the beach, surrounded by unspoiled wilderness with loads of different places to stay, a bar and cafe style food outlets. They also host aboriginal cultural tours in the area, which teach the ways of the aboriginal people and how to respect the land.
By Mark O’Neil, CC BY 2.5, Link
On the Monkey Mia resort is a small bay where a small pod (7or8) of wild bottle nose dolphins visit pretty much every day up to 3 times a day. This is the only place in Australia that this happens. Visitors are allowed to stand up to their knees deep while the dolphins come into shallow waters for their feeding, they literally swim past you feet. If you are one of the lucky one’s you may be given the chance to feed one of the dolphins. Even if you are not one of the “lucky” one’s standing in less than 2 feet of water while wild dolphins swim past on their side “eyeballing you” is some experience. My guess was they were looking for who had the fish in their hands. One of the marshals explained that because they were wild dolphins if we fed them too much then they would become lazy/reliant on our handouts and forget how to hunt for themselves….. Isn’t that what us humans have done!? For any wildlife lovers this is an amazing chance to get so close to wild dolphins.
What I found most comical was that when down to the last fish the steward held it up above his head for 10 seconds and then fed it to one of them. The exact moment that last fish descended into the jaws of the eagerly awaiting dolphin, every single one of them turned from interactive, playful sea creatures into what can only be likened to the London underground business commuter. In one second their demeanor had changed, within 10 seconds they were gone. Leaving all of us silly humans stood knee-deep in a line, shivering, wondering what it was we came for.
When to go.
Well, me having arrived on my adventure in Perth in June, I soon grew tired of the city life, well after all I live in a city back home so why do I want to fly 10,000 miles leave friends, family and everything I’ve ever known behind to do the same on the other side of the planet? That would just be a cop out wouldn’t it?
It wasn’t long before I bought a campervan and set off on my journey north. I’d say the weather in Perth at the beginning of July played a significant part in this, rain rain rain!! So I was in Monkey Mia around mid July, (height of Ozzy winter) still not far enough north for a temperate feel this time of year. The best time of day to see the dolphins being the crack of dawn, seen as they are wild they turn up when they turn up! Standing in 2 feet of water on a sometimes breezy coastline at 7am is not most pleasant. Worth it all the same like.
So yeah, Ideally you’d be on the west coast in summer and be there ready to go at 7am. There are two other feedings each day but they don’t turn up for everyone so the best chances are in the morning and if that fails you still have two more chances the same day.
Would I do it again?
Well, it all depends on time and budget. To get there it’s at least 100 mile round trip out of the way, you’ve got to either have a campervan and stay the night before close by or book into accommodation which won’t be cheap. It costs $12 per person to enter the resort where all the magic happens. Food on the resort is never going to be cheap.
So realistically it’s costing anywhere from $100-250 depending on how economical your vehicle is, where you stay the night before and if you plan to cook yourself or use the facilities on site. Don’t get me wrong the experience is not available many places in the world but its some expense for 5 minutes of excitement. For me I honestly don’t think I would bother with it again but if you are a fan of dolphins then Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort it is a MUST!