Things to See & Do
Whether your trip to Onslow is for work or play, you’ll find an interesting variety of things to see and do in and around Onslow.
Blending natural attractions, a quintessential Aussie coastal lifestyle, and mining investment, the growth of the community is evident while still maintaining its small town feel.
Originally known as Ashburton, Onslow in Western Australia is a pretty coastal town with a history steeped in sheep and cattle farming, pearl farming and gold mining. It is the oldest town in the Ashburton Shire.
Onslow’s history is well represented and documented at the Goods Shed Museum.
In the early settlement days, pearls were found in Exmouth Gulf and the town became home port to a fleet of pearling luggers.
The town has been touched by cyclones over the years and even war in 1943, when a single Japanese plane reached here in World War II, bombing the airfield.
Onslow boasts a warm, sunny climate, with average annual temperatures ranging between
19.2 °C – 32.1 °C.
The original township of Onslow was located at the mouth of the Ashburton River, 18km from Onslow.
Built in the 19th century, it was relocated to the new townsite where Onslow exists today, and originally provided port access for local station owners and graziers.
Ruins of the original buildings such as the post office, hospital and police station remain today, and the pioneer cemetery dates back to 1897.
Download the Everythere App on your iPhone or Android to experience an interactive tour of Old Onslow. As you explore the site the app recounts fascinating stories, including historical photos and audio from a bygone era.
Staircase to the Moon
Onslow is one of the best places in Western Australia to view the Staircase to the Moon – a spectacular natural phenomenon seen only in the northern region of WA.
Occurring from March to November, the Staircase to the Moon is caused by the rising of a full moon reflecting off exposed mudflats at low tide, creating a beautiful optical illusion of stairs reaching up to the moon.
The Neil and Judy Baker Shell Museum houses Australia’s biggest shell collection.
Neil, an 84 year old Onslow local, has been a fisherman for most of his life and spent over 60 years developing his impressive seashell collection to include thousands of stunning specimens.
Now on display at 50 Third Avenue (a 5 minute walk from the Onslow Beach Resort), open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, or visit through the Hidden Treasures Tour run by the Onslow Visitor Centre.
Hidden Treasures Tour
Discover Onslow’s quirky stories, fascinating sights and hidden attractions in this 2-3 hour tour.
Book at the Onslow Visitor Centre.
The Onslow Beach Resort sits right on the Beadon Bay shorefront, which has a beautiful stretch of untouched Pilbara coastline and breathtaking views out to the Mackerel Islands on a clear day.
The beachfront’s fine red sand, typical of the Pilbara area, is ideal to enjoy coastal walks or energetic runs.
The bay has an incredibly calming quality, and curves around to capture both sunrises and sunsets!
The Ashburton River was believed to have been first charted circa 1627, and originally named ‘Willem’s River’ by Dutch voyagers.
There are a wide variety of fish and bird species often spotted, including barramundi, mangrove jack, heron, black swans and bush-stone curlew.
Camping is allowed along the banks of the river at 3-Mile. There are no facilities, so you must bring everything you need.
This is a popular area with the locals, as is 5-Mile, which is also a favourite swimming hole.
Termite Mounds & Ant Hills
Marvel at the prolific termite mounds and ant nests in their natural state dotted around the Onslow landscape.
These red sand structures contrasting against the blue sky and green shrub land are a unique, unmissable feature providing fantastic photo opportunities.
Goods Shed Museum
Located only a few steps from the Onslow Beach Resort, the Goods Shed Museum is a historical building, listed by National Heritage.
It was originally built in 1904 in Old Onslow, but was moved into the new Onslow townsite in 1925.
It contains many historic artefacts, and gives a true insight to Onslow’s history.
Ian Blair Memorial Boardwalk
Onslow’s Ian Blair Memorial Boardwalk is a timber walkway that starts at the lookout at Beadon Point and winds through natural vegetation to Sunset Beach.
