The Kimberley coast near Broome, Western Australia. / ©: istockphoto.com

The Kimberley

The Kimberley is one of the Earth’s great natural and cultural treasures, featuring some of the most extraordinary landscapes and wildlife in Australia. The northernmost part of Western Australia that joins the border of the Northern Territory is one of the most sparsely populated parts of our country. That, and its tropical climate, make the Kimberley particularly rich in biodiversity.

Some of the Earth’s healthiest coral reefs are found off the Kimberley coast, boasting diversity to rival that of the Great Barrier Reef. But at sea and on land scientists are only just beginning to unravel the mysteries of the Kimberley. Species new to science are regularly being discovered and some areas are yet to be studied.
Plants and animals

Marine species
Some of Australia’s, and indeed the world’s rarest sea mammals survive in relatively untouched habitats along this expanse of coastline. Dugongs graze on seagrass meadows and rare marine turtles hatch on remote beaches. Australia’s rarest dolphin, the snubfin, also resides within the Kimberley’s inshore mangrove systems.

Warm tropical waters provide the ideal nursery for humpback whales to safely give birth before returning to Antarctica. Vast, food-rich tidal flats sustain countless migratory birds. This area also supports sharks, crocodiles, snakes and many other animals at the top of the food chain.

Terrestrial species
Many terrestrial species, such as the Kimberley mouse, the scaly-tailed possum and the splendid tree frog, are found nowhere else in the world. The area is important due to its rich, rare and distinctive natural habitats and the native plants and animals they support. Many more discoveries potentially await on little-known Kimberley islands.

Indigenous communities

The Kimberley is home to Indigenous people who comprise one of the world’s oldest continuing human traditions.
Indigenous guides open up new ways of understanding their country.


Where is the Kimberley?


View The Kimberley in a larger map

The Kimberley coast is at the heart of a system of internationally-important marine ecosystems. It stretches from the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, in the south, to the spectacular coral atolls of the Rowley Shoals that rise 400 metres from the ocean floor. The Kimberley coast is on the very edge of the world’s widest continental shelf – only one day’s cruising west of Broome.

A group of snubfin dolphins playing at Roebuck Bay, Western Australia. / ©: Paul Gamblin / WWF-Aus
© Paul Gamblin / WWF-Aus
Roebuck Bay
Roebuck Bay, in Western Australia’s Kimberley region, is a treasure-trove of cultural and natural heritage riches.
Plumed whistling ducks and magpie geese at Mankajarra wetlands near Derby, Western Australia. / ©: Tanya Vernes / WWF-Aus
© Tanya Vernes / WWF-Aus
Threats to the Kimberley
The Kimberley is famous world-wide for its rich ecology. However, the region faces serious threats.
Heavy yellow oil slick, Montara Oil Spill Kimberley. / ©: Kara Burns
© Kara Burns
Development in the Kimberley
WWF takes very seriously the arguments put by Kimberley Indigenous leaders about the economic benefits that liquefied natural gas (LNG) development could bring to struggling communities.
Boab tree (Adansonia-gregorii) at sunset, central Kimberley. / ©: Tanya Vernes / WWF-Aus
© Tanya Vernes / WWF-Aus
What WWF is doing
WWF would like to see the Kimberley’s key natural and cultural values identified and protected as part of a landscape-scale approach and is building support for a strategic environmental assessment conservation model.