The dolphins are wild animals that come to the beach of their own free will (generally in the morning), where visitors can see them up close. Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) staff hand out a limited number of fish to people standing in the shallows, which are then offered to the dolphins. This ensures that the dolphins continue to forage for a large proportion of their food.
The dolphins belong to a much larger group of about 300 that live further out in the bay. For more than 20 years, researchers have been based at Monkey Mia for several months of the year and have documented some extraordinary dolphin behaviour. You can learn more about the dolphins at the Monkey Mia Visitor Centre.
More beach fun
Other activities include fishing, swimming, boating and beachwalking. Entry fees (used for the management and care of the local dolphins) apply for entry to the Monkey Mia Reserve. A range of privately operated food, accommodation and other services are available within the reserve.
An easy three-kilometre, one hour walktrail meanders across the coastal dunes behind Monkey Mia to the red sand hills and a lookout over the bay, historic gravesite, bird hide, Aboriginal shelter cave and a quiet beach. Keen beachwalkers can also walk from Monkey Mia to Red Cliff Bay, in Francois Peron National Park. The glowing red cliff is visible to the north of Monkey Mia.
For more information on the area, including itineraries and a virtual tour, go to
Shark Bay World Heritage Area