From June to September each year, thousands of humpback whales arrive to breed, calve and nurse their young in the warm tropical waters and protected bays of Camden Sound, after migrating north from their feeding grounds in the Antarctic. It is an ideal area in which newborn humpback calves can build up the blubber they need for the return journey and where they can hide from predators.
The spectacle of the massive Montgomery Reef emerging from the sea at low tide, the water cascading from the reef top, and the abundant wildlife that is regularly observed, is a major tourist attraction.
The marine park is home to six species of threatened marine turtles, Australian snubfin and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, dugongs, saltwater crocodiles and several species of sawfish.
Catch a feed
Visitors to the marine park enjoy sightseeing, nature appreciation and fishing (outside the sanctuary zones and subject to Department of Fisheries bag, size and season limits). Barramundi, mackerel, trevally, grouper and shark are the main species targeted.
Expedition cruises visit Camden Harbour to see relics from a failed settlement in the 1800s, including the wreck of the Calliance.
A small scale commercial aquatic fishing tourism business providing safari type accommodation and cultural tours is based at Wijingarri Bard Bard (Freshwater Cove) and is managed in partnership with the traditional owners of the area, the Dambimangari.
For more information on the Fishing Code of Conduct in the Kimberley, please click here.
The Lalang-garram / Camden Sound Marine Park lies about 300 km north-east of Broome and is the second largest marine park in Western Australia behind Shark Bay, covering more than 7,000 square kilometres (or 700,000 hectares.
More than 30 expedition cruise vessels operate multi-day cruises between Broome, Wyndham, Darwin and Cairns and most visitors to the park arrive aboard one of these vessels.
First jointly managed managed Marine Park in Western Australia
The quality and biological diversity of the marine environment in Lalang-garram / Camden Sound Marine Park is significantly due to the traditional care it has received over thousands of years from its Traditional Owners. The joint management of the marine park by Dambimangari (and other Traditional Owners where appropriate) and the state government will ensure that the quality and condition of the marine environment is enhanced, and its cultural significance to Aboriginal people is both recognised and protected. You can find out more about Dambimangari, their heritage, culture and community at their website.
Indeed, the aspirations of the traditional owners for the Camden Sound area are reflected in the name chosen for the park – Lalang-garram. This is a Worrorra word meaning “the saltwater as a spiritual place as well as a place of natural abundance” It evokes the ocean in its most general sense. The Dambimangari chose this word to name the marine park for cultural reasons that respect the idea of saltwater without meaning just one place or one part of their traditional country.
Both the Western Australian government and the Traditional Owner partners of the marine park are committed to enhancing the conservation of biodiversity and protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage values within the Lalang-garram / Camden Sound Marine Park. Within the marine park management plan, there is a particular emphasis on providing special management arrangements for humpback whales and their newborn calves at their most vulnerable stage of life. The management arrangements also recognise the value of the marine park for a range of recreational and commercial uses. The conservation objectives of the Lalang-garram / Camden Sound Marine Park are also consistent with Traditional Owner aspirations for ensuring that their saltwater country remains healthy, and for ensuring that no plants or animals are lost. ‘Traditional Owners have a strong commitment to manage biodiversity and look after many species and ecosystems in the lands and seas because of their cultural significance.’ (North Kimberley Saltwater Country Steering Committee, 2012).
When you are entering the Kimberley or Pilbara regions, you are entering crocodile country. Two species of crocodile occur in Western Australia: the estuarine (or saltwater) crocodile and the freshwater crocodile. The estuarine crocodile is the largest living reptile and is considered to be a dangerous predator. Freshwater crocodiles are smaller and not as aggressive. Be CROCWISE in Western Australia's north and download our crocodile safety and myth-busting factsheet. For more information on Be CROCWISE see parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au