Carnarvon Visitor Centre

Catch the sights

Town Attractions

CARNARVON HERITAGE PRECINCT

HISTORY OF THE ONE MILE JETTY

As the pastoral industry developed in Carnarvon in the late 1800s the local population pressured the government of the day to develop a port for the town.

By 1897 the jetty had been built and wool and livestock produced in the region began to be exported to Fremantle and essential goods for the town were imported using state shipping.

In 1904 the head of the jetty was added and in 1912 the jetty head was widened because of increasing traffic, including passengers.

Carnarvon was the first port in Western Australia which loaded livestock on board ships for transport to markets.

The One Mile Jetty once boasted an animal race the length of the jetty along which the sheep and cattle were driven from holding yards where the Interpretive Centre is today.

The jetty transport system and diesel locos on the tramway ceased in 1966 when state ships stopped calling.

Road train transport commenced, and the jetty began to fall into disrepair until 1998 when the community banded together to save what is the longest jetty in the north of the state.

Although the jetty is currently closed, you can walk along the boardwalk through the mangroves and down to Dwyer’s Leap.

 

FOR THE HISTORY BUFFS

Railway Station Museum

This museum houses the Kimberley Steam Train, which was brought down from Broome in the 1950’s. It was the last steam train to operate in the North West.

Shearing Hall of Fame

The Heritage Group in collaboration with The Gascoyne Pastoral and Shearing Museum Inc have opened Western Australia’s first Shearing Hall of Fame.

Read about gun shearers and big sheds. Learn about the golden days of the Gascoyne shearing industry in the 1950s.

Light House Keepers Cottage

This museum is a cottage which was built around the 1900s to house the lighthouse keeper and his family and used until the 1970’s. The building has now been restored and houses memorabilia from bygone days.

One Mile Jetty Interpretive Centre

The Interpretive Centre is home to the HMAS Sydney II/ HSK Kormoran Display. This famous Australian battle off the Gascoyne Coast in 1941 is remembered and told in the Centre. You can also view one of the lifeboats in which 46 German survivors came ashore north of Carnarvon. The new exhibition will open in March/ April 2019.

FOR THE NATURE LOVERS

Old Tramway Walk Trail

This 2.5km walk trail runs the length of the tramway from the Town Bridge (Fascine Town Beach) to the Heritage Precinct. Trains once travelled from the One Mile Jetty to the goods yard in town, where the Civic Centre Woolshed stands today.

Nature Based Walk Trail

For a shorter walk is the 400m trail from the Precinct to the Gascoyne River Mouth with views of the river and the jetty. The Mangrove Boardwalk as its name suggests, meanders out into the mangroves where one can be at peace with nature and take in another aspect of the One Mile Jetty. This boardwalk has been constructed by students using recycled plastic materials and is an ongoing project.

FOR THE THRILL SEEKERS

You can’t walk but you can fly! Coral Coast Helicopter Services are always up for a breath-taking flight over this extraordinary piece of history, also taking in the Carnarvon town site. The Heli-pad is located at the Sunsets Café, so take-off is right over the mangroves and right along the One Mile Jetty. Thrill seekers will have the opportunity of flying with no doors on the helicopter.  Flights are available daily, though pre-bookings are recommended. More information and bookings contact the Visitor Centre.

FOR THE FOODIE LOVERS

When it comes to food, the Sunsets Café is definitely a place to eat! New on the foodie scene of Carnarvon, Sunsets Café offers Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.  While enjoying the delicious food, Sunsets offers magnificent views of the One Mile Jetty and the mouth of the Gascoyne River.

FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHY BUFFS

The jetty is the perfect base for sunrise and sunset images, with Carnarvon producing some of the most magnificent sunrises and sunsets in Western Australia. We suggest you pack a picnic and sit on the edge of the One Mile Jetty and capture all the magical moments.

