Shark Bay on the West Australian coast and Uluru in the heart of the centre are two of the country’s biggest tourism drawcards but there’s also a lot to see in between, if you’re prepared to take the back roads.

Story By Nick Rains

A journey from the beautiful blues of Western Australia's Shark Bay to the contrasting intense reds of central Australia is an esoteric 2500-kilometre journey that’s best done along some of central Western Australia's less travelled roads.
Shark Bay is an amazing world heritage area so make sure you leave a few days to explore its natural wonders before heading east. From the famous dolphins of Money Mia to exploration of the many pristine bays and islands, there’s something for everyone. Denham, the main town on Shark Bay, is a surprisingly sophisticated seaside town catering to visitors from all over the world. It was named after Captain Henry Denham who first charted the area in 1858 – a stolid English name among the many Continental ones.
South-east of Denham, millions of small white shells are spectacularly strewn across the well-known expanse of Shell Beach. Being by the main road means it can get busy but, by asking at the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) office, it's possible to get the key to a gate to Petit Point, which was once a pastoral lease but was acquired by the government for conservation purposes in 2000. A four-wheel-drive track follows the western coastline along a vast stretch of shelly beach. There are some great places to camp and the north-west outlook makes it an ideal setting to watch the sunset.

This story excerpt is from Issue #56

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2008