Imagine standing on the edge of the world, 600-foot cliffs drop down beneath you to a wild and untamed ocean. Whales breach in the distance, while behind you windswept sand dunes rise from the scrub land.
Welcome to Dirk Hartog Island. Today the island is the western edge of WA, but in 1616 it truly was the edge of the known world.
The island dominates the Shark Bay World Heritage area. It is big, from south to north it takes hours by four-wheel-drive. It is also diverse.
The southern section is old pastoral country and remnants of station life are littered throughout the landscape. The old homestead has been converted into tourist accommodation and camping, all run by a family with deep connections to this land.
Heading north you reach a large fence which will have you drawing instant comparisons with Jurassic Park. Beyond the boundary is wild country. It is untamed, untouched and truly remarkable.
A corrugated dirt track meanders through the bush, occasionally making it's way out alongside beaches and over spectacular cliffs. Views over the country, and over the ocean are jaw-dropping the whole way up, and it is bound to make your journey even longer if you're the type to stop and take photos.
Right up the top of the island are a few historically significant sights. You have the landing points for both Willem De Vlamingh in 1697 and Dirk Hartog in 1616, both of whom are marked with a replica plate. There is also the old lighthouse and keepers quarters, a remarkable place to sit and watch the whales pass by for an hour or so.
There are a few fishing huts up here too, for this island is a world-class fishing destination. Both southern and tropical species can be caught from the island, and anglers from far and wide are lured here time and time again.
Getting to and staying on the island is not easy or cheap. You will want at least 200L of fuel on you to cover the trip there and back, and all the adventures on the island. You can pre-purchase fuel from the homestead but the remote location means it comes at a premium.
The drive from Denham is about 2.5 hours on an unsealed road which ends with a small but relatively easy off road section to Steep Point. The tracks are not too difficult, but it is not recommended for inexperienced drivers.
From Stee,p Point you load your 4WD onto a barge from the beach. The cost is a few hundred dollars per vehicle, which seems pricey but at the end of the day if it were cheap, every man and his dog would be over on the island.
The beauty of Dirk Hartog is in it's wild nature. With so few people accessing the island it is a place, you can truly feel like you have stepped back to an age before human occupation. It's a rarity in the world to find such locations and that is why Dirk Hartog Island is so highly regarded by those seeking true adventure