The One Mile Jetty was recently CLOSED due to unsafe conditions. The Heritage Precinct are working to redevelop the site and reopen the Jetty for walking. It’s still worth a visit with lots interesting history, great for sunsets and extraordinary food from the Sunsets Café. It’s the place to be seen on a Sunday with live entertainment, delicious tapas and scenic flights over the One Mile Jetty. Coral Coast Helicopters Services has built a permanent Heli-pad to allow for scenic flights over the One Mile Jetty, available any day of the week. Bookings are essential as these guys are always zipping around the area! Get in touch with the Visitor Centre to find activities and events happening at the Heritage Precinct.

CARNARVON SPACE AND TECHNOLOGY MUSEUM 

HISTORY OF THE OTC DISH

The Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum celebrates the little known history of the role Carnarvon played in the manned space program and in the Australian satellite communications industry.

In 1966, the Casshorn antenna locally known as the ‘Sugar Scoop’ was used for the first television broadcast from Australiato the BBC in London. The program was called “Down Under Comes Up Live”.

On 21 July 1969, the day of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the Casshorn antenna which stands beside the OTC Dish relayed Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon from NASA’s Honey Suckle Creek Tracking Station to Perth’s TV audience via Moree earth station – the first live telecast into Western Australia. Later in 1969, the larger 29.6 metre wide steerable antenna was built to facilitate better communication between the NASA Tracking Station and the USA.

The Carnarvon Tracking Station (no longer standing) was located 10 kilometres south from Carnarvon. The station was built to support NASA’s Gemini, Apollo and Skylab programs. It was commissioned in 1964 and operated for 11 years. It was the last station to communicate with the space capsules leaving the earth’s orbit, and the last to make contact before splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. At the height of the operation it had a staff of 220 people.

The OTC Satellite Earth Station is now the site for the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum, located approximately 6km from the town centre. The OTC Satellite Earth Station was opened in1966, initially the 12.8 metre wide Casshorn antenna known as the ‘sugar scoop’ was part of the global satellite communications system. The museum focuses on two parts, the Carnarvon Tracking Station and the OTC Satellite Earth Station, for which each station played separate roles in the early space industry.

Phase One of the museum was officially opened by retired NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin in 2012, Phase Two by Australian born astronaut Andy Thomas in 2014 and Phase Three in 2016 by “The Last Man on the Moon” astronaut Gene Cernan. In 2018 a new display was built to honour the first American in space Alan Shepard. The full size 25 meter tall mock up of a Mercury Redstone sits proudly sits at the entry of the museum. The museum is operated by a small dedicated group of volunteers and is mainly self funded.

Apollo Experience

Jump inside the full-size Apollo capsule to experience a near to real life experience of the Saturn V launch. The capsule shakes and rattles while you take off! 

Planetarium

Every half hour enjoy the wonderful movies in the 6 meter diameter inflatable planetarium. It’s a full on visual experience discovering space.

Space Theatre

Take a step back in time, relive the touching moments and watch the short documentaries of the space communications.

Museum Displays

On display throughout the museum is the full size Gemini and Apollo Capsules, original Mercury, Gemini and Apollo consoles, official piece of Skylab and OTC and NASA memorabilia.

Interactive Displays

In the “Phase Three” building there are several interactive displays for kids of all ages. Try and land the Space Shuttle, learn about solar power and lots more!

Space Shop

You could find a wide range of unique gift ideas at the Space shop including memorabilia items of the Space and Technology Museum. For the Gold Coin collectors, you can find your very own Space Coin to add to your collection.

FRESH LOCAL PRODUCE 

The plantations surrounding Carnarvon produce a diversity of fruit and vegetables and approximately 70% of Perth’s winter vegetables are grown in the area. While the banana is commonly associated with the area an abundance of other produce is also grown within the region including crops of tomatoes, beans, capsicums, asparagus, sweet corn and pumpkin to name a few. The area is also home to a number of tropical fruits such as mangoes, paw paws, citrus, stone fruit, grapes, avocados and star fruit.

Visitors can take a drive along the plantation roads to observe what is being grown and make stops along the way at Plantations who provide shops for the public to purchase produce direct. Most of these shops are small family run businesses and operate on an honour box system. However some plantations have branched out to now offer jams, preserves, dried and frozen produce, ice creams and smoothies.

