Category Archives: things to do with kids

3 Places you can Visit for Free near Fremantle with Kids

The situation:  It’s the first day of 2018, and my budget for travel is at zero dollars.  However, I would love to take a little road trip with the kids without it costing me money I don’t have!  Where do I go?

Leighton Battery Heritage Site – WWII Tunnels

This is the home to the World War II Tunnels which are only open on Sundays.  However, the park  is open for viewing on all days and entrance is free. Perfect Budget Saver!!

Another location for one of the War Guns Used to protect the coast

The walk to the Tunnels is on an incline.  My kids (now teens) did not mind and seemed to sprint to the top of the hill before I did.

Just near the summit of the hill are two anti-aircraft guns.  All moving parts are sealed for public protection, however it offers a real sense of what it was like back in the 40’s.

While the kids were walking around taking photos of the view, I spent the time contemplating how hard it would have been for Wartime Veterans to man this stations, especially in Perth’s Summer heat.  I could feel the heat and I had only just arrived!

Looking down the barrel of the Big Canon AKA

Just around the back end of the guns is the entrance to the tunnels.  While they were locked up, one can have an outside-in view from just outside the gate.  I felt a cool air come from the tunnels, and wondered if they offered the same coolness during the World War II era.

World War II Tunnel Leighton

At the base of the Anti-aircraft Guns is another huge Canon.  It is the home to the 6 inch BK XI Gun Shield.  Notably, the shield took some beating from years of weather abuse, which were restored to its current condition.

Welcome to the Tunnels – one of the entrances to the tunnel

At this point, one of the kids stated that she had been down most of the roads and did not see anything else.  The feedback at this point was that she was tired and wanting to return to the car.  However, just behind a tree was a circular construction that was begging for a little investigation.

I had wondered where the Tunnels lead to, and I found that there was a range of tunnels leading to different areas of the base.  I found another tunnel entrance at the base of the canon just adjacent to a huge circular structure.

Leighton Battery Guns
One of the big guns

Inside this circular structure were two iron-like doors which was either a storage site (highly unlikely) or a door leading to the tunnels (likely).  The teens whizzed around taking photos of flowers stopping now and then to look at some history.  This gave me the time to look around and just put pieces of the puzzle together of what this place would look like in full action.

You can find the Leighton Battery Heritage site along the Stirling Highway.  It is on the northern side of Fremantle with clear signage along this route.  Parking can be found on both sides of the hill.  Expect some walking.  If you are visiting in the Summer, take along water, hat and sunscreen.

Kids Rating:  6.5 out of 10.
What would make it a 10?  A tour!

The Basilica of St. Patrick’s ~ Fremantle

St. Patrick’s Basilica Fremantle can be found in the heart of Fremantle.  It is a Catholic Church hosting Mass everyday.


St Patrick's Church Fremantle
The irony I found with this setting is that Jesus, in the far corner, is surround by roses (also known for thorns). Jesus wore a crown a thorns to this death. I wonder if this setting was created because of the analogy it presents.

The church itself was established in the 1890’s mostly for Diocesan Priests. However in 1894, it was entrusted to the  Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. And since the 1940, during the fishing era, many immigrants visited St. Patrick to give thanks for their safe journey.


St Patrick's Church Fremantle

The question I found myself asking was:  What is the Oblates?

According the history of the church:

In 1789 the Church in France suffered greatly as a consequence of the Revolution. Over 34,000 priests were either exiled or executed. More than half of the parishes were without priests to say Mass and administer the sacraments.

It was to answer this desolation of the Church that Eugene de Mazenod was called by Jesus to preach the Gospel. He became a Priest and began working among the poorest villages in the south of France. Soon other zealous priests joined him in his work. In 1816 de Mazenod established the group as a small religious community. In 1826 they were approved by the Pope and given the title Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

Architecturally, the church is amazing.  It reminds me the 13th century era when they used Gargoyles in many of their designs.  Of course, movies such as the Humpback of Notre Dame could make a very interesting conversation piece, especially when talking to kids about the exterior.

We arrived at the church during Mass.  Ironically, unlike many churches that are only open on Sunday (some Saturday and Sunday), this church is open everyday.  It was refreshing to see despite the couple of glares from the pews as I walked into the side entrance with camera in hand! #awkward


St Patrick's Church Fremantle
Fantastic Architecture that can spring a range of conversational topics with the kids.

