Like much of Western Australia, Geraldton is probably best known for its wildflower season which runs from late July to early October. However, even when the wildflowers are not in bloom, we found plenty of things to do in Geraldton.
For us, it was a cruise port. We spent our day discovering the hidden charms of this Western Australia town. It’s filled with fascinating history, and when ships are in town, there are plenty of docents happy to share their stories.
We are pleased to report that a port we were sceptical of before arriving turned out to be a wonderful day.
And, to make it better, with only a few major sites to visit, it was easy to tick off everything from our must-see things to do in Geraldton list.
Top 3 things to do in Geraldton
- Discover the history and visit the HMAS Sydney II Memorial
- Wander into the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral
- Fly over Pink Lake or Abrolhos Island
HMAS Sydney II Memorial
HMAS Sydney II was the only Australian ship that lost its entire crew in an attack during WWII. The memorial is up on a hill and seen from much of the town. Its most prominent feature is the Dome of Souls with 645 birds, one for each crew member who died. The design has each bird touching two others for friendship.
- Volunteers are available daily at the memorial and offer fascinating free tours.
- The Wall of Remembrance list the names of those who perished in alphabetical order rather than rank order, as there is no rank in death
- The “Waiting Women” was added in 2001, seven years before they found the ship’s remains in 2008. Oddly, the statue looks out in a direction off by only 0.25 degrees from where the ship’s remains were discovered.
- It’s about a 20-minute walk from the dock to the memorial at the top of a hill. However, Royal Caribbean offered a shuttle bus for a small fee that stopped at the memorial, at the cathedral, in town, and back at the port. While we opted to take the shuttle, I am not sure it was a good use of our money.
- If you are a history buff wanting more on the story of how the Germans sunk the Sydney II, you might want this book: False Flags: Disguised German Raiders of World War II.
St. Francis Xavier Cathedral
More commonly referred to as the Geraldton Cathedral, the St. Francic Xavier Cathedral is the primary place of Catholic worship in Geraldton. Inside took us by surprise, a bit of deja vu. The church offers tours on Monday and Friday mornings (10 am) and Friday afternoons (4 pm). Photos include:
- St. Francis Xavier Cathedral from the street
- St. Francis Xavier Cathedral crypt contains bones of Saint George II and Sebastiani, plus relics of Joannis and Pauli.
- As soon as we walked into the Cathedral, we recognised that it was modelled after La Mezquita in Cordoba, Spain (Mosque-cathedral of Córdoba).
Fly over Pink Lake or Abrolhos Island
Nearby Geraldton is two amazing sights, each in the opposite direction from the other, therefore requiring most people to choose between two stunning flyover options. The Abrolhos Islands are located about 100km west-northwest, while Pink Lake is about 80km due north.
Choose an Abrolhos Islands and Pink Lake flyover, and you will be captivated by pristine turquoise waters that are home to an abundance of unique marine life as well as the Pink Lake. The Abrolhos Islands archipelago itself is made up of 122 islands and covers about 100 km. Afterwards, continue on to the Pink Lake and see this natural oddity. This flyover will most likely be one of the highlights of your time in Western Australia. Reserve your scenic flight over the Abrolhos Islands and Pink Lake from Geraldton
Of course, if you choose only Pink Lake, you will see a pink lake. There are a few in Australia, but if none are in your plans, this might be your only opportunity. It’s a difficult choice, but whichever you choose, you will most likely walk away impressed. Reserve your scenic Pink Lake flyover from Geraldton
Things to do in Geraldton: museums
There are a few museums in Geraldton, and if they made it onto your things to do in Geraldton list, be sure to plan around the fact that some of the closes quite early.
- Aboriginal Yamaji Art Centre
A display of indigenous artwork, it is 100% Aboriginal-owned and operated.
- Western Australian Museum
The Western Australian Museum is often referred to as the Geraldton Museum. Here we found learned more about the region’s history, culture, landscape and maritime history. Note that it closes at 3 pm daily.
- Old gaol (jail) and old police station
The old Gaol (jail) closes at 3.30
More things to do in Geraldton
- Relax or play at a beach and enjoy the floating pontoons that offer swimmers a place to rest or jump.
- Walk along the esplanade and keep your eyes open for sea lions on the rocks (and sometimes swimming in the water).
- If you have kids, check out the children’s playground and Geraldton water park.
- Don’t miss the Rubik’s Cube public toilets! (Of course, I had to enter one of these Rubik’s Cube public toilets along the beach. I was so disappointed to find the inside is just a bathroom, but the exterior is still fun to look at.
- Check out the public street art and sculptures.
Final thoughts on Geraldton
Geraldton port is not big enough for the mid-sized cruise ship that we arrived on. Therefore, the ship drops an anchor and shuttles passengers to shore.
Just a warning, there are lots of flies in Geraldton in late spring.
Geraldton was one of six ports as we sailed around the top of Australia on Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas. The prior stop was Port Hedlands, and we will disembark at the next port which is Perth, Australia.
⇒ Don’t Miss: 25 Tips for Cruising Everyone Should Know
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Disclaimer: In addition to VIP treatment onboard the Radiance of the Seas we were provided with many complimentary extras. The opinions expressed here are strictly my own.