While nowhere near as large or as famous as its Queensland cousin (you might have heard of the Great Barrier Reef?), the Abrolhos Islands certainly ain’t too shabby. Some fun facts:
- Since the Abrolhos are islands in nature as well as in name, unless you’re an extremely good swimmer, you can only access them by plane or boat. We went with the former and made a day trip out of it (brownie points to Jono for orchestrating it as a surprise for Laura’s 30th birthday)
- The area is made up of 122 islands clustered into 3 main groups (the Wallabi Group, Easter Group and Pelsaert Group). It’s located around 60 kilometres west of Geraldton and covers approximately 100 kilometres of ocean
- Our pilot told us that “Abrolhos” is a Portuguese word which roughly translates to “keep your eyes open”. We thought we’d cross reference this fact on Google Translate … who informed us that it means “thistle”. So now we don’t know who to believe
- The area is rich in maritime history and many ships have been wrecked here (in this context “keep your eyes open” makes sense!). The most famous of these was the Batavia in 1629, which ended in a bloody massacre of many survivors. If you’re not already familiar with the story it’s a very interesting one and you can read more about it on the Western Australian Museum website here
- One of the Abrolhos Islands is owned by Multiplex heir, Tim Roberts, whose super yacht we worked on while it was docked in Fremantle
- The area is rich in bird and marine life and is a well-known cray fishing mecca
If you find yourself on the Coral Coast we highly recommend checking the Abrolhos out. We visited with Geraldton Air Charters, who showed us a great day. We took a full day tour which cost $260 per person and included food and snorkel hire.
And since we’re on the topic, we’ll take a moment to mention the threat the Great Barrier Reef is currently facing. The recent decision by the Queensland government to approve leases for the Carmichael mining project (you can read about it here and here) means that this environmentally devastating development is one step closer to reality. It’s hard to believe that there’s people out there who are willing to risk this amazing resource for the sake of a dollar … and even harder to believe that our government is assisting them with it 🙁 You can stay abreast of developments via Greenpeace.