AUSTRALIA’S CORAL COAST & NORTH WEST ADVENTURES
Onslow is easy to get to with direct flights from Perth, or explore on a memorable road trip. Central to many coastal and outback attractions showcasing Western Australia’s dreamy natural beauty, go beyond this laid-back beach town to iconic destinations. You’ll discover incredible landscapes, beaches, reefs, red dirt tracks, gorges, canyons, waterfalls, starry skies, Aboriginal culture, delicious food and wine, wildflowers and wildlife.
Virgin Australia offers daily 2-hour flights from Perth to Onslow
1,400km or one and a half day’s drive on fully sealed roads from Perth to Onslow
A SPECIAL KIND OF MAGIC
Western Australia’s North West and Coral Coast regions have some truly breathtaking scenery, filled with the striking colours of red pindan sand, green bushland, colourful wildflowers, blue skies, white beaches and turquoise waters. This is where the outback meets the sea, a place filled with gorges, waterfalls and reefs. Well-known for its vast, sweeping plains, the remoteness imparts a special kind of magic to travellers passing through these coastal outback regions.
The landscape changes with the dry and wet seasons the further north you travel; the weather is described as ranging from a Mediterranean climate, through to arid and tropical. In the Pilbara region, May-October is sunny and warm with temperatures usually 20-30°C (but can drop to near freezing inland), and November-April can be hot and balmy with temperatures at 30-40°C. A storm will bring rainfalls in heavy, short downpours in the late afternoon and evenings, with great lightning shows, dramatic sunsets, thundering waterfalls and plenty of wildlife.
If driving through the region, we recommend you plan ahead as the wet season can sometimes close roads due to local flooding. Read more about road safety information and trip journey planning.
The Mackerel Islands, lying just off the mid-coast of Western Australia, are one of WA’s best kept holiday secrets. A collection of 10 islands and atolls located 22km from the mainland of Onslow, or 1400km north of Perth, in the spectacular Pilbara region. One of these islands welcomes guests – Thevenard Island – home to a fringing reef, sandy beaches, secluded bays, gorgeous sunsets and wildlife encounters.
Stay in a choice of 2, 3 or 5 bedroom beachfront cabins overlooking the Indian Ocean. The cabins are air-conditioned and feature comfortable king size or single beds, a fully self-contained kitchen, dining and lounge area with a TV and DVD player, private bathroom and outdoor BBQ deck.
A 45 minute ferry service operates twice a week from Onslow, or you can take your own boat across and hire a mooring. The island also has a 1,000m airstrip for private light planes and charter flights. Onslow is easy to reach from Perth by car on a road trip, or direct flights on Virgin.
Experience the magic of one of WA’s favourite island getaways with warm, sunny days year round. Explore the island, ocean and reefs on a self-guided or organised tour. Discover the incredible sea life teeming underwater and learn about the island’s resident sea turtles. On land, immerse yourself in nature, see a famous Pilbara sunset and watch an incredible canopy of stars come out each night.
Activities: Dinner Under The Stars, Island Explorer Hire Boats (Plakas), Kayak Hire, Stand Up Paddle Board Hire, Body Board Hire, Snorkel Hire, Fishing Rod Hire & Tackle Store, Beach Sports Equipment.
Tours: Self-Guided Tours – Turtle Interaction, Whale Watching, Bird Watching, Jetty/Beach Fishing, Nature Trail Walk, Beachcombing, Stargazing. Guided Tours – Sunset 4WD Bus Tour, Back Beach Bus Trip, Island Sustainability Tour. School Holidays – Kids Fishing Clinic, Guided Reef Walk at Low Tide, Guided Home Reef Snorkel, Island Reef Eco Snorkel Tour, Sunset Boat Cruise Tour.
Whether you’re seeking a family holiday, a group getaway, a castaway-style adventure or a romantic retreat, you’ll find your ideal escape here.
Mackerel Islands guests receive a 10% discount off Onslow Beach Resort accommodation when staying pre or post your island stay. To get the discount, book direct with us on (08) 9184 6444 or [email protected].
Onslow to Mackerel Islands Distance:
Thevenard Island 22km (12 nautical miles) / 45 minutes by boat
Direction Island 10km (5.5 nautical miles) / 20 minutes by boat
CORAL BAY & EXMOUTH
Coral Bay and Exmouth are home to the world heritage listed Ningaloo Reef and Cape Range National Park.
The Ningaloo Reef is the world’s largest fringing reef, and one of the longest near-shore reef systems in the world, stretching 300 kilometres along WA’s coast. It gained a UNESCO World Heritage listing in 2011. It is recognised as one of the most biologically diverse marine environments on the planet, home to more than 250 species of colourful coral and over 500 species of tropical fish. For real adventure-lovers, nothing compares to the exhilaration of swimming with the world’s largest fish – the whale shark – which visits Ningaloo between late March and mid-July and can grow up to 16 metres long.
Cape Range National Park is approximately 50,581 hectares and features rugged limestone ranges, wide canyons and 50km of pristine beaches. Wildlife is abundant with a variety of birds, emus, echidnas, lizards, rock wallabies, kangaroos and dingoes commonly sighted. A stunning array of wildflowers can be seen in late winter, including Sturt’s desert peas, mulla mullas, wattles, everlastings, native fuchsias, fanflowers, dampiera and hibbertia.