Of course, I happened to make it to the church ‘on time’, and in respect of their mass I stayed on the outer perimeter.  I realized it was mass when I entered into the side entrance only to be greeted by a number of ‘unhappy’ glares.  Tracking back, and proceeded to the front entrance where I was able to capture a couple of window shots.  It was during communion time, and I was asked by one of the patrons if I would like to join the queue.  I politely declined as I knew that this honor is for Catholics, which did not include me.

Kids rating:  5 out of 10.
What would make it a 10?  Able to go inside the church (not during mass) and appreciate the design without the glares!

The Prison – Fremantle

The Fremantle Prison was built in the 19th century and continued to be used until 1991.

The Prison Entrance

The first convict transport sailed in 1850.  Convicts were a means to help build the colony and convicts built the ‘establishment’ between 1852 and 1859 using limestone quarried on site.

The Visitors Center

According to the Fremantle Prison archives ‘The Prison was a place of hangings, floggings, dramatic convict escapes and prisoner riots’  The prison saw a fluctuation of inmates throughout its time of use, which could also hold 1000 prisoners.  However, during the gold rush era, the prison was probably the busiest with many prisoners finding  their way to Rottnest Island.

Fremantle Prison
The Convict Depot

During World War II, the Defense Force used part of the prison to detain ‘enemy aliens’ which mostly comprised of Italians.  Later in 1983, due to a number of prison riots, the royal commission recommended its closure.  Almost a decade later it was closed and a year later it was leased to a private entity for public viewing.  This lasted for about 10 years before the government reclaimed the lease and in 2005, the Prison was listed on the heritage site.

Public Bathrooms

The Prison can be found on the outskirts of the Cappuccino Strip found in Fremantle.  There is plenty of parking with the first hour free, which means have a quick look-see can fit the budget.

A quick glance at the prices.

What you get to see for free?

You can see the Visitors Center (former contact area), Convict Depot (former Superintendents backyard), the Cafe (a newly added feature) and the shop.  For all other areas, there is a fee which can be pricey if you are on a shoestring budget.

Kid’s rating 7.5 out of 10
What would make it a 10?  One of the tours!

In conclusion, the day was rated average. However, given the limitations of what we could do for the day, it was very successful.  The kids learnt about a number of things on this trip, and saw things they have not seen yet.  Things I would do differently is to pack a picnic basket and enjoy a meal by the beach.  I normally do this, however this was a trip of impulse and we just decided to go with the flow!


The Pinnacles – A Walk in the Desert

The Pinnacles can be found north of Perth, just outside of Cervantes.  The best time to visit the park, in my opinion, would be in the months from March to early November. The main reason for this is that temperatures are lower.  The second reason is that the line to the ticket booth is generally shorter.

The long line of tourists…over the December period. Be prepared to wait!


Because some friends of the kids have not seen the Pinnacles, I thought it would be a great opportunity to take the break over Christmas to show the some Western Australian Wonderland.

The trip itself, takes over 2 hours of driving.  There are no gas stations along the Indian Ocean Drive from Yanchep to Jurien Bay.  However, there are many ‘picnic’ spots which allows you to see the this part of world from a completely different angle.

Inside the Pinnacles Discovery Center
Find out more about the Pinnacles and view some amazing photos

Personally, I found the trip towards Cervantes entertaining.  I generally take hold of any opportunity to stop for photo opportunity.  However, the trip home is definitely different with the object to get home.   Of course, this is generally late in the day and after a long day of travel, the trip home can be  exhausting.  The home trip can be dangerous because of the belief that the trip is a short one.  However, with a single lane and everyone doing the same thing as you, this is the time where you need to take a couple of breaks.

Entrance fee to the park is $13.00 per vehicle.  December is busy and one can expect to wait in line to purchase a ticket.

The Pinnacles
Drive Through the Pinnacles

According the Australian Coral Coast

These amazing natural limestone structures, some standing as high as five metres, were formed approximately 25,000 to 30,000 years ago, after the sea receded and left deposits of sea shells. Over time, coastal winds removed the surrounding sand, leaving the pillars exposed to the elements.

Once inside the park, you can see the pinnacles either through walking a trail or completing the drive loop.  We decide the latter would be more appropriate because even though there was a wind to cool the temperature, it was still hot.  Furthermore, we had reached the Pinnacles at 11 am which meant the sun was high making it a bad time for photos.

