It was another 240 km south and we finally reached a bigger coastal town of Carnarvon. It is situated at the mouth of the Gascoyne River on the Indian Ocean and is famous for its one mile jetty. With the population of 4500 it is a frequent stop by tourists to do the last big shopping before hitting the road to Exmouth or Karijini National Park.
We quickly did some shopping and drove around the main street and finally got to the jetty. Well, that was it. Not just any small deck, but a wooden jetty, built in 1897, extending 1.3 km into the sea!
We walked and walked and we couldn’t see where it ended. The wind was blowing quite hard and because of that the walk was rather unpleasant. I was afraid that Nell would fall into some hole, because the condition of the jetty deck was slightly deplorable.
Maintaining such an old giant is quite a challenge for such a small community. For some time in the 1990s, Carnarvon jetty was in such bad condition that it was in danger of collapsing. As a result it was closed to tourists and fishermen, so Carnarvon lost its main attraction.
Without both groups visiting the jetty every year, the town began to struggle. So, the locals dug into their pockets and collected $70,000 for repairs. It was a drop in the ocean of needs, but the local government noted the town people cared and invested another $400,000. It was enough to dismantle part of the Carnarvon jetty and repair it.
It was a good move as in the following year, since the Carnarvon jetty was reopened, the town was visited by 30,000 more tourists than in the previous year!
It is worth walking almost a kilometre deep into the ocean to feel like in another era. The wood is old and makes an amazing impression. I could even imagine ships that came here with travelers 150 years ago.
Carnarvon Jetty Fishing
Marius was in his element and by the time Nell and I reached the end, he had already ran there and caught the first fish before we showed up. He couldn’t believe it the first time he did a cast he caught the fish. Now I’m waiting for him to come up with the brilliant idea that he must have a boat, because more fish swim further from the shore.
Iconic OTC Dish
In the morning we went to buy some bait and then we drove to see an old satellite dish. This massive 30 meter wide dish is a Carnavron landmark. It is located on a hill outside the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum. At the time when it was built there were only eight of them in the world.
This dish worked for the Apollo Moon Programme and was also tracking Halley’s Comet. Now it may be set for demolition due to its deteriorating condition.
Banana and Grape Plantation
Later on we went to a banana and grape plantation to taste the famous chocolate-coated frozen bananas. The plantation was impressive, the bananas were delicious and the only disappointment was that we were late for the owner guided tour.
That was a pity, because we didn’t find out how much the banana tree bends. This was supposed to be revealed by the owner during the trip, and now this knowledge is gone. I’m joking of course, we are not planning to buy banana plantations in the near future.
Our last afternoon we spent on Carnarvon jetty fishing. Actually Marius was fishing and we were admiring the ocean.
Our latest travel progress
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
In 2019 the estimated cost to revitalize Carnarvon jetty was estimated at $42 million. I don’t think presently there is a budget allocated for such a big investment in such a remote place. Thus, there is no due date or hope that Carnarvon Jetty will reopen soon.
To fill the gap for tourists a new One Mile Jetty Interpretive Centre was opened. There is an Aborigianal art commissioned from a local artist, colonial objects and photographs of Carnarvon Jetty. The jetty can be seen from the air by a helicopter.
There are no national parks around Carnarvon. If you are keen to drive inland there are two options.
Kennedy Range National Park – located 185 km east from Carnarvon offers 5 different gorge walks. Eastern escarpment can be accessed even by 2WD while western side of the park via Gascoyne River is accessible only by 4WD. Camping is permitted at Temple Gorge Campground.
Mount Augustus National Park – located 465 km from Carnarvon this park offers a summit walk as well as various short walks to different lookouts. Accommodation is available at Mount Augustus Outback Tourist Park.
Quobba Station – located 82 km north from Carnarvon offers fishing, whale watching and shell counting. There are various accommodation options as well as camping sites.
Red Bluff Campsite – located 135 km north from Carnarvon it is a free camping ground where campers have to be fully self-sufficient. The track to get there is only for 4WD.
There are two excellent swimming holes, one in town and another outside of Carnarvon.
Chinaman’s Pool – located 2 km away from town centre in Chinamans Pool Nature Reserve.
Rocky Pool – located 55 km east from Carnarvon it is a freshwater pool that is perfect for a day trip and picnic stay.