One of the wonders of the Kimberley coast, Montgomery Reef is a spectacle to behold as the entire reef appears to rise from the ocean on a falling tide. With tidal diffences of over 10m over a single spring tide cycle, nearly 5m of reef gradually emerges from the ocean, as water cascades down numerous channels. Mongtomery Reef and The Montgomery Islands lie some 20 km off the central Kimberley coast, opposite Doubtful Bay (to the east) and Collier Bay (to the south).
The Montgomery Islands lie among the extensive areas of sandbank that occur at the centre of the large Montgomery Reef formation. The reef which covers an area in the region of over 270 km², is some 80 km long and Australia’s largest inshore reef, containing large areas of shallow lagoon, seagrass beds and colourful corals, with abundant marine life inluding sponges, crabs, cushion stars, turtles and octopi.
The kingfisher Islands lie 17 km to the southwest, and the High Cliffy Islands, only 1 km long and barely 300 m wide to the east. High Cliffy was once home to the Yawijibaya people, who lived here for almost 7,000 years and were reputed to be a physically superior tribe of Aboriginal people up to 7 feet tall. The islanders travelled the tides and currents on traditional mangrove rafts, but soon after a Pathé film crew filmed the islanders in 1929, the entire tribe of 300 people disappeared without trace and without explanation.
Montgomery Island was named by Phillip Parker King in recognition of Andrew Montgomery, the surgeon on his 1821 voyage along the Kimberley coast.