Many islands feature steep rock piles, mangroves and sandy beaches that attract people who enjoy snorkelling, diving, boating, fishing, windsurfing, camping and walking. Twenty five of the islands are nature reserves (proposed to become a national park).
Rock art riches
When British explorer William Dampier visited the islands in 1699, people of the Yapurrara language group occupied Murujuga (a proposed national park on the Burrup Peninsula) and Dampier Archipelago. Following European settlement, their numbers declined due to disease, being kidnapped and forced to dive for pearls and massacres. Their amazing rock engravings of turtles, fish, kangaroos and wallabies can still be seen everywhere. Neighbouring language groups have assumed responsibility for the country.
Green, loggerhead, flatback and hawksbill turtles nest on the beaches. Dugongs, dolphins and humpback whales are often seen in surrounding waters. Rothschild’s rock-wallabies, northern quolls and water rats thrive on some islands. Migratory waders use the beaches and mangrove flats to feed and rest after long flights from the northern hemisphere.
The islands have been zoned to provide a balance between conservation and recreation. Some areas are set aside for day trips and camping, while others are sensitive seabird and turtle nesting areas. Please respect these zones.
The Dampier Archipelago is the richest area of marine biodiversity known in Western Australia, with coral reefs, sponge gardens, seagrass and more than 650 fish species. The best diving is on the outer islands, such as Delambre, Legendre, Kendrew, Rosemary and Enderby, and on the reefs between them.
The 42 islands lie within a 45km radius of the town of Dampier.
Public boat ramps are located at Dampier, Karratha Back Beach, Johns Creek, Point Samson and Cossack. There are no facilities on the islands.