A great way to enjoy the sunrise or the sunset during a leisurely stroll.
Onslow has two lookouts located a short distance from one another, with both providing a wonderful view of the ocean and incredibly colourful sunrises and sunsets.
From the lookouts you can see the remains of the old jetty.
At the bottom lookout, nearest the caravan park, is a monument to those who were lost at sea
during Cyclone Bobby in 1995.
Onslow Anzac War Memorial
In 2008 a new Anzac War Memorial was erected at Beadon Point in Onslow, depicting the Australian Defence Force’s badge emblem of the Rising Sun insignia.
The sculpture is geographically positioned so that the rays of the rising sun shine directly through the arch at dawn on each and every Anzac Day.
Designed by internationally acclaimed artisans Charlie and Joan Smith of Smith Sculptors, the work is a technical feat of astrophysics to achieve the accuracy required for the flaming sun orb to appear centre stage within the sculpture as it rises over the bay.
With the inscription “We Will Remember Them”, the memorial commemorates Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women who have served in all wars and conflicts.
The Annual Onslow Rodeo is a must-see community event if you are around town or passing by in August.
Live music performances, children’s entertainment, stalls, food and riders bring all the fun of the rodeo.
Held every year, the Onslow Rodeo is a true insight to the town’s outback culture with many travelling from the local stations to attend.
Onslow Salt Pty Ltd is one of the largest employers in Onslow. The state-of-the-art solar salt plant occupies approximately 90 square kilometres of what was natural salt flats in the immediate surroundings.
The area is a fascinating place to visit – you can see how salt is produced, from initial pumping of seawater into the concentration ponds, through to evaporation, crystallisation, harvesting and purification to the final product: the salt we use every day.
Since the establishment of Onslow Salt’s ponds, many species of bird and wildlife have been attracted to the area and you may see pelicans, cormorants, wading birds, sea eagles, as well as kangaroos, emus and wild turkeys during your visit.
Chevron’s Wheatstone Gas Project
Chevron’s Wheatstone Natural Gas site is located close to the Old Onslow Townsite where a large gas processing plant was constructed during 2012/13.
The development that is currently being seen in Onslow and the growth of the town is largely due to the arrival of the Wheatstone Project in the area.
The offshore Wheatstone and nearby Iago natural gas resources are located about 200km (124 miles) north of Onslow off Western Australia’s coast.
Onslow Beach Resort is the gateway to the Mackerel Islands, and a visit to Onslow isn’t complete without a trip out to this barefoot paradise, famous for its snorkelling, fishing and island holiday fun.
Stay in a beachfront cabin with everything you need for pure relaxation.
Located just 45 minutes by boat from Onslow, you can book your island stay, ferry transfers or boat mooring, tours and activities with us here.
To find out more about the Mackerel Islands, visit www.mackerelislands.com.au.
Located 75km east of Onslow (7km off the NW Coastal Hwy, along the Onslow-Peedamulla Rd), Peedamulla Station and Campground is an Aboriginal owned and run working cattle station open to the public for visits and camping, developed in conjunction with Tourism WA’s Camping With Custodians initiative.
Peedamulla Station was established in the 1880’s and once carried over 35,000 sheep. Almost 100 years later after cyclones, floods, drought, 7 owners and re-stocking with cattle, the Parker family was appointed managers and later purchased the station. Today, Peedamulla operates as a cattle station and campground. Visitors in mid-July may be lucky enough to see the annual muster herding hundreds of cattle ready for market.
The campground office is a beautifully restored stone heritage building, surrounded by a collection of objects showing some of Peedamulla’s rich history. The remains of other buildings around the office, which are listed on the State heritage register for their significance, show a bygone time.
Activities include guided and self-guided 4WD tours and trekking – see www.peedamulla.com.au/activities for more.
For more things to see and do in Onslow visit the Onslow Visitor Centre at ashburton.wa.gov.au