Coral Sea Islands

Descriptive text is not available for this image



Scattered over more than three-quarters of a 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. The Coral Sea Islands Act 1969 was amended in 1997 to extend the boundaries of the Coral Sea Islands Territory around Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs.



Oceania, islands in the Coral Sea, northeast of Australia

Geographic coordinates

18 00 S, 152 00 E

Map references



total: 3 sq kmless than
land: 3 sq kmless than
water: 0 sq km
note: includes numerous small islands and reefs scattered over a sea area of about 780,000 sq km (300,000 sq mi) with the Willis Islets the most important
country comparison to the world: 253

Area - comparative

about four times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


3,095 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 3nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200nm




sand and coral reefs and islands (cays)


lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Cato Island 9 m

Natural resources


Land use

agricultural land: 0% (2011 est.)
arable land: 0% (2011 est.)/permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.)/permanent pasture: 0% (2011 est.)
forest: 0% (2011 est.)
other: 100% (2011 est.)

Natural hazards

occasional tropical cyclones

Environment - current issues

no permanent freshwater resources; damaging activities include coral mining, destructive fishing practices (overfishing, blast fishing)

Geography - note

important nesting area for birds and turtles

People and Society


no indigenous inhabitants (2017 est.)
note: there is a staff of four at the meteorological station on Willis Island


Country name

conventional long form: Coral Sea Islands Territory
conventional short form: Coral Sea Islands
etymology: self-descriptive name to reflect the islands' position in the Coral Sea off the northeastern coast of Australia

Dependency status

territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport

Legal system

the common law legal system of Australia applies where applicable


see Australia

Diplomatic representation in the US

none (territory of Australia)

Diplomatic representation from the US

none (territory of Australia)

Flag description

the flag of Australia is used


Economy - overview

no economic activity


Communications - note

automatic weather stations on many of the isles and reefs relay data to the mainland

Military and Security

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of Australia


Ports and terminals

none; offshore anchorage only

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Flag of Coral Sea Islands

Descriptive text is not available for this image