From Onslow you can reach Coral Bay and Exmouth by car, and before you know it, you can be swimming with their famous whale sharks.
Onslow to Coral Bay Distance:
380km / 3 hour & 50 minute drive
Onslow to Exmouth Distance:
400km / 4 hour drive
TOM PRICE & KARIJINI NATIONAL PARK
Tom Price is WA’s highest town (747m above sea level) and is primarily an iron ore mining town. It sits deep in the Hamersley Ranges at the foot of Mount Nameless (Jarndunmunha) which is 1128m high and has spectacular panoramic views over Tom Price and the Rio Tinto Iron Ore Mine. In local Banjima language, the Aboriginal name Jarndunmunha means ‘wallabies live near here’.
See one of WA’s largest working open cut mines and be awed by the massive iron ore-extracting machinery.
Karijini National Park is WA’s second largest national park, located about 80km from Tom Price.
This spectacular park is packed with adventures and breathtaking sights – 100 metre deep canyons and gorges, red cliffs, stunning lookouts, towering waterfalls and emerald coloured rock pools. Explore the rugged Joffre Gorge and Joffre Falls, Knox Gorge, Hancock Gorge and Kermit’s Pool, Weano Gorge and Handrail Pool, Kalamina Gorge and Rock Arch Pool, Dales Gorge, Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool, Hamersley Gorge and Spa Pool, and hike Mount Bruce (Punurrunha).
In a word, Karijini will thrill you. Climb down into a labyrinth of marbled rock, clamber over boulders, squeeze through narrow tunnels, inch your way along ledges, paddle along hidden waterways and descend deep into ancient chasms which have been eroded into the landscape over two billion years.
Go bushwalking, hiking, wild swimming and 4×4 driving on unsealed roads. Encounter wildlife, beautiful bushland and wildflowers (in season, typically June to September). At night, watch a glorious Pilbara sunset and the sky fill with a blanket of stars. Time your visit with low moonlight to see the Milky Way.
Stay at the 100% Aboriginal-owned Karijini Eco Retreat for the ultimate glamping experience, with a choice of luxury, deluxe or standard eco tents, eco cabins and campsites, plus an on-site restaurant and bar. From here, you can access the Karijini NP’s walks or guided adventure tours, and experience a taste of genuine mateship and friendly hospitality in outback Western Australia.
Onslow to Tom Price Distance:
410km / 5 hour drive
Onslow to Karijini Distance:
450km / 5.5 hour drive
Karratha adjoins the Port of Dampier in the Pilbara, and is a thriving hub for large mining and industry facilities. Massive quantities of salt, iron ore, copper and natural gas are produced there, and account for approximately 25% of Australia’s national economy.
Karratha is the ideal base for exploring the delights of Millstream-Chichester National Park, Dampier Archipelago, Hearson’s Cove, Point Samson Peninsula and the Burrup Peninsula.
Taking its name from one of WA’s early pastoral stations, from which the land was resumed, Karratha is an Aboriginal word meaning “good country” or “soft earth”.
For many centuries, the region has been home to Aboriginal communities, and the nearby Burrup Peninsula features the world’s most prolific Aboriginal rock engraving sites, with over 10,000 identified examples. Please be aware that these are sacred sites, some of which are not open to the public, so contact the Karratha Visitor Centre for information about visiting local Aboriginal rock art sites.
Onslow to Karratha Distance:
300km / 3 hour drive
Geraldton lays claim to being the only city along Australia’s Coral Coast and has established itself as a contemporary coastal hub of cafes, shops, street art and galleries and one of Western Australia’s
best kept secrets.
The city’s beaches and Mediterranean climate make it a hot spot for water sport enthusiasts and visitors looking to soak up the sun on its pristine beaches.
Geraldton is also the launching pad for exploring the spectacular Houtman Abrolhos Islands, more commonly referred to as the Abrolhos Islands, and their surrounding coral reef communities form one of Western Australia’s unique marine areas.
The Gerald Apartment Hotel is located in the heart of gorgeous Geraldton and only a short, leisurely stroll to local eateries, shops, offices and the beautiful beach and Geraldton foreshore.
The award-winning, boutique style 40 room hotel features Geraldton’s only rooftop bar – Old Man and The Sea, The Batavia Coast Conference Centre – the largest conference space between Perth and Broome and Bob’s Boutique Bar – well known for the best gin range in the region and show casing the region’s best produce by way of Tapas.
The hotel rooms are tastefully designed to reflect a passion for guest enjoyment, each of the rooms exhibits a unique floor plan and incorporates hand selected artworks, crisp white sheets and fluffy pillows. Amenities include waterfall showers, large desks, super-fast Wi-Fi and an all-inclusive mini bar when you book direct.
The Gerald Apartment Hotel proudly won WA’s Best Regional Accommodation Hotel is 2018 and 2021.
Onslow to Geraldton Distance:
965km / 9 hour & 45 minute drive