COASTAL + OUTBACK ATTRACTIONS
Coral Coast & North West Adventures
Onslow is easy to get to and central to many coastal and outback attractions showcasing Western Australia’s natural beauty, flora and wildlife.
By Air – Virgin Australia offers daily 2-hour flights from Perth to Onslow
By Road – 1,400km or one and a half day’s drive on fully sealed roads from Perth to Onslow
Western Australia’s North West and Coral Coast regions have some truly incredible scenery, with a mix of red pindan sand, green bush, wildflowers, blue skies, turquoise waters, rocks, gorges, waterfalls and reefs. Most popular for its vast, sweeping plains, the remoteness imparts a special kind of magic to travellers passing through these outback regions.
The landscape changes through the dry and wet seasons the further north you travel, with the weather 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.
Visit this page for road safety information and trip journey planning.
The Mackerel Islands are a collection of 10 pristine islands and atolls scattered off the mid-coast of WA, 22km from the mainland of Onslow. Two of the islands welcome guests – Thevenard Island and Direction Island – with accommodation, facilities and activities.
Go fishing, snorkelling, kayaking, SUP boarding, stargazing, whale spotting and turtle watching, and discover the magic of one of WA’s favourite island getaways.
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. Stay in a choice of budget rooms or beachfront cabins on Thevenard Island, or for the ultimate wilderness experience, rent your own island with a sole beach shack on Direction Island.
The Mackerel Islands are the amazing, off the beaten track experience you’ve been looking for.
From Onslow the islands can be reached via a ferry service, or bring your own boat and hire a mooring. Thevenard Island also has its own airstrip allowing private planes or scenic flight transfers.
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 one of the longest fringing coral reefs in the world, stretching 300 kilometres, and 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.
Cape Range National Park is approximately 50,581 hectares and features rugged limestone ranges, breathtaking deep canyons and 50km of pristine beaches. Wildlife is abundant with a variety of birds, emus, echidnas, lizards, wallabies, kangaroos and dingoes commonly sighted. A stunning array of wildflowers can be seen in late winter, including Sturt’s desert peas and the beautiful bird flower.
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
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
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.
See one of WA’s largest working open cut mines and be awed by the massive iron ore-extracting machinery.
Karijini National Park is located about 20 minutes south east of Tom Price and is WA’s second largest national park and one of the most spectacular sights in the Pilbara.
It’s a park packed with adventures – 100-metre canyons and gorges, stunning waterfalls and emerald coloured rock pools. Explore the serpentine tunnels of marbled rock, clamber over boulders and squeeze through narrow tunnels, inch your way along ledges, paddle through hidden waterways and descend deep into chasms which have been eroded into the landscape over two billion years.
Onslow to Tom Price distance: 410km / 5 hour drive
Onslow to Karijini distance: 450km / 5.5 hour drive