Ideally situated between the Shark Bay and Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Areas, Carnarvon is a simultaneously a hub of adventure and a great place to rest, relax and recharge.
Enjoy an abundance of fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood whilst learning about the Gascoyne region's Indigenous and colonial pioneering heritage.
Carnarvon is a subtropical oasis and referred to as the 'food bowl' of Western Australia. The town produces 80% of Western Australia's total fruit and vegetable crops, and much of the State's seafood with a thriving prawn, scallop, crab and fishing industry, so you can enjoy an abundance of fresh food between adventures.
Carnarvon's central waterway, known as The Fascine, features several grassed picnic areas with BBQs, a swimming pontoon and children's playground, and is an ideal spot to catch the sunset whilst enjoying some local produce. Along the Fascine is the HMAS Sydney II Memorial, featuring 645 plaques to commemorate the lives lost aboard the HMAS Sydney II on 19 November 1941. The memorial was opened in early 2016 for the 75th anniversary of the ship's sinking.
Culture, Heritage + History
There are several striking historic buildings in Carnarvon. Take a walking tour through the Heritage Precinct to learn about Carnarvon’s heritage buildings and rich history, or collect a guide from the Visitor Centre and set off along the Heritage, Art and Cultural Trail at your leisure. Make sure you take in the public art and 26-metre-long mural, which tells the town's history in a vivid way, along Carnarvon’s main street (Robinson Street).
Gwoonwardu Mia, Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre is a multipurpose centre which celebrates the region's five Aboriginal language groups. Discover the region's Aboriginal history, art, heritage and culture through the Centre's permanent collection, exhibitions, Artist-in-Residence program and ethnobotanical garden. Peruse the gallery shop, showcasing work by Gascoyne regional artists, for a memento of your time in Carnarvon.
Visit Carnarvon's Space and Technology Centre to learn more about the town's little known role in space history! The Carnarvon Tracking Station played in the manned space program in the 1960s and 1970s, relaying the first steps of man on the moon to television stations in Australia, alongside Parkes Observatory. The Space and Technology Museum is located at OTC Satellite Earth Station, has various interactive displays and experiences including The Apollo (capsule) simulation, planetarium movies, NASA memorabilia, the space theatre and space shop. Open daily from 9:00am – 4:00pm (April to September) and 10:00am – 2:00pm (October to March).
Fresh produce grows around Carnarvon all year, and the main plantation season runs from May to October. Take a drive along the scenic North and South River Roads, aptly known as "The Fruit Loop", past working plantations - some of which operate roadside stalls where you can pick up a wide range of preserves, dried fruits and ice-creams made fresh from seasonal fruit and vegetables. Don't forget to check out the #InstaWorthy Cactus Garden along the way.
Fruit, vegetables and seafood can also be purchased directly from farm gates and the weekly Gascoyne Growers Market, which takes place on Saturdays between May and October in front of the Visitor Centre. The markets offer local tropical fruits, homemade ice-creams, ready to eat meals (perfect for travellers!) and a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, honey, cakes, jams, relishes, plants and homemade crafts. Tip: the markets are plastic bag free, so make sure to bring along your reusable bags. The annual Gascoyne Food Festival takes place in August, so if you're travelling around this time make sure to add it to your list.
Carnarvon's Seasonal Produce Calendar
- Year round: banana, butternut, cherry tomato, chilli, cucumber, eggplant, papaya
- January: capsicum, honeydew, mango, rockmelon, sweet corn, table grapes, tomato, watermelon, passionfruit
- February: capsicum, honeydew, mango, tomato, rockmelon, watermelon, passionfruit
- March: custard apple, honeydew, mango, rockmelon, watermelon, passionfruit
- April: beans, capsicum, custard apple, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, paprika, passionfruit, rockmelon, tomato, watermelon, zucchini
- May, June, July & August: beans, capsicum, custard apple, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, okra, orange, paprika, passionfruit, rockmelon, sweet corn, tomato, watermelon (available until end June)
- August & September: beans, capsicum, custard apple, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, nectarine, okra, orange, paprika, peach, plum, sweet corn, tomato, zucchini
- October: beans, capsicum, custard apple, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, nectarine, okra, orange, paprika, peach, plum, rockmelon, sweet corn, tomato, watermelon, zucchini
- November: beans, capsicum, custard apple, grapefruit, honeydew, mango, okra, orange, nectarine, paprika, peach, plum, rockmelon, sweet corn, tomato, watermelon, zucchini
- December: honeydew, jackfruit, mango, rockmelon, table grapes, tomato, watermelon
Fun fact: Carnarvon was the first location in Australia where bananas were grown!
In addition to fresh foodie experiences and culture and history waiting to be discovered, there is also an abundance of natural attractions and adventures waiting for you in Carnarvon.
Carnarvon is surrounded by dramatic spectacles and rugged landscapes. Witness the dramatic spectacle of the natural Blowholes and king waves. Take in the beautifully rugged surroundings and enjoy the surf at Gnaraloo, snorkel 'the aquarium' at Quobba, go wind or kite surfing at Red Bluff, and eco-camp at these locations.
For an off-the-beaten track 4WDing experience, head off to the Gascoyne Hinterland for the rugged outback to climb the world’s largest monocline, Mount Augustus, and explore the Kennedy Range National Park and its stunning Honeycomb Gorge. Or, see all of Carnarvon from above by Helicopter.
The Hinterland is also home to Rocky Pool, a great swimming spot (and day trip with picnic in tow!), located 55km east of Carnarvon on the Gascoyne Junction Road.
Getting to Carnarvon
Drive: Carnarvon is a 9 hour, 20 minute drive north of Perth.
Fly: Regional Express Airlines fly between Perth and Carnarvon.
Fly + Drive: Fly with Qantas to Exmouth's Learmonth Airport and drive south to Carnarvon (approximately 3.5 hours), or with Regional Express Airlines to Shark Bay Airport and drive north to Carnarvon (approximately 3 hours).