Magnificent sites to visit along the island’s western coast include the historic precinct at Cape Inscription (including the lighthouse); the rugged scenery at Charlies Harbour, and Mystery Beach with its astounding sands packed with flotsam and jetsam of all shapes, sizes and origins (the bay forms a natural wreckage trap). On the eastern coast, history buffs may appreciate Dampiers Landing (Sammys Well) and the interesting stone ruins of an 1851 army garrison at Quoin Bluff South. Dirk Hartog Island is renowned as one of the best shore fishing locations in Australia.
Camping and accommodation
Accommodation and catering are available in the privately-operated Dirk Hartog Island Lodge. You may camp at The Block, Urchin Point, Sandy Point, Sammy’s Camp or Louisa Bay, all of which have only basic or no facilities.
You may visit by private boat and camp overnight, but only at designated sites including Notch Point.
- The park is remote and its hazardous coastline has large surf, 200m high cliffs, blowholes and dangerous marine animals.
- Notify a reliable person of your trip plans so you can be traced in an emergency.
- Be prepared for the heat. Take at least 10 litres of water for each person per day.
- Exercise extreme caution near cliff edges especially when fishing. Supervise children at all times.
By prior arrangement, Dirk Hartog Island is accessible from March to October by a privately operated barge from Steep Point on which you can bring your four-wheel-drive. Most visitors camp overnight at Steep Point before leaving on the barge for the island. You need a high clearance four-wheel-drive to explore the island.
For more information on the area, including itineraries and a virtual tour, go to
Shark Bay World Heritage Area
Return to 1616
When Dirk Hartog landed on Western Australia’s largest island in October 1616, the island had intact vegetation and a rich mammal fauna. Since then, introduced plants and animals have degraded the island and native animals have disappeared. Return to 1616 is an ambitious program to restore the island’s natural ecosystems to how Dirk Hartog would have seen them. Introduced animals have been removed and native mammals are gradually being reintroduced.
You can help protect the island and support the ecological restoration project by:
- Not taking any animals (including pets) or plants to the island.
- Making sure your footwear, clothes, packs and camping gear are free of soil, seeds, insects, spiders and other animals.
- Transporting food in clean, sealed plastic or metal containers rather than cardboard.
- Making sure fresh food is free of soil, ants, snails or other small animals.
- Taking care to avoid native animals at all times when driving on the island. Slow down between dusk and dawn when native mammals are most active and often use vehicle tracks.