The Montebello Islands are an archipelago of around 174 small islands around 90 of which are named. Lying 20 km north of Barrow Island and 120 km west of Dampier on the northwest coast of Western Australia, the islands form a marine conservation reserve of more than 58,000 hectares. The Montebello Islands Marine Park and Conservation Park are protected and managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service of the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).
The area is rich in natural marine diversity and human history, and fishers, snorkelers and divers are attracted to its coral reefs, colourful tropical fish, wildlife, and maritime heritage. The only way to access the Montebello Islands is by sea.
The Montebello Islands are alive with nature, history and the opportunity for adventure. The turquoise waters surrounding the islands are alive with an array of more than 450 species of fish in vast coral gardens and countless species of marine mammals including, turtle migrating whales, dolphins, and dugongs.
Onshore the islands and marine park offer a wealth of opportunities for anyone with an interest in natural values, human history, and maritime heritage to explore. Fringing reefs, sandy beaches, sheltered coves, isolated mangrove stands and abundant natural habitat will reveal an array of migratory and resident birdlife, wallabies, bandicoots ,native mice, bettongs, and other marsupials unique to the archipelago. Join Eclipse for a voyage to this unique offshore paradise and experience the best of it all.
Lying in the northern area of the archipelago, Trimouille is the second largest island of the Montebello’s and is teeming with unique wildlife and pristine landscapes. With low dunes, expansive white sand plains and picturesque beaches tucked amongst striking limestone headlands, Trimouille offers visitors a variety of seascapes to explore. The renowned ‘Vodka Beach’ is located on the island’s northern shores and provides a picturesque scene for sunset beach drinks. The reefs to the east of Trimouille provide protected waters with spectacular reef systems for snorkelling, fishing and diving. Trimouille is also a wildlife warriors dream as it is a haven for Green Turtle activities and has nesting grounds for a plethora of birds ranging in size from Osprey’s to Welcome Swallows.
The island is smaller than many of it’s neighbouring islands, but packed with lot’s to explore. Thanks to it’s central location in the archipelago, Alpha Island is surrounded by calm sheltered waters providing surreal snorkelling sites and peaceful beaches where you can rediscover your sense of bliss. From here you are a stones throw from the western reefs who’s vibrant coral shelves are abundant with crayfish. This tiny island also houses a momentous piece of Australian history as it was the site of the largest ever Nuclear device to be detonated in our country when Britain carried out atomic weapon tests here in 1956. Remains of these historic military activities, carried out over a number of years as part of the arms race of the time, can safely be seen on Alpha Island and are unique to witness.
Radiation risk still exists on Alpha and Trimouille Islands, we follow the signage and guidance from DBCA. Guests should limit visits to these islands to no more than one hour per day. We follow the guidance to not disturb the soil and not handle or remove relics from these islands. Like always we respect the leave no trace principles
Providing the Montebello Islands with a protective barrier from the Indian Ocean is an expanse of magnificent coral reef. Beyond their shielding role, these pristine reefs create a diverse ecosystem, fostering a kaleidoscope of marine life. Dive into the depths for an incredible underwater adventure—perfect for both snorkelers and scuba divers. Explore the vibrant coral formations, witness captivating marine life, and discover surf breaks for the thrill-seekers. For fishing enthusiasts, these waters offer a bounty of Western Australia’s most prised and delectable catches.
Turtle Lagoon lies to the western side of the archipelago and is another pleasantly sheltered anchorage. The lagoon offers access to the amazing western fringing reefs for fishing, surfing, and snorkelling. As the name suggests, it is a nesting ground for turtles so you will have ample opportunity to marvel at these majestic sea creatures.
The largest of this incredible collection of islands, Hermite Island is home to expansive patches of mangroves in sheltered tidal lagoons and channels. The most profound of these is the Willy Nilly Lagoon, a marine sanctuary area considered as the heart of the Montebello Islands, setting the foundations for it’s incredibly diverse ecosystem. A cruise through the shallows here sees you witness a hive of activity from crawling mud crabs and gliding rays, to soaring birdlife and everything in between. Contrasting Hermite’s striking natural environment, is the evidence of it’s profound history. In the early 1900’s cultured pearl farming commenced at the Montebello Islands, largely pioneered by Thomas Haynes. The notable pearler held a pearling license from 1902 – 1913 and evidence of his experiments in raising pearl oysters can be seen in the constructed shell pool on Hermite Island.
Excited by Eclipse? Inquire now to book your expedition. Our friendly and knowledgeable team are ready and waiting to make your dream Kimberley holiday, a reality.
We offer a plethora of activities at your fingertips to make for the trip of a lifetime