Renowned for its wild and rugged beauty, attracting thousands of visitors every year, images from the Kimberley region are famous around the world. From waterfalls at Mitchell Plateau to the awe-inspiring Horizontal Falls, thousands of migratory birds at Eighty Mile Beach and whales breaching in Camden Sound, the Kimberley is spectacular.
To protect the environmental jewels of this vast area, the $103.6 million Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy is creating the largest interconnected system of marine and national parks in the State to be jointly managed with traditional owners.
More than three million hectares of ocean covering approximately half of the State coastal waters of the Kimberley are now protected in six new marine parks created under the strategy.
A massive Great Kimberley Marine Park – the second largest coastal marine park in Australia – was created on 16 December 2016. This enormous marine park not only rivals the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in size, but scientists now believe that it will protect greater biodiversity than the Great Barrier Reef, with new species still constantly being discovered in Kimberley waters.
The Great Kimberley Marine Park is made up of the Lalang-garram / Camden Sound Marine Park, Lalang-garram / Horizontal Falls Marine Park, North Lalang-garram Marine Park and the new 1,845,000 hectare North Kimberley Marine Park, which contains dramatic seascapes and surrounds more than 1000 islands.
Major visitor destinations in the Great Kimberley Marine Park include the world-renowned Horizontal Falls (which Sir David Attenborough has named one of the greatest wonders of the natural world), the enormous wildlife and marine haven at Montgomery Reef, the enormous whale migration and breeding hotspot at Camden Sound, and the majestic twin waterfalls at King Gorge Falls.
With the creation of the six new Kimberley marine parks, the State Government has increased the total area of the State’s marine parks and reserves from about 1.5 million hectares to more than five million hectares, an increase of more than 200 per cent since 2008.