The Shark Bay World Heritage Area (SBWHA) was inscribed on the World Heritage list on the 13 December 1991 for all four of the natural Outstanding Universal Value criteria:

These criteria are represented by the outstanding natural features of the Shark Bay area which contains unique, rare and superlative natural phenomena and formations of exceptional natural beauty, including:

  • Hamelin Pool, the only place in the world with a range of stromatolite forms comparable to the fossil record
  • Wooramel Seagrass Bank, the largest seagrass meadow in the world
  • Diversity of landscapes – peninsulas, islands and bays
  • Exceptional coastal scenery at Zuytdorp Cliffs, Dirk Hartog Island, Peron Peninsula, Heirisson and Bellefin Prongs, wide sweeping shell beaches at L’haridon Bight
  • Great natural beauty
  • Strongly contrasting colours
  • Abundance of marine fauna – dugongs, dolphins, sharks, rays, turtles and fish
  • Important and significant natural habitats where species of endangered plants and animals still survive for conservation
  • A meeting point of climates – tropical, desert and temperate climes, means that animals and plants adapted to all three of these climatic zones can be found in Shark Bay
  • Outstanding examples of processes 

Additional details of the natural World Heritage values of Shark Bay can be found at

The Shark Bay World Heritage Area covers 2.2 million hectares and has a coastline stretching for 1500 kilometres, with around 65% being marine waters. It is located 800 kilometres north of Perth on Australia’s most westerly point. View the boundary map for the Shark Bay World Heritage Area (map currently unavailable).

At the time of Listing, Shark Bay was Australia’s tenth and Western Australia’s only World Heritage Property and was one of just 11 places globally to satisfy all four of the natural criteria for World Heritage listing (there are now 21). Shark Bay is currently one of 19 Australian World Heritage sites and one of the four in Australia (and the only one in Western Australia) which meets all four natural criteria.

Shark Bay World Heritage Advisory Committee

Each World Heritage area is overseen by a State Cabinet appointed advisory committee. These committees provide advice to managing agencies and State and Australian Government ministers to assist in protecting the areas Outstanding Universal Values.

More details about the Shark Bay World Heritage Advisory Committee

  • dolphins monkey mia
    Shark Bay is renown for the dolphins at Monkey Mia
    Photo: ©  Parks and Wildlife
  • seagrass meadows
    Seagrass meadows
    Photo: ©  Parks and Wildlife
  • cape peron east
    Cape Peron coastline
    Photo: © Parks and Wildlife