Australian Marine Parks

Exclusion zone at Middleton Reef

Part of the northern-most National Park Zone of Lord Howe Marine Park, which includes part of Middleton Reef, has been closed following a report of a suspected unexploded ordnance (UXO).

An exclusion zone of 500 metres from a submerged UXO has been established:

The safety of visitors to the reef is paramount, so if you see an object that may be a UXO, do not touch it and follow the safety procedure (PDF).

Anyone with information is encouraged to call or email us or the Lord Howe Island Marine Parks Office:

Lord Howe Marine Park is extraordinary in every way. This marine park includes Elizabeth and Middleton reefswhich, along with the reefs surrounding Lord Howe Island, are the southernmost coral reefs in the world. They are home to the rare and gentle black cod and green turtle amongst other protected species.

Towering undersea mountains (part of the Lord Howe Seamount Chain) are as steep, dramatic and bursting with life as the iconic mountains above.

Seabirds fill the skies around the islands and forage in the marine park’s bountiful waters. Look for common noddies, red-tailed tropicbirds, sooty terns and more.

Parts of the marine park are within the Lord Howe Island Group World Heritage Area, recognised for its outstanding universal value.

Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs are listed as wetlands of international significance under the Ramsar Convention.

For visitors, this is a nature-watching paradise. Enjoy diving, snorkeling and fishing (recreational fishing is allowed at Elizabeth Reef with a permit and not allowed at Middleton Reef).

The marine park begins 550 kilometres offshore of New South Wales. It covers 110,126 square kilometres, with depths from less than 15 metres to 6000 metres.

It has five zone types: National Park, Habitat Protection, Habitat Protection (Lord Howe), Recreational Use and Multiple Use.


Plan a recreational fishing trip to Elizabeth Reef by applying for a permit.

Dive or snorkel Elizabeth and Middleton reefs for a once-in-a-lifetime marine life experience (no permit required).

The marine park is adjacent to the New South Wales Lord Howe Island Marine Park.

Safety information

Visitors to Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs are advised to read this specific safety information regarding unexploded ordnances (UXOs) which have been reported at both reefs in the past.

Voluntary visitor report form

To assist Parks Australia with its citizen science initiatives please consider filling out this visitor report form if you have recently visited Elizabeth or Middleton reefs.

Click on the map below to see what you can do in the Lord Howe Marine Park.

Download map

Park area

110,139 km²

Depth range

15 to 6,000 m

Average depth

3,232 m