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For years Geraldton has always been a quick transit stop on my travels further north. On the last visit though, I made sure I had a few days to explore.
Here are the things I uncovered on my last trip including where to stay and where to eat. If you have some time up your sleeve, make sure that you give Geraldton a few days of your attention. Along with being a great spot to spend a few days, it’s also an excellent hub to explore the mid-west region and is only a day trip away from Kalbarri.
Things to do in Geraldton
Hang out at The Esplanade
The recently revamped Esplanade, located at the southern end of the foreshore is a great place to hang out, especially if you have kids in tow.
The Esplanade area has plenty of shaded grassy areas, BBQs and makes for a good spot for a picnic or place to chill out and relax – there’s free WIFI too near the visitor’s centre. Take a wander along the pier at the southern end for a close-up view of the ships coming into port and a peek at the resident sea lion colony on the rocks at the port entrance.
Located on the beach from October to March, Ultimate Watersports has heaps of water sports activities available. Rent a jetski, standup paddleboard, kayaks and tonnes more. Alternatively, try wakeboarding, jetfoiling or go on a jetpack. Take a look at the activities on offer here.
Visit the West End
Located on the southern end of Marine Terrace near the Visitor Centre, the West End is your place for cool cafes, boutiques, street art, wine bar and an excellent Men’s Shed that’s worth a peek.
There are plenty of options for coffee and brekky on this little strip. Personally, I like the Piper Lane Cafe, only because I love quaint places. Not far away Cafe Fleur and The Jaffle Shack are equally nice options. Slightly further down Marine Terrace heading south, The Quiet Life was anything but quiet and a popular spot with the early morning cycling crowd who discovered that this is where you get Geraldton’s best cuppa.
Get arty at the Aboriginal Yamaji Art Centre
Also on Marine Terrace, the Yamaji Art Centre deserves its own mention. This is an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre and houses a beautiful display of indigenous artwork.
The ladies that worked here on my visit were lovely and more than happy to chat about the fantastic works on display.
Aboriginal art from the mid-west area is unusually colourful thanks to the vivid and bright wildflower display in Spring. Each painting has its own story and you can read a description of the artwork on the back of the canvas.
Brush up on History
Beautifully located on the Batavia Coast Marina, the Museum of Geraldton deserves a few hours of your time. Find out more about the region, including its wildlife and maritime history. There’s a big range of interactive displays and an excellent 3D film about the HMAS Sydney.
There’s a separate shipwreck gallery that recounts the region’s interesting maritime sagas. Much of this dedicated to the Batavia and there’s also a replica of one of the Longboats.
Go to a Market
On a Saturday morning, don’t miss the Farmers Market at Maitland Park on Cathedral Avenue. This is great spot to come for community vibes, as well as the opportunity to stock up on produce straight from local farms, orchards and home kitchens.
On Saturday and Sunday morning, check out the Platform Markets at the old railways station on Chapman Road. These markets offer a whole lot more than the cottage crafts I was expecting and host a range of wares from some very creative people. There’s also plenty of goodies to eat, as well as local fruit and veg.
Hit the Beach
Like the rest of West Australia, Geraldton beaches are spectacular. Take your pick from the stunning Back Beach where you can walk along the soft white sand for kilometres on end, surf at Sunset Beach or enjoy the sheltered waters at Town Beach.
Whatever you’re into, there’s a beach for you – snorkelling, sunbathing, surfing, kiting or windsurfing. For detailed information about Geraldton’s beaches click here.
HMAS Sydney Memorial
One of the most notable sights in Geraldton is the HMAS Syndey Memorial perched on the top of the hill on Gummer Ave. This touching memorial is in remembrance of the crew of the HMAS Sydney which sunk of the coast of WA during WWII.
There are daily tours of the memorial at 10.30 and the site offers panoramic views of the coastline.
Visit the Lighthouse
The candy cone coloured lighthouse is located at Point Moore and on completion was completion was Australia’s fourth tallest lighthouse at 34 metres high. Its beam can be seen 26 kilometres out in the ocean.
For more Lighthouse History, you can visit the Keeper’s Cottage on Chapman Road, which has been turned into a museum.
Go to the cinema
The Film Harvest showcases the best alternative films every Wednesday night at the Orana Cinema. There’s a different movie on each week including Japanese animation and the best indie films from past and present.
Visit a church
If you’ve travelled around the mid-west, chances are you’ve come across the architecture of Monsignor Hawes. His finest work is probably the St Francis Xavier Cathedral on Cathedral Street in Geraldton’s town centre. The church really is remarkable and unique, especially the interior with the striped walls. There’s also an adjacent museum on Hawes.
