Road tripping across Western Australia is amazing, with so many cool sights to see; however, there are LARGE parts of it that are incredibly boring and monotonous as well. The drive north to get to Francois Peron National Park and Monkey Mia was one of those times. It’s just long stretches of empty, straight, hot road, with not much to see except dessert sand and shrubs. It was during this bit that we became quite thankful the cars A.C. was in good knick, as it was starting to get hot.
To access the park, you first have to come off the highway and drive up the Peron Peninsula to a little town called Denham. Having come from a mind numbingly boring drive up the highway, the drive up to Denham was a nice change. It’s a fairly narrow peninsula, which meant we had a coast line on either side of us for most of the way. There’s also a number of sight seeing places to stop en-route, which helps to break up the drive. A nice spot to stop and have lunch is Shell Beach, where the sand is – quite literally – just teeny tiny seashells, and the water is so clear and calm.
Be really careful of your petrol levels however, as there is nowhere to fill up until Denham, and with our single tank 4WD we rolled in on fumes, despite having filled up at the last service station!
Denham itself is fairly small, but it does have a number of options for camping and spending the night. Unfortunately, if you do not have a 4WD vehicle, then this is the farthest you can go due to the off road track through the park. If you do have a 4WD, I highly recommend taking a day or two to explore the park, as it’s a beautiful area and doesn’t get too busy due to the lack of access. It’s very sandy and there’s a big chance you’ll get bogged at some point (we did, and we also saw many others who did as well), but to help with that, they have an area at the entrance of the park where you can let your tires down and fill them back up on the way out (for free). As you can see in the video below, it can get very bumpy!
Within the park, there are a number of different camping areas to choose from. We decided to go right to the point of the peninsula, and spend our first night there. We set up just in time for an evening swim and to watch the sunset, and spent the next morning walking the red, red cliffs trying to spot any sea-life.
We drove back down the park to a different camp ground for our second night, as we’d heard there was some really good snorkeling areas just off the coast. Unfortunately, the wind picked up quite a bit that afternoon, so although we did do some swimming, we were only able to get a bit of snorkeling in the following morning.
Once we’d had our fill of the water, we drove back down to Denham to fill up again, and headed over to Monkey Mia, which is a dolphin resort which offers dolphin encounters. We’d heard some really good things about it, so we decided to head over for the morning feed, which was pretty neat, albeit pretty expensive for what it is. We had a long drive ahead of us that day, so we didn’t stick around too long once the encounter was over; however, your ticket does give you access to the resort for the entire day and I imagine it would feel a little bit more worthwhile if you stayed.
A few photos from the drive up towards Francois Peron: