The Gascoyne region (named after the Gascoyne River, at the mouth of which is the town of Carnarvon) extends from Shark Bay in the south to Exmouth Gulf in the north, with a beautiful jagged coastline. Shark Bay, and indeed the whole of the continental shelf, is a paradise for game fishers. The friendly dolphins of Monkey Mia, which eat out of visitors' hands, are widely famed. Inland the flat-topped hills and red dunes of the Kennedy Range rise out of the featureless mulga scrub. The endless expanse of reddish sandy plains in the arid interior, with distant ranges of hills on the horizon, are both daunting and fascinating. After the uncertain winter rains, the steppe blossoms in a profusion of color. This rugged country, traversed 100 years ago by the gold prospectors, still lies beyond the bounds of civilization.
Carnarvon (pop. 5850), the chief place in the North West, lies at the mouth of the Gascoyne River (water sports, fishing), in an irrigated and intensively cultivated agricultural area.The main street of the town, laid out over 100 years ago, is unusually wide so as to leave room for the camel trains then used to transport goods to town. Features of interest are a modest church, the museum in the Civic Centre, the Jubilee Hall (1897) and the museum by the lighthouse.
Mount Augustus National Park
Mount Augustus National Park, established in 1989, lies in the outback of the Gascoyne region. Mount Augustus (1106m) rises 717m above the surrounding country. The ascent takes 6 hours; it is possible also to drive round it.The rugged outback country is notable for its wildlife, undisturbed by man, and its Aboriginal rock paintings.Organized tours are run by Westrail, and there are sightseeing flights from Carnarvon (Paggi's Aviation).