Coral Sea Islands

Flag of Coral Sea Islands

Map of Coral Sea Islands


Scattered over some 1 million square kilometers of ocean, the Coral Sea Islands were declared a territory of Australia in 1969. They are uninhabited except for a small meteorological staff on the Willis Islets. Automated weather stations, beacons, and a lighthouse occupy many other islands and reefs.


Oceania, islands in the Coral Sea, northeast of Australia

Geographic coordinates:

18 00 S, 152 00 E

Map references:



total: less than 3 sq km
note: includes numerous small islands and reefs scattered over a sea area of about 780,000 sq km, with the Willis Islets the most important
water: 0 sq km
land: less than 3 sq km




sand and coral reefs and islands (or cays)

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Cato Island 6 m

Irrigated land:

0 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:

occasional tropical cyclones

Environment - current issues:

no permanent fresh water resources

Geography - note:

important nesting area for birds and turtles


no indigenous inhabitants
note: there is a staff of three to four at the meteorological station (2004 est.)

Dependency status:

territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of the Environment, Sport, and Territories

Legal system:

the laws of Australia, where applicable, apply

Economy - overview:

no economic activity

Communications - note:

there are automatic weather stations on many of the isles and reefs relaying data to the mainland

Ports and harbors:

none; offshore anchorage only

Military - note:

defense is the responsibility of Australia; visited regularly by the Royal Australian Navy; Australia has control over the activities of visitors