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Location Dirk Hartog Island, in the
Shark Bay World Heritage Area, is
80km long and up to 15km in width.
Attractions Located in the
protected Ningaloo Reef Marine Park,
the island is great for fishing, self-
guided nature walks, snorkelling and
whale-watching. As a national park,
the island is also good for exploring
native wildlife, much of which has
How to get there Boat cruise from
Denham, flight from Monkey Mia, or
4WD barge from Steep Point.
Accommodation Stay at the lodge,
or take your 4WD across and camp at
one of the sites.
Fact This is the spot where Dirk
Hartog recorded the first European
landing on the west coast of Australia.
For more details, see our Culture
Vulture feature (p118), or our guide
to Shark Bay (p310).
Location 20km north of Barrow
Island, and 130km off the Pilbara
Coast, this group is made up of 174
Attractions A famous site for
nuclear testing in the 1950s, the
Montebello Islands are a fascinating
place to visit. Remnants from the
military operations can still be found
on the southern end of Hermite
Island, but visits to test sites should be
limited to one hour per day because
radiation levels are still slightly
elevated. Visitors also go to the island
for game fishing and diving.
How to get there Boat charter from
Exmouth and Coral Bay.
Accommodation Stay on your
boat, or camping is permitted on
Hermite, Primrose, North West,
Bluebell, Crocus, and Renewal
islands for up to five nights, within
100m inland of the high-water mark.
Location 22km from Onslow (south
of Karratha), 1400km north of Perth.
Made up of 10 small islands.
Attractions Turtle lovers, look no
further – the Mackerel Islands are an
annual breeding ground for green and
flatback turtles, which can be seen
laying their eggs from mid-October.
The island is also great for snorkelling,
swimming, fishing and lapping up the
sun on its secluded beaches.
How to get there A 45-minute boat
ride from Onslow, or by charter flight,
available from Exmouth, Karratha, and
Onslow. Moorings are at Thevenard
and Direction islands.
Accommodation On Thevenard
Island there are 12 self-contained
beach cabins, or visitors can stay
at Club Thevenard, a 30-room
accommodation village (closed
between November and March).
Alternatively, book the only beach
cabin on Direction Island, where you
and five companions can enjoy the
island to yourselves.
Location Off the coast, west of
Derby, the Buccaneer Archipelago
consists of 800 to 1000 rocky islands.
Attractions The area is known for
its monster tides, which rise and fall
every six hours by up to 12m. Visitors
can experience this phenomenon at
Talbot Bay, and even ride the raging
whitewater that rushes through the
gap in the islands at the Horizontal
Falls. Visit the islands to experience
some breathtaking rock art.
How to get there By boat or air
from Broome, Derby or Kununurra.
Accomodation On board one of
the luxury ships or cruise liners that
visit the island. Cape Leveque offers
cabins and camping.
Location The Rowley Shoals
Islands are located 260km west
of Broome, on the edge of the
continental shelf, south of the Timor
Sea, encompassing three isolated,
pear-shaped coral cays surrounded
by coral reefs (Mermaid Reef, Clerke
Reef and Imperieuse Reef).
Attractions The spectacular reefs
at Rowley Shoals are known as some
of the most remote and pristine in
the world. The reefs boast more than
600 species of fish and 200 coral
varieties, making them the ultimate
diver’s playground. Visitors can
also birdwatch, swim, surf and fish
(except at Mermaid Reef), and
take snaps of the Imperieuse Reef
Lighthouse. The average water
temperature is 27 degrees.
How to get there Travel by boat
from Broome. Several cruise
companies in the north west offer
six-day tours of the islands.
Accommodation The only way
to stay at Rowley Shoals is aboard
Dirk Hartog Island (photography
Australia’s Coral Coast).
The Montebello Islands.
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