We loved visiting Carnarvon. So much in fact we visited twice in a month. With its relaxed vibe, and so many things to do, we think it’s a great holiday destination for families and has something for everyone – including the kids.
- The Carnarvon Space & Technology Museum
- Carnarvon Heritage Precinct
- Gwoonwardu Mia Cultural Centre
- Local Produce
- Carnarvon Cactus Garden
- Search for Treasure on the Murchison River Bed
- The Fascine
- Spend Time at The Beach
- Carnarvon Street Art
- Quobba Blowholes and The Aquarium at Point Quobba
- Getting Here
- Carnarvon Weather – Best time to Visit
The Carnarvon Space & Technology Museum
If you are a history lover like me, there is a surprising amount of it in Carnarvon. It is hard to miss the giant OTC dish as you drive in, and the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum is a must-see. We learnt about the role Carnarvon played in the manned space program with NASA in the 1960s and also the role in the Australian Satellite communications industry. The museum has an Apollo Experience where you jump inside a full-size Apollo capsule to experience a real-life launch (well almost!). The capsule shakes and rattles around while you take off! So much fun! There is a planetarium to really get amongst space and an interactive section for the kids who love to learn hands-on.
Carnarvon Heritage Precinct
The Carnarvon Heritage Precinct is about a 5-minute drive out of town. We stopped at the café and grabbed a coffee (me) and hot chocolate (Marcus) and enjoyed the stunning views out over the water. This is the location of the One Mile Jetty which was closed for restoration when we visited. The One Mile Jetty Centre shares the history of the famous Australian battle between the HMAS Sydney II and the HSK Kormoran off the coast in 1941. You can also visit the Shearers Hall of Fame & Railway Museum, the Old Lighthouse and Lighthouse Keepers Cottage here.
Gwoonwardu Mia Cultural Centre
Of course, the local indigenous culture and history is always a must see for us, so a visit to Gwoonwardu Mia Cultural Centre was on the list of thing to do. Marcus was so saddened to read about the stolen generation and their lives in the missions. They also showcase some great local artists here.
Carnarvon supplies WA with much of its fresh fruit and vegetables, and you can drive the fruit loop between May and October and visit local producers to buy fresh produce direct. It’s an honesty system, so make sure to bring cash. And trust me when I say they have the sweetest bananas in all the land. If you are looking for a real treat, stop in at Bumbaks and grab yourself an ice-cream or take home a preserve. They use the fruit and vegetables deemed not pretty enough for the supermarket which would otherwise have been wasted and left to rot.
Carnarvon Cactus Garden
While driving the fruit loop, make sure to stop at the Cactus garden. You will feel like you have been whisked off to Mexico. This is the front garden of a local producer, and we loved the interesting garden he has created for others to enjoy.
Search for Treasure on the Murchison River Bed
Enjoy the sunshine and search for gemstones and other artefacts in the riverbed. Carnarvon is located on the Murchison River which runs underground most of the year, but when they do get rain, and the river flows, it brings with it gemstones and other artefacts (like old bottles) from up river. For all those want to be treasure hunters like Marcus and me, this is a great way to spend some time.
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Take a walk at the Fascine, at Carnarvon’s River front. We think it would be a great place to take a picnic and watch the sunset. The Fascine was built to protect the town from flooding from the Murchison River, and now it is a beautiful place to spend time under the palm trees. It also has a great kids playground (with a flying fox) and a safe swimming beach with a pontoon the kids can jump off.
Spend Time at The Beach
Carnarvon has a beach and it is the perfect spot to stretch out and bask in the sunshine, take a dip in the water and play in the sand. The day we visited it was windy, so not perfect beach conditions.
Carnarvon Street Art
Carnarvon has a great street art scene, with an awesome mural on the main street and other creative art pieces around town. Drop into the visitor centre and get a list of artworks to visit.
Quobba Blowholes and The Aquarium at Point Quobba
Just 75 kilometres north of Carnarvon we saw the awe inspiring sight of the Quobba blowholes. Plus we also were lucky enough to see a pod of dolphins swim by. Just one kilometre south of the blowholes is the Aquarium at Point Quobba. Here is a beautiful sheltered beach with crystal clear water and amazing snorkelling. It is shallow and calm and a great place for kids.
Carnarvon is 904km North of Perth, which if you choose to self-drive will take at least 9 hours. Integrity coach lines also offer bus service between Perth and Carnarvon, or you could take a 2-hour flight with Regional Express. I would recommend hiring a car when you arrive so you can easily get around.
We stayed at both the Wintersun Caravan Park and Coral Coast Tourist Park (which was walking distance to town). There is a huge choice of accommodation here in Carnarvon, including caravan parks, hotels, motels, self contained apartments, holiday homes and Airbnbs.
Carnarvon Weather – Best time to Visit
Carnarvon has a moderate, tropical climate, and being located far north, it can experience tropical cyclones between December and April. The best time to visit is during the dry season (May to November).
Links for more information:
Carnarvon visitor centre https://www.carnarvon.org.au
Carnarvon space and technology museum https://www.carnarvonmuseum.org.au
Gwoonwardu Mia https://www.gahcc.com.au