Marine-based tourism offers opportunities for economic, educational and environmental benefits but is not without risks to people, animals and the environment. If the benefits of this sector are to be harnessed it will require an increasing focus upon law and policy governing the industry. This is particularly the case for shark eco-tourism, which can be an important conservation tool for these species. Australia has a longstanding history of tourism involving whale sharks and great white sharks and an examination of Australian law and policy in shark eco-tourism provides a powerful case study. This article identifies lessons that may be learnt from Australian shark eco-tourism as a first step towards identification of best practice legal strategies that both support the industry and ensure environmental integrity.