Australian Marine Parks

West Cape York Marine Park protects part of one of the largest seagrass meadows in Australia, providing year-round grazing for dugongs and turtles. It also includes extensive tidal banks and offshore reefs.

Torres Strait Islanders and coastal Aboriginal people of the west coast of Cape York have responsibilities for sea country in the marine park.

The Torres Strait Dugong Sanctuary overlaps the marine park. It is a place where dugongs are fully protected and can’t be taken even for cultural purposes.

The nationally important Jardine River Wetlands are adjacent to the marine park. They are rich in natural and cultural heritage.

West Cape York Marine Park is at the northern end of Cape York, 25 kilometres from Thursday Island (Waiben). The marine park abuts the maritime border with Papua New Guinea and is adjacent to the Torres Strait Protected Zone which is subject to the Torres Strait Treaty with Papua New Guinea.

The marine park covers 16,012 square kilometres, with depths from less than         15 metres to 70 metres.

It has National Park, Habitat Protection and Special Purpose zones.


Dugongs are slow-moving marine mammals usually found grazing on seagrasses in shallow sheltered waters.

They come to the surface to breathe and have been known to rest on their tail on the sea floor with their nose out of the water.

Dugongs are slow growing and long lived, so if their numbers drop it takes a long time for the population to recover.

Click on the map below to see what you can do in the West Cape York Marine Park.

Download map


Park area

16,012 km²

Depth range

15 to 70 m

Average depth

32 m