There are many stop points on the Drive Loop.  Many new visitors stop at the first time they can, however there is a great spot to see the pinnacles at the turn of the loop.  This will place you behind the main field of Pinnacles and give you the perfect position for a range of photos.  Of course you can stop as many times as you want but with many tourist wanting to do the same thing means you may not have the opportunity to park and stop.

The Pinnacles

Pinnacles Desert Discovery Center is the home to the museum and shop.  It is open from 930 am to 430 pm.  They sell light refreshments and range of local products which is not often found at other locations.  I did not see any lunch options so I would suggest that you take along a picnic basket.

Pinnacles Desert Discover Centre
The Pinnacles Desert Discovery Center.

Toilets are situated near the Discovery Center.  And there is a request that you bag and take home your own rubbish.  There are no waste bins, so make sure you take a bag for your rubbish.

Take your Rubbish Home

One of the questions I asked the staff members was whether the park closed at 430 pm?  I could not find any information about what time they closed, and I thought that take Astro Photography in this area would be amazing.

What I found out is that the Discovery Center closes at 430 pm but the park is still open.  This meant that one could stay longer and capture a moment when the light is just right.  As a result, I made a point to return back after the mad Christmas rush for taking photos when the light is absolutely perfect.

Overall, I never tire of visiting the Pinnacles.  Plus, with an all day ticket means you can see more of this area which includes the Stromalites in Cervantes.  If you are thinking ‘Should I?’ ~ then I suggest – YOU SHOULD! 😉

A Romantic Day with 007 – Wildflowers @ Kings Park

Kings Park generally hosts one of the most dynamic festivals in celebration of Spring and the unveiling of Mother Nature’s palette of color.  In the event you missed the festival, you can still see this master piece, however from experience I recommend that you invest at least a day for this event.

Yellow Kangaroo Paw Yello Widlflower
Yellow Kangaroo Paw

I have spent most of September travelling to remote areas to see wildflowers in the more dryer areas of Western Australia.  However, recently my husband decided to surprise me with a visit to Kings Park.

Kings Park Garden
Kings Park Gardens

Although there was plenty parking, we found that we were not the only one’s to visit the park on this particular day, so we chose a 30 minute parking spot.  We soon revised this decision after spending 30 minutes in the Kings Park Botanical Bookstore talking to some staff about names of some wildflowers I was unable to track. Of course, this resulted in moving the car, which my husband patiently did while I was left to photograph some of the blooms.

yellow tops wildflower
Being Busy among Yellow Tops

Before me was a smorgasbord board of wildflowers which left me suddenly confused with the decision on where to start first.  Thankful, my husband had the day prepared, and he had packed all my camera gear to make sure I would capture every moment.

black kangaroo Paw
Black Kangaroo Paw

While deciding where to start first, my husband appeared to offer to take my backpack of books.  He suggested I take me time, while he was going to sit under a tree and enjoy a cup of coffee (or two).

Red Kangaroo Paw
Red Kangaroo Paw

With time no longer an issue, I began with capturing the moment in color.  I had to be extremely focused because I became aware of some wildflowers I was really eager to see, such as the Green Kangaroo Paw and the Black Kangaroo Paw.  I soon found out, that there was more to the Kangaroo Paw family than I had read, and with every step a new member unveiled itself to me!  I was in wildflower heaven.

southern cross white wildflower
Southern Cross

I had barely circled the first flower display that was situated in front of the Botanical Bookstore when I noticed that I had been there for over an hour.  As I made my way round, my husband texted me a quick message:  “Wildflower Guide at Work”.

Green Kangaroo Paw
Green Kangaroo Paw
(Angiozanthos viridus)

I was chatting to other wildflower enthusiasts and we were discussing scientific names and display.  I smiled a little realizing that he had been watching me photo almost every flower.  I looked around to see if I could see him, and he texted “By the coffee shop”.  Suddenly, it was the perfect romantic day.  My “007” watching my little adventure!

Thomasia purpurea
Thomasia purpurea

I made my way across the lawn to the next wildflower display.  Finally I was able to put a name to one of the flowers I spotted in Les Murdie Falls.  It was the ‘Thomasia Purpurea’.  This little shrub hosts a vast amount of little purple flowers with a black stigma.

Purple Wildflower Les Murdie Falls
Thomasia purpurea

Kings Park is about 4 square kilometers in size.  I had barely covered 200 square meters, and the day was nearing an end.  Seeing the entire park would probably take at least a month at this rate.


