What should you know before driving in Shark Bay, Western Australia?

 If you plan to drive to and around Shark Bay, Western Australia and hold either a valid Australian licence or a drivers licence in English from your own country then you're fine to drive. If your drivers licence is not in English, a translation is necessary and also an international drivers licence. While driving in Western Australia you must follow the following conditions: 

  • Carry your licence (and international driving permit, if applicable) with you at all times while driving and show it to a police officer if asked to do so.
  • Comply with any other conditions of your licence.
  • Drive only those vehicles that you are authorised to drive.
  • Hold a current licence that is not suspended or cancelled (you cannot drive on your overseas licence if you are disqualified from driving or your driving privileges are withdrawn).

If you're used to driving in the city, you should take care when driving on Shark Bay’s open country roads. There are many animals that frequently cross the roads in Shark Bay from small lizards to emus and kangaroos. We have a good main road system but the animals require drivers to be very vigilant.

Important road rules

  • Always drive on the left-hand-side of the road.
  • Always keep on or below the legal speed limits indicated on road signs. The maximum speed on any open road is 110km/h. The maximum speed in urban areas is 50km/h. Adjust your speed as conditions demand. In built up areas, if no speed limit is posted then its 50km/h.
  • When traffic lights are red you must stop. When traffic lights are amber you must stop unless you are so close to the intersection it is unsafe to do so.
  • Do not pass other cars where there are double white lines - these indicate that it's too dangerous to overtake.
  • Drivers and passengers must wear seat belts or child restraints at all times, in both front and rear seats.
  • Do not drink and drive. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime in Western Australia and strictly enforced by police, with severe penalties for offenders.
  • Signposting follows standard international symbols and all distances are in kilometres (km).

Drive to the road conditions

  • Road conditions are variable. Off the main roads some roads may be unsealed and extra care needs to be taken. A few of these roads are not safe for all vehicle types and insurance does not cover them - ask your rental car company to mark these roads on your map before setting off. 

Don't drive tired

  • Get plenty of sleep before a long drive. Take regular breaks - one every two hours.
  • Never drive if you are feeling tired, particularly after you have just completed a long-haul flight.

Cycles and Motorbikes

  • Helmets for riders of cycles and motorbikes must be worn at all times.
  • Rear and front lights on cycles are required at night.
  • Motorbikes should drive with a headlight on at all times.

 

Do you need a 2WD or a 4WD vehicle?

This decision will be largely determined by the destinations you choose, and the overall itinerary decisions you make in the planning phase.

 

We recommend 4WD training before setting out on your Western Australian outback adventure to Shark Bay. If you need them, then get lessons - they are fun and not that expensive. Remember that you can’t put a price on safety. There are a number of 4WD training companies in the Perth Area listed below:

 

Eureka 4WD Training

Ultimate 4WD Training

Shawsett Training

Perth 4WD Training - Perth Survival Training - Western Wilderness

Global Gypsies Tours and Training

 

The World Heritage Drive (2WD)

Follow the World Heritage Drive to experience Shark Bay in a two-wheel drive vehicle.

 

  • Hamelin Pool Telegraph Station
  • Hamelin Pool Stromatolites
  • Shell Beach
  • Eagle Bluff
  • Ocean Park
  • Denham Lookout
  • Little Lagoon
  • Peron Homestead Precinct
  • Monkey Mia

 

Beyond the World Heritage Drive (4WD)

With a high clearance four-wheel drive you can venture along soft sandy tracks and enjoy sights beyond the bitumen.

 

  • Francois Peron National Park
  • Edel Land including Steep Point
  • Dirk Hartog Island National Park

 

Four-wheel driving in Shark Bay is on deep soft sand on single lane tracks.

  • A 4WD with high clearance and low range capabilities is required.
  • Tyre pressure should be dropped to 20psi or lower.
  • All normal road traffic rules apply.
  • Take care on blind bends and dangerous rises
  • Drive only on existing tracks
  • Unlicensed vehicles such as quad bikes and motor bikes are not permitted.

 

Road Conditions

The main roads in Western Australia are generally in good condition. Before setting off on a journey over unsealed roads, check conditions with the following road-report services:

 

The Main Roads of Western Australia:  Freecall: 1800 013 314 Log onto www.mainroads.wa.gov.au 

 

You can drive a long way around Western Australia on bitumen, but you don't have to get very far off the main track to find yourself on dirt or gravel roads.