Cobourg Peninsula


Cobourg Peninsula

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Cobourg Peninsula has a long history of natural conservation and protection, and it was Australia and the world’s first Wetland of International Importance. The Site comprises a peninsula with extensive tidal flats, fringing coral, rocky reefs, estuaries, mangroves, riverine wetlands, permanent freshwater and brackish ecosystems and melaleuca (paperbark) swamps, dominated by eucalyptus forest. The hydrological regime varies widely due to the seasonal rainfall. There is a steep salinity gradient between the estuaries and backswamps. The Site supports several globally threatened animal species such as the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), green turtle (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus), as well as numerous rare plants and extensive mangrove communities. The Site supports an abundance of waterbirds such as ducks, plovers, sandpipers and egrets. It contains many archaeological sites and features of indigenous, Macassan and European origin, and an ongoing ‘living culture’ that is maintained by the Arrarrkbi, the traditional indigenous owners of Cobourg Peninsula. The majority of the Site is managed as a conservation reserve, with some tourism and education, commercial fishing and low-level traditional owner hunting and gathering. In the surrounding areas, cultured pearl farming, aquarium fish harvesting, mud crabbing, mackerel trolling and mineral exploration take place.

Administrative region: 
Northern Territory

  • National legal designation: 
    • National Park - Garig Gunak Barlu National Park
  • Last publication date: 


Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS)

Additional reports and documents