Places to visit near Geraldton
Visit a haunted building
It may have a reputation as one of the state’s most haunted buildings but Oakabella Homestead and Tearooms makes for a lovely outing and a step into the past. The heritage listed buildings offer a great insight into the pastoral life of the 19th century. There’s also a lovely tearoom on the verandah with the best scones in WA and enjoy the views. Oakabella also hosts regular events, including market day and themed dinner nights.
Oakabella is located 35km north of Geraldton. Find out more here.
See a Pink Lake
The pink lake at Hutt Lagoon is an unusual sight and has been the backdrop for fashion shoots and tourism campaigns. Its pink colour is caused by a type of algae and used as a food colouring agent.
The lake is located approximately an hour and a half from Geraldton near Port Gregory and can be accessed along Grey Drive.
Visit the Houtman Abrolhos Islands
The Houtman Abrolhos Islands are a chain of over 100 islands, surrounded by turquoise waters and home to plenty of marine creatures. It makes for spectacular diving, snorkelling, surfing or just a stroll on the beach. Check here for some incredible tour options.
Explore a 19th Century Town
Stroll around a bygone era at the historic settlement of Greenough. Located south of Geraldton off the Brand Highway, the historic settlement town is now administered by the National Trust and is considered one of the best preserved 19th-century towns in Australia.
The buildings at the settlement were built between 1863 and 1913 and give an interesting insight into what life was like for the early settlers of the mid-west.
Visit Ellendale Pool
Located 45km southeast of Geraldton, Ellendale Pool is a favourite spot for locals.
Ellendale Pool makes for a lovely day out or an extended camping stay. You can swim or canoe in the natural rock pool on the Greenough River. For more on Ellendale Pool click here.
For a pub atmosphere and good spot for a drink or food try The Provincial Cafe and Wine Bar on 167 Marine Terrace
Excellent Italian food and service are on offer at L’Italiano Corner Foreshore Drive and Fitzgerald Street.
Open for dinner on Friday and Saturday night Salt Dish Cafe is a cosy cafe style restaurant with a seasonal menu, friendly staff and BYO. The cafe is located on 35 Marine Terrace.
Plan your trip
Geraldton Hotels and Motels
Geraldton has a good range of accommodation ranging from five-star hotels to more affordable motels, backpackers and caravan parks.
Ocean Centre Hotel – overlooking the foreshore and directly in the town centre, the Ocean Centre HOtel is definitely one of the prime-rated locations in Geraldton. The rooms are spacious, modern and many have ocean views. There’s also an onsite restaurant and bar. Check here for the latest price and make a booking.
Wintersun Hotel– one of the best budget option with modern rooms available for under $100 and includes a free breakfast. The hotel has a bar, restaurant and a swimming pool. It’s not quite in walking distance from the centre or the beach, but both can be reached in a few minutes with a car. Check here to see the latest price.
Geraldton Backpackers – prime location opposite the foreshore and in the town centre. It’s not just for backpackers either, along with the usual dorm-style rooms, there are single, and double rooms available too, with communal kitchen and friendly staff. Check here for the latest price.
Sunset Beach Holiday Park – beautiful location on Sunset Beach, on the north side of town. The holiday park includes sites for caravans and also has beachside self-contained cabin style chalets and is one of the few places in Geraldton that has direct beach access. Check here for the latest price.Check here for the latest price.
Waldorf Geraldton Serviced Apartments – one of the pricier options but one of the top picks, especially for an apartment. Located near Champion Bay in one of Geraldton’s more upmarket suburbs, Waldorf’s has spacious and modern 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments. There’s also a great pool area, hot tub and lounge. For the latest pricing and bookings, click here. Waldor’s is within walking or cycling distance to the foreshore and town centre. Check here to see the latest price.
Zebras Guest House – one for the couples, Africa-themed Zebras has individually decorated rooms, including adult’s only rooms. There’s loads of attention to detail and amenities, including a kitchen and laundry facility for guests. Zebras is located in Tarcoola in the south end of town and within walking distances to one of the most scenic beaches in Geraldton. Check here for the latest price.
Geraldton is an RV Friendly town. This means that if you’re travelling with a self-contained campervan or caravan you can use the services and amenities, including dump points for free. The site is located in the Francis Street Carpark at the southern side of the Esplanade and near the Visitor’s Centre. Click here for a map.
Getting to Geraldton
Bus to Geraldton
Drive to Geraldton
Perth to Geraldton drive is 412km either along the scenic Indian Ocean Drive or on Brand Highway and takes approximately four and a half hours.
Geraldton Car Hire
Car hire in Geraldton is available from the airport or town centre.
Save it for later
What did I miss? Would love to hear any more tips you have for Geraldton in the comments below.
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