- Category: Travel in WA
- Published: Wednesday, 11 July 2012 10:39
- Written by Vicki Sly
Photo Credit: Flickr/Don Pugh
Visit Geraldton and you will be blown away; literally.
Considered Australia’s kite and windsurfing capital, the city is the gateway to Western Australia's mid west and is often the first major port of call for travellers heading north of the capital.
Located just over 400 km from Perth, Geraldton is also the starting point for those wishing to explore the beautiful Abrolhos Islands which lay 60 km off the coast. Perched proudly on the coastline with sweeping view of the Indian Ocean, it is bordered by rivers and ranges and has long been a popular holiday destination for West Australians and tourists alike.
When you think of Geraldton, you are bound to think water sports – kitesurfing, windsurfing, fishing, sailing, surfing and swimming – and burnt lips, wind-blown hair, fish and chips on the beach and crayfish on every restaurant menu. But if you haven’t visited for a while you may be surprised to see the changes that have taken place in recent years.
The city heart and its adjoining beachfront have undergone major redevelopments with the end result being playgrounds, water parks and cafes sitting on Champion Bay looking out over turquoise blue waters. Even if you are just passing through on your way further north, this area is a great resting point and ideal place to take in some lunch and a quick spot of shopping.
Sydney Memorial, Geraldton
Photo Credit: Flickr/tseyin
But for those with more time up their sleeves, there are some must-sees to tick off the list.
- The Western Australian Museum – Geraldton: This area of WA is rich in maritime history and the museum is a wonderful celebration of all things nautical. Guided tours lead you through the stories of four major shipwrecks in the area – the Batavia, the Gilt Dragon, Zuytdorp, and Zeewijk. There is also some great information available on the HMAS Sydney II. The museum is open most of the year (closed Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday) and entry is free.
- HMAS Sydney II memorial: This wonderful memorial to the 645 sailors who lost their lives in the 1941 HMAS Sydney II maritime disaster after a battle with a German raider is definitely worth a visit, and the view from the top of the hill is stunning. There are five elements that make up the memorial and the bronze statue of a woman waiting for news about her loved-one brought a tear to my eye. The beautiful silver dome of 645 seagulls is also wonderful, especially when lit up at night.
- Abrolhos Islands: Access to the islands is via small plane or charter, the latter being a great option for those wanting to take in fishing and diving along the way. Home to the crayfishing families of Geraldton for the duration of the season, the islands offer some interesting exploring and diving opportunities, including the wreck of the Batavia on Morning Reef near Beacon Island.
- St Francis Xavier Cathedral and the Old Gaol: Both of these buildings are recommended for the history buffs. Guided tours are available.
- Point Moore Lighthouse: Everyone loves a lighthouse and a visit to Geraldton wouldn’t be complete without a photo of the red and white striped lighthouse and a peek into the nearby Lighthouse Keeper’s cottage.
- Batavia Coast Marina: This lovely boardwalk along the water’s edge is a favourite for morning joggers and dog walkers alike. There are also coffee shops and restaurants to complete the feeling that you are definitely on holidays.
Getting to Geraldton
Indian Ocean Drive, which begins in the northern suburbs of Perth, is definitely the most scenic route to Geraldton, as well as the shortest. It keeps travellers hugging the coastline and offers resting points in the small villages that lead the way north to Dongara and on to Geraldton. The Brand Highway is the other option for drivers. Flights from Perth are regular and take less than one hour.
For More Related Articles on places to visit in Western Australia, please scroll to the bottom of this article.