Town and Region
Carnarvon is 904 km north of Perth on the North West Coastal Highway. It is a large and thriving town surrounded by banana plantations and set close to some of Western Australia's most beautiful and unusual coastline.
The dry riverbed many people see as they drive over the Gascoyne River Bridge actually provides the irrigation for much of the Gascoyne region. On average, the river flows on the surface for 120 days each year, after heavy rain. For the rest of the time the river literally flows upside down, beneath the surface of the sand.
The mouth of the Gascoyne River is a 300 km tongue of sand which acts as a huge water storage system. The water table (known more accurately as the river's 'aquifers') lies below the sands and the local banana plantation owners tap into it and pump the water to the surface.
Carnarvon’s other claim to fame is the Carnarvon Space Receiver Station, established by NASA in 1964. It was the base which gave the command for the Trans Lunar Insertion (TLI) which actually sent the Apollo missions in to land on the moon.
When Neil Armstrong stepped out of Apollo 11 in 1969, his famous words 'One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind' were relayed to the world via the tracking station at Carnarvon. It was finally closed down in 1974.
Carnarvon has a moderate, subtropical climate. Most rainfall occurs in the wet season and the town is rarely affected by tropical cyclones. In summer, the average maximum temperature is 32°C with an average minimum of 27°C. In winter, the average maximum temperature is 22°C with an average minimum of 12°C. The average yearly rainfall is around over 230mm.
The population of the Gascoyne is around 14,500 people. The majority of residents are non-Aboriginal people born in Australia (74%). Just over half of the population live in Carnarvon (8,616). Aboriginal residents account for 18% of Carnarvon’s population. Carnarvon also has a Vietnamese community and a small Croatian /Macedonian population.
Have a look at the 'whereis' website for town and regional maps.
Horticulture is the major industry of the Gascoyne region. Bananas, tomatoes, ruby grapefruit, mangos, table grapes and a range of vegetables products are grown along the Gascoyne River. Climatic advantages enable the growers to meet out of season demand both locally and in export markets.
Pastoralism is the oldest industry of the region but in recent years there has been a diversification away from just wool and meat to include goats, tourism, floraculture and horticulture.
Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the Gascoyne region and Carnarvon is finding its feet as a tourist destination with a range of tourist products being developed to meet this growing market.
Carnarvon is located on the coast, 904km north of Perth in the northern area of the Coral Coast region of Western Australia. It will take you around 10 hours to drive from Perth. Travel via the Brand Highway and then Northwest Coastal Highway out of Geraldton. Be aware there are road trains on the Highway, and occasionally wandering stock and roos. Make sure you check out some tips for safe driving in the country.
Skywest (1300 660 088) fly into Carnarvon regularly. Phone or check the Skywest website for fare and timetable information.
Greyhound (1300 473 946) have a daily service to Carnarvon. Phone or check the Greyhound website for fare and timetable information.
There is a hail 'n ride bus service in the town, simply hail the driver to indicate you want to catch the bus. Student fares, 80c one way, $1.60 return or $6.80 Multi ride. Timetables from the Tourist Office.
Where will I stay?
Students generally stay in the hospital staff quarters. Please contact the hospital as early as possible so accommodation can be allocated as there are limited places available. Accommodation is in a single room with shared facilities on site at the hospital. Linen is provided.
On occasions, students will stay in off campus accommodation. If this is the case, it will be possible to organise lifts to and from the hospital.
What will it cost?
How will I eat?
You can cook for yourself in the shared kitchen at the quarters or eat your meals in the
Can I walk from accommodation to Health Service?
Yes, if staying on campus. If staying in the off campus accommodation, you will need to organise a lift through the Student Coordinator.
Can I walk from accommodation to shops?
Yes, the hospital is two blocks from the Carnarvon town centre.
Who do I contact for more information?
Carnarvon has full Optus and Telstra coverage.
