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When is the best time to visit Rowley Shoals?

True North Cruise at Rowley Shoals

Imagine a marine paradise so pristine and secluded that it feels like a secret shared only among a select few adventurers.
This is Rowley Shoals, a series of breathtaking coral atolls located off the coast of WA, offering some of the most untouched and extraordinary snorkelling and diving experiences in the world. Here, the crystal-clear waves, vibrant coral gardens, and abundant marine life create an underwater spectacle that is nothing short of amazing.

But when is the best time to visit Rowley Shoals?

The magic of Rowley Shoals

Rowley Shoals, a trio of coral atolls rising from the depths of the Indian Ocean, represents one of the planet’s most extraordinary marine environments. Situated over 300km off the coast of Broome, these atolls – the Mermaid, Clerke and Imperieuse Reefs – form something of a marine sanctuary.

The Shoals are renowned for their crystal-clear waters, with visibility often exceeding 60 metres, making them a paradise for snorkellers, divers, and marine enthusiasts seeking adventure. Each atoll encircles a lagoon, creating sheltered pools that teem with a diversity of marine life. These vibrant ecosystems are home to over 200 species of coral and 600 species of fish, from the tiniest, most delicate nudibranchs to majestic manta rays.

What really sets Rowley Shoals apart is its exclusivity and untouched nature. Due to its remote location and limited access provided by select operators, the Shoals remain one of the last unspoiled marine frontiers.

Understanding Rowley Shoals’ seasons

The Rowley Shoals experience is profoundly shaped by its seasonal climate, which influences the underwater visibility, marine life activities, and the overall visitor experience.

Rowley Shoals enjoys a tropical climate, with the year divided into two primary seasons: the dry season and the wet season (read more about these seasons in our blog).

The dry season, spanning from April to October, is characterised by lower humidity, cooler temperatures, and steady southeast trade winds. This is generally the best time to visit the Shoals, with the ocean at its calmest and underwater visibility at its peak.

Wet season, running from November to March, brings higher temperatures, increased humidity, and the possibility of tropical cyclones. The Shoals are less accessible during this season due to rougher sea conditions and reduced visibility due to plankton blooms. On the plus side, these plankton blooms attract a wealth of marine life.

The best time to visit Rowley Shoals: a month-by-month guide

April to July

This marks the beginning of the dry season, with the sea settling and water clarity improving dramatically. During these months, marine life is particularly active, with reef fish, turtles, and rays becoming more visible as they thrive in the clear waters. It’s like the warmup to the best time you can visit Rowley Shoals: August to October.

August to October

This is Rowley Shoals at its peak.

During this time, the Shoals have the most stable weather conditions and ideal water temperatures for diving. The clarity of the water during these months is unparalleled, providing the perfect backdrop for encountering the Shoals’ famous residents and visitors.

This time also sees the migration of the majestic whale sharks as they migrate through the area. The reefs are bustling with activity, showcasing the full array of coral and fish species in their most vibrant state.


October presents a unique natural spectacle with the annual coral spawning event, an underwater phenomenon that usually occurs about a week after the full moon. This event transforms the Shoals into a bustling hub of marine life, as the corals release millions of eggs and sperm into the water, attracting a wide array of fish and other sea creatures looking to feast or breed.
The water is alive with activity, offering a rare opportunity to witness the beginning of life on the reef.

November to March

While the onset of the wet season from November to March makes this period less ideal for traditional visits due to choppier seas and reduced visibility, it’s also a time of ecological importance for Rowley Shoals.
The increased nutrients from plankton blooms during these months support a different but equally fascinating array of marine life, including different species of sharks and rays. This season of rejuvenation is essential for the life cycle of the Shoals, ensuring the continued health and diversity of its ecosystems.

See Rowley Shoals the way they were meant to be seen

Our Rowley Shoals cruises take place during the prime time to see the Shoals. Our guides are not only skilled in navigating these pristine waters but are also deeply committed to sharing their understanding of the marine ecosystem, its inhabitants, and the importance of conservation.

We believe that true adventure lies in the intimate moments of discovery that only small group sizes can provide. Our small ship cruises provide more meaningful, immersive experiences, in a place of untouched beauty that only few are lucky enough to visit.

Ready for the trip of a lifetime?

Discover the untouched beauty of Rowley Shoals with True North. Our expeditions are perfectly timed to showcase the Shoals at their peak, ensuring you dive in the best underwater visibility, encounter majestic marine life, and experience the magic of the coral spawning.
On board the TRUE NORTH, you’re not just a traveller; you’re an explorer. With expert guides, intimate group sizes, and unparalleled luxury, it’s the best way to see Rowley Shoals.

Explore our Rowley Shoals cruise itineraries and set sail on adventure.

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