Sparkling white sandy beaches, warm, tropical oceans and wild rivers make the North West a haven for travellers seeking adventures either on or in the water. Coupled with months on end of sunshine, the region truly is a water playground that offers visitors a wealth of memorable experiences.
The remoteness of the Kimberley and Pilbara means that vast stretches of the coast, and many of the river systems, don’t see many people at all. Much of the area remains in a pristine state, meaning the ocean and rivers are teeming with wildlife. Just the experience of being in such an untouched region is very special. The spark of pioneering spirit cannot help but be felt by all who journey to this amazing region.
It’s no secret; the North West has long been renowned for some of the best reef and game fishing in the world.
Cast a line from the beach or hire a ‘tinny’ and explore the tidal creeks and river systems. Join a professional day or extended charter to bottom bash, pursue the elusive barramundi or experience the thrill of game fishing. A number of fishing competitions are held throughout the North West, and visitors are always welcome. Whatever way you choose to chase them, please be aware of protected species, size and bag limits, license requirements, and always fish for the future.
For the most up-to-date requirements, visit the Department of Fisheries’ website at www.fish.wa.gov.au
World famous Cable Beach is regarded as one of Australia’s best, and many a perfect day has been spent doing nothing more than simply lazing on the pristine sand or in the warm waters. The Kimberley and Pilbara also offer a number of superb spots for swimming and whiling away the hours in freshwater pools and gorges – without the crowds.
Snorkelling and Diving
The North West’s aquatic playgrounds are alive with masses of corals, teaming with fish and home to an astonishing array of marine mammals. Visit the 42 islands of the Dampier Archipelago, the marine class reserve at the Rowley Shoals, or the waters of the Dampier Peninsula north of Broome, to find easy snorkels and amazing wall, cave, drift and wreck dives in some of the most spectacular untouched locations.
Many islands and mainland beaches are home to a special event every year - turtle nesting. Females come ashore from September to April to lay their eggs on the warm quiet beaches. Eight weeks later hundreds of tiny turtles hatch and take their first steps toward the ocean,
both events providing you with the spectacle of a lifetime. Port Hedland’s Cemetery Beach, Eighty Mile Beach and Eco Beach are some of the renowned and accessible locations to view this event.
From July to October grand pods of Humpback Whales can be seen migrating north along the coast. The area is transformed into a huge whale nursery as mothers and calves take shelter in the protected bays and inlets, beginning their return journey south around September and October. The North West’s fine winter weather creates the perfect conditions to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures on an exciting boat cruise or from one of the local beaches. The proposed Marine Park at Camden Sound is gaining recognition as one of the prime calving grounds for the Humpback Whale. When observing marine turtles and whales, the Department of Environment and Conservation’s (DEC) code of conduct guidelines should always be followed. Contact DEC for further details.
Enjoy the natural wonders of the coastline, where you can spot rays, dolphins, turtles and a huge array of fish straight from your kayak. Paddle peacefully along the shore where the deep red, rugged rocks are in stark contrast to the turquoise of the ocean. Throw in a line and try your luck at fishing or just enjoy exploring untouched beaches and secret caves. Local tides are fast moving so check tide times before starting off. Equally as good are the canoeing options in freshwater rivers. Lake Kununurra, Diamond Gorge and Sir John Gorge are some of the best known spots and provide spectacular gorge scenery. Always check with authorities before entering unknown water courses in the north, as crocodiles are known to inhabit certain water courses.
Extended luxury cruising, pearl lugger cruises, hovercraft flights, river and lake cruises, charters to offshore islands of the Pilbara and Kimberley coast – there are a huge number of experiences to be had on the water whilst holidaying in the North West. In many cases being on the water gives you a better understanding of the geography, flora and fauna of the region – as well as being a great way to travel! The region boasts a number of award winning charter operators, and nobody knows the waters as well as a local! If going it on your own is more your style, there is the opportunity to hire boats in the major centres of the Kimberley and Pilbara. Make sure you have reasonable boating skills and local knowledge before heading out. A WA Skipper’s Ticket or equivalent is also a requirement.