Coastal regions of Western Australia

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Western Australia has the longest coastline of any state or territory in Australia, at 10,194 km[1] or 12,889 km (20,781 km including islands).[2][a] It is a significant portion of the coastline of Australia, which is 35,877 km (59,736 km including islands).[2]

The earliest full charting of the coastline occurred during exploration in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.[3]

The coastline has some features or organisms that are found on the entire length,[4] while some others are specific to particular coastal regions.[5][6]

Various government map posters have been created over time, which have examples of coastal form, or types of coast such as the 1984 map with photos.[7]

Integrated Marine and Coastal Regionalisation of Australia (IMCRA)[edit]

The IMCRA has offshore regions delineated in a systematic appraisal of ecology and geography.[8]

Coastal regions used in weather reports[edit]

Standard Bureau of Meteorology reports include the following reference points for coastal weather reports:[9]

  • North Kimberley Coast: WA/NT border (or to Kuri Bay
  • West Kimberley Coast: Kuri Bay to Wallal (Kimberley land region)
  • Pilbara Coast East: Wallal Downs to Cape Preston (Pilbara land region)
  • Pilbara Coast West: Cape Preston to North West Cape (Pilbara land region)
  • Ningaloo Coast: Northwest Cape to Carnarvon (Gascoyne land region)
  • Gascoyne Coast: north of Carnarvon to Kalbarri (Gascoyne land region)
  • Geraldton Coast: north of Kalbarri to Jurien Bay (Central west land region)
  • Lancelin Coast: Jurien Bay to Two Rocks (Lower west land region)
  • Perth Local Waters: Two Rocks to Dawesville (Lower west land region and/or Perth Metropolitan region)
  • Perth Coast:west of Rottnest and Perth Local Waters (same limits of Two Rocks and Dawesville)
  • Bunbury Geographe Coast: Dawesville to Busselton, (part lower west and part south west land region)
  • Leeuwin Coast: Busselton to west of Denmark (South west land region)
  • Albany Coast: west of Denmark to Bremer Bay (south coast coastal land region)
  • Esperance Coast: Bremer Bay to Israelite Bay (Southeast coastal land region)
  • Eucla Coast: Israelite Bay to SA Border (Eucla land region)

General coastal regions[edit]

There are groupings for wider regions that are based very close to the land regions; one made in the 1980s[10] has 8 coastal regions, while the 2003 Coastal Planning and Management Manual has five regions with component sections:[11]

  • Kimberley Coast: Northern Territory / Western Australia border to Broome (2003 manual, figure 2-2 Pilbara Kimberley Region)
  • Canning: Broome to Port Hedland (Cape Keraudren - east of the De Grey River delta in the 2003 manual)
  • Pilbara Coast: Port Hedland to Onslow
  • Coral Coast or Gascoyne region - Onslow to Kalbarri (Shark Bay in the 2003 manual)
  • Kalbarri to Cape Naturaliste: which includes, Batavia Coast, the Central West also known as the Turquoise Coast and another further south known at the Sunset Coast
  • South West Capes: Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin (to Albany in the 2003 manual)
  • South Coast: Cape Leeuwin to Israelite Bay - incorporates the coastal region between Cape Leeuwin and Windy Harbour, usually considered part of the south west
  • South Coast Region or the South East: Israelite Bay (Albany in the 2003 manual) to the Western Australia / South Australian border (Eucla)

Ports, settlements and towns[edit]

Fisheries bioregions[edit]

Under the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 there are four main regions on the Western Australian coast.[12]


The coastal regions include a range of beaches, cliffs, and coastline features that are dependent upon the underlying geology; the geological provinces have direct relationship to the coastal forms:



Specifically referring to Sound (geography)

Archipelagoes and island groups[edit]

Aquatic flora[edit]

The Western Australian coastline has the greatest diversity of seagrasses in the world, and the meadows they form are among the largest on earth.[13]

See also[edit]

Australian context
Local features
Regional divisions
Plants and natural history


  1. ^ The length of a coastline may vary significantly depending on how it is measured.
  2. ^ Not to be confused with the tourist coast region which might have slightly different start and finish points from the fisheries designated coast


