It is not surprising it has been granted several World Heritage Listings to be proud of!!
By definition a 'World Heritage Area' is the best Earth has to offer, whether it be natural, man made, or of cultural significance. A place to be conserved for all time.
There are several reasons why the Shark Bay Region has been listed as a World Heritage area. There may be more but this is what we discovered.
1. HAMELIN POOL STROMATOLITES....
We drove into this area wondering what the heck are Stromatolites???
I felt much better not knowing as Frank did not know either. He is one of those types you like to have on your table when you are at your school trivia night.
Stromatolites are like 'living rocks'. They are layers of limestone rock built by some 'Cyanobacteria' which traps and binds sediments.
Here they are....
We found it so fascinating that these seaside rock like organisms have played such an important role in the evolution of the Earth.
Some Stromatolites were 'extinct' and others were still growing at the very fast rate of 5cm every 100 years.
2. SEA GRASS
Shark Bay has the largest sea grass banks in the world! 400,000 hectares in fact.
The sea grass provides food for the World's largest population of Dugongs in the world.
You can see the sea grass in Denham (the dark blue water)...
and even more amazing at Eagle Bluff...
There are no Dugongs going hungry around these parts....
3. SHELL BEACH
This beach is about 60 km long and in places has a depth of 7-10 metres.
It is made of small shells of the cockle species 'Fragum Erugatum'. Over time the shells have formed a limestone that is known as 'Coquina' which used to be mined and used to construct buildings around Denham. This stopped when the area became heritage listed.
Most of us know about Monkey Mia and it was one of the destinations on this trip that I was really looking forward to.
It didn't let us down, it was magic!!
Once again, National Parks manage this attraction extremely well with the well being of the dolphins the main priority.
We visited twice, just couldn't stay away.
One of the Rangers said he had to 'pinch himself' everyday he comes to work! Lucky guy!!
I will do a separate post on Monkey Mia but here is a picture of 'Surprise' who is the dolphin we were fortunate enough to feed....
The Shark Bay region was truly remarkable....another place that was hard to leave.....