Dirk Hartog Island is a spectacular island off the coast of Shark Bay in Western Australia which is best known as the site where Hartog himself erected an inscribed pewter plate in 1616.
Why every account of Dirk Hartog mentions the plate is made of pewter is a mystery. No one ever feels the need to mention what Neil Armstrong’s flag pole was made from, but somehow omitting “pewter” from the description of Dirk’s dining ware is a no no.
Anyway, our interest in Dirk Hartog Island (DHI) is not it’s history, but its opportunity for adventure!
The island is about 80 kilometres long and forms the western most barrier of Shark Bay. The inner “harbour” is placid, and absolutely teeming with marine life including approximately 10,000 dugongs!
The western shore is something else entirely.
With some of the tallest sea cliffs in Australia, the west coast of DHI is a wild place, where nature is in complete control. Huge swells incessantly smash the sandstone forming sea caves, blowholes and a constant cacophony.
Walking along these sea cliffs is one of the most exhilarating walks in Australia. While there is no official walking track, the walking is surprisingly easy underfoot, which makes whale spotting (in season) much easier, as there is no need to be constantly looking at your feet.
The blow holes between herald heights and surf point are another fine display of the raw energy of this place. We’ve been told that on a really big day, one can see the sea spray from this blow hole from Denham, which is about 50 kilometres away! The sounds is of course deafening, so consider bringing ear plugs or a buff for this walk (we are serious, we found the sound of the wind in our ears was draining after a while).
Towards the southern end of the island, the sea cliffs peter out revealing some stunning bays. Here we saw small reef sharks swimming around in the shallows, and more sea birds.
Walking the western coast of Dirk Hartog Island is a raw, energising and humbling experience. Much of the island was heavily degraded as a station during the 20thcentury, but a lot of work has been done in recent years to rejuvenate it to its natural state. This is a place that will only get better and better in the coming years, and offers a great couple of days for the keen hiker.
Stay in the eco resort and be picked up/dropped off to the start/finish of the walks, or camp in one of the campsites, and be self-sufficient.
Or of course, come on one of our tours. You won’t be disappointed.