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Carnarvon & Coral Bay + the Southern Ningaloo Reef & Gascoyne Hinterland 2019/2020

your guide to What’s ON • History Heritage • Culture Food • adventure

coral bay Carnarvon 2.5 hours



2.5 hours 9 hours



EDITOR Gabi Mills gabi@premiumpublishers.com.au DESIGNER Cally Browning cally@barecreative.com.au COVER PHOTOGRAPH By Helen Janneson Bense (@gypsylovinlight)


PHOTOGRAPHY Anton Blume, Justin Borg, Coral Bay Eco Tours, Caleb Davenport, Doorawarrah Desert Club, Connie Fletcher Photography, Susan Helmot, Alex Kydd, Ningaloo Reef Dive, Ocean Collective Media, Georgia Rickard, Guy Skillen, Ben, Teo, Two Goat Media, Uriah Makings, WA Country Cups – WA Fashions on the Field, Prue Wheeler, Jake Wilton.

30 Welcome to Carnarvon............................................................3 Meet your guides............................................................................... 4 The lowdown - visitor info ............................................... 6 What's on....................................................................................................... 8 Catch it all in Carnarvon ................................................... 10 Time to explore.................................................................................. 12 Celebrating an icon ....................................................................14 Painting the town .......................................................................... 16 The final frontier............................................................................... 18 WA's food bowl................................................................................. 21 Adventure time................................................................................. 26 Home on the range....................................................................30 Rock stars...................................................................................................32 Life on the Bay.................................................................................. 34 The big blue........................................................................................... 36

2 | Carnarvon & Coral Bay Destination Guide


FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM @alexkyddphoto @_aswewander @coralcoasthelicopterservices @gypsylovinlight @fotobyben @jakewiltonphoto @oceancollectivemedia @sealifedifferently @SummerofSeventyFive @taavipurtsak @thewanderfullylost @troopytrails @twogoatmedia CARNARVON VISITOR CENTRE 21 Robinson Street Carnarvon WA 6701 Ph: (08) 9941 1146 info@carnarvon.org.au www.carnarvon.org.au


to the Carnarvon and Coral Bay region

Welcome to our land of paradoxes, of stunning vistas, oncein-a-lifetime experiences and friendly locals.


itting on the edge of the mighty Gascoyne River delta. Carnarvon is a tropical oasis in a parched landscape. Thanks to this unique geographical advantage, Carnarvon’s fertile plantations and farms supply the majority of Perth’s fruit and veg during the winter months. And yet, if you visit during the summer months, this mighty river is dry as a bone; its parched, wide riverbed leaving an echo of its true nature, flowing only after the rains fall further inland. Known as an ephemeral river, the Gascoyne is the key to Carnarvon’s extraordinary place in WA’s agricultural story. Its proximity to the bountiful Indian Ocean also means that Carnarvon has a thriving prawn, scallop, crab and fishing industry so make sure you sample some local specialities in Carnarvon’s and Coral Bay’s cafes and restaurants. Head to Coral Bay and the Southern Ningaloo reef and you’ll be overawed by the natural beauty of the coast, the ability to walk right out from the beach and snorkel with reef life. If a taste of the highlife is what you crave, head to the Kennedy Range National Park and discover the world’s largest monolith (Mount Augustus). Stay in homesteads, camp on the beach, book into friendly hotels and enjoy campfire chats with your new best friends. We’re waiting to welcome you. #CatchYouinCarnarvon www.Carnarvon.org.au | 3

Meet your guides Adventurous travellers from all over the world have visited Carnarvon and the Coral Bay region, Instagramming and blogging their experiences as they swam, explored and stayed in this beautiful part of the world. Here are your guides who you’ll find popping up throughout this magazine, sharing their experiences and ideas.

Georgia Rickard travel writer (@georgiarickard) If it’s spring, prepare your camera: the road to the Kennedy Range National Park heads west towards the Australian coastline, and as you traverse the continent, WA’s famous wildflowers begin appearing in thick clumps, sometimes even scattered in carpets of yellow, white, purple and red. The exquisite Kennedy Range is one of Australia’s most underrated sights. With a magnificent cliff face that extends for several kilometres, which looks rather like the result of a giant serrated knife, it would be easy to spend several days exploring the park.

Helen Janneson Bense forever chasing sunsets (@ gypsylovinlight) The Blowholes were out of this world. Taking a helicopter over to visit them and seeing whales breaching, pods of dolphins and even turtles from above was the most breathtaking experience for our family.

Luke and Jess > road tripping around Australia (@_aswewander) Head out to Red Bluff and spend a few days at the beach exploring the amazing beach caves. Include a day trip to Gnaraloo to snorkel too. For those who have more time on their hands, spend a few days at Warroora Station and take a drive out to the Kennedy Range, wander through the gorges and spend the night camped under the stars. 4 | Carnarvon & Coral Bay Destination Guide

Alex Kydd marine photographer (@alexkyddphoto) Working on the Ningaloo Reef means that you have the possibility every day to witness something truly spectacular. There are never two days that are the same and it’s one of the reasons I love the place so much.

Kirsty and Kim

Justin Borg > heli-pilot and CEO of Coral Coast Helicopter Service (@coralcoasthelicopterservices) You don’t have to go overseas to experience world-class snorkelling – you’ll find it right here. We’ll take you to the Blowholes and you'll snorkel in a lagoon filled with hundreds of fish, experience the Insta-famous rockpools and take in a bird's eye view of Carnarvon as we head north. Our advice? Say yes to adventure.

two best friends and a Labrador called Atlas (@troopytrails) The Southern Ningaloo reef is just breathtaking. It’s hands down the best place to snorkle and to become one with nature as you enter the magical underwater playground that our marine life calls home. In and outside of the water, it just looks spectacular. You’d be crazy not to visit!

Jake Wilton > photographer and deckie (@jakewiltonphoto) I’ve seen orcas hunting humpback whales, shark feeding frenzies, manta ray mating chains and countless more things. Just when you think you have a favourite, something else happens! www.Carnarvon.org.au | 5

Lowdown The


Carnarvon is located 904kms north of Perth and 1,461km south of Broome, positioned right on the edge of Western Australia’s Coral Coast, and right in the middle of the Shark Bay and Ningaloo World Heritage areas. About 5,000 people currently call Carnarvon home and you’ll find a rich mix of heritages here, with families from all over the world drawn to this fertile spot. The traditional owners of this land are made up of several Indigenous groups including the Inggarda, Baiyumga, Thalanji, Malgana and Thudgarri people.

Coastal Highway, opposite Caltex and head into town. If you’re arriving from the north to Carnarvon along the North West Coastal Highway, just continue down Robinson Street. Before setting off on your adventure it is important to check road conditions. Rainfall in the area can close the roads. Main Roads can provide information on major roads and highways; call 138 138 for current and updated information. For local road conditions and coastal stations, it is important to contact the stations directly or the Visitor Centre on (08) 9941 1146.




Integrity Coach Lines currently operates several bus services travelling both north and south to

If you’re travelling from the south to Carnarvon along the North West Coastal Highway, turn left onto Carnarvon Road 6km before Carnarvon, an alternative access road into Carnarvon town centre. If you miss the turn off, don’t panic: just turn left at the T-junction of Robinson Street and North West


and from Carnarvon. For reservations contact the team at the Carnarvon Visitor Centre on (08) 9941 1146.

AIR Rex Airlines operates flights daily from Perth to Carnarvon and Monkey Mia (Shark Bay).

BANKS & ATMS It’s useful to know that Carnarvon is the only town in the region that has three banks with ATMs available in the town centre - BankWest, ANZ and Commonwealth. There are various ATMs available elsewhere around Carnarvon. The Post Office can assist with transactions from other banks. If you’re travelling out of Carnarvon, drop into the Visitor Centre who can help you with information about other services in the area, or call (08) 9941 1146.

USEFUL CONTACTS Police, Fire, Ambulance 000 State Emergency Service 13 25 00 or (08) 9941 2121 Shire Office (08) 9941 0000 Carnarvon Medical Centre (08) 9941 1169 Carnarvon Police Station (08) 9941 7333 Ranger 0408 942 945 Visitor Centre (08) 9941 1146


Carnarvon has an average temperature of 26˚C and the average yearly rainfall is 229mm. It’s often 10 degrees cooler than nearby Exmouth in the summer months and 10 degrees warmer than Perth in the winter months. Most people visit the town in winter to escape the cold weather further south. The Southern Ningaloo reef’s seasons include some must-see events for wildlife lovers - here’s our list of what happens throughout the year.

DID YOU KNOW. . . CARNARVON’S A PET-FRIENDLY TOWN Carnarvon has been recognised as one of the most pet-friendly towns in the north west. Six of the seven caravan parks in Carnarvon welcome your furry friends and cabins in some caravan parks allow dogs to stay inside, with a bond payable. Contact the Visitor Centre for information on petfriendly accommodation. If you are visiting National Parks in the region, Coral Coast Veterinary Clinic provides a boarding service. Pet pampering is also available. Get in touch with Coral Coast Vets on (08) 9941 1155.

It's Insta famous

Head to the cactus farm on the

Fruit Loops (where you'll find heaps of plantations) and strike a pose like @gypsylovinlight (left). This extraordinary landscape might look like it should be in the Wild West, but it's right here in Carnarvon. If you need directions, the friendly folks at the Carnarvon Visitor Centre will help out.

fast facts

CARNARVON IS A CARAVANNING HOTSPOT Thanks to Carnarvon's proximity to some of the Coral Coast's most iconic locations, it makes the perfect base for a stay. There's a wide selection of accommodation options to choose from including camping, luxury spa chalets, self-contained waterfront apartments, holiday homes and chalets as well as hotels but perhaps the most popular choice when it comes to staying

a few nights are its caravan parks. It's said that Carnarvon has the most caravan parks on the Coral Coast, so there's plenty to choose from should you roll into town with a caravan in tow. Whether you love a boutique, small park or want something with all the bells and whistles close to town or a little further afield, pay a visit to the Visitor Centre and they'll match you with your perfect vacation spot.

January Kite and wind surfing, turtle nests hatching February Turtle nests hatching, fish feeding frenzy March Coral spawning, turtle nest hatching, manta rays April Coral spawning, boat fishing, surfing, whale sharks May Surfing, boat fishing, fish feeding frenzy, whale sharks June Surfing, boat fishing, fish feeding frenzy, manta rays, humpback whales July Surfing, boat fishing, manta rays, humpback whales August Surfing, boat fishing, manta rays, humpback whales September Surfing, kite and wind surfing, boat fishing, humpback whales October Surfing, kite and wind surfing, boat fishing, humpback whales, turtle nesting November Surfing, kite and wind surfing, humpback whales, turtle nesting December Surfing, kite and wind surfing, turtle nesting All Year Snorkelling, swimming, beach fishing, 4WD

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ON May

is a real high point. WA Fashions on the Field Ladies Day sees WA’s finest strutting their stuff as fashion-forward racing fans enjoy all the fun of a glamorous day on the social calendar. There’s a free local bus service that runs from accommodation in town to take you to and from the races.

Saddle up Join 600 plus riders for this unique event - the Doorawarrah Desert Race 2019. Family and friends will join in the fun as riders tackle 300km of Gascoyne River and Dooraarrah Station tracks. One of the world’s ‘must-do’ desert races, the event has grown to become a real highpoint of the adventure and motorbiking calendar. Doorawarrah Desert Race 2019, Doorawarrah Station (80km east of Carnarvon), May 11 and 12. Visit desertmotorcycleclub.com.au

Gee up The Carnarvon Race season gallops into action from May to September every year, and the Carnarvon Cup 8 | Carnarvon & Coral Bay Destination Guide

Carnarvon Race Club, Cornish Street, Massey Bay, season begins May 11, Ladies Day (June 8) and TabTouch Carnarvon Cup (September 14). To check out the full race card for the season, visit carnarvonraceclub.com

Cast away Join keen recreational anglers for Carnar-Fin Fishing Competition, an

annual fishing competition held in the last week of May for the past 27 years. With a generous prize pool exceeding $25,000 and prizes awarded to the highest catch in each category, expect high drama and plenty of friendly competitiveness between locals and visiting fishermen and women. Even the tiddlers can get in on the action; there’s a kids fishing comp too. Carnar-Fin Fishing Competition, meet at the Tropicana Tavern, May 26, 7pm to 8pm, start fishing on May 27 at 6am until weigh-in on June 2 at 3pm. For full details visit carnarfin.org.au

Not Forgotten and enjoy the festival vibes as the sun goes down. This Life Music Festival, Carnarvon Civic Centre Car Park, June 29 from 5pm. Visit carnarvon.org.au for tickets.