Internet access providers
Students can access internet facilities within the hospital. Discuss this with the Staff Development Unit.
Carnarvon Public Library
Bring your own regional library card and you can be given a visitors card. If you don’t have a local card you will need to provide proof of ID, residence in Carnarvon and a second contact number.
The main population centres of the Pilbara Gascoyne region include Carnarvon, Port Hedland, Karratha, Exmouth and Newman, with smaller communities located at Denham, Gascoyne Junction, Burringurrah, Monkey Mia, Useless Loop, Coral Bay, Onslow, Newman, Tom Price and Paraburdoo.
Approximately 80% of Gascoyne people were born in Australia, with about 10% from indigenous (Yamatji) descent. Some pastoral families extend back for several generations. A significant amount of residents also originate from Europe and the former-USSR.
The main hospitals are situated at Carnarvon, Karratha and Port Hedland. Community Health, Mental Health and community based aged care services also operates from these centres. Smaller hospitals are located in Onslow, Newman, Exmouth, Tom Price, Paraburdoo, Wickham and Roebourne. There are remote area nursing posts in some of the smaller towns including Marble Bar, Nullagine and Coral Bay. The Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Silver Chain Nursing Association, several Aboriginal Community Controlled Aboriginal Health Services and a number of aged care service providers also make up a large part of the service profile.
There are regional public health services in both the Pilbara and Gascoyne. Dental services are predominantly publicly provided but with private dentists operating in Port Hedland, Karratha and Carnarvon. There is a relatively new renal dialysis satellite service in Port Hedland.
Many medical practitioners are employed by the State health system or Aboriginal medical services and funding in the form of Medicare payments to the north west of WA is therefore disproportionately low. The Pilbara Gascoyne region also has a high proportion of Aboriginal people and the regional health services work closely with Aboriginal health services to develop joint initiatives. One such example is the provision of after-hours transport for Aboriginal patients leaving the Accident & Emergency unit at Port Hedland Hospital.
The unique challenges to providing health services in remote areas with highly transient populations has led to an exploration of new models of service for some of the inland Pilbara towns (WA Country Health Service).
Carnarvon Health Service
Carnarvon Regional Hospital
Carnarvon Regional Hospital and Health Service is a public 75 bed facility which provides a diverse and comprehensive range of acute and primary health care services to the Gascoyne community.
Carnarvon Regional Hospital services and facilities include:
Burringurrah Community Health Service
Burringurrah Aboriginal Corporation, via, Carnarvon WA 6701
Carnarvon Community Health Service
Cnr Stuart & Johnson Streets, Carnarvon WA 6701
Gascoyne Population Health Unit
Cnr Stuart & Johnson Streets, Carnarvon WA 6701
Gascoyne Mental Health Service
Cnr Stuart & Johnson Streets,
Carnarvon Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation
14 – 16 Rushton St,
Provides health services to Aboriginal people in the Gascoyne including a dental program, child health, diabetes and lifestyle management, hearing programs targeting the 0-5 year olds, a renal clinic and well women's clinic. Collaboration between the Public Health Unit, Community Health and the Hospital is promoted and ongoing education for staff is encouraged.
If you are from interstate (not from WA) or overseas, have been hospitalised in the past 12 months (interstate/overseas), have had contact with a known positive MRSA patient or treated for a Staph infection you will require MRSA screening.
Please wear either the uniform of your University or neat and tidy casual wear.
Carnarvon Tourist Bureau
Civic centre, Robinson St,
The Shire of Carnarvon website has some great suggestions.
Restaurants and nightlife
Carnarvon has a great choice of restaurants and night life.
Local and regional attractions
No fresh water is available at the “blows” so ensure that you have plenty before you leave Carnarvon.
Danger: although this is a beautiful spot, parts of the area can also be dangerous so keep a wary eye on the tides and beware of KING WAVES! Camping is permitted at a nominal fee.
One Mile Jetty
Dampier Salt & Lake MacLeod