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Explore Town

Geraldton

Visitor Centre:
Geraldton Visitor Centre
246 Marine Terrace
Phone: 08 9956 6670
Visitor website: www.visitgeraldton.com.au
General:
Geraldton is the key port and administration centre for the region. It is a comfortable four and a half hour drive from Perth, making it a good starting point for any holiday in the north-west.

One of Geraldton’s main attractions is its warm, dry climate and the town has become known as ‘Sun City’. It is a mecca for sun lovers, with its long white beaches and the unpolluted, clear waters of the Indian Ocean attracting surfers and swimmers from all over Australia.
History:
Although most archaeological evidence suggests Aboriginal settlement of the Geraldton region extends back at least 40,000 years, it was probably not until the 17th century that Europeans took an interest in this area.
In 1629, two Dutchmen were marooned on the coast by Francisco Pelsaert for their part in the Batavia mutiny. Despite the events surrounding the wrecks of the Batavia (1629) and Zuytdorp (1712) including some of the most treacherous and blood-thirsty episodes in the annals of maritime history, the Dutch had no major impact on the region’s development. Later, French voyagers also passed by the coast; however the first official visit to the area was made by a British Captain, Phillip Parker King, in 1822. In 1839, Lieutenant Grey and a party of 12 men were shipwrecked in Gantheaume Bay, forcing them to return to Perth on foot. They suffered terrible privation on the way and one young man died from starvation.
The following year H.M.S. Beagle charted Champion Bay and in 1849 John Septimus Roe, Western Australia’s first Surveyor General, surveyed the town site. The town was named after the Governor of the colony, Sir Charles Fitzgerald.
The Geraldine Lead Mine on the Murchison River was also named in his honour. It was the need to establish facilities for the export of lead from the Geraldine Mine that resulted in a port being built at Champion Bay and in 1860 a jetty was constructed to improve port facilities.
In 1879 a railway was constructed linking the mines at Northampton with the Port of Geraldton. This was followed in 1894 with the linking of Walkaway and Midland, via the Midland Railway Line.
Attractions:
The Abrolhos Islands
Geraldton is the gateway to an amazing archipelago of 122 coral islands located about 70km from the shore; the Houtman Abrolhos Islands. Composed of 3 groups of over 40 islands each, the Abrolhos boast an incredible range of marine life thanks to a unique mix of tropical and temperate marine species.
The Foreshore
Recently revamped, the central waterfront now boasts parks and gardens, bbqs, gazebos, showers, café, cycle path and the Geraldton Rest Centre. The dual cycle/pedestrian path along the Foreshore runs from the Marina to the Yacht Club and has become the focal point for Australia Day celebrations and the yearly Sunshine festival.
Hmas Sydney II Memorial
HMAS Sydney II, the pride of the fleet, was lost with all 645 hands in November 1941, just off the coast of Shark Bay whilst engaging the German Raider Kormoran. The memorial precinct, completed in 2001, is located at Mt Scott overlooking the same ocean where HMAS Sydney II fought its last battle. Just a few steps away stands a bronze figure of a woman looking out to sea, grieving for her loved one lost at sea. She is called The Waiting Woman. The views are great with access via walking paths and parking available on Gummer Ave. A yearly memorial service is held on November 19th at sunset.
The Geraldton Voluntary Tours Guides Association (GVTGA) runs a daily tour at 10.30am. Donations are welcome.
Fisherman’s Wharf
Adjacent to main wharf area, this is the hub of a $90m a year rock lobster industry and harbour for numerous fishing vessels. Crayfish export is one of Geraldton’s major industries. There are tours of the live lobster factory in season. Check with the Visitor Centre for more details.
Geraldton Regional
Art Gallery
Situated in the former Town Hall, it was the State’s first regional gallery. Changing exhibitions are drawn from local artists, the city collection and private collections.
Open: Mon to Sat 10am to 4pm, public holidays 1pm to 4pm.
St. Francis Xavier Cathedral (Roman Catholic)
Cathedral Avenue, opposite the Civic Centre. Built in stages from commencement in 1916, the cathedral was opened in 1938. Of Byzantine style architecture, it was one of the masterpieces of Monsignor John Hawes who, before joining the priesthood, was an architect in England. Much of his architectural genius can be seen in the Midwest region. Guided tours run Monday & Friday at 10am, Wednesday at 4pm. Fee applies.
Old Victoria Hospital
Opened in 1887 the Victoria District Hospital served the region until 1966, when the Geraldton Regional Hospital was commissioned. From 1967 until 1984, the Prisons Department took over the building for use as a minimum security prison. The State Government approved funds for the restoration of this historic site and in 1988 it was re-opened as the Bill Sewell Complex. The complex is now home to many businesses including the Visitor Centre and Yamaji Art Gallery. The Ex-Victoria Hospital Staff Association maintains an interesting display inside Victoria House. The display is open to the public Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. GVTGA run a tour of the complex each Tuesday and Thursday at 2pm departing from the Visitor Centre. Donations welcome.