July Reach for the stars The Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum is hosting a

cocktail party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The event, hosted by television and radio personality Greg Pearce, will include ex-trackers interviewed on stage, entertainment with a local band playing music from the 1960s, Perth Observatory-hosted stargazing and some tasty canapés Tickets include one free beer or glass of wine and a 50th anniversary memento. Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum, July 20, from 7pm. Adults $50, children $35. Call 08 9941 1146 for tickets or email frontdesk@carnarvonmuseum.org.au



Rock on

Taste the region

This Life Music Festival will bring six stars of country, rock and pop who will perform over six hours, right in the heart of Carnarvon. Get ready for some epic live music sets from a collection of true blue stars. Catch Rai Thistlethwayte, Adam Harvey, Billy Joel Tribute (with Anthony Mara), Proud Mary Creedence Clearwater Revival Tribute Band and Bon But

Keen to sample as much of the region’s amazing produce while you're here? Why not time your visit to coincide with the Gascoyne Food Festival, a three-day event celebrating everything from fresh seafood to juicy mangoes. Rub shoulders with Perth’s finest chefs as they showcase the Gascoyne’s produce during the highly anticipated Long Table Lunch. Local restaurants and cafes get in on the act too, all celebrating what’s best about the region’s food producers and farmers. Gascoyne Food Festival, August 9 to 11, various locations. Visit gascoynefood.com.au

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Whether you want to experience natural wonders, extraordinary local history, adventure or a chance to bliss out, Carnarvon has it all.


Catch it all in

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Making a statement Art is an important part of Carnarvon’s DNA - there are talented artists and creators working in and around the town, with exhibitions occurring throughout the year. Make sure you take in Carnarvon’s main street’s public art; stunning pieces have been produced by local artists Sabrina Dowling Giudici, Anton Blume and Bonni Ingram. If you’re keen to learn more, join a guided tour and learn about the significance of Carnarvon’s public art pieces. The Visitor Centre will give you all the details. Reflecting the importance of Carnarvon’s Aboriginal heritage – and also acting as a visual interpretation of ensuring visitors feel right at home – a campfire artwork welcomes all to Carnarvon. Called Garla, it’s constructed with five fire sticks, and recognises the four neighbouring Countries in addition to the Yinngarrda Country of Carnarvon: Malgana, Payungu, Thalanji, Thudgarri. You’ll be sure to see Carnarvon’s murals around town too; the 26m mural along Robinson Street tells the town’s history in a vivid way. There’s a guide to the murals available at the Visitor Centre. Carnarvon’s Art Gallery in the library has big plans to ignite the town through a series of exhibitions throughout the year. Displaying the work of local and visiting artists, it’s a great spot to learn a little more about the kind of art that’s being created in the region these days.

Past and present There are several striking historic buildings and edifices in Carnarvon (not least, the One Mile Jetty and Heritage Precinct buildings) but in town, the original Jubilee Hall is a reminder of yesteryear. Originally housing the library before it moved to its new venue, the hall was dedicated as a memorial to Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebrations in 1887. Still going strong, you’ll find a range of classes and workshops available, such as pottery, cross stitching and patchwork, depending on the time of year. Got a train buff in the family? Then head to the Railway Station museum. It’s the home of the Kimberley Steam Train, the last steam train to operate in the north west. The Heritage Precinct is a mustsee part of any visit to Carnarvon. Several significant historical buildings and edifices are there, including the One Mile Jetty of course. Celebrating Carnarvon’s rich pastoral heritage, WA’s first Shearing Hall of Fame is the place to discover more about this hard-yakka profession. Read

“If it’s for Carnarvon, I’ll do it . . .” ‘Big’ John McCloy, volunteer at Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum and tourist walking guide.

about gun shearers and big sheds, and learn about the golden days of the Gascoyne shearing industry in the 1950s. You can also visit the Light House Keeper’s Cottage, a simple residence built around 1900, used until the 1970s and now restored to showcase memorabilia from bygone days. The new jewel in the crown of the Heritage Precinct however is the One Mile Jetty Interpretive Centre. Read more about this on page 16. The Pioneer Cemetery is a microcosm of Carnarvon in many ways, with its multicultural collection of names reflecting what would become the town’s philosophy: One People, One Future. It finally closed in 1980 but is a fascinating insight into Carnarvon’s early years and those who called it home. And of course, no visit to Carnarvon would be complete without a few hours spent at the

“the One Mile Jetty was an absolute lifeline for the area because roads were so bad; it’s extraordinary now to think that motor transport wasn’t the first choice, but transport by sea to Carnarvon was.” Lorraine Fitzpatrick, curator of One Mile Jetty Visitor Centre.

STAY A WHILE Make time to explore Carnarvon - and enjoy a feed while you're in town. Head to the Heritage Precinct where you can follow the tracks of the Old Tramway Walk Trail.

fascinating Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum. Read more about this award-winning destination on page 20.

Tuck in You’ll find a range of different places to fill up while you’re in Carnarvon, from tasty breakfast treats at The Port Hotel (think egg and bacon tartlets and a creamy latte to go) to imaginative menu options like Chinese style char siu pork or a tasty vegan coconut broth at Sails Restaurant (Best Western Hospitality Inn). Fish and chips on the Fascine at sunset is pretty much obligatory (head to the Harbourside Cafe), while Sunsets Cafe at the One Mile Jetty offers breakfast, lunch and dinner make sure you leave room for a scoop or two of the Gelatino award-winning gelato. The Carnarvon cone is bananaflavoured and scooped a medal at Perth’s Royal Show. Don't miss too cooking dinner on hot rocks at the Carnarvon Motel. If you're after a delicious pie or artisan bread, head to the Kingsford or Gascoyne Bakeries, and for a slap-up pub grub feed, the Gascoyne Hotel's your best bet.

Naturally awesome Take a walk on the wild side and follow the Old Tramway Walk Trail. Trains used to trundle from the One Mile Jetty to deliver goods in town (where the Civic Centre Woolshed stands today). It’s an easy 2.5km walk and is a good way for you to get to know the town. Otherwise, follow the Nature Based Walk Trail - it’s only 400m and goes from the Precinct to the Gascoyne River Mouth. Take a walk out on the eco-friendly Mangrove Boardwalk. It was made by students who used recycled plastic materials and is a work-in-progress. Even though you can’t currently walk on One Mile Jetty, it’s still a picturesque spot if you sit on the nearby beach, especially at sunset or sunrise. www.Carnarvon.org.au | 11


Time to


The beaches around Carnarvon offer the chance for all ages to enjoy safe swimming and snorkeling and in many cases you’ll have the sand all to yourself.


f you’ve got time to spare in Carnarvon itself, head to the Fascine Town Beach. It’s a safe beach for kids especially; you can also swim to the pontoon in the Fascine and you can fish anywhere along the elegant crescent (top tip: a good spot is on the footbridge). If kite surfing is your jam, head to the end of Pelican Point Road which is a popular spot for locals.

south of Carnarvon along a partly unsealed road and is a great fishing spot. Camping is permitted.

Day trippin’

Blue lagoon Miaboolya Beach, just 22km north of Carnarvon, is the place the locals head for crabbing, swimming and fishing. Miaboolya’s main creek is cut off from the ocean by a sand bar for months at a time, creating a coastal lagoon. If you’ve packed your rod, then you’ll be glad to hear that this beach is known as a nursery for tailor. You’re also likely to get lucky with catches of mangrove jack, western yellowfin bream, mulloway, dart and goldenline – as well as crustaceans such as shrimps and crabs. Miaboolya Beach is the only beach in the Coral Coast Region where clothes are optional (yup, it’s OK to go nudie). Also: New Beach/Bush Bay, 35km

The landscape is so raw and bold which make it an amazing place to admire and shoot.” Ben and Matt, Two Goat Media (photographers and videographers specialising in kitesurfing and windsurfing)

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Keen to practice your snorkelling skills and see as many colourful fish as possible? There are few better places than the well-named Aquarium at Point Quobba. Head 75km north of Carnarvon and 1km south of the Blowholes, and you’ll discover a calm coral-filled lagoon with fish and shells in abundance. Its white sandy beach is perfection, and it’s ideal for snorkelling, safe swimming and sun baking. Plan ahead and make like the locals - pack a picnic and watch the world go by. Ah, magical Rocky Pool. Drive along Carnarvon Mullewa Road and turn to the left (north) along a 4km unsealed road. You'll find a beautiful picnic spot with a fresh water pool in one of the few places along the Gascoyne River which holds water long after the river ceases to flow. Surrounded by gum trees, you’ll spot roos and native birdlife in abundance. No facilities are available, and camping is not permitted.

Some 75km north of Carnarvon, along a sealed road, you’ll find one of the region’s major drawcards: The Blowholes. Pack a picnic and bring snorkelling gear and get ready for an awe-inspiring sight. Powerful ocean swells force water through sea caves and up out of narrow holes in the

rocks, expelling jets of water into the air, sometimes to a height of 20 metres, creating a spectacular sight. A word of warning: make sure you check the surging tide, wind and swell, which gives that large blow. Although the coast is serene it can be deadly, with a dangerous swell that can turn into king waves, capable of crashing over the top of the rock ledge. This coastline needs to be treated with

caution and care - lives have been lost by unsuspecting souls here. For an extra special way to experience The Blowholes and other more remote spots, there’s only one way to travel; by helicopter of course. Coral Coast Helicopter Services are always up for a breath-taking flight, whether it’s over the One Mile Jetty or a day trip to an otherwise inaccessible fishing spot. Justin Borg, heli-pilot and CEO of the company, has been flying for over ten years and has clocked up numerous hours in the skies above WA and Queensland. “I spent eight years mustering in WA and over east and decided to diversify,” says Justin. “We offer everything from five-minute joyrides to half or full-day trips where we can hunt, catch and cook fish on a beach you wouldn’t be able to reach any other way.” Depending on the weather, your pilot will advise the best place to explore and judging by their Insta feed, full of happy passengers holding huge crays ready for the BBQ, you’re pretty much guaranteed a once-in-alifetime experience thanks to Justin and his team of local experts. There are three departure points: the airport, the Heritage Precinct jetty and Space Museum. You can even fly with no doors on the helicopter for an extra jag of adrenaline. Flights are available daily, though pre-bookings

are recommended. For bookings contact the Visitor Centre.

Gone fishing Some epic catches are possible along this stretch of coastline. Head to Teggs Channel, a purpose-built fishing spot for anglers (access via Massey Bay Road). The Prawning Jetty was built in the 1950s for whale chasers when the Nor-West Whaling station was open. The end section spans over a deep channel and - a word to the wise - it’s here that you might net a big one. Mulloway and big tailor are caught all year round, while pink snapper congregate on the second day of windy weather, bream in winter, blue Manna crabs from May to August and mackerel and tuna mid-summer.

Feathered friends Carnarvon is a hot spot for twitchers (bird watchers to you and me). Bring some binoculars and get ready to spot whistling kites, wedge-tailed eagles, little eagles and brown falcons. Flocks of colourful (and noisy) cockatiels, budgerigars and galahs are also likely to make an appearance. Honeyeaters wander over the region in search of flowering shrubs. Try Chinaman’s Pool, Miabooyla Beach and New Beach Bush Bay and pop into the Visitor Centre for a bird watching guide.

