While some things in nature are easily explained, others remain a mystery. One of those mysteries is at Monkey Mia on Australia's western coast, where wild dolphins pay regular visits to the shoreline to greet humans. The ritual has taken place almost daily for over 50 years, with a handful of dolphins cruising by the shore up to three times per day, making Monkey Mia one of the world's most reliable places for spotting dolphins in the wild. The site is also a research center for dolphin psychology and behavior.
Although the dolphin appearances are unpredictable, rangers lead guided feedings during which select visitors are chosen to offer fish to the bottlenose dolphins under supervision (the amount of food provided to the dolphins is strictly regulated so as not to interfere with their diet). Thanks to ranger supervision, this is the only place in the Shark Bay region where visitors are legally allowed to be within 100 feet of a dolphin, making it easy to make out their sleek outline as they swim through the knee-high, crystalline waters. Dolphins may approach visitors, but guests should note that the animals are wild and should not touch them.
Monkey Mia 527 miles (850 km), or a nine-hour drive, north of Perth in the UNESCO-listed Shark Bay area. The nearest town is Denham, a 30-minute drive away. Monkey Mia day permits cost $12 for adults and $4.50 for children between the ages of 6 and 15.