Australian Marine Parks

The circular Cartier Island Marine Park with Cartier Island at its centre is now a Sanctuary Zone.

The entire marine park protects important habitat for:

  • seasnakes
  • turtles
  • whale sharks
  • corals
  • sea fans
  • sponges.

This marine park and nearby Ashmore Reef Marine Park are marine life hotspots, protecting a rich diversity of species and high numbers of individual animals.

Although these Parks are far north of the Australian coastline, they’re linked to reef systems along the Western Australian coast by the south-flowing Leeuwin Current.

The current originates in this region and transports marine life southwards.

Cartier Island Marine Park lies in the Timor Sea within the Australian external territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands. It is about 600 kilometres north of Broome, Western Australia.

The marine park covers 172 square kilometres, with depths from less than 15 metres to 500 metres.

The marine park is a Sanctuary Zone, providing the highest level of protection for marine life. The Sanctuary Zone is managed to minimise disturbance to the environment from human activities, so only scientific research is allowed.

All vessels are prohibited from entering the Sanctuary Zone unless an approval is obtained from the Director of National Parks. 


Safety alert – unexploded ordnances

Cartier Island and the surrounding marine area within a 10 kilometre radius was a gazetted Defence Practice Area up to 20 July 2011 and has been used in the past as an air weapons range. Although the site is no longer an active weapons range there is a SUBSTANTIAL RISK that unexploded ordnances remain in the area.

Due to the risk posed by unexploded ordnances, landing on Cartier Island or anchoring anywhere within the Cartier Island Marine Park is strictly prohibited without express prior written approval.

If anchoring is unavoidable due to emergency (e.g. extreme weather conditions), great care should be taken to ensure anchoring is on sand, and anchors do not drag.

Any metal objects or suspicious objects found in the reserve should not be touched or disturbed and reported immediately to the police and the Parks Australia Work Health and Safety Advisor on 02 6274 2369 or


The Ann Millicent is wrecked on the southern edge of Cartier Island and is exposed at low tide.

The maritime archaeology shipwreck database contains information and details on Western Australian shipwrecks recorded by the Western Australian Museum. Within the shipwreck database there are records and details for over 1650 Western Australian shipwrecks, including the Ann Millicent.

Click on the map below to see what you can do in the Cartier Island Marine Park.

Download map


Park area

172 km²

Depth range

15 to 500 m

Average depth

214 m