Western Australia is well known for being one of the world’s best kitesurfing destinations and the Houtman Abrolhos (Abrolhos Islands) is the jewel in the crown. It is made up of a chain of 122 islands, and associated coral reefs, in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Australia. This small patch of coral reefs and cays has some of the most beautiful water in the world to kite.
Abrolhos Islands, photo credit: Rick Pryce
The Abrolhos Islands lie 60kms west of Geraldton, on the Western Australian coast. These wind swept coral cays were made famous in 1629 when it shipwrecked the Batavia on its maiden voyage. If that wasn’t enough it later ended in a mutiny followed by a horrific massacre of the survivors.
You can expect winds of 30+ knots with crystal clear warm water which make for one of the most epic kite surfing locations I have ever visited on this planet.
Abrolhos Islands, Australia
Quick Location Overview:
Location: Abrolhos Islands, Australia (map link)
Windy Months: October – March
Air Temperature: 28 – 35°C (82 – 95°F)
Water Temperature: 16 – 24°C (60 – 75°F)
Water Flatness: Flat water behind coral cays and waves on the other side
Beach/Ground Type: Coral and Sand
Best Wind Direction: SW
Wind speed: 20-30knts
Wind time: All day and night
Wind Expectations: 6 out of 7 days
Experience level: Intermediate – Expert
Accommodation: Eco Abrohlos
Closest Airport: Geraldton Airport (Airport Code: GET)
Wind conditions: The best time to visit the Abrolhos Islands is from October to March as this is when the highest probability of wind. The wind tends to come from the South West across the Indian Ocean with consistent winds from 16–30+ knts from morning to night.
A view from the sky
Water Conditions: Water temp is 19–25 degrees Celsius with flat during the windy season with butter flat water behind the coral cays to reef breaks on the other side. With so many islands in the archipelago, you are bound to find your perfect spot with no one else on the water but you and your friends.
Where to stay: As the islands are a protected marine park, you are not allowed to stay on the islands and the only option you have is to stay aboard the Eco Abrolhos which is a beautiful large ship with plenty of room for you and your friends (up to 35 people + crew).
Locals from Geraldton also visit these islands so you might be able to find someone that would take you out for a day trip but be aware, the seas can get very rough and large so not for the faint hearted.
Eco Abrolhos, photo credit: Rick Pryce
How to get there: To get to the Abrolhos Islands your best bet is to fly out on a small charter plane which takes less than 30mins from Geraldton. To get to Geraldton you can catch a ~1 hour flight from Perth or drive 5 hours up the beautiful Western Australian coast if you have the time. Along the way you can visit some other world class kiting locations such as Lancelin, Cervantes, Wedge Island and Jurien Bay.
Lone Kiter, Abrholos Islands, photo credit: Rick Pryce
Is it safe: Being so remote the most dangerous thing you will need to watch out for is coral cuts in this location.
Who goes there: This place is normally only visited by cray fisherman ($500M year industry on these islands alone) and scenic tourists. Speaking to the Captain of the Eco Abrolhos, it seemed like only a handful of people have ever kited here which makes it quite special.
Crystal clear waters, photo credit: Rick Pryce
Internet: I found it lucky to get a cell signal out on these islands so don’t expect to be doing any facetime calls. There is a tall poll (~15m) with a dish antenna on it pointing towards the mainland (60+ kms away) which gave good speeds on a clear day (4Mbps) but I would not rely on it.
On board the Eco Abrolhos, they provide wifi to it’s guests via a 4G hotspot but it quickly dies as everyone logs on and starts uploading pictures.
Money: You won’t spend a dime out here as there is nothing to spend it on. The Eco Abrolhos provides full board but you will have to pay for alcoholic beverages (cash preferred).
Back on the mainland, Australia in general widely accepts credit cards but you can also use the local currency (AUD) while traveling.
No Wind Activities: Snorkeling, SUPing or catching the large crayfish are some of the other activities to get up to if by chance there is no wind.
The crew aboard the Eco Abrolhos will help you learn how to free dive and catch your very own dinner. The size of the crayfish are something to be seen.
Must Do Activities: Take the charter flight out to the islands. You will see from the video at the top of this post how amazing this truly is. The waters around the islands are so clear you literally can see fish swimming from the sky.
Luggage Tip: If you are planning on spending a few days with the crew from Eco Abrolhos and you want to take all your kites, I suggest you drop your gear off at the boat while it is still in the Geraldton harbor. The charter planes they fly out to the islands are very small and have strict weight limits.
And as always, keep your kite bag under 23kg while traveling to and around Australia. Qantas is the main national carrier and they allow you to take your kite bag as part of your normal baggage allowance.
Have you been to the Abrolhos Islands and want to share any additional information? Feel free to comment below.