Spearfishing is one of our favourite tours that we offer. You’ll catch cod, coral trout, trevelly and Spanish mackerel after we fly to a location where the reef is close by. We can even fillet the fish on the beach for lunch if required.” Justin Borg, chief heli-pilot and

Ceo, Coral Coast Helicopter Services. www.Carnarvon.org.au | 13

Celebrating an icon


It could rightly be said that the One Mile Jetty put Carnarvon on the map. Despite being in need of some TLC, this important part of the region’s historic infrastructure has been an intrinsic part of Carnarvon’s story since the 1890s.


icture the scene. It’s 1899 and Carnarvon’s jetty is loaded with wool and livestock, sandalwood and pearl shell, waiting to be transported to Fremantle and the world beyond. What’s unusual about this relatively common-place scene is that, at the time, Carnarvon’s jetty was unique. Thanks to its long service, it enabled Carnarvon to gain the title of having the longest jetty in the north-west of Western Australia and was the first port in WA to export livestock on a commercial basis. It was extended twice and in 1900 a tramway connecting the jetty to the town was built, allowing the transport of people and goods. In a dark chapter of its history, it was the departure point between 1908 and 1919 for Aboriginal people who were exiled to the Lock Hospital islands offshore - Dorre and Bernier islands. A new memorial has been erected close to One Mile Jetty, honouring their memories. More happily, the jetty has been a popular place for locals to fish from, swim around and use as a diving platform.  Until the 1950s, the jetty remained the safest and fastest means of transport for people, goods, supplies

and produce to arrive or depart from Carnarvon - an extraordinary fact and testament to the importance of this simple structure. The jetty is currently deemed unsafe and is closed to visitors. However, to reflect the jetty’s iconic status, a new interpretive centre has opened, housing an exhibition created by Scott Watson and curated by Lorraine Fitzpatrick. It’s a fascinating way to explore the heritage-packed region and learn a little more about what has contributed to Carnarvon’s rich past.  “The locals have a great deal of love for the One Mile Jetty,” says Lorraine. “There are lots of archival photographs of locals fishing off it and enjoying spending time on it. It was an absolute lifeline for the area because roads were so bad; it’s extraordinary now to think that motor transport wasn’t the first choice, but transport by sea to Carnarvon was.” Scott takes up the story. “The Carnarvon Heritage Group had worked tirelessly to get something underway which would showcase the historical importance of the region,” he says.

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The locals have a great deal of love for the one mile jetty - it was an absolute lifeline for the area because roads were so bad . . . Lorraine fitzpatricK, curator of the One Mile Jetty visitor centre.

They were keen to ensure a number of stories were told: about whaling, Indigenous culture, and putting the German HSK Kormoran’s lifeboat on display in this new context as well as the pastoral angle.   “With such diverse themes, we searched for a common thread to draw them all together - and everything came back to the relevance of the jetty.” The exhibition came to life with original artwork commissioned from a local Aboriginal artist as well as objects and photographs supplied by locals and private collectors. “We wanted visitors to experience the centre by separating the stories into visually different spaces, and because the lifeboat is such a large component, we wanted to hide it from immediate view when you enter the space.  “Using old timbers, the boat is hidden until you turn a corner and enter that space dedicated to the story of the sea battle between HMAS Sydney II and the HSK Kormoran,” says Lorraine. Unusually, the story is told from the point of view of the captain of the Kormoran and its survivors and it is a stunning highpoint of the exhibition. The moving portrayal of one of the most notorious moments in Australian naval history reveals a fascinating insight into what happened to the German sailors who landed at the beaches of Quobba and Red Bluff.  There’s a large projection wall showing old pictures of the jetty, kindly donated by the Kerry Stokes Foundation, painting an engaging impression of the jetty as the beating heart of the town over the years.  “We chose objects that tell a story and in many cases have been donated by those with a direct connection to Carnarvon,” says Lorraine. There’s a whaling map, for instance, which was given to the exhibition by a Perth man whose father had worked at the whaling station in Carnarvon. There is a crowdfunding effort currently in place to raise enough money to start work on the jetty’s restoration, to bring back this fascinating edifice’s days of glory once more.

HMAS Sydney II and the HSK Kormoran


y the first few months of 1941, the crew of HMAS Sydney II had already served their country well, winning battle honours for bravery in Mediterranean engagements. The grey cruiser had arrived in Sydney to a heroes’ welcome and now, as they sailed off the coast of Shark Bay, perhaps the crew of 645 men could have rightly expected a respite from the heat of battle. Fate had other plans however. Just before 4pm on November 19, the cruiser spotted what looked like a merchant ship off the Gascoyne coast. The mystery boat did not identify itself despite requests from the Australian battleship’s captain. Something wasn’t right; ostensibly this merchant ship was a Dutch ship but it was actually a German auxiliary cruiser, the HSK Kormoran. Sailing under disguise, its mission was to lay mines in the shipping lane and disrupt merchant ships. The ensuing battle was brutal and catastrophic for HMAS Sydney II. Just two hours after the HSK Kormoran had been spotted, the Sydney was fatally damaged by sustained firing from Kormoran’s torpedoes and guns and, despite the fact the Australian cruiser far-outflanked the German boat in terms of fire power, HMAS Sydney II sank, taking all 645 hands later that same night. In the battle the Kormoran was also damaged and Captain Theodore Anton Detmers gave the order to abandon the ship and put to sea in five boats and two rafts. Of the original crew of 380 men, 318 survived. The first of the Kormoran survivors to be rescued were a group of 25, picked up by the British tanker SS Trocas on 24 November. More rescues followed, including one lifeboat containing 62 men and Captain Detmers. Many Kormoran crewmen were held in the Carnarvon Gaol for just two days before walking the One Mile Jetty to join the others aboard the MV Centaur for the journey to Fremantle and, after interrogation, were dispatched to prisoner-of-war camps in WA and Victoria.  The location of the remains of both ships were finally found in 2008. A Walk of Remembrance around Carnarvon’s Fascine was created in memoriam of those who were lost and the names of the Australian crew are etched on a wall, looking seawards near a memorial to HMAS Sydney II and the HSK Kormoran, pointing to the exact latitude and longitude of the wreck. www.Carnarvon.org.au | 15


Painting the town

Carnarvon and the region beyond have provided rich inspiration for generations of artists. Susan Helmot shares how her creativity was sparked for an exhibition in conjunction with the Gascoyne Food Council.


fter moving to Carnarvon over ten years ago, artist Susan Helmot found the vast, remote Gascoyne landscape immediately invigorated her work. “I had an urge to interpret my new surroundings and express my love of colour with an unbridled freedom,” she says. “It was the catalyst for transforming from a ceramic artist into a painter.” Such a metamorphosis has garnered Susan rich rewards. In 2018 she partnered with the Gascoyne Food Council as their first artist-in-

residence, a role which culminated in her first solo exhibition later that year. “I’m now busily working towards my second solo exhibition to open the 2019 Gascoyne Food Festival in August,” she says, drawing on the beautiful soft and natural palette of the Gascoyne region, its infinite horizon and expansive sky. Such is the unique nature of the environment however - taking in so many pastoral and farming businesses - she’s also keen to include the cultivated landscape, a key feature of Carnarvon’s rich history and current place as Western Australia’s premier fruit and vegetable-producing region. “When you look at the landscape in Carnarvon, it’s hard to conceive that it has the capacity to grow fruit and vegetables,” says Sue. “I see it as being unique as the environment appears to be in contrast with the perceived requirements of fruit and vegetable production.” The dry delta, the arid conditions

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Welcome to Country


f you visit the new One Mile Jetty exhibition, you’ll be struck by artwork near the entrance. Produced by local Indigenous artist Antoinette Roe, it forms an important part of the visitor experience. The One Mile Jetty has such a significance to Carnarvon and its

residence, both past and present, that it was essential to include some perspective from the local traditional owners - the Yinggarda people - in the creation of the new exhibition in the Carnarvon Heritage Precinct. On entry to the exhibition, you’ll see an artwork with colourful

representations of the Yinggarda people’s important places around Carnarvon. It's a stunning work and provides fascinating insight into a 30,000-year old story by Carnarvon’s traditional owners. Antoinette explains the meaning of her artwork: “The large white circles represent the five language groups in the Gascoyne region. The Gascoyne River connects the groups. It flows from the Emu down to the Turtle, which is from the outback to the ocean. “The circle next to the Emu is women sitting and the one next to the turtle is men sitting. In the centre are the Burrowing Bees and the footprints are my Ancestors walking through country.” You’ll find interesting facts about Carnarvon in the smaller, colourful circles around this impressive artwork - spend some time to discover more about this fascinating region. To find out more about Antoinette’s art, visit antzbaarndiart.webs.com or call into the Carnarvon Visitor Centre.

THE GASCOYNE HAS A WILD ENERGY THAT’S DIFFICULT TO DESCRIBE IN WORDS BUT READILY EXPRESSED THROUGH MY ART.” and baking sun bely the region’s secret super power: it’s a frontier of food that demonstrates perseverance, initiative and innovation in order to succeed against the odds. The people who make this seasonal miracle occur - the farmers and plantation owners - figure large in Susan’s new exhibition. “As I spent more time meeting these people and capturing inspiration during field trips to plantations, pastoral stations and fishing harbours across the region, I realised that there was an important story that could be shared through my art. “My exhibition - Frontier of Food explores the contrasting landscapes of the Gascoyne and the people who interact with it to produce outstanding food in a unique and

isolated environment.” The landscape itself - raw and beautiful - plays an equally large part in Susan’s work. “In my paintings I like to emphasise beauty in what others could easily overlook or not consciously notice until it is captured through my work,” says Susan. “I hope that this exhibition evokes pleasure through experiencing a different perspective that has a level of familiarity. “The Gascoyne has a wild energy that’s difficult to describe in words but readily expressed through my art.” Frontier of Food opens in August 2019 as part of the Gascoyne Food Festival. The exhibition will be held at the Carnarvon Regional Gallery/ Library. For the latest news about Susan’s work and the exhibition join the mailing list on her website at suehelmot.com.au www.Carnarvon.org.au | 17


The Final Frontier Built in the shadow of the OTC satellite dish, the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum is marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing this year


t may seem unlikely, but Carnarvon will always play an important part in the story of the USA’s manned race to the moon. It was also a key part of the reason we all take watching live broadcasts from around the world for granted. It’s a double whammy of scientific excellence and is the reason why, seven years ago, Phil Youd decided to create a museum to commemorate these achievements. “In 2011, I bought the local radio station and looked at the hill nearby and saw the satellite dish,” says Phil. “I did some research, dug around a bit and found the tracking station there too.” His interest piqued, Phil founded

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the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum mostly, he says, ‘because it’s a good story for the town’. A passionate supporter of all things Carnarvon, until he began his passion project, he had no idea of Carnarvon’s connection to NASA’s space program. “I just thought it would be a good tourism draw card for the town.” Little did he know that by the time the museum was ready to welcome visitors, one of the world’s most famous astronauts and member of the Apollo 11 crew - Buzz Aldrin - would be shaking his hand on opening day. Through fundraising, hard-working volunteers, a ‘good deal’ with the

Meet the volunteers d ‘Big John’ McCloy e

The museum wouldn’t be able to function without a dedicated band of volunteers who generously give their time to man the museum and offer insight into the exhibits. ‘Big John’ McCloy is an experienced tour guide who, in a previous life, was a teacher with the School of the Air. When asked by Phil Youd if he might be interested in volunteering for his new space museum, John didn’t hesitate. “If it’s for Carnarvon, I’ll do it,” says John, who’s been working at the museum since it opened in 2012. “I generally deal with visitors as they come in and although I wasn’t necessarily to begin with, I am now a space fan.”

ONE GIANT LEAP Buzz Aldrin opened the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum in 2013 which continues to evolve as its founder Phil Youd (above) adds to the collection of space memorabilia .

John, who is known as ‘the voice of Carnarvon’ thanks to his busy MC-ing diary of events, ended up being handed the mic to welcome Buzz Aldrin on the museum’s opening day.

KICKER voluptius vellori scimillate veliquam et volescide cumquas illent el imolorpos et apercid untinct orporest arcidest adi debis aut vellest ionseratem fugit explabo rerunt reri abo.

owner of the small building which would house the museum originally, Phil’s indomitable spirit and vision, the Space and Technology museum was set to open just a year after his initial idea in 2012. “I thought we probably needed a kickstarter to get it going, a big name, so I asked Buzz Aldrin if he’d like to come to the opening. He said yes,” says Phil, still perhaps slightly amazed at this turn of events. The tracking station still housed some original machinery and, over the years, Phil has acquired more from various other donors and museums. “I’m always on the look out, actively collecting new exhibits for

“I got on quite well with him, and he even agreed to have a photo with me. I met Gerry Griffin too in 2018, such an interesting man. I’m not surprised that the museum is rated among the best of its kind in the world.”

the museum.” Nowadays, the museum is a mustvisit part of many tourists’ itinerary while in Carnarvon. “People are still surprised when they find out that Western Australia was involved - let alone Carnarvon in the space story,” says Phil. Each phase of the museum’s expansion has been marked in an extraordinary way. “Phase One was opened by Buzz Aldrin, and then for Phase Two, Australian-born astronaut Andy Thomas cut the ribbon in 2014. Phase Three was honoured by the presence of Gene Cernan in 2016, the last man on the moon,” says Phil. Last year, a new display as built to www.Carnarvon.org.au | 19


honour the first American in space, Alan Shepard, with a full-size 25m tall replica of a Mercury Redstone rocket. “Former NASA flight director Gerry Griffin came along for that event, dedicating the rocket to the USA’s first manned mission in space.” Phil has more plans to expand the museum further, and is a particular fan of the Phase Three section of the museum, a hands-on, Scitechstyle space where kids (and big kids) can learn about space in a fun and interactive way. “We’re building two new exhibits in time for the event in July,” he says. “One will be like a big photo booth which will make people seem like they’re standing on the surface of the moon.”

