Abrolhos Islands

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The Houtman Abrolhos Archipelago is a set of 122 islands and coral reefs located in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Australia
The Houtman Abrolhos Archipelago is a set of 122 islands and coral reefs located in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Australia

The Houtman Abrolhos Archipelago is a set of 122 islands and coral reefs located in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Australia.near the town of Geraldton.

It is the southernmost coral reef in the Indian Ocean and one of the most distant from the equator in the world. It is one of the main breeding areas for seabirds and the main fishing area for Australian lobster. It is a region also known for its shipwrecks, the most famous of which were those of the Dutch ships the Batavia in 1629, and the Zeewijk (in) in 1727.

The archipelago includes 122 islands and reefs, which extend in the form of an island chain that runs almost parallel to the coast for about 100 km. The group is divided into three island regions, each separated by narrow sea roads (from north to south):

Wallabi Islands (Wallabi Group – including North Island)
Easter Group
Pelsaert Islands (Pelsaert Group)
The largest islands are West Wallabi Island (6.21 km²), East Wallabi Island (3.27 km²), North Island (1.82 km²), Pelsaert Island (1.56 km²) and Rat Island (0.65 km²) . These five islands make up over 82 percent of the total area of the archipelago.

The archipelago is now considered a true paradise for wreck and sport divers due to the numerous ships sunk in front of the reefs, although none of the islands are permanently inhabited by people.

Access : Coordinates: -28.716667113.783333 / Houtman Abrolhos is an archipelago in Australia. It is located in the state of Western Australia, in the western part of the country, 60 km west of the mainland at Geraldton and 3 400 km west of the capital Canberra. The islands are known as a large shipyard cemetery.
/ The Abrolhos Islands can be accessed by flight or charter boat.

Highlights :

  •  The area surrounding the islands is known for the large number of shipwrecks, including the Dutch ships the Batavia, which shipwrecked in 1629, and the Zeewijk (in 1727). It is believed that the Aagtekerke also perished here in 1726.
  • The Houtman Abrolhos consist of three island groups: the Wallabi group, the Easter group and the Pelsaert group. The most northerly group, the Wallabi group, consists of an island cluster approximately 17 by 10 kilometers, including the outermost North Island, located about 14 kilometers to the northwest. The main islands of the Wallabi group are North Island, West Wallabi Island, East Wallabi Island and Beacon Island.  This group is best known for the fact that the Batavia stranded here on the Morning Reef near Beacon Island in 1629 and the subsequent slaughter of survivors.
  • The Easter group is located southeast of the Wallabi group, from which it is separated by a 9-kilometer-wide channel called the Middle Channel. It is approximately 20 by 12 kilometers and consists of a number of islands, including Rat Island, Wooded Island, Morley Island, Suomi Island, and Alexander Island.
    Further south-east, opposite the Zeewijk canal, named after the Zeewijk, lies the Pelsaert group, the southernmost true coral reef in the Indian Ocean. The main islands of this group are Middle Island, Square Island, Long Island, Pelsaert Island, Basile Island and the Mangrove Group. A large number of ships were wrecked on the Pelsaert group, the most important of which was the Sea District, on the Half Moon reef in 1727. The survivors stayed on Gun Island for a while after this.  Other ships wrecked here included the Ocean Queen (on Half Moon reef in 1842), Ben Ledi, on Pelsaert Island in 1879, and the Winsor, on Half Moon in 1908.
  •  The archipelago includes the southernmost true coral reef in the Indian Ocean and is one of the main breeding grounds for the seabird population of Western Australia and was once known for its extraction of guano. It is also the center of lobster fishing in Western Australia. The islands are inhabited by fishermen and frequented by tourists, although much of it has been closed for protection.
  •  The islands are among Australia’s most important sites for breeding seabirds – Abrolhos Islands also mark the northern most habitats of the Australian Sea Lion.

Activities : Swimming / photo opportunities / Diving / Fishing / Snorkelling / Wildlife watch

Go next : Geraldton , a city on the Batavia coast of Western Australia / Kalbarri National Park is in the Mid West region of Western Australia 485 km  north of Perth.

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