About this park
This marine nature reserve is part of the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. At first glance Hamelin Pool might seem like an unremarkable rocky beach. Look closer and you may notice that the rocks are slightly odd-looking. These rock-like structures are called marine stromatolites and they’re rare. Super rare and super old. Also called ‘living fossils’, they’ve been at Hamelin Pool for 3.5 billion years. Say hello to the oldest living lifeforms on the planet!
Hamelin Pool is internationally famous as one of only two places on the planet where these living fossils exist. They give us a glimpse into how the planet looked billions of years ago. Stromatolites grow successfully and undisturbed at Hamelin Pool. That’s because the sea water is twice as salty as usual sea water due to a bar across the entrance of the bay.
A specially designed viewing boardwalk has been built for you to see and to protect these delicate lifeforms.
Boating, swimming, diving and snorkelling are not permitted over stromatolites, or within 300m of the shore.
The reserve has more history to discover, though nowhere near as old as the stromatolites! A shell called the hamelin cockle was so abundant in Hamelin Pool that it compressed to form a solid mass. This was cut into blocks and used in some of Shark Bay’s historic buildings. Check out the old quarry site on the Boolagoorda Walk.
Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve will have you wondering more about how life on our planet began. It’s one of WA’s remarkable places.
Hamelin Pool Boardwalk and stromatolite viewing update
The stromatolite viewing boardwalk at Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve is closed until further notice. The boardwalk was damaged during Cyclone Seroja. All other attractions remain open. These include the nearby privately operated Telegraph Station Museum (with stromatolite display), and the Boolagoorda walk trail linking the shell block quarry and remains of the old telegraph line. DBCA volunteer hosts are on hand to explain the significance of the area.
Visitors are reminded that, to protect the delicate algal mats and stromatolites, walking below the high-water mark, and recreating in the water – such as swimming or snorkelling – are not permitted within Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve.
Plants, wildlife and fungi
Visit the Atlas of Living Australia for a list of species recorded in Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve.
We recognise and acknowledge Malgana people as the traditional owners of Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve.