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Surely one of WA’s best-kept secrets, the seaside city of Geraldton is the thriving hub of the midwest region, and the ideal base from which to explore its attractions. It’s a city with flowerbeds above and below the sea, and nature lovers call in to see carpets of colourful wildflowers in spring.

Surf enthusiasts are drawn here on the promise of consistent summer winds and perfect waves; history buffs visit to view the museums and drive trails, and the watery graves of notorious shipwrecks.

Why fly for a day to a crowded, humid, polluted dive destination when there’s pristine reef on your doorstep? The Houtman Abrolhos – informally the Abrolhos Islands – are a must-see for water babies, with clear seas and coral formations you’ll never forget. Among the world’s most important seabird breeding sites, the islands are also home to Western Australia’s largest single-species fishery, for the mighty Western Rock Lobster.

Geraldton’s stunning foreshore redevelopment offers alfresco cafes – some serving said lobster – with gorgeous ocean views, while nearby Town Beach is ideal for a relaxing picnic. Geraldton’s burgeoning arts scene has become another highlight, with galleries, street art and unique boutiques topping off a cosmopolitan coastal destination that rivals any holiday spot on the planet.

Top 10

  1.  Take in the views at the HMAS Sydney II memorial on Mount Scott, and honour the 645 crew who perished in 1941.
  2. Take a scenic flight or boat ride to the Abrolhos Islands.
  3. Go diving off the islands to explore shipwrecks and view marine life.
  4. Visit the National Trust treasure that is Central Greenough Historic Settlement.
  5. Stroll along the Hampton Road Heritage Walk, or visit the Oakabella Homestead in historic Northampton – it’s thought to be WA’s most haunted house.
  6. Head to Seal Lookout and walk out onto the point to see the seals lounging on the rocks.
  7. Peruse Geraldton Regional Art Gallery, then see Aboriginal
    art works at Yamaji and Latitude Galleries.
  8. Buy your loved one an Abrolhos Pearl from one of the many jewellery stores.
  9. ONLY IN WA Count the stripes on the Point Moore Lighthouse – the tallest metal lighthouse in Australia.
  10. Marvel at Monsignor Hawes’ architectural masterpiece, the St Francis Xavier Cathedral, with its orange and white patterned interior, before visiting the Monsignor Hawes trail and museum in Mullewa.
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