The Day the World Held Its Breath July 21 1969


erhaps its biggest claim to fame rests on one momentous day in the history of humankind; the day of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The Casshorn antenna (known as the Sugar Scoop), which stands beside the OTC Dish, relayed Neil Armstrong’s unforgettable first steps on the moon from NASA’s Honey Suckle Creek Tracking Station to Perth’s TV audience via the Moree earth station. It was Western Australia’s first live broadcast on TV and, like for millions of other viewers around the world, formed an indelible memory on all those who witnessed this momentous human achievement. We take live TV for granted these days, but 50 years ago, it was a modern marvel. To celebrate the anniversary, Phil and his team are holding a cocktail party in a marquee close to the museum and in front of the dish.  “We’re getting together all the tracking system people who can make it to Carnarvon,” says Phil. “They’ll share their first-hand memories of what it was like to operate the machinery which communicated directly with astronauts on a variety of missions. “It will be a celebration of the first time the whole world was one, holding its collective breath as Neil Armstrong took those small steps on another world.” For tickets, contact the museum or the Visitors Centre in Carnarvon.

Did you know: The Carnarvon Tracking Station was built in 1964 to support NASA’s Gemini, Apollo and Skylab programs. For 11 years, it was the last station to communicate with astronauts before leaving the earth’s orbit, and the last voice they’d hear as they headed for splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. Fast fact: Make sure you say hello to the Museum's permanent resident, Buzz the cat. You'll usually find him lounging around near the entrance; he's been part of the furniture for the past three years. What: Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum Where: Mahony Avenue, Carnarvon Opening hours: April to September, 9am to 4pm, October to March, 10am to 2pm Visit carnarvonmuseum.org.au

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Food bowl of WA Think of Carnarvon as WA’s gourmet hamper, packed with every kind of delicious fresh produce from seafood to luscious fruit and vitaminpacked veggies.

f you’ve eaten at many of WA’s restaurants, particularly in Perth’s newly burgeoning foodie scene, the chances are you’ll have been served food from Carnarvon and its surrounds. Whether it’s sweet Carnarvon melon, Shark Bay seafood or Sweeter Bananas in your smoothie, it’s fair to say that the farmers and plantation owners in the region have helped put food on the plate of millions of people over the years. If you’re in Carnarvon from May to October, head to the town centre as, every Saturday, it comes alive with the Gascoyne Growers’ Markets.

The market is a run by the growers themselves, who often pick their produce the night before the market (sometimes even that very morning) to ensure you take home the freshest, tastiest produce in WA. You’ll find locally made preserves and jams (try Nella’s Preserves - her bean relish and mango sauce are legendary, while Jacquie’s Gascoyne Tropical Fruit preserves and fruit leather showcase the family farm’s fruit perfectly). A visit to the markets makes it very clear why the Gascoyne has the well earned reputation of being the

www.Carnarvon.org.au | 21


“We’re pastoralists and I value-add our goat and lamb. The goat curry became my signature dish. I started going to the markets selling meal packs, and then pies - that’s gone pretty crazy.” Chris Higham, farmer and goat curry aficionado, Meedo Station.

‘salad bowl of WA’, with a surprisingly diverse range of fruit and vegetables, lush tropical fruits, eggs and seafood on offer. Fill your basket then grab a coffee and some breakfast, listen to the buskers, or browse through the adjacent arts and craft market. The Gascoyne Growers Markets are proudly plastic bag free, so please remember to BYO bag.

Waste not, want not After seeing up to 60 per cent of all fresh grown produce go to waste in Carnarvon’s horticultural district, local plantation owner Jo Bumbak decided to take action. Working with local growers, Jo rescued fruit and vegetables deemed too unappealing for sale in supermarkets - using produce which would have otherwise been dumped and left to rot. In 2017, Bumbak’s Preserves and Ice Creams bought 36 tonnes of fresh mango, banana, tomato, chilli and capsicum and turned them into award-winning products for sale.

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Recognising growing consumer concern about where food comes from, Jo has adapted her family’s range of products and in the process won over 100 awards at the Perth Royal Agricultural Show while providing support for Carnarvon farmers. “Our family has been in farming for 60 years and would love to remain viable long into the future,” says Jo. “Through our business we are aiming to reduce waste, improve financial outcomes for industry and create delicious products that contain nothing artificial and no preservatives for visitors to enjoy all year round,” she said. Jo’s contribution goes far beyond delicious food, including positively promoting Carnarvon and its horticultural industry by using the store as an educational tool for locals and tourists to the region. “It's my passion to ensure Carnarvon is a successful and thriving town where visitors experience all

“It is my passion to ensure Carnarvon is a successful and thriving town where visitors experience all the unique and amazing things that make it a paradise place.” Jo Bumbak, local grower and owner of Bumbak’s Preserves and Ice Creams.

.../ continued p26

That’s bananas! Carnarvon was the first place in Australia where bananas were grown. These days Carnarvon is recognised as the place where the tastiest and sweetest bananas are grown. Sweeter Banana is the brand developed so that consumers can identify and purchase their bananas of choice. It was joined by the Original Lunchbox Banana brand to help differentiate Carnarvon’s bananas from Tropical North Queensland Bananas.

What makes them so sweet? The unique climate and growing conditions is the secret formula to producing the Sweeter Banana. They grow very close together because of the arid desert climate. This also protects the bananas from the summer heat and sea breeze. That same desert climate also protects the precious crop from lots of nasty bugs and pests that plague bananas everywhere else they are grown. This means that Sweeter Bananas don’t need to be treated for pesticides, making them chemical-free. www.Carnarvon.org.au | 23


What’s good to eat right now? Summer Mango, table grapes, tomato, watermelon, pumpkin, jackfruit, rockmelon, honeydew melon, capsicum, sweet corn, passionfruit

Autumn Custard apple, honeydew melon, mango, rockmelon, watermelon, passionfruit, beans, capsicum, eggplant, grapefruit, kale, paprika, tomato, zucchini, sweetcorn, okra, orange honeydew.

Winter Beans, capsicum, custard apple, eggplant, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, paprika, tomato, zucchini, sweetcorn, okra, orange, nectarine, peach, plum.

the One Mile Jetty in the early 20th century and these days pastoralists like Chris and Tim Higham who farm at Meedo Station, have taken farming in new directions to keep up with an increasingly diverse demand from end-users. On their vast property, business has evolved from keeping lambs and goats to value-adding and creating pies, curries and more. “I value-added our heritage goat and lamb. It started off with the campground next door wanting me to supply camp oven meals. The goat curry became my signature dish. I started going to the markets selling meal packs, and then pies - that’s gone pretty crazy,” said Chris. Further innovations followed leading to Homestead Hampers, a way for Chris to showcase the region’s fabulous produce. You’ll find the hampers and her delicious pies at Gascoyne Growers Markets.

Do the Loop During the months of May to October

take a drive the so-called Fruit Loop which line the banks of the Gascoyne River. Honesty stalls on the side of the road have a wide range of produce available to purchase. Bring cash (there’s no EFTPOS) and plenty of coins. Products can be secondgrade produce but this doesn’t make a difference to its taste.

Spring Beans, capsicum, custard apple, eggplant, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, paprika, tomato, zucchini, sweetcorn, okra, orange, nectarine, peach, plum, watermelon, rockmelon, honeydew, mango. .../ from p25

the unique and amazing things that make it a paradise place,” said Jo. Bumbak’s created over 140 preserves, 12 ice cream varieties and six fruit leathers in 2018, using over 100 varieties of local produce, with more exciting innovations to come through products, processing and packaging in the future. Bumbak’s is a must-do in Carnarvon for any visitors.

Goats a go-go It’s not just fruit and vegetables that thrive in the Carnarvon region. For many years, livestock has been raised and exported all over the state too. Cattle used to be driven down

Did you know . . . you’re in chocolate heaven? Many plantation shops have a clever way of using second-grade produce and what better way to disguise the less aesthetically beautiful fruit than slathering it in chocolate? So think chocolate-covered mangoes, strawberries and bananas. If you’re keen to go off piste in the flavour department, don’t miss Morel’s Black Sapote ice-cream - it’s a natural chocolate pudding-flavoured fruit topped with milk or white chocolate. Morel’s is open from late April to October.

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Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

Travelling to

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

Department of Primary Industries Regional Developm


No entry please

Please don’t Travelling bringtofruit Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

It’s a simple message but one that’s vital to ensure Carnarvon’s continuing role as the state’s food bowl: you are welcome in Carnarvon, but please don’t bring your fruit and vegetables. The Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) may be a tiny critter but its impact could be potentially catastrophic for Carnarvon’s growers and farmers who are responsible for over $100 million-worth of fruit and vegetable production each year. So if you’re coming to Carnarvon from anywhere else in WA and are considering bringing fruit or veg with you, there’s a simple message: don’t. “Medfly is present in all parts of Western Australia except for the Ord River Irrigation Area near Kununurra,” says a spokesperson from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD). “That means fruit bought in other parts of the state may be secretly harbouring Medfly. Fruit flies lay eggs in fruit and often fruit that looks perfect on the outside can contain eggs or larvae on the inside.” Fruit flies can’t fly vast distances but it is an expert hitchhiker, especially if it’s hitched a ride in somebody’s backpack or pocket. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is currently delivering a Mediterranean fruit fly

Carnarvon? Please don’t bring fruit

(Medfly) eradication pilot project in Carnarvon. The project aims to eradicate Medfly and protect the growing Carnarvon horticultural area, which is responsible for supplying much of the state with its fruit and veg. “The project combines the use of Sterile Insect Technique, area-wide foliar baiting, crop hygiene and facilitated community engagement, but just as important to the project are visitors to the region being aware of the risks of bringing fruit and vegetables with them.” So how can you do your bit to prevent this destructive fly devastating an entire local industry? “Either eat it or dispose of your fruit before you arrive in Carnarvon, or better yet, buy as you go, which has the added advantage of supporting local businesses. Try the fruit fresh off the tree from roadside stalls, or local supermarkets.” There are special blue bins at all of Carnarvon’s seven caravan sites where you can throw away fruit and veg too. To find out more visit agric.wa.gov.au/ medfly/medfly-travelling-carnarvon

Fruit Tfly is a major Fruithorticultural fly is a major pest that we pest that we horticultural are trying to eradicate are trying to eradicate from from Carnarvon. Carnarvon.

You are welcome, but You are welcome, please please don’t bring yourbut fruit ! don’t bring your fruit!

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nin ga loo re ef

ningaloo reef


em cle oud

sout her n

southern ningaloo reef



ravel north towards Coral Bay and Exmouth and you’ll find the road to the Blowholes and Quobba. North of the King Waves Kill sign at the Blowholes you can travel on an unsealed road towards the start of the World Heritage Ningaloo Marine Park. Reach Gnaraloo and that’s as far as you can go in this pristine wilderness. The rugged cliffs along the way make it an exciting adventure to experiencing some of the best surfing, fishing, swimming, snorkelling and camping spots.

Carnarvon is known as the gateway to the Southern Ningaloo Reef, giving those seeking perfect snorkelling, diving, fishing and surfing conditions cause to pack up immediately and visit.

Adventure time 26 | Carnarvon & Coral Bay Destination Guide

dugong hot spot Gladstone Beach is the place to go if you want to see dugongs in their natural habitat. You'll find them near the Old Jetty ruins and in the sea grass around Carnarvon. There are camping facilities including flush toilets, potable drinking water, beach boat launch and camp fires. Owners Fran and Richard will welcome you with true blue hospitality.