The day ended with a last tour through a display of flowers in different regions of Western Australia.  I was impressed with the detail that the staff went through in ensuring a true Western Australia Display of Wildflower color.  Everything from the soil type to the exact wildflower match to that region was carefully calculated.  If you were struck with lack of time and a tight budget, you could just wander over to Kings Park to see what wildflowers would look like in other regions!

golden everlasting
Golden Everlasting

Apart from wildflowers, there is a range of things to do and see in Kings Park.  With an abundance of cafes, picnic spots and a million dollar view, a day at Kings Park can be any day you wish it to be.  Ultimately this day proved to be one of the most romantic days in my life with my personal 007 and an adventure among wildflowers!


felted anthotroche black wildflower australia
Felted Anthotroche
Orange bottle brush wildflower
Scarlet Honey Myrtle



Following the Everlasting Wildflower Trail

The Everlasting Wildflower Trail runs in a loop from Perth to Mullewa via both Indian Ocean Drive and the Great Northern Highway.  The total distance, round trip, would be a little over 900 km.

Everlasting TrailI would recommend at least one week of driving if you plan to complete the entire trail.  As we only had a day, we made New Norcia our first stop.  If we had time, we would tackle the drive to Dalwallinu.

On many roads ‘travelled’, I generally do not drive with the purpose of destination.  In fact the destination is the journey.  And our journey was labelled “The Hunt for Wildflowers’ with no particular end point in mind.  Notably, Dalwallinu is known for a number of wildflower patches, so making it to this point would be ‘blooming amazing’.

New Norcia lies just off the Great Northern Highway.  The Great Northern Highway will take you to the furthest point in Western Australia called Wyndham, roughly 3,200 km north of Perth.  I can guarantee that this town is not part of this journey!

We were barely on the Great Northern Highway when I began noticing paddocks of purple flowers.  I had questioned myself the night before whether this would be the correct route, and seeing hues of purples and blues put me a ease.’

Wildflowers Western Australia
Much to my horror – I found that this patch of purple hue is actually a weed known at the Paterson’s Curse.

Of course, regular stops became part of the route.  I was amazed at just how many wildflowers there were.

For the untrained eye, you will generally see brown scrub.  In most cases, wildflowers don’t grow in carpets of color.  So, you really need to keep a watch for patches of color in between the brown grassland that lines each side of the road.

It took us almost 5 hours to reach New Norica.  Given the distance which is roughly 96 km, we should have reached this in one hour.  However, that would mean your destination was New Norica and NOT wildflowers.

Wildflowers Western Australia
Rough Leaved Cone Flower
(Isopogon scabriusculus)

For any first time travelers to this neck of the woods, I would recommend taking your time.  October is a great time to travel along the Great Northern High, as hills are green, rivers are full and colors just seem to light up mood and landscape.

Hills in Chittering
Green Hills During Spring Time!

Arguably, you will be tempted to stop frequently.  I know we did.  Apart from Wildflowers, there are some unique stops that the whole family can enjoy.  One of these is the Bindoon Museum.

Bindoon Museum

Unfortunately for us, it is only open on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.  However, seeing that we made the stop for a little ‘look see’, I was happy to find some more wildflowers.  And the Wildflower hunt continues!

Wildflowers Western Australia
Honey Bush (Hakea lissocarpha)

With lunchtime fast approaching, I decided that it was time to go directly to New Norica.  No stopping – No side tracks – just a direct route to the only Monastery in Australia. Apart from historical architecture dating back to the early 1800’s, you can either enjoy a wander around town ‘solo’ or join one of the local tours.

New Norcia

As New Norcia is part of the Everlasting trail, I was fixated on finding as many wildflowers as possible.  To my delight, there were a number of wildflowers in and around New Norcia and because of the recent rains, they were in full bloom.

Wildflowers Western Australia
Kangaroo Paw

The Kangaroo Paw is one of my more favorite wildflowers.  I spent the best of two years hunting for them.  Of course, I was looking in the wrong places.  Kangaroo paw likes to grow in grass like terrain/shrubs.  As I stated in the video, you could quite easily drive (or walk) past them as your eyes become accustomed to the brown foliage.  Unknown to many newbies to Wildflowers, there is actually two other types of Kangaroo Paws – The Green Kangaroo Paw and the Black Kangaroo Paw.  Both of these are found further north (Moora to Cataby and Minginew to GinGin)

Wildflowers Western Australia
According to information found this is a Myrtle…possibly Heath Myrtle.

