Where is it? 260km offshore, west of Broome, WA.

We have some magnificent snorkelling sites and reef dives, but this little-known Marine Park is one of the best. Overlooked in favour of the more accessible Great Barrier Reef, Rowley Shoals’ beauty is enhanced by the fact you will often be among the only people swimming here.

“Anything involving North Star Cruises is going to be good.” Bob Ansett

Three coral atolls comprise Rowley Shoals: Clerke Reef, Imperieuse Reef and Mermaid Reef, with drops up to 400m to the ocean floor. Marine life abounds. Big beasties such as sharks, dolphins, marlin, sea turtles, manta rays and humpback whales patrol the surrounding waters, while within the reefs you’ll find giant clams and over 600 species of fish. The clear waters allow vision up to 60 metres, allowing you to take in all 233 species of coral on the reefs.

If you’re strapped for cash, you can take day trips out of Broome with various dive tour operators, but if you feel like treating yourself to something extra special (which is the point of this list, after all), do it in style on North Star Cruises’ boutique luxury cruise ship True North, which is based here September-October each year. Its four-day cruise sees you anchor at the Shoals and explore every nautical mile of this captivating marine environment.

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