Game show Whistling Rock is one of Quobba’s most reliable spots on the coastline

for landing Spanish mackerel, tuna and sail fish during winter. It’s 8km north of the Quobba Homestead and is a great place to catch something tasty for lunch or dinner. Beach fishing is available from several beaches along the coastline too. You can catch mulloway, tailor, dart, trevally, snapper and squid. We recommend checking in with the Quobba Homestead before fishing off beaches to ensure you are not within sanctuary zones.

All aboard If you’re a boatie, head off the coast of Gnaraloo and once you’re outside the sanctuary zones get ready to catch spangles, rock cod, coronation trout, rankin, pearl perch, yellow-fin tuna and pink snapper. You don’t need a motorboat to get out for a good catch; a kayak will do just as well. There is a safe area for beach launching at Gnaraloo Bay. Check the tides before you go and be

NEED FOR SPEED World class windsurfing conditions make the Southern Ningaloo Reef the perfect place to catch some waves. Above, the crystal clear waters make for some stunning Insta moments with marine wildlife like turtles, above left, or tranquil paddleboarding opportunities.

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southern ningaloo reef

We have travelled the whole country and in our opionon nothing beats the WA coast. Our advice? A snorkel is a must! Kim, Kirsty and Atlas


local distances from carnarvon:

75km 85km 135km 145km 145km

Blowholes Quobba Station Red Bluff Gnaraloo Gladstone Beach (south)

especially cautious on the beach at low tide.

Surf’s (always) up Where the red dirt meets the rugged coastline, you’ll find Red Bluff. Hugging the tip of the Southern Ningaloo Reef, this is a world-renowned surfing spot for good reasons (this is the spot Chris Hemsworth, Matt Damon and their families escaped to in the summer). Expect waves ranging from 1ft to 8ft and monster left hand reef breaks. Tombstones is THE wave of Gnaraloo. It’s a left hand, full-on barrel from start to finish, depending on the tide and swell. Ideal conditions are at mid to high tide when the winds blow south/southeast. It can break for up to 300-500m. Be aware that at low tide, the reef is exposed; the Tombies are famous for dredging and ugly steps in the last wave. If you’re looking for a more chilled out wave, Gnaraloo Bay is your best spot. Though it’s mellow, it’s still not a break for beginners - this solid left 28 | Carnarvon & Coral Bay Destination Guide

Fast fact: The major surf spots to check out are: Tombstones, Centres, Midgies, Turtles, Fenceline and Gnaraloo Bay. There are countless other spots to be discovered - just talk to the locals at 3 Mile about where to find them.

High as a kite Ben and Mathias from Two Goat Media specialise in shooting windsurfers, kitesurfers and surfers who visit the region to make the most of the extraordinary conditions. They love capturing the region’s most extreme ocean-based action shots, especially in the Gnaraloo Bay area. “The colours and the textures really characterise the environment,” says Mathias. “The landscape is so raw and bold which make it an amazing place to admire and shoot.” They’ve shot videos and still photography but had a particular high point last year. “We worked on a windsurfing brand video and photo project at Gnaraloo Bay with the 2018 Slalom Vice world champion, Matteo Lachino,” says Ben. “The conditions were a bit tricky to start with but ended up being perfect for what we were after. The results were great and really highlight the amazing coastline.


barrel wraps around a shallow reef. Go when there is a large swell from the southwest, and great winds from the southeast. It’s a 7km drive from Gnaraloo Homestead.

Go giant spotting Humpback whales migrate on the Quobba coastline from July to November. The Blowholes and the Quobba cliffs are perfect viewing platforms to watch these amazing ocean creatures. You’re bound to witness these amazing creatures in all their glory dominating the deep blue. The whales come within metres of the coastline and can be seen rising majestically from the sea as they tail flap, breach and torso slap, lifting their entire body from the water.

Heli-humpback whale watching is available, it’s one of the first tours of its kind in Western Australia. Why not tailor your heli-adventure to include a stopover at the Golden Cliffs, a gorgeous place for an Insta pic?

Take a dip If you love snorkelling, here's where to go: POINT QUOBBA ‘The Aquarium’ - it’s a safe protected lagoon located 1km south of the rugged Blowholes. 3MILE LAGOON – The best time to snorkel here is when the swell is big or the tides are low. As long as the conditions are clear, you can snorkel any time of day. Bear in mind fish are most active right before sunset. When the tide is high, and the swell

is flat, experienced swimmers (using fins) can attempt to swim through a ‘keyhole’ in the reef at the back of the lagoon. You’ll find it opposite where the boats launch over the sand dune. This is also the best spot for a night snorkel, as the lagoon is protected by the reef. Don’t forget your waterproof torch. GNARALOO BAY – Once you see the turquoise waters here, you’ll want to jump right in. If you walk south on the beach for 200m, past the point, you can catch the current for a drift ride over the reef. It’s important to note the current can be strong the closer you get to the point. To be safe, ensure you make your way to the shore well before reaching the point. And then just savour the view.


WILD WILDLIFE Whales make their way up the coast and the incredible kaleidoscope of colours you'll see will make for incredible memories. Above, windsurfing champion Matteo Lachino in action. Right, the old jetty at Gladstone beach.

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southern ningaloo reef

was so much more than just a rest stop. This is a place we would go back to again and again. What we loved most was the quiet and stillness here. The night sky shone brighter than anywhere I think I’ve ever seen the stars.” Taking bliss to another level, Helen particularly loved the opportunity to really get back to nature. “The bore baths were the absolute highlight,” she says. “A morning sunrise soak in these magnesiumrich baths was perfect for us tired travellers. Get up early while it’s still fresh outside - they can get busy so if you’re an early riser, you’re more likely to have the baths to yourself.” Helen recommends visitors book a two or three night stay to really make the most of their time in this pristine environment.

Take a leaf out of @ gypsylovinlight's (aka Helen Janneson Bense) book and head to Wooramel River Retreat, south of Carnarvon.

Home on the range I

f a camp site nestled under the majestic river gums on the Wooramel River sounds like your idea of paradise, then you won’t be disappointed. Some 120kms south of Carnarvon and only 2kms off the northwest coastal highway, you’ll find large shady camp sites, fire pits and clean warm showers. When lifestyle blogger and traveller Helen Janneson Bense (@ gypsylovinlight) stayed in July, she instantly regretted not booking a

longer stay. “We stayed at Wooramel for just one night and it was definitely not long enough. It was a great spot to relax in between the long drive from Perth to Coral Bay,” she says. “What we didn’t realise was that it

30 | Carnarvon & Coral Bay Destination Guide

“We wished we had a few days at least to slow down and enjoy this place,” she says. “Enjoy a camp style coffee by the fire afterwards and it’s all kinds of cosy. We met some of the friendliest travellers here. We loved the sense of community.”

Quobba Station

3 Mile

Quobba is a working pastoral station with 80km of coastline bordering the Indian Ocean. It’s 75km north of Carnarvon and 7km further along an unsealed road north of the King Waves Kill Sign. Bring your rods and fins - the Quobba experience includes worldrenowned land-based game fishing, isolated beaches, world renowned surfing, snorkelling, whales and other abundant marine and wildlife on the outback landscape. Camp in powered or unpowered sites with toilet and shower facilities. Fuel, water and food supplies must be taken, and beach front accommodation and shearing quarters are available. Pets are welcome.

The back-to-basics style sites at 3 Mile are complemented by a protected lagoon that’s perfect for snorkelling and a secret surf spot called Tombstones. Another surfing hotspot, you’ll find some of the best waves in the world off the coast, as well as excellent fishing opportunities. Expect basic camp sites with rock fireplace and some wind shelter. Primo sites are the most popular sites with fireplace and great views, some with ocean-front views. Lagoon sites are slightly separated from the rest of the camp offering large sites. Toilets and showers are available with sinks for dishes and laundry.

Red Bluff A favourite with experienced surfers, Red Bluff is 135km north of Carnarvon, 60km north of the King Waves Kill sign on an unsealed road. When you arrive you’ll understand why it’s one of the top wilderness experiences in Western Australia. Known as the Bluff Barrel, surfers from around the world head here to practice their skills. Red Bluff is the start of the World Heritage Ningaloo Marine Park known as the Ningaloo Reef, making this the perfect location for swimming, snorkelling and fishing. Enjoy indulging in one of the world’s most majestic sunsets, followed by star-gazing into the star-filled desert sky. Red Bluff offers unpowered sites with drop toilets. Fuel, water and food supplies must be taken. Eco-tent accommodation with water views is available, BYO linen. Pets are welcome.

Gnaraloo Station Sitting high on an escarpment with panoramic views of the dunes and beautiful Indian Ocean, Gnaraloo is a magical spot. The bay is a great place for swimming and snorkelling on the amazing Ningaloo Reef. It’s also a perfect spot to launch a small boat for some great fishing. As beloved to those in the know as Coral Bay, stay in homestead-style accommodation like stone cabins which accommodate up to four people. The Old Homestead and Shearing Quarters are also available for larger groups.

Warroora Station Warroora Station (pronounced Warra) is located 190km north of Carnarvon, via the Minilya/ Exmouth Road. It’s a family-run sheep and cattle station adjacent to the famous Ningaloo Reef coastline which sits 60km south of Coral Bay, offering eco-friendly wilderness beach camping and authentic station-stay accommodation. Fishing, wildlife watching, surfing, diving or just getting away from it all: Warroora Station is unique. Camping is available at 14 Mile Camp, accessible by 2WD vehicles; and is accessed via the Northern access road. The Lagoon, Black Moon Cliff, Elle’s Beach and Steven’s Surf Break is accessible with 4WD only. A chemical toilet is required to camp at Warroora.


Childhood favourite revisited Kim, Kirsty and Atlas (better known as @troopytrails) are particular fans of Warroora and Gnaraloo. “When Kim was younger she’d visited the region. So when we made it to Warroora and Gnaraloo in October it was windy but the beauty of this place is just indescribable. Warroora is a working station where you can camp literally on the beach or just behind if you prefer. Gnaraloo is much the same, from cabins to beachside camping with facilities. “The best part about both places was the wildlife and, as we were parked right on the beach front, the ocean was like our very own cable TV! Just couldn’t take our eyes off it. When we were in Warroora we went for a stroll down the beach and we were being followed by a giant stingray! “He was huge and whenever we moved, he moved, if we stopped, he stopped! It was so awesome to step out of your van, put on your snorkle and step straight into an untouched underwater world like no other. “Our all-time favourite memory was when we were in Gnaraloo. We were sitting in the back of the Troopy looking out at the sea watching the sunset and boom, a whale jumps out and makes a massive splash not once, not twice, but three times. It was just something that we never thought would happen.”

www.Carnarvon.org.au | 31

gascoyne hinterland

mt augustus national park



Rock stars




There’s an iconic journey that beckons those who crave adventure. The Road to the Rock - starting in Perth and ending up in Mount Augustus is an unforgettable trip, as Georgia Rickard discovers.


ound roughly 1,000km north of Perth in the Gascoyne Murchison region, Mount Augustus is the world’s biggest rock – but amazingly, many Australians have never heard of it. It is located within Mount Augustus National Park, a lush outback paradise with swimming holes, ancient rock art, a small but buzzing tourist park and the cutest outback bar you’ve ever seen. The Road to Rock journey should take about nine days return - here’s my experience of the Mount Augustus section of the trip. By day three, it’s roughly a fivehour drive from Carnarvon or Meekatharra to Mount Augustus. Settle in for a stretch of road that's quite unlike anything you’ll have seen so far. Admire the unusual colour of the earth, which flows continuously between chalky white soils, fields of olive-coloured scrub and a dark, ruby red moonscape. As you approach Mount Augustus, the rock’s outline can be hard to distinguish in the afternoon shadow, but don’t worry – there’ll be plenty of time to admire its sights properly. Start by taking the 40-minute Loop Drive around the base of the rock. As you edge around to its northern face, you’ll begin to see its resemblance to Uluru – and begin to appreciate just how enormous it is. Mount Augustus Tourist Park is on the loop (signposted), so pull up and check into your cabin. Mount Augustus is a monocline: a type of rock formation that leans, or ‘dips’ in a single direction. At 1,700 million years old, it is three times older than Uluru and twice its size, making it the largest rock in the world – and today, you’re going to climb to its peak. For the best experience, make sure you prepare a lunch and plenty of water the night before, and leave before dawn to make your way around the rock to the entrance of the Summit Trail. (Be sure to carry sun protection too.) Classified as a Grade 4 walk (from a possible score of 5), the hike is a challenging six-hour return adventure – and well worth it. Along the way you’ll be rewarded with impressive

views and a beautifully clear silence punctuated only by bird song, with only two posted signs, and a chain of coloured dots to mark your path. You’ll know when you’ve reached the peak by the hand-built rock cairn that greets you. Built by local Keith Moon and a band of his friends, it offers 360-degree views of the region from its top, along with the likelihood of your phone suddenly pinging, thanks to the odd bar of reception found up here. There’s a surprise waiting for you at the summit too, which we won’t spoil, other than to tell you to look for the picnic table. Enjoy a congratulatory sandwich while you sit; you’ve earned it! The rest of your day is yours to spend at leisure. Cool off with a dip at Cattle Pool (a blissful freshwater spot), or retreat to the air conditioned comfort of your cabin. To read Georgia’s full nine-day experience on the Road to Rock, visit australiasgoldenoutback.com/page/ road-rock

in the Kennedy Ranges and Mount Augustus. The Visitor Centre has a handy wildflower guide if you're a floral novice.

