The Rowley Shoals Marine Park and Mermaid Reef Commonwealth Marine Reserve protect a chain of three coral atolls at the edge of the continental shelf. The atolls have shallow lagoons inhabited by diverse corals and abundant marine life. Each covers around 80 to 90 square kilometres and rises with near-vertical sides from very deep water. At low tide the water becomes ponded within the reef walls, and gushes over the edge like waterfalls. At high tide, the reefs disappear beneath the sea, with only the sandy islands of Clerke and Imperieuse visible.
Take the plunge
The shoals offer suberb diving. The outside walls are alive with soft corals in every imaginable colour. Snorkelling in the shallow, coral filled lagoons, brimming with tropical fish species, is also very special.
Catch a feed
You are welcome to fish in the appropriate zones (see map in the park brochure). You can line fish in General Use and Recreation Zones. Recreational netting (throw netting only) can only be carried out in General Use Zones. You may spearfish (breath hold) in General Use Zones and Recreation Zones, but only outside lagoons, and spearfishing on compressed air can only be undertaken in General Use Zones.
All cods, gropers and wrasses, including potato cod, rock cod and related species, hump-head Maori wrasse, Queensland groper, coral trout, molluscs and corals are fully protected within the Rowley Shoals Marine Park.
If you bring your own boat
Public moorings are available outside Clerke and Imperieuse Reefs, and inside Clerke Reef and Mermaid lagoons - call DPAWto book well before your visit on (08) 9195 5500 or email [email protected]. No anchoring is permitted in the marine park unless in an emergency.
The Rowley Shoals Marine Park lies about 260 kilometres (170 nautical miles) west-north-west offshore from Broome. Because of its remote location, most visitors travel to the Rowley Shoals Marine Park by charter boat, and trips are generally a minimum of five days. The boat trip to the Rowley Shoals takes approximately 12 hours. Further information about charter boat operations can be obtained from Broome Visitor Centre, phone (08) 9192 2222.