The above flower is what I found to be a Small White Myrtle.  However, there are discrepancies in the findings as most of the flowers I found are white and pink, where as this one is more white and green.

Wildflowers Western Australia
We have still not be able to identify this wildflower. It has four unique shaped petals. Please comment below if you recognize it!

This was a unique flower found among the grass lands.  I am still unable to locate a name for it, however if you know this flower please comment below.

Wildflowers Western Australia
Could be related to the eremophila family?

Wildflowers Western Australia

The above two flowers were found near fields.  They are quite common.  The pink colored flower is what I found to be a Pink Fairy Orchid.  Unfortunately, I am still on the hunt for the name of the white/yellow pea bush flower, but you will see them in fields and along road sides.

Wildflowers Western Australia
Marno ( Daviesia divaricata)

This little shrub is easily spotted.  This particular photo was taken just north of Bindoon along the roadside.  They tend to grow in patches making it easy to spot.

Wildflowers New Norcia Blue wild flowers
Blue Dampiera found along the road side. This is a typical wildflower sight when driving.
Wildflowers Western Australia
Geraldton Wax (Chamelaucium unicinatum)

Initially we called this an Emoji flower.  We located this flower by the Bindoon Museum.  However, we soon learnt that they are called the Geraldton Wax and is now one of the kid’s favorite wild flowers.

Wildflowers Western Australia

The above wildflower was found just outside of New Norcia.  It is a single stem white flower and I would like to lean towards a type of orchid.

There are many more photos, and I only captured a few.  However, if you plan to make this trip I suggest you take a few things with you:

  1.  A book on wildflowers (unless you are a professional in this area)
  2.  Make sure you wear the proper attire.  Even though it is hot, long pants/trousers will prevent you picking up things like ticks.  And, the correct shoes will help with traction.
  3. Take a good camera.  You really want to capture more than just a snap shot.  I used a Canon 550 D.  It is an older model but it works.  I also used my iPhone for landscape shots.
  4. Make sure you have plenty of water.  There are some gas stations along the way but they are not frequently spaced.  You may also consider taking snacks and/or a picnic basket.
  5. We filled up with fuel in Perth and were able to make a trip to New Norcia and back.  However, if you are running low on fuel, I recommend filling up when you can.

Outside of this, I hope you enjoy your journey.  From reading and research I have learnt I missed a number of wildflowers.  Hopefully I will still be able to find a few more in the next week.











Mount O'Brien LookOut

Just 10 km outside of Wongan Hills, you will find Mount O’Briend Lookout.  It was opened in 2001 offering tourist the opportunity to see a 360 degree view of the Australian Golden Outback.

Mount OBrien Lookout

Mount O’Brien Lookout is the 2nd highest point in the Wongan Hills measuring 424 meters.  The spiral walkway offers guest the opportunity to see a view from a different perspective.

Mt OBrien Lookout

At the pinnacle of the Lookout, there are different plaques showing a variety of landmarks. This includes a direct line of sight to Wongan Hills Town, Mt. Matilda Hill, Lake Ninan and Lake Hinds Neakaling.



Mount OBrien

Barbecue and picnic tables translate in to a perfect lunch or sunset dinner.  However, there are no rubbish bins which means you must take all your trash back with you.  There is also no toilets on site, so I can only suspect these stops would be short.

Mount OBrien

Another thing to factor in, if you plan to take this journey, is that no trailers, campers or motor-homes are allowed on the tracks.  It is not the fact they are not allowed but more so that fact that the narrow gravel road has sharp turns which will cause blockage.  There is signage outside of the lookout area explaining the types of vehicles allowed.  However, it would probably be best to check with the Wongan Hills Tourism office before making your way to this experience.

Mount OBrien

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our time here.  As it was mid-August, the wildflowers were just starting to show their colors.  The temperature was cool and tolerable.  And the air was crystal clear offering perfect photo opportunities.  Of course, choose the right time of the day would be a bonus, however in our case – we were grateful for the opportunity to see this area.

Mount OBrien

The Best Koala Experience North of Perth

One of the most striking experiences at Yanchep National Park is seeing Koalas in a somewhat natural environment.

There are no entry fees to the Koala park which has a stunning display of trees that are the home to over 5 Koalas.  Of course there could be more, but on this particular day I was able to sight 5 very cute and cuddly Koalas.