  1. ^ Short, Andrew D (2005)Beaches of the Western Australian Coast: Eucla to Roeback Bay ISBN 0-9586504-3-8. page 1
  2. ^ a b "Coastline Lengths". Geoscience Australia. Commonwealth of Australia. 18 November 2010. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  3. ^ Freycinet, Louis de, 1779-1842 (1919), [Chart of Western Australian coastline], H.J. Pether, Govt. Lithographer, retrieved 10 July 2015 
  4. ^ Wells, Fred E; Western Australian Museum (1978), The distribution of shallow-water marine prosobranch gastropod molluscs along the coastline of Western Australia, retrieved 10 July 2015 
  5. ^ Bradshaw, Elizabeth (1995-12), "Dates from archaeological excavations on the Pilbara coastline and islands of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia", Australian Archaeology (41): 37–38, ISSN 0312-2417  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ Sircombe, K.N; Freeman, M.J (1999-10-01), "Provenance of detrital zircons on the Western Australia coastline - implications for the geologic history of the Perth basin and denudation of the Yilgarn craton.(Statistical Data Included)", Geology, Geological Society of America, Inc, 27 (10): 879(4), doi:10.1130/0091-7613(1999)027<0879:podzot>;2, ISSN 0091-7613 
  7. ^ Chape, Stuart; Hesp, P. A. (Patrick Alan); Western Australia. Coastal Management Co-ordinating Committee; Western Australia. Dept. of Agriculture; Western Australia. Dept. of Conservation and Environment (1984), Western Australian coastline, Coastal Management Coordinating Committee, retrieved 10 July 2015 
  8. ^
  9. ^ See the map at for locations of the coastal forecast boundary locations
  10. ^ Woods, P.J and Eliot, Ian (1980) The Western Australian Coast being Number 6 of Coastal Management in Western Australia Bulletin Number 49 of the Department of Conservation and Environment
  11. ^ print form: Western Australian Planning Commission.(2003) Coastal planning and management manual : a community guide for protecting and conserving the West Australian Coast Perth, W.A. : Western Australian Planning Commission. ISBN 0-7309-9383-3 - web-based pdfs =
  12. ^ Recreational fishing guides published by the Department of Fisheries (W.A.) in September 2008 map titled 'Western Australia's Fisheries Bioregions'
  13. ^ Rippey, Elizabeth and Rowland, Barbara (2004) Coast plants:Perth and the south-west region Second Edition. University of Western Australia Press. Crawley, Western Australia. ISBN 1-920694-05-6. page 245 - also Part Three: Descriptions and Illustrations of the Seagrasses pp.243-260

Further reading[edit]


  • Rippey, Elizabeth and Rowland, Barbara (2004) Coastal Plants: Perth and the south-west region Second Edition, Crawley, W.A. University of Western Australia Press. ISBN 1-920694-05-6


  • WA State Coastal Conference (3rd : 2005 : Mandurah, Bunbury and Busselton, W.A.)

Title 3rd WA State Coastal Conference, Mandurah - Bunbury - Busselton, November 2005 : coastal solutions : balancing the waves of change : program and papers. Canning Bridge, W.A. : Promaco Conventions Pty Ltd, 2005. ISBN 1-86308-126-7


  • Murray, Ian and Marion Hercock (2008) Where on the Coast is That? Victoria Park, Western Australia. Hesperian Press. ISBN 978-0-85905-452-2

Government reports[edit]

  • Department of Conservation and Land Management, 1994: A Representative Marine Reserves
  • System for Western Australia: Report of the Marine Parks and Reserves Selection Working Group (the Wilson Report).
  • Government of Western Australia, 1998: New Horizons: the Way Ahead in Marine Conservation and Management.
  • Government of Western Australia, 2002b: Focus on the Future: the Western Australian State Sustainability Strategy, Consultation Draft.
  • Government of Western Australia, 2002c: A Biodiversity Conservation Act for Western Australia, Consultation Paper.
  • Western Australian Planning Commission, 2001: Coastal Zone Management Policy for Western Australia, for public comment.
  • Western Australian Planning Commission, 2002: Coastal Planning Program - Status of Coastal Planning in Western Australia 2001/02.
  • Western Australian Planning Commission, 2003a: Statement of Planning Policy No. 2.6: StateCoastal Planning Policy.
  • Western Australian Planning Commission, 2003b: Coastal Planning and Management Manual