The peninsula that contains the Shark Bay UNESCO World Heritage Site and Monkey Mia Resort is an oft-mentioned destination in Western Australia. Lonely Planet and many other travel guides rave about Shark Bay, one of the few places in the world that satisfies all 4 of the natural criteria to be a World Heritage Site. However, if you read about the destination online, the reviews are often quite to the contrary. When I was researching the Coral Coast for our road trip, it seemed like every blog and review I read about Shark Bay/Monkey Mia (pronounced My-a) was negative. Most people called it overrated/over-touristed/disappointing/boring/lame and many other negative things. A lot of them remarked that it was far from worth the almost 300km roundtrip detour (off the Northwest Coastal Highway) it required.
So when planning our road trip, we concluded we would skip the peninsula on the way up so we could have more time to spend at Ningaloo, and probably give it a miss altogether unless we had the extra time on the way back down. In the end, despite how much we love-love-loved Ningaloo, we had grown tired of snorkeling and beach bumming quickly (which was most of what there was to do in Exmouth/Coral Bay since a recent cyclone had wiped out many of the roads leading to hiking areas) and decided we had the time to check the area out. (more…)