Stephanie Holmes checks into RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort.


: In the Francois Peron National Park, in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, in the middle of Western Australia's coastline. It feels like the middle of nowhere, as it takes about 10 hours to drive from Perth and there's not much else in the area.

Getting there: I was travelling with AAT Kings, and we arrived at Monkey Mia (pronounced my-ah, not me-ah) on day two of a six-day tour. We'd travelled long distances, but the coach was comfortable and the journey was relaxing with plenty of rest stops and chances to stretch the legs. The coach also had free Wi-Fi and on-board TVs so it was easy to stay entertained. Much better than playing I Spy for hours if you are self-driving.


Check in experience: Easy. Our AAT Kings travel director Margaret had pre-arranged our check-in, so keys and rooms were ready for us when we arrived. Nick, one of the resort team came aboard the coach to tell us a bit more about the place, before giving us our keys and directing us to our rooms. No forms to fill in and no wait for rooms. Ideal.

Room: A Garden View room in the centre of the resort. It had a king bed and a single bed, dining table and chairs, outdoor table and chairs, and TV. The rooms could do with a bit of a refurb, which is slated to happen this year.

Complimentary Wi-Fi: Yes, 250MB per day, which is enough for uploading smug selfies to Instagram and Facebook, checking emails, etc.

Bed: Pretty comfortable but the one thin sheet on the bed wasn't enough to keep me warm on a cool night. There was a blanket in the cupboard, which did the trick.

View: My Garden View room didn't give much to look at, just a few plants and trees in the middle of a few blocks of cabins. But the beach is literally just around the corner.

Bathroom: In need of an update. I'd be surprised if it had been refurbed since the 80s. Taps would drip unless you turned them extra tight, and the shower cubicle doors were old and tired. But the water pressure was good and there was always plenty of hot water.

Food and beverage: There are two sit-down dining options on site, the Boughshed Restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the Monkey Bar for casual dinners and takeaways. The food at Boughshed was excellent, with lots of fresh seafood on the menu for both lunch and dinner, and barista-made coffee available all day. There's also an on-site superette selling snacks, frozen meals and cooking supplies.

Facilities: Kayak, SUP and boat hire on the beach, a booking office for scenic flights, sailing and 4WD tours, an unheated swimming pool, hot tub, campervan and camp sites, laundry and communal kitchen.

Entertainment: The reason people flock to this resort in the middle of nowhere is to see the pod of wild dolphins that visit the bay daily. They've been coming here since the 80s and are pretty much guaranteed to turn up at least once a day.

Perfect for: A tropical, nature-filled escape in a world heritage-listed marine park, in Western Australia's beautiful coastal environment.