Geographical Location and Map

Location Facts:

  • The Torres Strait Islands are distributed across an area of some 48 000 kmĀ².
  • The distance across the Strait from Cape York to New Guinea is approximately 150 km at the narrowest point; the islands lie scattered in between, extending some 200 to 300 km from farthest east to farthest west.
  • The Torres Strait itself was formerly a land bridge which connected the present-day Australian continent with New Guinea (in a single landmass called Sahul or Australia-New Guinea).
  • This land bridge was submerged by rising sea levels forming the Strait which now connects the Arafura and Coral seas.
  • Many of the western Torres Strait Islands are actually the remaining peaks of this land bridge.


  • The islands and their surrounding waters and reefs provide a highly diverse set of land and marine ecosystems, with niches for many rare or unique species.
  • Marine animals of the islands include dugongs (an endangered species of sea mammal), as well as Green, Hawksbill and Flatback Sea turtles and saltwater crocodiles.
  • Geographically, the islands in the Torres Strait can be divided into four main groups: an eastern group of high volcanic islands; a central group of low sandy islands; a western group of high islands composed of volcanic and granitic rocks; and a northern group of low islands composed of mangrove muds and peats.

There are seventeen inhabited islands and two communities located at the tip of Cape York that are classified as a part of the Torres Strait:

The Torres Strait Island Regional Council services 15 island communities (highlighted/linked below).


Eastern islands

Mer (Murray Island)

Erub (Darnley Island)

Ugar (Stephen or Stephens Island)

Central islands

Iama (Yam or Turtle-backed Island)

Masig (Yorke Island)

Warraber (Sue Island)

Puruma (or Poruma) (Coconut Island)

Western islands

Badu (Mulgrave Island)

Moa (Banks Island) Kubin Community & St Pauls Community

Mabuiag (Jervis Island)

Southern Islands

Waiben (or Wayben) (Thursday Island)

Kirriri (Hammond Island)

Nurupai (or Ngurupai) (Horn Island)

Muralag (Prince of Wales Island)

Northern islands

Saibai (Saibai Island)

Boigu (Talbot Island)

Dauan (Mt Cornwallis Island)

Cape York communities