Shark Bay World Heritage and Discovery Centre

Australia has a total of 19 UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites, which include some of the oldest rainforests on earth and around one-third of the world's protected marine areas. Find out why Shark Bay is World Heritage listed!

The Shark Bay Discovery Centre takes you on a journey with the Living Place, Mapping Place and Experiencing Place. The Discovery Centre displays are positioned so as to represent a map of the area, it follows an organic natural flow from south to north encompassing the three distinct categories of Living Place, Mapping Place and Experiencing Place. 

The Living Place introduces you to the special qualities that make Shark Bay one of the most significant places in the world. The great diversity of Shark Bay’s environment, teeming with life, movement and energy is the key to its World Heritage listing. From ancient stromatolites – Discover how a stromatolite changed the world! – to seagrass meadows and the abundance of marine life such as dugongs, dolphins, loggerhead turtles, whales, manta rays, sharks and numerous species of fish, just to name a few. The Living Place will open your eyes to all there is to discover.

The Mapping Place lets you discover how Indigenous Malgana people, Dutch traders, French naturalists, English colonisers, local pearlers, pastoralists, fishers and conservationists have layered Shark Bay with cultural diversity. From shipwreck relics, to Aboriginal song and early European maps, explore just how significant the heritage of Shark Bay is in the story of our nation.

In the Experiencing Place, you move through with all your senses brought alive to Shark Bay's shifting shapes and moods. This sense of place is created through the entanglement of nature and culture. Discover how fish nurseries turn into salt evaporation ponds, pastoral stations become conservation reserves, fences to keep sheep in are replaced with feral-proof barriers to keep them out, homesteads become resorts, and pearling grounds become marine parks and fishing boats cast nets for tourists rather than fish.

The Discovery Centre's Freycinet Gallery offers visitors an ever changing range of local and travelling exhibitions in a large, dramatically lit exhibition space. Be sure to check the events page for what’s on, before you visit.


How a Stromatolite changed the world?

Why a Dutchman nailed a dinner plate to a post?

What are Shark Bay’s very own land and sea animals?

Why Shark Bay is World Heritage listed?

All this and more is just waiting for you to discover at the Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery and Visitor Centre. The centre’s state of the art displays, including soundscapes, historical and contemporary film footage, interactive multimedia and objects of rare scientific and historical significance, take you on the most amazing journey around Shark Bay and across time, in company and conversation with those who have been part of this extraordinary place.

Our World Heritage Neighbourhood

The Gascoyne region is truly remarkable having two World Heritage areas in close proximity - Shark Bay and the Ningaloo Coast. Both sites are renowned for their incredible natural environments, wildlife and wilderness tourism experiences.

For more information on the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area click on the following link

You can learn more about the Shark Bay World Heritage on the UNESCO website . Here you can also view the complete list of all world heritage areas and places around the world.