Trail blazers

during one of our 4x4 tag-a-long tours of the kennedy ranges, we'll stop at gascoyne junction and honeycombe gorge. Local knowledge is the key.

Go on a 4WD self-drive adventure and go right off the beaten track. You can join Coral Coast 4x4 Tours for a 4WD tag-a-long tour where a guide will point out heaps of fascinating things along the way that you might otherwise miss. The Kingsford Smith Mail Run drive trail traces the original 1920s overland mail run form Carnarvon to Meekatharra and the pioneering spirit of Australia’s famous pilot, Charles Kingsford Smith. From Carnarvon go to Gascoyne Junction, then to the Kennedy Ranges before heading to Mount Augustus before finishing in Meekatharra. Allow up to four days. Visit carnarvon.org.au/outbackpathways for more info.

Up the Junction East of Carnarvon, travelling 175km on a bitumen road, you’ll find the small town of Gascoyne Junction. Situated on the banks of the mighty Gascoyne River with a permanent water hole almost 4kms in length, there’s a new state-of-the-art tourism precinct which usefully provides supplies required if you’re travelling further onto Kennedy Range and Mt Augustus.

Range rovers Kennedy Range – Once you’ve packed provisions at Gascoyne Junction, head for the access road to the Kennedy Range National Park, located 60km along an unsealed road. The Kennedy Range is an eroded plateau located on the rim of

the Gascoyne River catchment with several trails in the park that give you the opportunity to explore the park’s range country, its flora and fauna. Temple Gorge Trail – The trail starts at the day-use site and it takes about two hours to complete. Follow the trail until you reach a fork in the creek under a prominent rock face: it’s called the Temple. Honeycomb Gorge – If you’re after a fairly easy walk, this is the one for you. It’s approximately 600m return taking up to 40 minutes to accomplish. The rocky trail takes walkers to a large natural amphitheatre containing a cooling seasonal waterfall and pool. Sunrise View Trail – As the name suggests, this is one for early risers. The short walk is approximately 300m return taking up to 15 minutes to finish. The best time to visit the range is August and September, when the wildflowers are in full bloom.


justin borg, tour guide, Coral Coast 4x4 Tours

In full bloom If you’re in the region during August and September, you’re in for a treat. Wildflowers begin to appear in early August. The spectacle is over all too soon by the end of September. Look out for beautiful purple Mulla Mulla www.Carnarvon.org.au | 33

coral bay

Life on C the Bay Just three hours drive north of Carnarvon, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve arrived in paradise.


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oral Bay, a small settlement hugging the pristine azure ocean with its white sandy beaches, hides an extra special secret. Just metres from the shoreline, you’ll find the Ningaloo Reef. There aren’t many places in the world where a fringed reef is literally steps away from the beach, so while you’re in Coral Bay, make the most of this unique opportunity to explore the natural, unspoilt underwater world on your doorstep. There are plenty of ways to pass the day in Coral Bay. It’s a special place, with a laid-back vibe that draws visitors from all around the world, keen to de-stress and connect with a slower, more natural pace of life. Go snorkelling at Bill’s Bay, a calm oasis filled with colourful reef fish (it’s a sanctuary zone so there’s no fishing allowed). You can hire gear from one of the numerous local tour operators, and even if it’s your first time with fins and snorkel, you’ll never forget the teeming underwater scenes you’ll witness. It’s not all about the ocean however. For landlubbers, you can explore the hinterland on quad bike tours, discovering bush tracks, indigenous wildlife and dunes around the bay. If you’ve arrived with your own 4WD, then using Coral Bay as a base to explore nearby off-the-beaten track destinations is a must. Make time to discover Five Finger Reef and the Turtle Cliffs . If you’d like to be shown around by a tour guide, join a Coastal Adventure Tour. They’ll share their local knowledge with you as you drive well-maintained specially designed two-seater quad bikes. Be prepared for stunning sunsets and snorkelling with nobody but fish for company and turtles as companions.

Picture perfect Local underwater photographers Jake Wilton and Alex Kydd spend most of their days under the waves, capturing on film some incredible images of marine wildlife. Jake, who works with Ningaloo Marine Interactions, has recently made 34 | Carnarvon & Coral Bay Destination Guide

Alex’s top tip: I'm a big believer in spending as much time in the ocean as possible to increase the chance of seeing something truly special.

Jake’s top tip:

the jump to becoming a full-time professional, after being introduced to the profession by his good friends Tom Cannon and Alex Kydd. “I was working as a dive instructor and guide on the whale shark and manta ray tours here in Coral Bay,” he says. “Nowadays, a typical day will see me taking photos of guests on board our tours and snorkelling with the incredible array of marine life we have here on the Ningaloo Reef. We get to swim with turtles, manta rays and other large fish pretty much every day.” Since Jake has turned professional, he makes sure that's always ready for whatever the day may throw at him. “Every single encounter is different and it rarely goes to plan, so it's hard to plan in some ways,” he says. “I make sure my camera is ready and the exposure settings are correct, and then I wait for the perfect moment to take the photograph of my subject. The most important thing is to try to become part of the environment and not disturb the animal's natural behaviour.” The best conditions are calm seas, clear water and a sunny day conditions that fortunately Coral Bay frequently experiences. For an underwater photographer,

Relax and take it slow. Most people see an animal and swim straight towards it or dive down at it which just scares it away. Let the animal get used to your presence and know that you aren’t a threat and you will get a much better photo.

shooting in Coral Bay is a dream assignment. “I've been lucky enough to work alongside some incredible photographers and combining those skills with the experience of working with big animals in the ocean over the last ten years has helped me prepare for my new role as a photographer. I'm extremely lucky to have a lot of great photographer mates here in Coral Bay to help me keep learning new techniques.” One of those mates - Alex Kydd

“It’s the pace of life here that’s special - I love the natural environment. If I’m wearing thongs, I’m dressed up . . .” Roger Bailye, Coral Bay Eco Tours

- also happens to be one of the bestknown underwater photographers currently working in the Coral Bay region. He often captures his incredible images while freediving, and, thanks to his degree in Marine Biology, he’s got an extra special insight into the ocean and its animals. “All the images I take while on Ningaloo reef are taken on a single breath,” he says. “Freediving can allow for closer interactions with animals because you don’t have bubbles like you would a scuba tank. A fundamental part of freediving involves being calm and relaxed underwater, and this can allow for greater interactions with animals as you’re less likely to scare them.” Alex spends many hours working underwater and editing the hundreds of images he takes every day. “Working on the Ningaloo Reef means that you have the possibility every day to witness something truly spectacular. There are never two days that are the same and it’s one of the reasons I love the place so much.”


It’s a life-changing experience seeing humpbacks in their natural environment - the first time I saw them, I couldn’t speak for an hour.” Kristen Anderson, Ningaloo Reef Dive www.Carnarvon.org.au | 35

coral bay

The big blue For such a tiny dot on the map, Coral Bay has an abundance of experienced tour operators who will take visitors out on the ocean for an unforgettable day.


hether it’s spotting manta rays or, when it’s the right time of year, humpbacks and whale sharks, there are plenty of options for all ages to enjoy this unique seascape.

Coral Bay Eco Tours Coral Bay is one of the few places on earth where it’s possible to swim with whale sharks, and Coral Bay Eco Tours was one of the first to offer the experience. “We’re one of the longest running tourism operators in the Ningaloo Reef, and our custom-built boats are designed specifically to allow guests to enjoy safely the many sights on the world heritage-listed reef,” says Roger Bailye, manager of Coral Bay Eco Tours. “We’re a carbon-neutral accredited whale shark, marine ecotour and glass bottom boat tour operator in the area, which means our tours have zero impact on the climate.” The company’s boats are all named by the local people - the Baiyungu - and Roger takes particular pride in regularly consulting with elders and employing members of the Indigenous community. “We’re in the fourth year of a two-year trial which has allowed us to interact with whales from July 1,” says Roger. “We’ve had 100% success

rate with our humpback whale swims, and the trial has been so successful that the way we’re running the tour is having a global impact on how other areas in the world could offer a similar interaction.” The tour, which takes place no more than 2km off shore, offers guests an unprecedented opportunity to observe humpback whales in their natural habitat. “Swimming with whale sharks certainly has the wow factor, it’s definitely a bucket list tour for many people.”

36 | Carnarvon & Coral Bay Destination Guide

ningaloo coral Bay boats If you don’t want to get into the water, it’s possible to take an ecofriendly glass-bottom boat tour or join a whale watching tour, and you’re likely to spot dolphins, turtles, dugongs and other whales during the trip. Thanks to huge glass panels, it's the perfect chance to nail that ultimate crystal clear underwater shot (without actually going underwater).

Sail Ningaloo Set sail aboard Sail Ningaloo’s luxurious 51ft sailing catamaran,

Shore Thing, and really get to know the Ningaloo Reef. Offering several multi-day voyages including a fourday sail, snorkel and dive getaway, a six-day Ningaloo escape and 10day ultimate Ningaloo experience, you’ll make lifelong friends with other passengers from around the world and have enough photos of your experience to last a lifetime. You can even book the entire boat for a special occasion or treat. Keep an eye on their website for lastminute opportunities to join a tour; otherwise, book well in advance as all three tours are super-popular.

Ningaloo Reef Dive & Snorkel Kristen Anderson, a blow-in to Coral Bay from Canada, is a dive instructor currently managing Ningaloo Reef

“The Discover Scuba dive incorporates a manta ray tour as well as certified divers and snorkelers, and we also offer snorkel-only tours with whale sharks, humpbacks and turtles. This was our third full season swimming with humpbacks and we had an 88% success rate.” To help guests enjoy this extraordinary opportunity to the max, Kristen and her team use a new radio comms system which helps guide the group to where the whales are congregating,” she says. “The crystal clear waters south of Coral Bay allow us to see humpbacks perfectly. It’s a life-changing experience and can last from five seconds to 15 minutes. They look straight at you, they look into your soul.” There are only three places

“It’s amazing to spend time in places and really take it all in because it’s not overrun with crowds and tourists. That's a win in our books!” Luke and Jess, @_aswewander

currently in the world where this kind of interaction with whales is possible: Tonga, Ningaloo Reef and the Gold Coast. “We also offer snorkel-only activities,” says Kristen. “It’s an advanced snorkel activity over the reef but there’s also the chance to swim with whales at the right time of year. You can still watch the whales from the boat too of course if you’re not a confident swimmer. You can also snorkel on the reef which is very easy.” Photographers from Ocean Collective Media tag along on tours too, swimming with guests and taking pictures of them underwater and with wildlife. Tom Cannon, an experienced underwater photographer with OCM, has some advice for visitors who have limited time in Coral Bay. “If you’re around during whale shark or humpback season, definitely book a tour to swim with them. Swimming with manta rays is a joy too.”