Old Gaol (1856)
Located in the grounds of the Bill Sewell complex next to the Visitor Centre. Built 1856 it is the second longest serving gaol in WA after Fremantle. Today the gaol houses a gemstone display and locally made arts and crafts are on sale inside the former cells. Open Monday to Saturday 10am to 3.30pm. GVTGA run a tour of the complex each Tuesday and Thursday at 2pm departing from the Visitor Centre. Donations welcome.
Yamaji Art Gallery
Yamaji Art is 100% Aboriginal owned and operated Art Centre located behind the Geraldton Visitor Centre in the Old Victoria Hospital on Chapman Road. Yamaji Art provides professional services to support and develop Aboriginal artists living in the Lower Murchison region of Yamaji Country with a focus on sustaining cultural maintenance and arts practice while creating economic benefit. Paintings, linocut prints, jewellery and musical instruments are for sale at the gallery and online. Open Tuesday to Friday 11am to 4pm or by appointment.
Birdwood Military Museum
On display is a collection of military artefacts derived from the Boer War through to the conflict in Afghanistan. There is plenty of memorabilia associated with HMAS Sydney II and some rare WWI items. Corner Chapman Rd and Forrest St. Open Mon 9 to 12, Thu 9 to 2, Fri 5pm till late, Sun 11 to 2 or by appointment.
Donor Awareness Fountain
The fountain, a project initiated by the McDowell family of Geraldton following the tragic loss of their daughter, honours and pays tribute to organ and tissue donors from the Mid West and raises awareness of the importance of organ donation.
Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage
Built in 1870, this cottage was home to the first lighthouse keeper and his family, servicing the original tower on the beach below. It is now the headquarters for the Geraldton Historical Society and is open to the public Tue, Thu & Friday from 10am to 3.30pm. Admission fee applies. Located on Chapman Road, Bluff Point, 2km north of the Visitor Centre. The original tower on the beach has been turned into a small stone monument and is accessible via St George Beach carpark.
Point Moore Lighthouse
Located at the western extremity of Point Moore with its distinctive white and red stripes the lighthouse has been operating continuously since 1878. Originally brought out from England on the barque Louisa is the only all steel structure lighthouse in Australia. Not open to the public however there is a very
interesting interpretive plaque out the front.
Separation Point Lookout
Off Willcock Drive. Views south of Southgate Dunes and over-looking Grey’s Beach and Mahomet’s Beach.
Cathedral of Holy Cross
Consecrated in 1964 and at the time was the only building of its kind in Australia. The shape is that of a star pointing east. It contains 15 solid stained glass windows.
Free Tours
Bureau of Meteorology
Visit Geraldton’s weather office and learn where and how the data that’s collected is used in the formulation of weather forecast and determining the forecast. Tours are conducted by appointment between 12.15 and 1.30pm. Call 9923 3671 for bookings.
Black Pearls Showroom Tours
Local jewellery shops working with Abrolhos Islands black pearls offer complimentary tours of their showroom/workshop. Book at Visitor Centre.
Queens Park Theatre
The Queens Park Theatre is proudly owned and operated by the City of Greater Geraldton and is Geraldton’s landmark entertainment and conference venue. Opened in March 1982, the Theatre boasts a 673-seat auditorium (including box and circle seating), two large foyers with bars, a reception room, and a 500-seat outdoor amphitheatre. The building’s exterior is regal and the interior is distinctly plush, enabling it to present high-class performances and conferences with sophistication.
Wildflowers
Geraldton is the perfect homeland to begin your wildflower adventure with many thousands of visitors utilising the Geraldton Visitor Centre annually as their first port of call for all the information they need! With hundreds of species, wildflowers bloom all year round however the most spectacular time known as 'The Wildflower Season' usually falls between late July to October. This is the time to be dazzled with fields of pink, yellow and white everlastings, and of course the beautiful and unique wreath flower.
Water Based Activities
The magnificent beaches of Geraldton on the Batavia Coast provide a smorgasbord of water-based recreation and sporting activities and are world renowned as a Mecca for windsurfers and kitesurfers. Geraldton is regarded as one of the greatest locations in the world for windsurfing. The best conditions are in October/November and March/April. The strongest breezes occur in mid-summer and are ideal for high speed slalom racing. Some of the main windsurfing beaches are: - Point Moore, St Georges Beach, Sunset Beach and Coronation Beach. For relaxation there is beach fishing or, if you prefer to ‘check it out’ yourself, go diving for a close-up of unique and magnificent corals.
Festivals and Events
• Wind on Water Festival – Australia Day
• Nukara Music festival – March
• Valley View Vintage Military Fly & drive – April
• Geraldton Boat, Caravan & Camping Show – April
• Mullewa Muster & Rodeo – June
• Mullewa Wildflower show – August
• Mullewa AG show - August
• Big Sky writers & readers Festival – September
• HMAS Sydney II memorial Service – 19 November
• Sunshine Festival - October school holidays
• Carols by Candlelight - December