Posted On 07 May 2024
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This entry is part 10 of 29 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#30


Whether you travel by hook (via Kalbarri) or by crook (out to Denham) or even in a more or less straight line (to Mullewa), Geraldton’s surroundings have a lot to offer.


Founded as a sleepy outpost of the Swan River colony and later a port that relied mainly on shipping out the bounty of wheat produced by its hinterland, Geraldton is now quite a tourist centre, and is well worth a visit – especially if you’re heading up or down the Coastal Highway. The climate is mild in winter and hot in summer, when Geraldton also gets most of its rain. There are several museums in town worth seeing – check with the Visitor Centre at 246 Marine Terrace, call 1800visitgero or email There is plenty of accommodation of all kinds (although see next item below).


My favourite memory of Dongara is of sitting in a canvas café chair in the shade of an enormous fig tree (I think) which was one of many lining the streets of the town and providing a welcome respite from the brilliant summer sun and broiling summer heat of the Coastal Highway. I can still taste the icy apple juice I used to cool my insides.

Dongara and Port Denison are pretty seaside towns, and the latter especially has a substantial range of accommodation at prices generally lower than Geraldton’s. The Visitor Centre is at 9 Waldeck Street, call 08 9927 1404.


About 100km east of Geraldton along a good road, Mullewa is famous for two things: its wildflowers, especially the rare wreath flowers which grow in few other places, and the Church of Our Lady of Mt Carmel and the Holy Apostles St Peter and St Paul.

The latter was designed and built (often as a labourer) by Monsignor John Hawes, a remarkably talented and vigorous priest. It and Hawes’ house, which is now a museum, make a visit to Mullewa worthwhile even by themselves. And that’s from a non-Catholic! Late winter and spring are the best times for wildflowers.


There isn’t really much at Northampton, but the town has a bit of a nice arty-crafty vibe. The Geraldton to Northampton railway was the first government railway built in Western Australia, and the Mary Street Railway Precinct has all sorts of rolling stock and other railway bits and pieces. Call Bob or Mary on 08 9934 1118 if you want a guide, otherwise just wander around.

I like the way they’ve put the Visitor Centre in the old police station.

Call 08 9934 1488 or write to info@ Port Gregory and Horrocks are beach holiday spots nearby; the former lies on the road up to or back from Kalbarri.


Last time I was in Kalbarri, I stayed at the Murchison River Caravan Park, which faces the – you guessed it – Murchison River just before it flows into the sea. It was exceptionally well located and pleasant. Kalbarri is a pleasant town all round, with two attractions that I’d consider outstanding. The remarkable Kalbarri National Park is accessible from the road that leads in from the highway, and Rainbow Jungle lies a little to the south of town. It’s a kind of artificial rain forest, and among other things is famous for breeding rare species of parrots. Worth a look.


Considering that hardly anyone lives there, it’s remarkable that Hamelin has two remarkable tourist attractions. One is the Old Telegraph Station, which is just what it says but has been turned into a fascinating museum. Well, fascinating to me – I love old technology and its stories.

The other attraction is the pool of stromatolites of Hamelin Bay. These look like rocks but are in fact the oldest “living fossils” on Earth. They date from some 3.5 billion years ago and were instrumental in producing the oxygen that made it possible for animals, and eventually humans, to evolve. So don’t forget to go down there and say “thank you”.

You can stay at the caravan park or the homestead, but it isn’t far from Hamelin Bay to Denham and Monkey Mia.


As the nearest town to Monkey Mia, famous for its dolphins, Denham sees a regular fl ow of tourists.

It is a bit of an attraction itself, especially for fishing and boating, With many of its buildings made of compressed seashells and a remarkable view of Australia’s most westerly islands, Denham makes a useful and pleasant package. The caravan park/resort at Monkey Mia is favoured by many people, but I quite like the additional choice of accommodation and eating that the town offers.

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