Enjoying good weather all year round, Onslow in Western Australia is a pretty coastal town offering a relaxed holiday.
It’s one of the few places where the sun rises and sets over water, and is the gateway to the Mackerel Islands.
How to get to Onslow
With access via the North West Coastal Highway from Karratha (307 kilometres) and Exmouth (400 kilometres), Onslow and the Mackerel Islands is the quintessential coastal expression of the Pilbara region.
Karijini National Park is just 453 kilometres from Onslow, accessed via the Nanutarra/Munjina sealed road. Virgin Australia offers daily direct flights from Perth to Onslow.
Onslow’s old port was built at the mouth of the Ashburton River to export wool from Pilbara sheep stations, and Old Onslow was gazetted nearby in 1885. Just 40 years later, residents were moved 18 kilometres to today’s townsite where a new jetty was built on the coast, avoiding the issues the old port had with silting of the Ashburton River, but unfortunately not the effects of the region's cyclones.
Remains of old Onslow’s buildings are still visible, including the police station, cemetery and old jetty and of course the site is a great place to see the mighty Ashburton River. Some of the buildings from Old Onslow were relocated to the new site including the old Goods Shed, now the visitor centre and museum with an impressive collection of old town artefacts and memorabilia.
Today the nearby Wheatstone LNG project and the Onslow Salt operation have contributed to the redevelopment of the small town of Onslow. As you drive into town, watch out for the salt evaporation ponds which cover 87 square kilometres!
The Mackerel Islands
A fishing and snorkelling paradise, the Mackerel Island consists of 10 islands with two that welcome guests – Thevenard Island and Direction Island – with accommodation, facilities, activities and tours. Discover the beauty of Australia's coastline without the crowds, experiencing world–class fishing, diving, snorkelling, swimming, boating, nature watching and relaxation
Transfers from Onslow to the Mackerel Islands
45 minute ferry transfers from Onslow to the Mackerel Islands depart twice per week on Tuesdays and Fridays. Secure car parking is available on the mainland. You can also book a scenic charter flight from Exmouth or Karratha to land on the island’s airstrip – please contact us for more details. Bookings are essential.
- Adult $120 per person return
- Child (3-12 years old) $60 per person return
- Infant (0-2 years old) Free
- Family Pass - 2 Adults & 2 Children $300 return
Take your own boat across
Bring your own boat and hire a boat mooring at the islands – these must be booked in advance. Mackerel Islands offers the following boating facilities:
- 23 small boat moorings (up to 8.5m)
- 2 deep boat moorings (up to 12m)
- Fuel available daily
- Bait, tackle, ice, freezer storage
- Shaded fish cleaning area
- Radio base operating on Thevenard Island
- VHF radio, channel 72
- Safety support and Royal Flying Doctor services