Ningaloo Marine Interactions Frazer McGregor, known locally as the ‘Manta Ray Man’ thanks to his expert knowledge of these fascinating creatures, has taken guests on tours for the past 19 years. “Manta rays were my specialisation

Dive & Snorkel. She studied marine and freshwater biology at university and brings her knowledge to each and every tour. “I like to educate people about whales and because Ningaloo is bordering on a sub-tropical reef, it’s a different colour to what people might be expecting,” she says. “It’s shallow and there’s dense coral with no big drop-offs.” July and August are the calmest times to go and the company offers all types of diving, for those who have never tried it to experienced divers. www.Carnarvon.org.au | 37

coral bay

“over 14 years, We've identified by the patterns on their bellies more than 1,100 manta rays who visit the Coral bay area. some are one-offs but there's a core group which tourists spot regularly.” frazer mcgregor,

Ningaloo Marine Interactions.

for my PhD so it’s been an amazing opportunity to observe them in my daily working life,” he says. He takes guests out in the morning and then researchers sometimes in the afternoon. “I love showing them the beautiful coral, filled with turtles and manta rays, and serving lunch onboard. Even on my days off, I get to go out on the water again.” Mantas live for about 35 years and don’t tend to swim much further than 100km. “They follow food up and down the coast and the longest migration we’ve seen in a tagged manta ray

Top tip: For swimming

and snorkelling, thanks to Coral Bay’s status as a sanctuary zone, it’s very safe for family-friendly swimming and snorkelling. Head to Bill’s Bay or Paradise Beach, or if you’ve got time, jump aboard a snorkelling tour operator who’ll take you a little further afield.

Did you know . . . is several hundred kilometres,” says Frazer. “There’s no specific animal which eats them, but killer whales and sharks will hunt them. Unfortunately, as people move more into their habitat, we’re seeing more propeller strike injuries.” After spending so much time in the company of manta rays, it’s hard for Frazer to pinpoint a personal highpoint. However, big aggregations of rays, orcas and the opportunity to swim with tiger sharks rank highly. “The first time you swim with big animals is unforgettable,” he says. “Ningaloo reef’s isolation is what makes it special. There’s not much pollution or run-off, there’s little interaction with humans and it’s been protected so it’s healthy; it’s still a really vibrant spot. Temperatures don’t seem to be rising too unlike other reef locations around the world.” Enjoy a range of experiences from glass-bottom boat tours to full-day trips, diving with whale sharks and, of course, manta rays. “It’s a pretty special place,” says Frazer. “We had a diver from Melbourne join a tour with us the other day who said that the Great Barrier Reef is in a bad way but that Ningaloo reef had exceeded his expectations. It’s just so pristine.”

38 | Carnarvon & Coral Bay Destination Guide

Whale sharks are the largest fish on the planet and are in no way related to whales. They can reach up to 14m in length and have about 3,000 tiny teeth.

join a charter and explore the coast Keen to bag a big one? Mahi Mahi Fishing Charters gives keen game fishermen and women the chance to test their skills off the Ningaloo reef. They proudly support state-wide bag limits and the tage and release program. During any given voyage, you'll find marlin, sailfish, wahoo, mackerel and mahi mahi as well as cod, perch and trout. If you prefer to just enjoy life on the ocean waves, Coral Breeze Coastal Cruises will take you away from it all for a half day of sailing on crystal clear water. Enjoy unlimited snorkelling, or if you prefer snapping the ultimate Insta sunset pic, join the Sunset Sail. Coastal Adventure Tours also offers guests the chance to explore the coastline from a catamaran and you'll have the chance to snorkel with turtles and see them feeding in their natural environment. It's an experience you'll never forget - so what are you waiting for?





red bluff

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blowholes point quobba

mt augustus national park


The friendly team at the Carnarvon Visitor Centre can provide you with the latest information on Caravan Park prices, What’s on, weekly food specials and so much more. Make Carnarvon Visitor Centre your first stop. (08) 9941 1146 21 Robinson Street



More local services can be found at: www.carnarvon.org.au

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Coastal Adventure Tours Visitor Centre is located in the heart of the Coral Bay Shopping Arcade and offers an array of information. Visit our friendly staff and organise all your holiday arrangements.

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Manta Ray Interaction Tour Join the specialists in Manta Ray ecology for an unforgettable marine interactive tour to meet the local Manta Ray population. Search for turtles, dolphins, dugongs, humpback whales (seasonal) and all other marine life in the sheltered waters of Ningaloo. Snorkel amazing coral formations and enjoy the marine bio-diversity aboard our comfortable and spacious vessel.




Quad - Trek Adventures Join Quad-Treks the original 4 wheel motor bike tour company in WA on this unique and exciting self drive adventure. Ride along white sandy beaches, winding bush tracks, visit secluded bays, sand dunes and amazing cliff lines. Enjoy picture perfect snorkelling, unique sunsets and the spectacular yet isolated Ningaloo Reef Coastline! Suitable for all ages, no experience required.


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Shop 12 Coral Bay Shopping Arcade Ph: 08 9948 5190 Fax: 08 9948 5191 Email: coralbreeze@bigpond.com www.coralbaytours.com.au 40 | DIRECTORY


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Experience the best of the Ningaloo Reef • Marine Eco Safari (manta rays) • Whale Shark Safari

Bookings & Functions P (618) 9948 5156 E billsbar@ningaloocoralbay.com

BACKPACKERS Backpackers Reception P (618) 9948 5100 E backpackers@ningaloocoralbay.com

BOATS Bookings & Enquiries P 0498 962 867 E boats@ningaloocoralbay.com

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Ningaloo Reef Dive CORAL BAY

Stephanie, Jodie, Sita & Marisa look forward to welcoming you! Take advantage of our local knowledge and find out more about Carnarvon and its surrounds. Carnarvon Visitor Centre • 21 Robinson St, Carnarvon (Caravan parking on Camel Lane, behind the Visitor Centre)

Ph. (08) 9941 1146 www.carnarvon.org.au


The all-in-one holiday Daily boat tours on the magnificent Ningaloo Reef for snorkelling, scuba diving and marine animal interaction tours. All tours are guided by our highly experienced Dive Masters and Instructors to ensure you enjoy the best the Ningaloo Reef can offer. • • • •

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E: info@ningalooreefdive.com www.ningalooreefdive.com

• PADI Dive Courses

Our liveaboard sailing tours allow you to experience Ningaloo Reef in your own time and away from the crowds. Sail Ningaloo offers sailing, snorkelling, kayaking, scuba diving, whale watching and fishing experiences in comfortable and spacious cabins. With a maximum of 10 guests, you’re ensured a unique, luxurious and personal sailing experience. 2020 tour dates available.

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Phone (08) 9942 5824 1300 CORAL BAY (1300 267 25 229) 42 | DIRECTORY


Ph: 1800 197 194

E: info@sailingningaloo.com.au www.sailingningaloo.com.au

Call 13 17 13 REGIONAL EXPRESS, best known as Rex, is Australia’s largest independent regional airline, with a fleet of over 55 Saab 340 aircraft, servicing a network of 60 destinations across Australia. Rex offers daily flights between Carnarvon and Perth. On board, we invite our passengers to sit back with a cuppa and enjoy the spectacular view from the sky whilst they experience Rex’s famous country hospitality.


Say 'Yes' to Adventure




Book Today! (08) 9941 1146 www.coralcoast4x4tours.com.au DIRECTORY | 43

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Relax and stay a while at Coral Coast Tourist Park

The fishing, the beaches, the relaxation, the most convenient location for holiday accommodation when visiting Carnarvon, is the Coral Coast Tourist Park. Located right in the heart of Carnarvon, you’re walking distance from the town centre and magnificent waterways. Choose from our range of accommodation including self contained park homes, cabins or an ensuite or grassed site with annex pad. The best Carnarvon holiday experience is found right here!

108 Robinson St, Carnarvon | (08) 9941 1438 | info@coralcoastpark.com


A great place to stay a while and relax ... Enjoy a game of bowls or catch up with friends at the Outback Shed!

Friday night is wood fired pizzas at the fire pit!

Enjoy our friendly park, in peaceful surrounds and only minutes from the town centre. Owners Haydn and Jodie are here to welcome you to Carnarvon and entertain you to make your stay a memorable one! • Pet-friendly chalets

• Spacious shady sites

• All Big Rigs welcome

• Bowling green and outback shed

• Salt water pool

• Pets welcome

• Self-Serve Manual Super Bay – Caravan, Boat & Motorhome • Dog Wash Located at the entrance of the Capricorn Holiday Park

Carwash Facilities:

• Vacuums

• Automatic Carwash - Soft Cloth & Touch-Free options

• Credit Card Facilities available at wash stations (Excludes Dog Wash, Vacuums & Vending Machine)

• Self-Serve Manual Bays

• Change machine on site

1042 North West Coastal Highway, Carnarvon Email: stay@capricornholidaypark.com.au

Phone: (08) 9941 8153 | www.capricornholidaypark.com.au

d • Shady grassed sites • Modern chalets • Communal meal nights and live music • Playground • Swimming pool • Bowling green • Off-leash pet exercise area • FREE WIFI • We’ll even help you park your van

Welcoming the modern traveller with old-fashioned customer service Green grassy sites with slab for Caravans

New camp kitchen

Walking distance from IGA, Bottleshop and Bakery

Senior Discounts

Single units with ensuite available from $70

Pet friendly caravan sites

Laundry with extra large washing machines

Powered and Unpowered Sites

BOOK WITH US TODAY (08) 9941 1277 24 Angelo Street, Carnarvon WA 6701 | enquiries@norwesta.com.au | www.norwesta.com.au


Phone us today or book online

www.wintersuncaravanpark.com.au Hall of Fame • Certificates of Excellence 2014-2018


546 Robinson Street, Carnarvon WA • Ph: (08) 9941 8150

We welcome you all... • Drive thru, powered & non-powered grassy sites • Pool • BBQ area • New self contained family cabins • Newly renovated oblutions • Free internet access • Senior discounts apply • New camper’s kitchen • Sorry no pets 49 Wise Street, Carnarvon (just past Mitre 10)

Phone: 9941 1439

Fax: 9941 3634 outbackoasis@westnet.com.au

The Shadiest Park in Carnarvon • Fully Self Contained Ensuite Cabins • Large Shady Van & Camp Sites • 5th Wheeler Friendly • Wonderful Camp Kitchen • Free Gas BBQ’s

• Free Sausage Sizzle in Season • Swimming Pool • Playground • Laundry Facilities • Pet Friendly

• Spotless Ablution Facilities • Free Net4Wifi • Wireless Internet • Dump Site • Online Bookings

589 Robinson St (At the T-Junction of Robinson St & NWC Hwy)

Ph/Fax (08) 99 418 100 | Free Call 1800 261 166 info@plantationcaravanpark.com.au | www.big4.com.au

Sitting high on an escarpment, with panoramic views of the dunes and the beautiful Ningaloo Reef is Gnaraloo Homestead. It offers a range of self contained accommodation to suit all budgets and for groups of all sizes.

08 9315 4809 - 08 9942 5927 bookings@gnaraloo.com.au www.gnaraloo.com.au DIRECTORY | 47

Carnarvon & surrounds Accommodation e




Carnarvon & surrounds Accommodation e


80kms of WA’s most spectacular coastline

Join our happy campers along the riverbank and experience

the wonders of wooramel A unique station campground nestled under the majestic gum trees on the bank of the Wooramel River.

QUOBBASTATION STATION QUOBBA AND& red REDbluff BLUFF Quobba Station is a working Pastoral Station with 80 km of pristine coastline bordering the Indian Ocean. The Quobba Experience includes Land Based Game Fishing, isolated beaches, world renown surfing and extensive Marine Life. Accommodation options include: Chalets, Cottages, Humpies, Camping and Eco Safari Tents at Red Bluff voted #8 Best Beach in Australia.

Quobba Station is located on the southern tip of the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park, north of #arnar$on, Western Australia. It is a working pastoral station with *0km of coastline bordering the Indian cean. The Quobba experience includes land based game fishing, isolated beaches, world renowned surfing, snorkeling, whales and other abundant marine and wildlife on the arid outback landscape. Your choice of accommodation ranges from camping or palm frond humpies, fishing shacks, cottages through to luxur' eco safari tents on top of the Red Bluff cliffs. Tra$el another 60kms north to experience the jewel of the Quobba coast, Red Bluff.

