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Geraldton- visit the stunning West Australian coastal playground
There is plenty to do in this exciting town!
Geraldton is a coastal port and tourist town with a population of about 30,000, about 450 kilometres North of Perth. It lies on what is known the Batavia Coast. It features many shops and businesses and is central to the mining towns of Meekatharra, Cue and Wiluna who all ship their ore through this busy port. You can get a direct flight to Perth from most countries or you can fly from Melbourne, Sydney or Adelaide.
This town is a coastal ocean playground and features top fishing, whale watching, surfing, and hiking.
Note that in the summer it can get to 50 degrees fahrenheit. Make sure you take plenty of water and that your car is mechanically sound. Also take insect repellent. In winter it can rain a lot, and at night the temperature can hit zero degrees. Once you hit Geraldton you are in cyclone country from about May to September so be aware of that.
Once you get to Perth, there are two routes you can take. The inland road via Midland or Wanneroo, or the scenic coastal route via Wanneroo, north east through Lancelin, Cervantes, Jurien Bay and Dongara to Geraldton which is 450 kilometres away. The coastal route is by far the best one. You can catch a bus direct to Kalbarri. Look up TransWA on the internet for a timetable and cost.
Petrol stations, public toilets and food shops are in all of the towns mentioned, as well as backpacker hostels and motels and caravan parks. You will not find McDonald’s, HJ’s or Kentucky Fried, although you will in Geraldton. These towns are on the beach and here you can fish, surf, swim or hike as well as go on a fishing or whale watching.
The scenery you will see along the way will be the coast on your left, which is magnificent, and on your right a mix of farmland consisting of crops such as Wheat, Barley and Canola as well as cattle and sheep. You may see kangaroos and emus along the way so watch out for them on the road.
About 15 kilometres from Geraldton on the right you will come to the historic little hamlet of Greenough which is both famous and infamous. It is famous for its original historical convict settlement, which houses a shop and a museum boasting over 5000 artefacts. It has been fully restored and boasts original convict living quarters and a church. It is fantastic and must not be missed.
On the left hand side you will see a sign for a collector’s antique bookshop and pub, this is well worth a look.
Greenough is infamous for this- On 21st February 1993, in a little farmhouse on the right hand side in Greenough, William Patrick Mitchell hacked a young family to death with an axe and then raped them. Murdered were mother Karen McKenzie 31, her children, Daniel 16, Amara 7, and Katrina 5.
Mitchell is serving life in Casuarina Prison for the murders. I tell you this grisly story so you will at least know the history of the place, although this was a one off incident.
As you are travelling into Geraldton on the left, you will see a caravan park followed by two garages. Along this stretch of road both left and right, are reasonably priced motels and a good cheap bottle shop at the Comfort Inn on the right.
Geraldton consists of a mining and shipping port along the beach, fronted by huge silos and grain storage areas. You will also find wholesale seafood shops here but they are not that cheap. Directly North of this, about 500 metres is the single main Street. In Geraldton you will find two main shopping centres, one with a Coles named Northgate and one with a Woolworth’s at Stirling’s. There is also a few IGA stores.
Note that if you are purchasing your own food and petrol, and travelling on to Kalbarri or Carnarvon it might pay to buy food and fuel up in Geraldton, as Northampton, Carnarvon and Kalbarri food prices are about an extra 50%, and petrol is about 10 cents a litre extra!
The main street has banks, a surf shop, pharmacy, newsagency, pie and cake shop as well as clothes shops and the Freemasons Hotel, which has entertainment in the form of live bands on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night as well as award winning meals. They are expensive though.
One street over is the Camel Bar. Walk past the TAB and turn right. They fire up with live music on a Friday and Saturday night. The security people at both pubs are anal, so be warned. They are red hot on under-age drinking and can be autocratic and arrogant steer clear of them. Look out for the police in Geraldton too, they are right on the ball and will get you if you drink alcohol while driving.
The Geraldton Beach Hotel is more of a working man’s pub, they have strippers as does the Sundowner hotel/motel north of the town. The Provincial bar and Café in the main street is good for a quiet feed, as is Latitudes bar north of the town along the beach road, which also has live entertainment and has a Sunday Session. Up nightclub and Breakers night club go off late on a Friday and Saturday night
You should visit the old gaol and museum on the corner of Bailey street and the main street. It used to be a backpackers but it is closed, also visit the World War 2 ship “Sydney” memorial up on the hill.
In the main street you will find three backpackers. One is the Camelier’s which is good and cheap. Another one is called the Foreshore Backpackers . Look on the net for the other one. Note you cannot have alcohol in these places. You can go to many good fishing spots in Geraldton as well as hire a boat, a yacht or go on a fishing charter. A trip to the Abrollhos Islands is also possible. They do have an airport about 15 kilometres out of town.
The city has many shops and industries of all kind as well as a large hospital. It also features a golf course, a shooting club, a theatre, a picture theatre, Government owned and run Art Gallery and separate museum and on the beach-front the biggest Dome Café in Australia.
Backpackers can get work at the local meatworks, the hotels or at the fish processing factories, work is seasonal. There are about three job agencies, a Centrelink office, a large police station and a post office. There is a bus station in the main street at the old train station, and next to it a motor vehicle registration and licence branch.
For a good day trip go and see the Wind Farm at Ellendale which is about 25 kilometres south west of Geraldton. You will find 54 wind turbines and just past that Ellendale Pool, you cannot swim there though or you will get menginitis
That thrillseekers is Geraldton.
There are several areas that Geraldton is not safe to go at night. Stay away from Utakarra, Spalding, Rangeway and Webberton. These places can be dangerous to travellers. I live here so I should know.