The Mid West W.A.
The Mid West region of Western Australia offers contrasting holiday experiences that range from great beaches, cliffs and gorges to gold mining history, pioneer settlements and a world renowned wildflower experience.
The famous white sands of southern W.A. begin to creep along the coastline which is in turn lapped by the magnificent blue green waters of the Indian Ocean.
Kalbarri is the Mid West's 'jewel in the crown' with stunning cliffs and one of the best National Parks in Australia.
The areas around Geraldton are famed for Windsurfing, a testament to the onslaught from coastal winds which see trees at nearby Greenough grow horizontally, parallel to the ground.
The Houtman Abroholos Islands, 60km off the cost of Geraldton are used by the crayfish (lobster) fishing fleet. The Mid West is Western Australia's largest fishery and getting a feed of fresh seafood is simple. The Abroholos Islands also offer the opportunity to visit on live-aboard charter boats. Viewing these impressive Indian Ocean gems is also possible by air.
The Mid West coast is also rich in maritime history with many ships lost on the treacherous reefs offshore. An interesting tale is that of the Dutch East Indies ship, Batavia which was wrecked on the Abroholos in 1629. Mutiny occurred followed the systematic torture, rape and murder of 125 survivors. When order was finally restored a trial was held and the culprits had their hands amputated and were then hanged. The area is known as The Batavia Coast.
Driving inland brings encounters with old gold mining areas and towns like Sandstone display some interesting solutions to the problems faced by the early miners in a harsh environment.
With great scenery, lots to do and plenty of maritime, pioneer and gold mining history the Mid West makes for a memorable place to visit.
Facts about The Mid West
Area: 472,336 km²
Population: 52,000 approx. More than 50% reside in the town of Geraldton
Climate: The Coastal Mid West experiences a mild Mediterranean climate with hot/dry summers and mild/wet winters. Inland areas are subject to an arid climate with very hot/dry summers and cold/dry winters
Geography: Ranges include the flat topped Moresby Ranges near Geraldton, the Weld, Nicholas, Dividing, Montague, and Robinson ranges. The region tends to be relatively flat apart from the river valleys formed by the Greenough, Chapman and Irwin rivers. Spectacular gorges have been carved by the Murchison River near Kalbarri. Coastal fringes are characterised by white sand with most pasture country consisting of shallow loams and deep sands.
Flora: The Mid West region hosts the typical Eucalypt and Acacias trees with paperbark lining the watercourses and shrubby saltbush plants hugging the coast. Kalbarri National Park boasts 800 species of flowering shrubs but the Mid West region is widely know for it's wildflowers. August and September bring the best displays with everlastings, banksias, grevilleas, kangaroo paws , wreath flower, hakea, heath brush and spider orchids all putting on a show.
Fauna: Rare Western Spiny-tailed Skinks, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, Malleefowl, Peregrine Falcon, Square-tailed Kite, Wedge Tail Eagle, Emu, Red Kangaroo, Western Grey Kangaroo, various wallabies and snakes, lizards skinks, goannas and other reptiles.
Mid West Attractions
- Fishing, Windsurfing, Sand Dunes, 4WDriving, Beach Camping and coastal recreational activities
- Kalbarri Coast and Gorges
- Houtman Abroholos Islands
- Historic Town of Greenough
- Shipwreck and settlement history of Geraldton
- Mining history at Meekatharra, Mount Magnet and Sandstone
- Ellendale Pool
- Wind Farms
- Pioneer buildings
- Wiluna and the start of the Canning Stock Route
Geraldton, Greenough, Dongara, Port Denison, Kalbarri, Carnamah, Coorow, Leeman, Green Head, Cue, Meekatharra, Mingenew, Morawa, Mount Magnet, Sandstone, Three Springs, Wiluna, Perenjori, Yalgoo, Paynes Find
Getting Around The Mid West
Geraldton - which is the major centre of the Gascoyne, is 424km from Perth while Kalbarri is about 600km from Perth. Tours and buses run into the region frequently while domestic airlines and car rental companies service the major centres.
Towns and attractions are reasonably spread out and accommodation is plentiful. Like touring most of Western Australia, being self-reliant and having your own vehicle is the best bet.
The inland mining towns such as Meekatharra, Mount Magnet and Sandstone are peppered with small sites of local historical value. The ability to pull up your own car and sightsee at your own leisure is an advantage.
Best Time to Visit
Western Australia is renowned for it's strong winds and he best time to visit the Houtman Abrolhos Islands is during March, April and May. The best time to see the wildflowers of the Mid West is from August to September.
Kalbarri to the north of the region is pleasant all year round. Summer temperatures get fairly warm but the town is tempered by afternoon ocean breezes - sometimes extremely strong winds. The Murchison River has carved some spectacular inland gorges at Kalbarri National Park which is a fair distance from the coast and gets considerably hotter than the beach.
Those who spend a fair amount of time hiking around cliffs, gorges and the bush may find the cooler months from May through September a better proposition.
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