The Dirk Hartog Voyage of Discovery: Shark Bay 1616

2016 marks 400 years since Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog left the Netherlands on his epic journey during which he famously stumbled on the island, now known as Dirk Hartog Island, off the coast of Shark Bay in Western Australia on 25 October 1616.

Long before Captain James Cook landed on the east coast of Australia in 1770, Hartog had left a pewter plate as a mark of his discovery in Western Australia. Hartog’s journey would see him play a major part in the world’s cartography as the first recorded European to leave evidence of contact with Australian soil. As a by-product of spice and commodity trade in the Indonesian islands lying above Australia, a chief cartographer was put in place by Dutch East Indian Trading to have a secret atlas of maps which included Australia or “New Holland” as it was known for 150 years. Although Australia wasn’t seen as a trading opportunity, the Dutch mapped two-thirds of the mysterious continent known as “Terra Australis Incognita”, later renamed Australia by the British.

Today the area is known as the Shark Bay World Heritage Area – a wonderland of world-class natural marine and land-based attractions married with a rich indigenous culture. Land forms include the 100km Shell Beach, the extraordinary Stromatolites (found only in three places globally) and the Zuytdorp Cliffs stretching from Kalbarri to Shark Bay. Marine encounters include the Monkey Mia dolphins, the second largest population of dugongs in the world, migrating humpback whale, rare loggerhead turtles and the occasional whale shark.

Dirk Hartog Island is Western Australia’s largest island and offers a peaceful retreat of beautiful scenery, ideal for four-wheel driving with its white sandy beaches perfect for snorkelling or fishing. The Island has significant biodiversity conservation values with more than 250 native plant species, 81 species of birds and 27 species of reptiles, many of which were on the brink of extinction. It is also a major nesting area for loggerhead turtles with about 400 breeding annually with hatchlings expected in March.

To celebrate the 400 year anniversary of the landing on the island, a four-day festival – the Dirk Hartog Voyage of Discovery: Shark Bay 1616, will held in Shark Bay from Friday October 21 to Tuesday October 25, 2016. The 1606 replica Dutch ship, the Duyfken, will depart Western Australia’s Fremantle Harbour on August 28, 2016 and visit the Coral Coast towns of Jurien Bay, Dongara and Geraldton along the way to Denham, and will be available for public tours at each port of call. Additionally, history and sailing enthusiasts can cruise to the festivities on board the tall-ship Leeuwin II departing Fremantle on Friday 14 October, arriving in Shark Bay Friday October 21, 2016.

Dirk Hartog Island homestead accommodation

For more information on the event series, travel planning or history of Dirk Hartog Island, visit Australia’s Coral Coast

Copyright: Chris Woods photography & Dirk Hartog Island homestead

Norfolk Island Encounter Tour

Norfolk islandDiscover Norfolk Island

Round the Island Places and Points of interest

Personal Tour guide and driver

Perfect for small parties $67.00pp

Max 6 Pick up from accommodation

Includes refreshments. 3.5hrs – Tours On Demand

Contact us to book a timeNorfolk Island Coastline

Your tour guide Elizabeth McCoy is a descendant of the Bounty mutineers and is fluent in the Norfolk Island Language

Let her show you the passion she has for Norfolk Island’s unique history and heritage.

Ph: +672 3 50302


Norfolk Island Encounter

Norfolk Island Pine Trees


Sydney’s Hidden Little Laneways walking Tour.

The Rocks SydneyWalk around Sydney with a local and explore the hidden “secrets” of this picturesque city .You will enjoy highlights of the city and see over 200 years of history come to life.

We will end our walk by following in the footsteps of the nineteenth century working-class man that will lead us through The Rocks district.

Let us show you our city and inform you about its history and culture .

Colony History Sydney walking Tour

historic buildings sydney Take a walking tour of the city’s most popular monuments and bustling piazzas starting from the Customs House where shipping was cleared and goods passing through the port of Sydney were taxed and cleared for sale or export,to Millers Point , a precinct where old 19th century sandstone buildings live side-by-side with redbrick structures created in the first decades of the 20th century by the Sydney Harbour Trust. During our 3  hours walking tour we will admire historical buildings.

Beechworth Gaol Unlocked

Beechworth Gaol UnlockedIf you thought Beechworth was just about an untouched gold rush streetscape, fabulous local produce and boutique shops & accommodation then think again!

Beechworth Gaol Unlocked reveals Beechworth’s less well known history, one that’s rich with tales of great escapes, betrayal and even romance – all within the walls of the gaol.

The site has been used as a place of incarceration since 1855, continuing until the closure of HM Beechworth Prison in 2004.

The Gaol is now open to the public revealing a time capsule – allowing the buildings to tell their story.

Our costumed prison warder guides reveal the site’s colourful past through four different 60-90 minute walking tours as you…

Gaoler’s Tour

  • Take the place of remand prisoners for a welcome tour of the gaol
  • Get introduced to life in gaol in the 1860-70’s
  • Climb one of the four guard towers and take in views over the gaol & Beechworth
  • Visit Ned Kelly’s cell
  • Walk the condemned man’s walk & hear about the eight men who dropped to their death on the gallows

Kelly Tour

  • Visit Ned Kelly’s cell
  • Visit Ned’s mothers cell
  • Enter the Gaol kitchen
  • See secret exercise yards
  • Hear about Kelly family inmates
  • Meet Ned’s Executioneer

Night Time Turnkey’s Tour

  • Experience the Gaol by night if you dare!
  • Visit cells protected by the spirit of lost souls, encounter ghostly shadows, solitary confinement cells, the gallows which saw the demise of 8 men & autopsy tent as well as other well hidden parts of the gaol
  • Hear stories of the 4 executioneers who plied their trade here as you help our Gaoler lock down the Gaol for the night
  • Gain access to areas not seen on other tours

 Paranormal Tour

  • Hear the theory behind paranormal phenomena
  • Learn to operate the latest technology in tracking paranormal activity
  • Get a background briefing on the Gaol history and key historic figures
  • Tour the parts of the Gaol with a history of paranormal activity
  • Set up and operate the equipment to detect any paranormal activity
  • Gain access online to the results of the field activities during the tour Packages
Beechworth Gaol offers a number of school packages from one to four days inclusive of accommodation and a full itinerary of exciting but educational activities centered around crime and justice, the gold rush, Australian history and science.

Meeting, Conference & Function Venue
Beechworth Gaol offers a variety of areas suitable for all occasions. With a fully equipped business centre offering board and meeting rooms with audio visual facilities available to be packaged with catering and private tours.

Crime Scene Gift Shop
Australia’s only crime & justice themed gift shop perfect for that killer gift:

  • Books on true crime
  • Crime scene kits
  • Fingerprint kits
  • Murder mystery games
  • Together with a whole range of quirky crime & justice themed products that make fabulous gifts.

Beechworth Gaol VictoriaBeechworth Gaol Unlocked

Corner Ford & William Streets
Beechworth Victoria 3747
Tel: 1300 PRISON (1300 774 766)


Convict Sydney Exhibition

Explore the fascinating history of the World Heritage listed Hyde Park Barracks where thousands of convicts lived between 1819 and 1848.

Learn about the daily lives of convicts and how they built the colony, try on some leg-irons, lie in a convict hammock, wander the streets of 1820s Sydney on our giant map. Bring your kids for dress-ups and our convicts Kids Trail.

Convict Sydney

Exhibition on now
Hyde Park Barracks Museum

Queens Square, Macquarie St, Sydney
Open daily 9.30am – 5pm
T 02 8239 2311

Image: Photography @ Penelope Clay