I am not sure what is the best time of the day to see Koalas.  They say they are nocturnal animals and they sleep an average of 18 hours a day.  So there is a huge chance that you will see Koalas, but if it is like my experience, they will be sleeping.

One Koala caught all tourist attention.  Of course, she wanted nothing to do with spectators – so with back turned, she chewed on succulent eucalyptus leaves before the others awoke.  She had the right idea.  I can guarantee that if I was given a head start to my favorite meal….I probably would not wait for the Calvary to show up!

If you decide to trek towards these cuddly hero domain, remember to take a good camera.  I found that my iPhone was a little below standards…..especially when most of the furry celebrities were sleeping meters above ground!

Other Tips:

  1.  Take Water and Snacks
  2. Entry to Yanchep National Park is about $12.00 per car.  Please check the website for any changes to this.
  3. Good Lens would be perfect for up-close and personal shots
  4. Expect to spend the day here


Shell Beach – Interesting Facts

Shell Beach can be found about 40 km outside of Denham.  It is  one  of the more popular tourists spots.

Shell Beach

It is the only one of two beaches in the world that consist of only shells.  In fact, shells run about 7 to 10 meters deep, and were once used to create bricks for building in Denham.  One can still see these bricks in some buildings in Denham.

Shell Beach, Cockle Shells

The reason for the mass production of shells is a result of a prolific production of the  cockle species fragum erugatum.  This species thrives in the condition which have high salinity and very, if any, natural predators due to the salinity in the water.

The beach itself stretches for about 60 km.  Today, special permit is given to mine for calcium (for poultry feed) and exotic mulch for gardens.

Shell Beach

On the time we visited the beach it was extremely windy.  With a white/grey clouds in the horizon made it a little challenging to take photos.

If you decided to swim, then you MUST wear swim shoes.  I did try to do the bare foot thing for a little bit, but soon found the shells so sharp that they almost cut through my foot.

Rules to the beach are simply ~ please enjoy the scenery but do not take any shells back with you.  Unfortunately, not many respected this rule and were soon filling up bottle of shells as souvenirs.

Shell Beach
Photo by Irene van der Merwe


The best time to visit this beach will be in the early morning at sun rise.  This is when the wind is not as evasive as in the afternoon.  However, many (like us) might not have this option.

Shell Beach is one of the few locations that have toilets.  They are drop toilets which means there is no flushing system.  There is no drinking water at this site.

Overall – I was not as impressed with Shell beach as other locations.  I would definitely say wind was a contributing factor to this experience.  However, I hope that I may witness a windless beach in the near future.


Eagle Bluff, Shark Bay

Eagle Bluff can be found outside of Denham.  It is one of my BIG 9’s to visit.

I have been to Shark Bay a number of times.  On all occasions I found Eagle Bluff to be windy.  However, on our last visit, it was a little windier than all my past visits.

Eagle Bluff offers an amazing aerial view of the bay.  It has a board walk which you can walk and view different angles of the bay.

Eagle Bluff, Shark Bay

On our visit we spotted 5 Hammerheads, some rays and some turtles.  I was especially excited about the former marine animal, because I have a wish to kayak with some hammerheads and capture them on camera with a ‘go pro’.

Eagle Bluff

Shark Bay only receives about 134 mm of rain per year.  We were fortunate to experience a range of weather conditions during our short stay with amazing Thunderstorms and rain near the end of our stay.  Interesting, even though it was a heavy downpour, only 18 mm was recorded.

Eagle Island

The island by Eagle Bluff is called Eagle Island.  I have it on my scope to kayak to – when it is not blowing a gale.  This island is the home to Pied Comorants and Silver Gulls.

Eagle Bluff Swim Zone


One will need to drive along a gravel road to reach Eagle Bluff.  You don’t need a 4 x 4 for this stretch, however it will be fairly bumpy.  There is unmarked parking and closest toilets are either at Denham or Shell Beach.

Eagle Bluff Swim

About 1 km shy of Eagle Bluff is a turn off to a remote beach area.  If you have a 4 x 4, you will be able to drive onto the beach area.  This would probably be the perfect launch spot for a kayak.  #futureadventure.

