The fresh local produce of Western Australia’s Coral Coast is a taste sensation that’s not to be missed. No matter where or how you choose to dine, be sure to sample some of the region’s great flavours.
Visit Cervantes for western rock lobster, Dongara Port Denison for rum tastings, Geraldton for great coffee and dining, Kalbarri for fresh fish, Shark Bay for prawn and cockles, Carnarvon for tropical fruits, vegetables and seafood and Exmouth for prawns and great dining.
A thriving commercial fishing industry adds a huge variety of seafood to the fresh local produce platter of Western Australia’s Coral Coast. During the lobster fishing season, from November to June, the waters between Cervantes and Geraldton burst into life as one of the country's premier fishing fleets bring in their catch of the day.
Further north lies Carnarvon - the food bowl of Western Australia. Supporting thriving horticultural and fishing industries, the region provides an abundance of produce to be sampled all year round.
Here's how you can eat and drink your way around the Coral Coast ...
Events and Festivals
The Gascoyne Food Festival is Coral Coast's premier celebration of produce from the region. Running from August to September, the event showcases a stunning collection of destinations hosting unforgettable events from Exmouth, Dirk Hartog Island, Mount Augustus and Carnarvon. This is a must-do event on any foodie’s itinerary.
As part of the Gascoyne Food Festival 2020, put Dirk Hartog Island on your foodie itinerary for this unique event, the Island Life Festival, September 17-21. 2020. Think platters of Shark Bay prawns, plump scallops, juicy snow crabs, stiff fresh whiting and pink snapper paired with an island paradise off the Coral Coast, in Shark Bay, ready to welcome foodies and nature-lovers.
Brews and Bites
Froth Craft Brewery is an award winning, family-friendly micro-brewery and restaurant serving up delicious local produce, artisan craft beer brewed on-site, and great coffee… what’s not to love. Also featuring regional and national artisanal cider & ginger beer to enhance your experience. Open 7 days a week from 11am till late.
Dongara is home to the Illegal Tender Rum Co started in 2015. They are producing 3 world class spirits which have won 16 international awards so it's an exciting time to visit their cellar door. At this multi-award-winning craft distillery, you can take an exclusive in-depth tour of the facility with a personal guide who will take you through the distilling process on a tour and tasting. Make a day of it and stay for lunch at their new restaurant, the CommonPlace (check website for opening times). Tours are on the hour from 11am to last tour at 4pm.
What a combination… freshest local seafood possible, rustic setting and pit fires, onsite microbrewery and live music every Sunday. A dining experience at Finlay's is a must when visiting Kalbarri. Open for lunch and dinner, from 12pm to 10pm Wednesday through to Sunday and every day during school holidays.
Lunch …and a tour!
Cervantes is just a two hour coastal drive north of Perth on the new Indian Ocean Drive, where you can experience this small coastal fishing town and get yourself a seafood platter to brag about. Based just 17kms from the famous Pinnacles at Nambung National Park, Lobster Shack in Cervantes is a commercial lobster processing factory offering the complete lobster experience from fishing pot to cooking pot to plate! Take a self guided tour for a firsthand look into the regions multi-million dollar lobster industry, then treat yourself to a quality lobster lunch. Lobster Shack is open 7 days a week from 11am to 3pm. Tours from 12-3pm each day (no need to book).
The Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative operates Live Lobster tours in their state-of-the-art processing plant located at Geraldton Fishermen’s Wharf. The tour provides a behind-the-scenes insight into this multi-million dollar regional industry. The tour aims to educate people on the Western Rock Lobster industry and why the clear waters of the Indian Ocean are a haven for this seafood delicacy. Tours depart Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10am. After your tour, head to Barnacles on the Wharf for some spectacular lobster to feed your hungry crew.
Dining with a view
With views across the Port Denison marina to the Indian Ocean beyond, Southerlys features fresh produce from the Irwin region including Dongara Crayfish (WA Rock Lobster) fresh from the sea daily, award winning Mid West olives, famous Dongara Bakery bread and local Irwin region wines, to accompany the freshest seafood direct from Geraldton. Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week.
Offering a rooftop bar experience with sensational views across the Indian Ocean from Geraldton, Old Man and the Sea is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Bar open to both in-house guests of The Gerald Hotel and the public from Thursday to Sunday during Spring and Summer (September to April). Featuring an extensive range of beers, wines and cocktails, the Old Man and the Sea also is the place to enjoy burgers and international “street food” prepared by our Chefs.
This restaurant is Geraldton's premier waterfront dining experience, situated on the Batavia Marina. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and all the in-betweens from 6.30am until 9.30pm, you can enjoy it all; coffee & cake, tapas, meals or cocktails all day every day. Skeetas specialises in fresh seafood dishes. In fact, if you join a lobster pot-pulling tour on the morning of your Skeetas booking, they will deliver your catch to Skeetas to cook up for your dinner.
