We travelled from Coral Bay to Carnarvon, just a short two and a half hour trip south and arrived before midday. Carnarvon is an interesting town, built on the Gascoyne River which they call the upside-down river. Despite the blue on the Google maps picture below, there's little water in the river most of the year. All the glimpses of the Gascoyne River showed dried river bed only. It only flows about a third of the year and in between the water flows underground in aquifers. There are a lot of fruit and vegetable plantations in the area which make use of the underground water.
The town is a mixture of large, modern houses along the canals and much older, smaller houses throughout the rest of the area. There's a sizable fishing industry also based out of the harbour. We weren't entirely sure what there was to see and do in Carnarvon so after a quick Google we highlighted three things we wanted to check out.
1. One-mile Jetty
The longest jetty in the north of WA, it's also pretty old as well. But when we arrived we discovered it was closed. It needs significant maintenance to be safe again and there are fundraising attempts to raise the $5 million needed to save it. We read some of the information in the surrounding areas which told of the history of the area and then moved on.
2. The Fruit Loop
This is a driving loop past many of the plantations of the area. We read that there were plenty of roadside stalls where you could purchase fresh produce so were excited at the prospect. But in the end we found only Bumbak's and Morel's open. I'm not sure whether we're simply here at the wrong time of the year, or whether the stalls are closed due to COVID, but we did manage to buy some mango jams at Bumbak's as well as some homemade fruit ice cream which was very tasty.
3. The Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum
Carnarvon played an integral part in several space missions in the 60s and the museum takes you through all the things that happened. There's a launch simulation where you feel as if you're an astronaut about to take off into space as well as a number of really interesting videos around the museum. There's a lot of memorabilia on display and if you only have time to do one thing in Carnarvon, go to the museum. It's excellent. We spent a couple of hours there, but if you want to watch all the videos in full, then allocate at least three hours. Out the back there are a bunch of interactive displays where you can practice landing a space shuttle, plus some old space invader video games and more things for kids young and old to play with.
Gwoonwardu Mia is an Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre which includes a gallery and museum. The museum guides were full of interesting information and the displays showed some fascinating details about the people of the area. It was also quite a sad place to visit because it tells some of the horrible history of the way Europeans treated the indigenous people. I always feel two ways when I visit Aboriginal centres. First I feel frustrated and sad by the way Aboriginals were treated and I know the situation can't ever be truly fixed. But then I feel a sense of wonder and fascination when I learn about their dreamtime stories and about the native foods and medicines Australia has. I want to know more about my country's flora and fauna and its ancient history. This centre is definitely worth a visit as well.
The rest of our time in Carnarvon has been spent reading which has been lovely. I'm currently reading Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Trilogy which I've heard about for years and never got around to reading. I'm quite enjoying it.
I've also started proofreading The Servant's Grace which comes out next February.
We're packing up tomorrow and heading towards Shark Bay with a stop at Wooramel first which should be fun.
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