Sometimes it can be difficult to find out about what life is like in the smaller towns around Australia. Places that look small and isolated on a map can prove to be lovely busy towns with a strong community and lots happening. During his travels around Australia Alastair visited Geraldton and took the time to write about this beautiful Western Australian town.
Geraldton (‘Gero’) is a major sea port in West Australia. It takes 4 hours to drive there from Perth. The flight takes 45 minutes. It is a historic town and played a major part in the growth of Western Australia. Wheat and minerals have always been exported from here.
My plane flies parallel to the coastline as it descends into Gero. Looking down, before you see the town, small waves like thin black lines move slowly towards long white beaches. Large surf breaks roll and crash out at sea or roll towards the shoreline. You can see dangerous rips so easily, like white threads.
Gero, the town is an attractive one with lots of parks and some pretty good municipal and religious architecture. The foreshore has been redeveloped and there is a charming strip parallel to the beach with eclectic cafes and shops. I can recommend the Jaffle Shack - where every Jaffle (pressed toastie) known to man is on offer and the coffee is very good.
The climate is great. It’s described as ‘Mediterranean’ in the brochures. Today it was late autumn the sky was blue and the sunshine had some heat in it. It must have been 25 degrees, if that’s Mediterranean, I’ll take it.
The beaches in and around Gero are sensational. The area is famous for its surfing and kite surfing - a local surfer assures me it is in the top three worldwide spots. There is a small marina in town full of yachts, fishing boats and cruisers. The town has all the traditional first class sporting and leisure facilities that are staples in Australian towns - flood lit oval, football parks, etc.
Stand up paddle boarders cruise past the foreshore alongside ocean swimmers.
The famous Abrolhos Islands (all 122 of them) sit some 40 miles off shore. Having never visited them I can’t vouch for the snorkelling or marine life but everyone seems to rave about them.
Geraldton is the regional hub of this ‘Coral Coastline’. The population is approx. 35k. It is an extremely friendly town that does not suffer the boom or bust existence of similar sized towns that are sustained purely by a volatile mining industry.
I’m told the schools are very good - the private Grammar and Catholic schools in particular. The State School is also very good with fantastic sporting facilities. All are Co-ed.
If you are interested in further reading check out some of Tim Winton’s books like Cloudstreet, Breath or Dirt Music - he lives in, and writes about, West Australian communities like Gero and Freo (Freemantle).
The hospital in Geraldton is a small one which is well run and well resourced. Services include Paeds, General Medicine, EM, OG, Psychiatry and Anaesthetics. They are always on the lookout for Consultant level IMGs committed to staying in this beautiful part of Western Australia for a minimum period of 2 or 3 years.
Read Part One - Working in Australia
Read Part Two - The Important Stuff
Read Part Three - A Question of Perspective
Read Part Four - A Town Called Alice
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