Ocean Park Aquarium is an award-winning, eco-friendly aquarium located on the pristine shores of the Shark Bay Marine Park in Denham. Enjoy the wonders of the ocean with a guided tour of the aquarium and spectacular views from inside or the deck of Oceans Restaurant. You will find that Ocean Park will deliver an experience unlike any other. Ocean Park is open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm (Closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day), with Aquarium Tours from 9am to 3:30pm
Mantarays Restaurant and Bar is located in the Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort just metres from the waterline on Sunrise Beach in Exmouth. At this Gold Plate Award winning restaurant, you can enjoy fresh local seafood while you watch whales frolicking in the Exmouth Gulf. Mantaray's restaurant is open seven days a week – 6:30am to late.
Located in the heart of the Exmouth Escape Resort, this family run restaurant is a relaxed dining experience specialising in fresh, local seafood in a family friendly environment. Live music is a regular feature at the restaurant with solo or duo acoustic acts playing on the deck while you enjoy your meal. Whalers is the perfect addition to complete your visit to Western Australia’s world famous Ningaloo Reef and surrounds.
Cute and casual
Jaffle Shack – Geraldton
This is Geraldton's unique hangout. As the name suggests, this cafe serves up delicious jaffles (toasted sandwiches), along with great coffee and a fantastic atmosphere. Open for breakfast and lunch, grab a takeaway while you catch up with mates at this great little cafe! Jaffle Shack has an extensive menu of savoury & sweet jaffles with gluten free and vegetarian options available. Geraldton foreshore Jaffle Shack is open Monday to Sunday 7am - 3pm.
Piper Lane Café – Geraldton
Kick start your morning in Geraldton with a visit to Piper Lane Cafe. Serving up Five Senses coffee & delicious food, all made in-house, Piper Lane Cafe is open for all-day breakfast and lunch with plenty of delicious ready to go daily cabinet specials. This little gem is just what you need! Open Monday - Saturday: 730am - 3pm.
This new cafe is conveniently located in the Ningaloo Centre, Exmouth. The all-day menu is affordable and offers value for money, a range of cakes, slices and scones, all freshly baked on the premises, and a range of gourmet ice-creams. Add a dash of northern Western Australia to your day, as the coffee is roasted in Broome and supplied by the Kimberley Coffee Company. During the season, the cafe operates 8.30am-3.30pm Monday to Friday and 8.30am-2pm on Saturday & Sunday.
Located just 35kms north of Geraldton, Oakabella Homestead is classified by the National Trust, and steeped in historical significance. Oakabella Homestead is heritage tourism at its finest. Join a tour of the farm precinct, and follow it with a visit to the Oakabella Country Kitchen serving world famous scones, breakfast, and lunch (licensed).
You can also experience an Aussie Outback Bush Tour and Dinner, learning about bushtucker foods, listening to the captivating sounds of the didgerdoo at sunset, before returning to the Homestead for a home cooked campfire dinner.
Relax and unwind from the stresses of every day with a unique Station Stay and enjoy life on a working cattle station to experience rural Australia at its best. Bullara Station prides itself on Barista made coffees made with Western Australian roasted beans, served up daily (8.30am to 12.00pm) at the homestead, to wash down freshly made warm scones while you relax in the shade or lie on the grass. Enjoy Damper and Dinner nights around the campfire and at the Shearers Shed.
Farm Gate, Food Trails, and Grower’s Markets
Also known as the Gascoyne Food Trail, The Fruit Loop Trail is approximately a 10km round trip and showcases Carnarvon's lush horticultural region yielding a delightful and diverse array of produce. Take a drive along the scenic North and South River Roads which take you past working plantations – some of which run roadside stalls or shop fronts where you can purchase a wide range of preserves, dried fruits and ice-creams made fresh from seasonal fruit and vegetables. Plantation operators are value adding by producing a massive range of quality sauces, jams, pickled fruit, wines, ice creams and dried fruit.
While you are there check out the Cactus Farm, which is quickly becoming #InstaFamous.
A trip on the Coral Coast isn’t complete without a Chocolate Coated Banana. Don’t forget to get your photo with the 'Big Banana’ at Bumbak's. The major variety of banana grown is the giant Cavendish type. Head to the Carnarvon Visitor Centre to pick up your Gascoyne Food Trail map.
Gascoyne Growers Markets - Carnarvon
Carnarvon Town Centre, every Saturday morning 8-11.30am from May to October, the town comes alive with the Growers Markets. Held on the grounds at the front of the Carnarvon Visitor Centre, the markets are run by the growers themselves and there is plenty of beautiful fresh produce available, as well as coffee and breakfast treats.
Dongara Town Markets – Dongara
On the corner of Waldeck & Smith Street, every Saturday 8.30-12noon, has a great variety of stalls to browse, with plenty of fresh local produce, fruit and vegetables, honey, preserves, sauces, and arts & crafts. Listen to live entertainment with coffee in hand, while browsing the stalls.