When spring comes to Western Australia the wildflowers bloom in abundance. At first glance the blossoms look simple but closer inspection reveals the fine details. These wildflowers were all found in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area.
There’s a shrine on an isolated beach not far from the little coastal town of Denham. It doesn’t honour a deity and worshippers do not come on pilgrimage here. Nevertheless, it’s a shrine – dedicated to the famous Australian fashion icon, the thong!
Are you thinking of that tiny, barely there undergarment? No it’s not that. Australians have another name for that.
We wear thongs on our feet. They’re durable, comfortable and casual; the perfect holiday footwear.
The Thong Shack is decorated with all types of thongs: large, small, pretty or plain. Many have been inscribed by their owners and pay homage to their wanderlust.
To qualify for World Heritage listing a place must meet at least one of ten selection criteria determined by UNESCO. Shark Bay World Heritage Area, on the mid north coast of Western Australia, is one of only 16 places in the world to meet four criteria and was inscribed on the list in 1991.
The criteria are
superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
Shark Bay viewed from a lookout on the NW Coastal Highway
View from Eagle Bluff
Road through Francois Peron National Park
outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
3000 year old Stromatolites. These are living fossils and the simplest form of life on Earth, growing at a rate of 0.4 mm each year.
Shell Beach, composed of tiny Hamelin Cockle shells layered up to 10 metres deep. The beach is 1 km wide and 120 km long.
outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
Eagle Bluff. The dark patches of water indicate the largest seagrass banks in the world, home to an eighth of the world’s population of dugongs.
important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
Francois Peron National Park. Five critically endangered mammals are protected in the park. Four of these are found nowhere else in the world.
820 species of plant, including endemic springtime wildflowers grow here.