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A Tourist's Guide to Regional Australia – Part 1: Geraldton and The Mid North Western Australian Coast

This is the first in a series of articles that will help tourists both local and international visiting Australia find information about locations that are not usually covered in television travel programs and magazines.

Western Australia

As the name suggests, Western Australia is the state which lies in the western part of Australia. It is the largest state in Australia, and has a total land area of 2,529,875. Perth is the capital city of the state. The population of Western Australia is currently approximately 2,517,200. The majority of the population lives in Perth (1,900,000 approximately). The majority of the Western Australian coastline is on the Indian Ocean, but also has coastline in the Great Australian Bight and The Southern Ocean. Due to the extremely large area, Western Australia has a range of climates, ranging from a Mediterranean Climate in the south west, Desert Climates in the central area and Sub-tropical and Tropical in the north. Cyclones are common in the northern areas of the state during the summer months.

Transport Options

Tourists can fly to Perth Airport or Geraldton Airport. Please note that in order to fly to Geraldton most airline operators fly from Perth first. The best way in which to explore the areas that are outlined in this guide, we suggest that you fly into Perth and then hire a suitable vehicle to undertake the remainder of the trip. For hints and tips on driving in Western Australia, please visit this site http://www.drivewa.com/. The majority of the Western Australian coastline is on the Indian Ocean, but also has coastline in the Great Australian Bight and The Southern Ocean.

Indian Ocean Drive

Indian Ocean Drive is a new stretch of road which runs from just north of Perth and goes all the way to Geraldton. The road was officially opened in 2009, and provides a mainly uninterrupted view of the Indian Ocean, and goes through many small fishing villages, national parks and farming properties.

Stop 1 – Yanchep and Yanchep National Park

Yanchep is a small town which is located approximately 75 kilometres north of Perth. The driving time to this destination will take around one hour. Yanchep is located right on the Indian Ocean Coast, and has pristine swimming beaches. There are some small convenience stores, restaurants, cafes and petrol stations. Yanchep National Park is approximately 20 kilometres east of Yanchep. This park is home to many native animals, and you can see kangaroos, wallabies and emus. The park is also known for its native Koala population and a series of caves. Please note that Australian national parks have certain laws that are enforced. For more information please see here http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/.

Lancelin

After leaving Yanchep, Lancelin is approximately 90 kilometres north along the picturesque Indian Ocean Drive. Lancelin is a small fishing town which is renowned for its kitesurfing and windsurfing. There is also a nice swimming beach, and there are plenty of facilities for food and shopping. For those who are experienced, there is a beach where four wheel drive vehicles are allowed.

Cervantes

Continuing north along Indian Ocean Drive, Cervantes is located approximately 85 kilometres north of Lancelin. Cervantes is also a small fishing town, known for its crystal clear water and swimming beaches. It is also suggested that you visit the nearby Pinnacles, which are natural limestone formations which can be found in Nambung National Park, just south of Cervantes. You can also visit Lake Thetis, which is a saline lake which contain Stromatolites, which are believed to be around 3.5 billion years old. Nambung National Park is also home to native Australian animals such as kangaroos, koalas, wallabies and emus. Cervantes has a small range of accommodation options, with hotels and caravan parks.

Cervantes Source:Author

Port Denison

Port Denison is located 155 kilometres north of Cervantes. The town is famous for its crayfish, and there are several seafood restaurants that will serve the local products. Port Denison is renowned for its excellent fishing and also has swimming beaches. A visit to the marina is also advised, where you can see the large fleet of crayfish boats entering and leaving the harbour.

Geraldton

Geraldton is the last stop in our guide. Geraldton is one of the larger regional centres in Western Australia and has a population of approximately 38,000. It is well known for is fishing industry, and has several beaches where you can swim and surf. Being a large regional centre, Geraldton has a variety of shopping centres, cafés, restaurants and clothing stores. You can also visit the maritime museum, or some of the older churches. Geraldton also has a cinema complex and frequently hosts carnivals and circuses. For those that enjoy fishing, there are a number of operators who offer fishing charters which specialise for all ages. There are a number of options for accommodation, ranging from 5 star hotels to caravan parks and seaside resorts. For further information about attractions in Geraldton, please visit this site http://www.geraldtonvisitorcentre.com.au/.

Sunset at Geraldton Source:Author

This concludes our guide to Geraldton and the mid north Western Australian coast. Please note that the information given here was correct at the time of publication, and please consider that weather events or other factors could cause a change in descriptions given here. Please ensure that you check conditions when you arrive in Western Australia.

Disclaimer

When swimming anywhere in Australia please be aware that certain beaches can be prone to rips and strong currents. Please always read and follow the relevant signs. More information can be found here http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Australia_and_Oceania/Australia/State_of_Western_Australia/Warnings_or_Dangers-State_of_Western_Australia-TG-C-1.html.

There are also several species of sharks that frequent the Western Australian coast. Whilst shark attacks and fatalities are extremely rare, it is suggested that all swimmers remain vigilant and swim at patrolled beaches and follow any signs that are placed at beaches. Avoid swimming at dawn and dusk as this has been identified as the high risk times for shark attacks. For more information, please see this site http://www.fish.wa.gov.au/Education-and-Partnerships/Shark-Hazard/Pages/Shark-sightings-and-response.aspx

Western Australia is also home to several venomous animal species, including spiders and snakes. Whilst bites and fatalities are extremely rare, it is advised that caution is taken and a first aid kit which includes a snake bite kit is carried at all times. Please visit this site for more information http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Australia_and_Oceania/Australia/State_of_Western_Australia/Warnings_or_Dangers-State_of_Western_Australia-TG-C-1.html.

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