The coral atolls of the Rowley Shoals are famed for their almost untouched coral gardens, giant clams and other shellfish. Giant potato cod and maori wrasse wait to be hand fed and follow scuba divers around, while colourful reef fish show little fear, and trevally, mackerel and tuna hover in schools. 233 species of coral and 688 species of fish inhabit the Rowley Shoals – including many species not found on nearshore coral reefs. There are at least 28 species of staghorn coral alone.
Rowley Shoals has some of the biggest tidal changes of any coral atoll worldwide with 4 metre plus tides flowing into and out of the reefs creating some incredibly colourful coral formations and canyons. At low tide the water becomes ponded within the reef walls and the water flows over the atoll walls like waterfalls. At high tide, the reefs disappear beneath the sea, with only the sandy islands of Clerke and Imperieuse visible. The outside walls of the Rowley Shoals are alive with soft corals in every imaginable colour. The Shoals also support humpback whales, manta rays, hammerhead sharks and other large reef species.
The Rowley Shoals gives you the opportunity to experience a diverse array of scuba diving environments including lagoons, canyons, high speed drift dives and sheer outer reef wall dives. Often touted as the world’s last great ‘underwater wilderness’, Rowley Shoals offers some of the most remote scuba diving within Australia.
Visibility ranges from 20 to 60 metres and water temperatures are tropical. The best time of year to dive the Rowley Shoals is from October to December and the only way to dive these atolls is by liveaboard dive boat.