Our Unforgettable Shell Beach Experience

Shell Beach

We decided to stop at Nanga Bay Station Resort as it was a perfect base for us to visit Shell Beach that is a part of the Shark Bay World Heritage area.

Nanga Bay Station is a God forgotten place, or at least that was my impression when we arrived there. Prosperity time was probably around the 1960s. Now, the emptiness and transience are in the air. 

But what’s interesting, it does not make a sad impression. It rather makes me think about the past or did I just had one too much-mulled wine? 

Our camping site was overlooking the ocean, but that also meant we experienced a lot of cold winds. Once the sun disappeared behind the clouds it got chilly.

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Hema’s HX-1 Navigator

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Hema – HX1 Navigator
Nanga Bay Station Resort
Nanga Bay Station Resort

Tomorrow we plan to go for a drive around and visit the famous Shell Beach which is part of the Shark Bay World Heritage area. Marius went fishing in the evening and caught again a meter long stingray that looked like a shark. 

He had to cut the line as there was no way to unhook it safely. Ironically, for dinner, we had sandwiches with canned tuna. No luck in fishing means no fresh fish for dinner.

Feral Proof Fence

As planned, the next day, we went for a drive around the area. Our first destination was Shell Beach (only one of the two on Earth). 

First, however, we passed a fence that separates the Peron peninsula from the rest of the mainland. We drove very slowly, and we were able to hear the barking dogs. 

The sound is pre-recorded and activated by a moving object. This is done to discourage cats and foxes from entering the protection zones. Some areas in the Francois Peron Peninsula are designed for regenerations of endangered species.

Shell Beach

Shell Beach – where you walk on shells

Shortly after we passed the ‘barking fence’ we arrived at Shell Beach. The beach was full of snow-white or sometimes slightly dusty, tiny shells scientifically known as Fragum Erugatum. The shells were everywhere and it looked like they ‘replaced’ sand on the beach. 

Shell Beach
Shell Beach is made with tiny, white shells

These cockles live in large clusters and are one of the few creatures that can survive in such salty water as that in Shark Bay. When the tide dies, the wind and waves throw shells ashore. This has been happening for the last 4,000 years, so the shells were accumulated to a depth of about 5 meters!

Shell Beach
Shell Beach – an unbelievable experience

The lime is washed away by rain, and the shells cement each other and form, with time, a compact rock. This material was mined and used for construction. Many buildings in Denham were built with this material. The mining stopped in 1991 when Shark Bay became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Shell Beach
Around Shell Beach

Nanga was once a working sheep station but now it’s a holiday destination and popular fishing spot.

Nanga Bay Station Resort

Goulet Bluff and Eagle Bluff

Later on, we drove along the coast towards the town to see Goulet Bluff and Eagle Bluff. These two lookouts offer a beautiful view of Henri Freycinet Harbour. We went on a boardwalk that stretches close to the ocean. White, high cliffs looked magnificent!

Goulet Bluff and Eagle Bluff
Goulet Bluff

On the way, we passed some salt flats, which looked perfect from a distance to go for a 4WD spin but nothing could be further from the truth. 

Only a thin layer on the surface is dry and looks stable. Underneath there is salt and sand slime that can immobilize a car in seconds. On a driveway to our caravan park greeted us bluetongue lizards. Nell called it ‘strappy’ because of its beautiful pattern.

Blue tongue lizard
Blue tongue lizard

The next day we are leaving Nanga Bay Station Resort to visit Kalbarri National Park – the best red cliffs in Australia.


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4WD Equipment Checklist

GPS Navigator or compass

Maxtrax – if you get bogged, you can use it for additional traction

Tire Deflator – deflate tires quickly when going on dirt or 4WD

Air Compressor – inflate tires quickly after going back on bitumen (we use MM)

Tire Repair Kit – to fix the tire by yourself when you don’t have access to the tire shop (we use Oztrail)

UHF Radio – for communication with your mates and in emergency

Full Recovery Kit (with Dampener Blanket) – must-have if you are going on real off-road

High Lift Jack – useful if you do serious 4WD tracks

Shovel – useful if you get bogged, also good for campfire cooking

Fuel funnel with water filter – additional protection when fueling up in dodgy places

Additional fuel canisters


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