It's funny how things happen: one day a fisherman's wife is throwing Flipper a few fish, then 50 years later everyone wants a piece of the action. And why not? Monkey Mia is stunning and beguiling and simplistic in its beauty. You feel relief when you arrive and regret when you leave.
The wild dolphins that come in for a free feed most mornings are the main drawcard of this peninsula outpost, but there's stacks more going on you choose whether you're up to it.
is nigh on 900 clicks north of Perth
, so the only option is to fly there for this weekend away. This means that although it's breaking the "weekends away rules", you'll have to take Friday off because the only Skywest
flight departs at 8am, arriving at 10.30am. You'll be glad once you're there, however, because you'll have two full days to kick back; the Sunday flight departs at 2.10pm, arriving back in Perth
, at 5pm.
When you get there
Laze on the beach among the dozing pelicans, play a spot of tennis, take a dip in the hot tub, or get a massage. I hope you remember your togs because there's water, water everywhere for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, pedaloing and glass-bottom boating.
Look out for the dolphins in the afternoon when they come in to frolic in the shallow waters, and then settle into the Monkey Bar alfresco at its best to watch the sun set over the ocean. Drinks and tucker here are surprisingly reasonable.
Positioned right on the beach a short walk away, the Boughshed Restaurant affords postcard-like views across the beach and out over the bay. It's billed as five-star dining with ingredients sourced from the local market we'll have to take their word for it because I couldn't go past the Monkey Bar.
Set the alarm for sparrow's for two reasons. Number one is to see the sun rise over the ocean something you can't normally do in WA. Monkey Mia's at the tip of Peron Peninsula, so the sun both rises and sets over the ocean (well, I got excited about it).
Number two is to get pole position on the beach before the dolphins start coming in, from 7.30am onwards. Quite a throng gathers, of which only a coveted few are chosen to feed the dolphins (it helps if you're a kid). My tip of the day is that the view is better and the atmosphere more relaxed atop the jetty, with people content just to take in the spectacle.
(Did you know that dolphins sleep with one eye open? Cool, huh!)
Now to the business of what to do with the rest of your day: you can get down and dirty on a bush-bashing four-wheel drive tour that'll take you about the peninsula to rolling sand dunes, towering bluffs and pristine beaches.
Do an Aboriginal cultural walk with Wula Guda Nyinda (phone (08) 9948 1320) to learn the traditions of the local mob. Taste bush tucker and learn about medicinal plants, have a go at boomerang throwing and do some animal tracking.
If you want to test out your sea legs, get aboard the Shotover catamaran for a cruise of Shark Bay there are worse ways to spend a Sunday morning! Keep your eyes peeled for the local sea creatures just minding their own business: dolphins and dugongs, sea turtles and sea snakes, stingrays and sharks. Cruises also depart in the afternoon and evening.
Later on in the evening, join the cluster on the beach for a spot of stargazing. With the star chart provided you'll see how to find stars and constellations, planets and galaxies.
Join the crowd down on the shore again to see what the dolphins are up to today, and then call into Peron Café
for a hearty brekkie.
Following in Broome's hoof-steps, you can now do camel safaris along the Monkey Mia beach of a morning. Choose either a 10-minute or half-hour ride, or maybe the hour-long ride which goes bush.
What to bring home
A dolphin fridge magnet.
Where to stay
Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort
offers different levels of accommodation for humans too, so let's start low and finish on a high note. Tent sites cost $14 a night if you truly love the great outdoors. If not, the Dolphin Lodge
has backpacker-style dorms for four or seven at $27 and $32 a night, and rooms for two with shared ensuite for $84 a night.
Then there's the Dolphin Resort with beachfront villas and secluded garden villas ranging from $222 to $299, motel-style units overlooking the beach for $222, and limestone villas near the fun stuff for $245 a night.
What to leave behind
Suits and boots.
What to splurge on
Pearls! Red Bluff Pearl Farm
is a short boat ride away and here you can do a tour of the pearl farm to see the seeding, cultivation and harvest of pearls, and then, as always, pop into the souvenir shop.
Got any other suggestions? Share your insight below.