The Houtman Abrolhos Islands are a group of 122 stunning islands split into three groups, Wallabi, Easter, and Pelsaert. Often described as the Galapagos Islands of the Indian Ocean, there are few places in Australia with more biodiversity. These Indian Ocean jewels sit just 60 kilometres west of Geraldton, off the mid-west coast of Western Australia, making them an easily accessible day trip or for those looking for more adventure, a multi-day fishing charter.
The Islands and their surrounding reef communities are a meeting place for tropical and temperate sea life, due to the warm, southern-flowing Leeuwin current, forming one of the State’s unique marine areas. The water is simply teaming with life in the protected coral lagoons putting you literally face-to-face with both tropical and temperate species. The abundant sea life translates to the world’s freshest seafood with Crayfish, Dhufish and Baldchin groper, as well as pelagic species like Spanish Mackerel in ready supply. Your catch is also likely to include octopus, scallops and the sought-after western rock lobster.
The Abrolhos may well be the Jewel of the Midwest, but it was only professional fishers and the odd big-boat owner that plied these waters until quite recently, thanks to an intrepid few tourism operators. There's no accommodation on the island so the fishing charters are live-aboard experiences and range from three to five day tours. All leave from Geraldton, about 5 hours drive from Perth, Western Australia.
The fishing experience comprises quite a variety given the range of life in the water. From dropping cray pots, snorkelling for squid, and throwing a lure out the back for a yellow fin tuna or a Spanish mackerel for dinner, your fishing adventure will involve a number of activities on any one of the tour operators providing the charter fishing options from Geraldton to the Abrolhos.
The ocean trip is worth the bumpy ride, as once you arrive in the protected lagoons of the coral atolls, everything changes. The waters become calm and luminous with all shades of blue and green – there is life everywhere. The fishing charter operators will expertly guide you through the island and reef network, some offering purpose-built glass bottom boats, fishing tenders and diving boat in tow.
On your way to the islands and back to Geraldton, keep your eyes out for dolphins riding the bow-wave of your charter fishing vessel, and depending on the time of the year, breaching humpback whales.