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Western Australia's past and present meet in Geraldton, a modern city thriving on the natural wealth of its surrounding waters. The scenic city takes great pride in its heritage, too – surrounded by sprawling farmland and striking natural beauty, and home to a solemn reminder of Australia's sacrifice during the Second World War. With so much to explore in and around Geraldton, you'll need little persuasion to take a rest after your travels with a cold beer under the hot sun, and a table with an ocean view.
Head into the rocky red outback with a tour of Kalbarri National Park, and see the area's incredible native wildlife – or explore the modern city of Geraldton itself, and the historic farmland which spreads out into the surrounding countryside.
HMAS Sydney II Memorial
In November of 1941, the Sydney II and the German ship Kormoran engaged one another off the coast of Western Australia. Both ships sustained heavy damage and sank – but while many of the German sailors survived the battle, all 645 men aboard the Sydney II lost their lives.Geraldton's elegant war memorial commemorates this tragedy, where the bronze statue of a woman looks out to sea, waiting for news of the sailors' fate. The memorial includes a stepped fountain, with a seagull in flight at its centre; and a pillared steel dome, a beautiful latticework of 645 seagulls.
Kalbarri National Park
A world away from the clean lines of the war memorial, and the modern centre of Geraldton itself, Kalbarri National Park gives visitors to Western Australia an altogether wilder experience. Here you'll find yourself amongst jagged red rock formations and the vivid green of the outback, where the winding Murchison River cuts through the centre of this picturesque landscape. Walk along the coastal cliffs, or head along dirt paths for a chance to see the emus, wildflowers and kangaroos native to the region – and a great many species of lizard, including geckoes and thorny devils.
Surrounded by vast acres of grassland, the main house and its surrounding barn, workshop and stables date back to 1860 – but have since been restored for visitors travelling north of Geraldton. Oakabella makes the perfect sightseeing destination to explore Western Australia's agricultural past, and a great way to experience life here in the nineteenth century. Take a tour of the grounds and museum to learn more about the farm equipment, native artefacts and everyday objects which were once used here – and relax in the shade afterwards in the homestead's tearooms.
As a thoroughly modern city, there's plenty of choice in Geraldton when it comes to shopping trips. You'll find a great range of fashion, beauty and fragrance to browse in the area's two major shopping centres, but there's plenty of choice when it comes to souvenirs too. Olives and honey are produced locally, and you'll also find a wealth of native arts and crafts for sale – but Geraldton's real treasures are its stunning black pearls.
Be sure you try the lobster if you're dining in Geraldton during your visit; there's a particular pride here for the quality of the catch, and it's little wonder – the city's lobster industry is worth millions of dollars per year. There's a fantastic array of places to eat and drink in the city, from welcoming cafes and modern seafood restaurants to Thai, Indian and African dining.
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