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Mackerel Islands

Mackerel Islands Western Australia

The Mackerel Islands showcase the raw beauty of WA’s Pilbara.

At a Glance

The Mackerel Islands, located just north of Onslow - between Exmouth and Karratha - is a fantastic location to travel to whether you are local or not. There you will find the raw beauty of the Pilbara as you set foot on these mostly untouched islands. The Mackerel Islands consists of ten islands and atolls. Two of the islands, Thevenard Island and Direction Island, provide accommodation for those who seeks the ultimate adventure.

Thevenard Island is classified a nature reserve due to its diverse range of land and marine life.There you will be able to experience world-class fishing, snorkelling, diving and other water activities in its calm waters. There you will also see a huge variety of dolphins, whales and dugongs that you may not be able to see normally.

Direction Island offers a very different experience as only a sole beach shack will be available as accommodation, meaning only you will be isolated on your own (and your family or friends) to survive on this beautiful island fringed by coral reef. This is great for those who wants the ultimate wilderness experience!

Mackerel Islands Western Australia


Where is Mackerel Islands?


Mackerel Islands is approximately 1,400 kilometres north of Perth.

The Mackerel Islands are located at the stretch of the North West near Onslow. These island are pristine for fishing and diving activities, it is known that turtles would come ashore the island to lay their eggs during the season. The easiest way to get there is to take a ferry from Onslow. It takes around 45 minutes to ferry to Thevenard Island, and 20 minutes for Direction Island.

Mackerel Islands Western Australia


Things to see in Mackerel Islands



The Mackerel Islands have a reputation for being “Pilbara’s fishiest waters”, so it goes without saying that fishing is one of the best activities there. Many different options of fishing are available there: from shore fishing, boat fishing, fly fishing to fishing charters. There are also an abundance of different fish species to be found here: Red Emperor, Rankin Cod, Coral Trout and the Giant Trevally are among them.

Old Mackerel Islands


Coral Reefs

The Mackerel Islands provide a great feast for your eyes if you choose to dive and snorkel in these pristine waters. There are numerous dive sites available there, to name a few: Black Flag, Brewis Reef, Rankin Road and Sultans Reef. All these present a great variety of pretty corals as well as colonies of colourful fish that thrives on the seafloor and the reef, perfect for underwater photography!

Mackerel Island Mackerel Islands


The Island Experience

Ever dreamt of having your own private island? Are you thrilled by the idea of living on an isolated island by yourself? You can do so, at least for a few days, on Direction Island! The sole accommodation on this island gem is a self-contained beach shack with modest facilities and minimal outside intervention. You will have the entire island to yourself to unlock your inner Bear Grylls. Many options of entertainment are available here, albeit in a raw setting. Fishing, swimming, snorkelling and walking around the island are the basics. If you feel pensive, you can lie down and gaze at the stars pondering our (in)significance in the universe. Mackerel Islands Beaches



Although there are much to see on your own in the Mackerel Islands, the locals would be able to show you the hidden gems, the best of the best. There are several tours and activities here ranging from 4WD tours, fishing and whale watching charters here that help take the stress of planning your holiday away, allowing you to truly retreat from your busy life and relax to the fullest on these majestic islands.

Mackerel Islands Salt

What's the weather like?


Due to their location, the Mackerel Islands experience a similar climate as parts of the North West, like Onslow. In Summer (December to February), the average maximum temperature is 40°C with an average minimum of 25°C. In Winter (June to August), the average maximum temperature is 27°C with an average minimum of 12°C.


Get to know Mackerel Islands's history


The Mackerel Islands were once part of the Australian mainland before they separated about 8,000 years ago. The indigenous Australian people visited the island both before and after said separation.

These Islands received little contact from Europeans until 1964 when local Onslow residents Ian Blair and Adrian Day were granted a lease on Direction Island and Thevenard Island. From there, these islands slowly evolved from being a small base of operation for fishermen to a full fledged tourism operation.

Today, the eco-tourism operation on the two islands offer good facilities for souls that seek adventure and excitement in isolation.