Denham is the ideal base for discovering all that has earned Shark Bay its World Heritage status. The natural beauty and rare native flora and fauna, the oldest living fossil on Earth - the Stromatolites of Hamelin Pool - the world's largest dugong population and Monkey Mia's famous pod of friendly dolphins.

Getting to Denham from Perth is a 10 hour drive by road or a two hour 15 minute flight from Perth. You'll also find a stay in Shark Bay is scheduled in the itineraries of many extended tours from Perth.

Since Captain Henry Mangles Denham first charted the bay in 1858 aboard the HMS Herald, scientists and biologists have come to recognise the area for its significant evolutionary and biological history and the abundance of rare wildlife species that thrive here. It's one of only a handful of sites worldwide that satisfy all criteria for World Heritage listing.

A leisurely drive to the Hamelin Pool Stromatolites transports you back over 3,500 million years for a glimpse of early life on Earth. It's one of only two places in the world where you can view these ancient living fossils. Just north of here, you'll also stumble upon another natural phenomenon - a beach formed of billions of tiny shells from a single species - one of just two beaches of its kind on the planet.

Head north-east of Denham and in just 30 minutes you can find yourself in the company of Monkey Mia's friendly wild dolphins. For over 40 years, these curious creatures have been delighting visitors and researchers by swimming to the shoreline virtually every day.

A cruise around the bay may also bring you face-to-face with some of the 10,000 plus dugongs who call Shark Bay home, not to mention loggerhead turtles, whales, manta rays and sharks. Or take a four wheel drive to remote Francois Peron National Park - home to the unique Project Eden and a haven for rare reptiles, marsupials and birds.

Finding your holiday haven is easy, with choices ranging from resorts and hotels to villas, caravan parks and backpacker hostels.