Gascoyne Growers Markets/ Carnarvon Art & Craft Market

During the winter months growers sell their produce direct to the public at Saturday morning markets held at the Carnarvon Civic Centre. The Gascoyne Growers Market runs in conjunction with a thriving Art and Craft market which sells a variety of items including jams, preserves, jewellery, books, photographs, cosmetic products, cakes, spices and a variety of other home-made crafts.

The markets are a hit with locals and visitors alike who enjoy the chance to have a coffee and make their purchases in a relaxed environment, while picking up tips from the growers and enjoying some of the samples provided during local cooking demonstrations.  The markets run annually from late Mid May- Mid October.

Gascoyne River

The Gascoyne River is unusual in that the water sits unseen below the riverbed in underground reserves for the majority of the year. Periodically the river flows visibly after heavy rainfall is experienced inland. This provides an impressive sight for visitors & locals alike who are lucky enough to be in town to watch the water come in.

 This water filters through the river sand to the underground aquifers, and from there  is drawn to supply the town and horticultural area’s water. For this reason the river is often referred to as the life blood of Carnarvon.

Seafood

Much of the state’s seafood comes from the waters off Carnarvon with a thriving prawn, scallop, crab and fishing industry operating from Carnarvon. During the season freshly caught seafood can be purchased directly from outlets located at the Small Boat Harbour and Norwest Seafood’s Babbage Island factory. Information on outlets can be found in the Gascoyne Food Trail brochure.

FISHING IN CARNARVON

Fishing is an extremely popular pastime in Carnarvon and the surrounding coastal areas. Great fishing spots are in abundance for all skill levels, from the beach at Pelican Point, to the One Mile Jetty or the small boat harbour. One of the most popular fishing spots in town is off the One Mile Jetty as the end section spans a deep channel.

South of Carnarvon are fishing and crabbing spots including Oyster and Uendoo creeks, New Beach, Bush Bay and Gladstone.

North of town Visitors can enjoy spectacular beach fishing at Miaboolya Beach, or game fishing from the Blowholes and all the way up the Quobba Coastline through to Gnaraloo.

 Dorre & Bernier Islands are located some distance off the coast of Carnarvon and are accessible by boat. These islands are one of Carnarvon’s best kept fishing secrets. Fish such as Pink Snapper, Spangled emperor, Red Emperor, Coral Trout, Groper, Cod, Spanish Mackerel & Cobia are just a few of the fish species caught in the area.

 The best time to visit the islands is from April to October. Bernier Island allows access during the day only and no camping permitted on the island.

Dorre island is a A1 class reserve meaning access onto the island is prohibited at all times, however there are many bays around both islands in which you can anchor and sleep on your boat overnight.

 During the months of May to November it is common to spot whales frolicking in the crystal clear waters during their migration period.

 For tide times and fishing tips contact the Carnarvon Visitor Centre or drop by one of the local tackle shops for some inside information. Please be mindful that there are a number of sanctuary zones along the coast where fishing is not permitted. For further information on these locations you can contact the local Fisheries office.

FASCINE, CARNARVON’S WATERFRONT

This picturesque reserve can be found at the end of the main street just a short distance from the main shopping area of town. The waterway is often home to a variety of boats and water activities and is fringed by a pretty palm lined pathway for those wishing to enjoy a leisurely stroll.

A playground and BBQ facilities are also available on town beach near the tramway bridge for those wishing to relax while enjoying one of the Fascines magnificent sunsets and even glimpse some of the dolphins who frequent the waterway.

LOCAL BEACHES

FASCINE Town Beach – Located on the Fascine, this is a safe beach for kids and adults alike. You can also swim to the pontoon in the Fascine.  Fishing can be done anywhere in the Fascine.  A good spot is on the footbridge.

Pelican Point – Located at the end of Pelican Point Road.  It is a popular beach for kite surfers.  There are friendly little crabs that will crawl on your hand.