Spot the Ray

We had a little swim in this area and were visited by a small hammerhead.  Unfortunately I did not have my camera.  Of course while everyone was running out of the water, I was running after the shark to determine why type it was.  [note self – tie gopro to waist]



8 Tips for Seeing the Dolphins in Monkey Mia

Monkey Mia is well known for their wild dolphins.  However, up until 1990, Monkey Mia’s dolphins were on the decline mostly because dolphins became focused on receiving food rather than looking after their young.  Some dolphins would stay in the shallow end for most of the day while their babies went without food.  Interesting enough a young dolphin needs to feed every 15 minutes.  With the inability to do so resulted in death through starvation.

After realizing how man  interfered with the natural food chain, Monkey Mia introduce a new feeding system which focused on feeding the dolphins only a small portion of fish thus forcing them to forage for the rest naturally. As a result, new born dolphins had a better chance of survival without facing starvation.

dolphins monkey mia

There are currently about 15 female dolphins that visit Monkey Mia, with the latest addition born about a month ago.

dolphins monkey mia

On the day we visited,  there were two families of dolphins that entertained the crowd.  Some guests were invited to feed the dolphin which is an amazing experience.  Not everyone has this opportunity.

dolphins monkey mia

There is an area which is marked with yellow buoys which is a ‘no go’ zone for people and boats.  This area is the dolphin feeding area.  However, outside of this, people may swim.

Dolphins are fed a maximum of 3 times a day, and after the last feeding session, we decided to head down the beach for a swim/kayak.  While we were not chosen to feed the dolphins, we were visited by them while playing the water.  We assumed they were curious to see what all the splashing was about.  For a brief moment, all activities were halted as they swam slowly in between us. Thanks to a friend of mine, we were able to capture one shot as the passed through.


It is truly a special experience to see dolphins so close. The experience will cost the travel to Monkey Mia and the day/holiday park entrance fee.  Most of the money collected is used to maintain the park and to continue to research and monitor dolphins in this area.

8 Tips with Seeing the Dolphins:

  1.  Not everyone is called to feed the dolphins.  So don’t expect to be called.
  2. Enjoy the moment.  Even though you may have been there every morning of the week without you or your kids being called to feed the dolphins, seeing the dolphins so close is a really special moment.  Enjoy it!
  3. Camera.  Don’t forget the camera. And taking a lot of photos is not a bad thing.  You just have more to choose from.
  4. Don’t be upset with the crew for not choosing you.  They generally have one fish per feeding session.  These people volunteer their time so that you can witness something like this.
  5. Keep out of the feeding zone.  This area is marked by yellow buoys.  No one is allowed in this area and ANY time.
  6. Stand still.  If a dolphin does come up to see what is going on, don’t rush up to it.  Stand still and let it pass.  It is against the law for people to advance towards them, however if they come to you, it is required you remain still as they swim pass.
  7. Do not have kids chase or throw stones at the dolphins.  You will be surprised how many parents allow this to happen.  Not only are you allowing your kids to inflict pain onto the dolphins, but you are ruining the experience for everyone.  Take your kids aside and explain the experience they are having and why it is so special.
  8. Do not feed the dolphins.  Dolphin are opportunists, and if you caught a whole heap of fish, you may feel it is a good thing to give them some fish.  However, it has taken Monkey Mia decades to train this dolphins to forage for their own food in order to increase the chance of their young to live.  Feeding the dolphins will reverse years of hard work.



Monkey Mia ~ Home of the Dolphins

A number of years ago, I had the privilege to swim with dolphins at Discovery Cove in Florida.  The experience was a budget breaker, but at the time I thought that this was a once in a life time experience – so why not.

Little did I know that at a place called Monkey Mia in Australia, offered almost the same thing for only the cost of an entry fee into the park.  Granted, you will not swim with dolphins, but with a wild dolphin just meters from you, makes the experience so much more exciting.

Monkey Mia Resort

Monkey Mia is about 25 km from Denham.  It is in a remote location with accommodation options, restaurants and a shop.  They also host a range of activities which include kayaking, camel riding, and cruises.  All of these are fee payable which means that if your budget is already complaining about stretch marks, then these activities may send it in a riot!

Tennis Court, Monkey Mia

However, there are activities which are mostly free which include chess, volley ball, tennis, swimming in the pool or swimming in the bay.  Some may include an equipment hire fee such as tennis or volley ball, however on the most half these experiences are free.

If you have never visited Monkey Mia, I will be covering a range of things which include:

  1.  Accommodation
  2. Activities
  3. Food/Drink
  4. Things to be Aware Of!
  5. Park & Fees
  6. Dolphin & Marine Life
  7. Budget Tips