The Abrolhos Islands, with their rich flora and fauna and surrounding coral reef communities, form one of Western Australia's unique marine areas.
The Abrolhos Islands lie about 60 kilometres west of Geraldton, on the Western Australian coast, and consist of 122 islands clustered into three main groups: the Wallabi Group, Easter Group and Pelsaert Group, which extend from north to south across 100 kilometres of ocean.
The area is home to an abundance of wildlife including sea lions, dolphins, migratory whales and sea birds. The extensive coral reef system stretches for a hundred kilometres and is home to many species, some as yet to be named. The unique wildlife and pristine beaches make for excellent swimming, snorkelling and beach walking. The Abrolhos Islands provide idyllic surroundings for a quiet picnic on the beach, or an afternoon snorkelling over coral gardens just under the surface.
The warm southern flowing current creates a marine environment that breeds both tropical and temperate sea life. The current maintains water temperatures at about 20 - 22 degrees allowing corals, sea grasses, tropical fish and other sea life to thrive in an area they wouldn't normally be found. These islands are also the home of more than 90 species of sea birds.
The Abrolhos Islands are the main source of supply for Western Australia's rock lobster fishing industry. Home to fisherman from March until June, the Abrolhos remains almost deserted for the other eight months of the year.
The Abrolhos are also famous for their historic shipwrecks, the best known being the Dutch East India Company vessel Batavia, which ran aground in 1629.The water surrounding the islands is the graveyard to 18 other wrecks, mostly believed to be from the 19th century.
Visitors can access these pristine islands by charter, fishing and eco boat tours from Geraldton and Kalbarri, float plane tours from Geraldton, and aerial tours from Dongara, Geraldton and Kalbarri.
Geraldton is the region's largest city and is also well know for being one of the windiest places in Australia, making it ideal for windsurfing. From Geraldton there are also many diving tours to the reefs and ship wrecks.
Accommodation in Geraldton ranges from motels and hotels to backpacker hostels and quaint bed and breakfasts.
For more information about the stunning Abrolhos Islands, contact the Western Australian Visitor Centre on 1300 361 351. For information about Geraldton contact the local Visitor Centre on 1800 818 881.