SURROUNDING BEACHES

Miaboolya Beach– Located 22km north of Carnarvon. It’s a popular swimming, crabbing and fishing spot. Miaboolya’s main creek is cut off from the ocean by a sand bar for months at a time, creating a coastal lagoon. Miaboolya Beach is the only beach in the Coral Coast Region where clothes are optional.

New Beach/Bush Bay – Located 35km south of Carnarvon, via the North West Coastal Highway. Partly unsealed. Camping is permitted. It’s a great fishing spot

DAY TRIPS FROM CARNARVON

Rocky Pool – Located 55km east of Carnarvon you will find the magical location of Rocky Pool. After driving along Carnarvon Mullewa Road you will turn to the left (north) along a 4km unsealed road.   It is a beautiful picnic spot with a fresh water pool in one of few places along the Gascoyne River which holds water long after the river ceases to flow.  It has gum trees surrounding it and there are kangaroos and birdlife to see.  No facilities are available, and camping is not permitted. 

Blowholes – Located 75km north of Carnarvon, along a sealed road. Pack a picnic and snorkelling gear and head to this natural phenomenon, an awe-inspiring sight to see and must do when visiting Carnarvon. Powerful ocean swells force water through sea caves and up out of narrow holes in the rocks, jets of water erupt into the air, sometimes to a height of 20 metres, creating a spectacular sight.Mother Nature is simply amazing, but it is important to check the surging tide, wind and swell, which gives that large blow! Although the coast is serene it can be deadly, with a dangerous swell that can turn into king waves, capable of crashing over the top of the rock ledge. This coastline needs to be treated with caution and care – lives have been lost by unsuspecting souls here.

Rocky Pool

SNORKELLING

The ‘Aquarium’ at Point Quobba – Located 75km north of Carnarvon and 1km south of the Blowholes is Point Quobba, a calm coral filled lagoon with fish and shells in abundance. With a white sandy beach this area is ideal for snorkelling, safe swimming, sun bathing and a great family picnic spot much favoured by locals. This is also a camping area with an overnight fee to be paid to the site ranger.

BIRD WATCHING

Carnarvon is known as a popular Bird Watching spot for nature lovers. Some of the birds found in the area include the Whistling Kite, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Little Eagle and Brown Falcon. Flocks of Cockatiel, Budgerigar and Galah may be sighted. Honeyeaters wander over the region in search of flowering shrubs such as Eremophila species. 

Locations around Carnarvon such as Chinaman’s Pool, Miabooyla Beach and New Beach Bush Bay are great spots for bird watching. Visit www.carnarvon.org.au/floraandfauna for more information and pop into the Visitor Centre for a Bird Watching Guide.

Bibbawarra Bore –Located 16km north of Carnarvon, via Bibbawarra Road Crossing which is partly unsealed. The Bibbawarra Bore was discovered in 1905 when looking for coal. However, instead of coal they struck hot artesian water.A 180-metre-long trough was built for livestock watering, cooling as it flowed along. The trough was the longest in the Southern Hemisphere and was built in 1940. The Bore has a depth of 914m, with water gushing at 97,741 litres (21,500 gallons) per hour and temperatures of water reaching approximately 68 degrees. Today, it’s known as a popular bird watching spot. Birds such as  the star finch and fairy wren may be spotted if you are lucky.

Chinaman’s Pool– Once gave Carnarvon its fresh water supplies, when people carried the water ninto town. Now it’s a popular spot to see birds that live on or close to water on the coastal plains such as ducks, cormorants and Australasian Darter. On the River Sand Bars are Yellow – billed spoon bird, Common Sandpiper and Black-fronted Dotterel. In the gum trees look out for Nankeen Night-Heron, Peaceful Dove, Blue-Winged Kookaburra, Striated Pardalote and Back-faced Cuckoo-shrike.

 

21 Robinson Street, CARNARVON WA 6701

Phone: (08) 9941 1146

Fax: (08) 9941 1149

info@carnarvon.org.au

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