0499 425 888


135km North of Carnarvon

85km North of Carnarvon


85km North of Carnarvon Quobba Station - Carnarvon WA Quobba Station - Carnarvon WA 6701 Ph. 9948 50985098 Ph.(08) (08) 9948 E. quobbastation@activ8.net.au E. quobbastation@activ8.net.au www.quobba.com.au




135km North of Carnarvon (60km north of Quobba) (60km northWA of Quobba) Quobba Station - Carnarvon 6701 Ph. (08) 9948 5001 Ph. (08) 9948 5001 E. bluffbliss@hotmail.com E. bluffbliss@hotmail.com www.quobba.com.au


Gladstone Bay


Located 145kms south of Carnarvon (6kms unsealed). Toilets, dump point, outback shower, gas refills & non-potable water. Pet-friendly.

Richard & Fran Brown, Yaringa Station T: (08) 9942 5952 M: 0419 091 706

Bordering the beach is 3Mile Camp, a rustic oasis nestled along the Coral Coast. 3Mile Campsite facilities include hot showers, flushing toilets, wifi and camp shop. The wilderness style sites are complemented by a protected lagoon and great surfing and fishing spots.

08 9315 4809 - 08 9948 5000 bookings@gnaraloo.com.au www.gnaraloo.com.au




Powered & un-powered sites, big rigs welcome + drive through sites, showers, toilets, hot food & fuel.

(08) 9942 5910 Lot 1 North West Coastal Highway, 140km South of Carnarvon 48 | DIRECTORY

Mt Augustus Tourist Park WORLD’S BIGGEST ROCK

Adjoining the spectacular National Park. Caravan and camp sites, powered and unpowered. Self-contained accommodation, green lawns, shade, fuel, air strip, barbecue area and licensed shop in stunning outback WA.

These modern 1 & 2 bedroom apartments are centrally located on Olivia Terrace overlooking Carnarvon’s magnificent fascine waterways. All units are fully self contained with many modern conveniences including: • Air conditioning • Free WiFi • Large 40” LCD TV • Espresso Machine • Double glazed • Dishwasher & Washing machine • Tesla charging point 75 Olivia Terrace, Carnarvon WA 6707

Ph 0408 785 697 www.mtaugustustouristpark.com Ph: (08) 9943 0527

Email info@carnarvonseachangeapartments.com.au www.carnarvonseachangeapartments.com.au

Looking for a quality and affordable place to stay?

Hospitality Carnarvon, SureStay Collection By Best Western Just 800m from the city centre. Hospitality Carnarvon welcomes you to air conditioned, affordable comfort in one of their 45 well appointed rooms complete with fridge, tea & coffee, Foxtel & free guest laundry, plus complimentary wireless broadband internet. Enjoy the on-site facilities including pool, BBQ area, playground and superb licensed restaurant all set in attractive grounds. 6 West Street, Carnarvon WA 6701 | Email: carnarvon@hospitalityinns.com.au

Ph: (08) 9941 1600 | www.hospitalityinncarnarvon.com.au DIRECTORY | 49

d Carnarvon Accommodation, food & services e


Luxury Canal Home

Enjoy a relaxing holiday in Carnarvon ‘Home of the Winter Sun!’ • Well appointed 2 bedroom apartments • Walking distance to town and airport • Full kitchen and bathroom facilities with own washing machine

• Air conditioned • Private carport • Your home away from home

120 Robinson Street, Carnarvon • Ph: (08) 9941 1317 E: sunnywinters@westnet.com.au • www.carnarvonapartments.com.au

CARNARVON MOTEL WA Best accommodation in Carnarvon! • 61 Motel Rooms • 7 Day Restaurant • Bar

THE CARNARVON LUXURY CANAL HOME This luxury holiday canal home boasts a private jetty, perfect for your boat or to do some fishing from. Four bedrooms each with en suite, well-equipped kitchen overlooking water, large outdoor alfresco BBQ area. It sleeps a maximum of 8 people and all bedrooms are luxuriously appointed with the finest linen and magnificent bedding. Only a few minutes walk from town centre.

email: mkpinner@bigpond.com PO Box 564, Carnarvon WA 6701

Call Michelle on

0407 078 875

34 David Brand Drive, Carnarvon, WA 6701 Ph: +61 8 9941 0600 Fax: +61 8 9941 2491 Email: stay@carnarvonmotel.com Web: www.carnarvonmotel.com.au




• Fully self-contained motel-style accommodation • Close to IGA Supermarket and Liquor store • Internet café • Shady sites • Large rig sites • Private ensuites • Pets welcome • Swimming pool • Drive through overnight stays

• Relax by the pool in a Balinese setting • Ideal for holiday and business stays • Ensuite aircon motel rooms • 2 bedroom self-contained apartments • Wireless internet, children’s playground • Early cooked breakfast daily • Licensed restaurant open daily

477 Robinson Street, Carnarvon bookings@carnarvonpark.com.au

379 Robinson Street, Carnarvon bookings@thegatewaymotel.com

Tel 08 9941 8101

Tel 08 9941 6900


www.carnarvonpark.com.au • www.thegatewaymotel.com

Want to advertise in the 2020/2021 issue?

• Breakfast & Coffee • Beer & Wine • Lunch & Dinner

Contact Stephanie at (08) 9941 1146 or email leca.s@carnarvon.wa.gov.au

The Gascoyne Hotel

TRADITIONAL HOTEL ACCOMMODATION 35 Robinson St (Cnr Alexander St) Ph: (08) 9941 1704

Harbourside Cafe









Ph: (08) 9941 1412 | www.gascoynehotel.com

FULLY LICENSED RESTAURANT. THE BEST SEAFOOD IN CARNARVON We specialise in local and West Australian seafood and authentic Indian curries. Indoor and outdoor alfresco dining. Breakfast, cafe, dinner, takeaway & deliveries also available. We do catering & functions. OPEN 6 DAYS (Closed Monday) 131 Small Boat Harbour Rd, South Carnarvon Western Australia 6701 | harbourside131@yahoo.com.au

Ph: 0430 433 855 or +61 (8) 9941 4111 DIRECTORY | 51

d Carnarvon shopping, food & services e


SHOP AT TRAL N E C N O V CARNAR With Woolworths open from 7am daily and convenience all under one roof! Find out more at carnarvoncentral.com.au

35-55 Robinson Street Carnarvon WA 6701 T 08 9303 7300 www.carnarvoncentral.com.au


1 Annear Place, Babbage Island, Carnarvon WA 6701

PH. 08 9941 3423

@Sunsets Café at One Mile Jetty – Carnarvon

Fresh bread & rolls daily Fresh hot coffee Fresh cakes, rolls & sandwiches Orders welcome Catering for all occasions Shop 2/421 Robinson St. (IGA Building)

Phone/Fax: 9941 2655

For an exceptional dining experience and superb menu selection, visit Sails Restaurant. Fresh, modern cuisine and friendly service in a relaxed atmosphere.

Open daily for breakfast and dinner. 6 West Street, Carnarvon WA 6701 E: carnarvon@hospitalityinns.com.au BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL

Ph: (08) 9941 1600

www.hospitalityinncarnarvon.com.au 52 | DIRECTORY

(08) 9941 8153 Automatic Carwash - Soft Cloth & Touch-Free Self-Serve Manual Bays Self-Serve Manual Super Bay Caravan, Boat & Motorhome Dog Wash Vacuums Credit Card Facilities available at Wash Stations (Excludes Dog Wash, Vacuums & Vending Machine) Change machine on site




Amcal Chemist Canarvon

How can we help you today?




14 Camel Lane Carnarvon WA 6701 HOT FOOD & PIES (08) 9941 3898

14 Camel Lane Carnarvon WA 6701 Prescriptions (08) 9941 3898 Sleep apnoea testing

Shop 10, 12-14 Robinson St Carnarvon WA 6701 hknguyen@westnet.com.au

14 Camel Lane Carnarvon WA 6701 (08) 9941 3898


Computers Printers (08) 8105 Mobiles9941 Accessories

Next door to Wintersun Caravan & Tourist Park


Computers Printers Mobiles Accessories


Home/ In pharmacy medication reviews

Computers Printers Local home delivery Mobiles Accessories

Webster packing (Dose Aids) Home aids

Digital photo processing

Locally Owned • 30 Years Experience ArtPharmacy Supply Centre Carnarvon Central Shopping Centre Ph: 9941 1547 Fax: 9941 2850 Email: carnarvon@amcal.net.au

Manager: Robin Fahl B.Pharm MPS AACPA, Post Grad Dip Clin Pharm


Art Supply Centre

14 Camel Lane Carnarvon WA 6701 (08) 9941 3898


Art Supply Centre

Heddi’s Hair saLon Ladies & gents Ph: 9941 1424

14 Camel Lane Carnarvon WA 6701 (08) 9941 3898

Computers Printers Mobiles Accessories

Art Supply Centre


24 robinson st, Carnarvon wa

Fashion is what you buy Style is what you make of it

One Stop Shop for Food & Fuel in Carnarvon. Self service car wash. Conveniently located in the town centre! 125 Robinson St, Carnarvon WA 6701

(08) 9941 2046



Computers Printers Mobiles Accessories

Art SupplyStreet, Centre Carnarvon WA 6701 520 Robinson

14 Camel Lane Carnarvon WA 6701 (08) 9941 3898

NDSS sub-agent


CATERING AVAILABLE 08 9941 2265 Art Supply Centre Computers Printers Mobiles Accessories

Carnarvon shopping


In store Embroidery | Unit | Santa Cruz | Mossimo | Work wear Bisley | King Gee | Stubbies | Thongs | Hats | Ladies work wear Bonds | Work Boots | Oliver | Steel Blue | Cubbie Bears | Sunglasses Safety wear | Sports wear | Levi Jeans | Mustang jeans

36B Robinson St, PO Box 451, Carnarvon WA 6701 | F: (08) 9941 3902

P: (08) 9941 1366 DIRECTORY | 53

d Carnarvon shopping, food & services e



Lotto • Newspapers • Magazines Books • Stationery • Gifts Souvenirs • Organic Products OPEN EVERYDAY 36 Robinson Street Carnarvon, WA Call (08) 9941 3099 TheCarnarvonPapershop

• • • •




• • • • •


28 Robinson St (Opposite Visitor Centre) norwestsurf@westnet.com.au | Ph: 9941 4884



Guaranteed GOLD standard vet care and awesome customer service at every visit!

12 Bassett Way, Carnarvon • admin@coralcoastvet.com.au • www.coralcoastvet.com.au

9941 1155

CARNARVON MEDICAL CENTRE 52 Robinson Street Carnarvon WA 6701

Telephone: 9941 1169 for an appointment Open: Monday - Friday 7.30am - 4.30pm Doctors appointments • Skin Care Clinics • Pre-employment medicals, AMSA, Aviation Medical • Cancer Counsellor Support Officer Pathology • Diabetes care • Optometrist including Teleophthalmology clinics • Podiatrist • Hearing tests • Molemax skin check

Appointments are required • Children 16 years and under are bulk billed PO Box 627, Carnarvon WA 6701 fax: 99412392 reception@carnarvonmedical.com.au www.carnarvonmedical.com.au DIRECTORY | 55

A great place to stay in Carnarvon WA!

✔ 61 air-conditioned rooms ✔ Free WiFi ✔ Swimming Pool & Slide ✔ Children’s Playground ✔ Licensed Bar ✔ 7-day Restaurant

If you’re looking for places to stay in Carnarvon, look no further! Carnarvon Motel is a well-appointed motel in the heart of the picturesque Gascoyne Region, which is approximately 904-kilometres north of Perth on the west coast. Known for its banana plantations and warm climate, and as the gateway to the Ningaloo Coast, Carnarvon is the ideal spot for your next vacation. Featuring an outdoor pool with slide, children’s playground, arcade games and free Wi-Fi in every room, our Carnarvon accommodation provides every comfort possible to ensure you have an enjoyable stay.

✔ Function Facilities ✔ Arcade Games ✔ Secure Parking ✔ 24-hour CCTV

From comfortable accommodation to a first-class function space and a family restaurant, our friendly staff go above and beyond to ensure our venue caters for any requirements.

34 David Brand Drive, Carnarvon | Ph 08 9941 0600 stay@carnarvonmotel.com.au | www.carnarvonmotel.com.au

Profile for Premium Publishers

Carnarvon and Coral Bay Destination Guide 2019/2020  

Discover more about this incredible part of WA's north west - and find your next adventure in Carnarvon and Coral Bay. Published on behalf o...

Carnarvon and Coral Bay Destination Guide 2019/2020  

Discover more about this incredible part of WA's north west - and find your next adventure in Carnarvon and Coral Bay. Published on behalf o...