The coolest town you’ve never heard of

I hope someone invents permanent gold tattoos soon.
I hope someone invents permanent gold tattoos soon.

Geraldton, Western Australia.

Let me preface this post with a few important thoughts:

When I first set out on this grand adventure, I never planned on going to Western Australia.  I had nothing against WA, I just had a certain chunk of time to travel that I wanted to use wisely  (joke’s on me there seeing as I bailed on my return trip to New York).

The majority of destinations that I wanted to see most were scattered along the east coast, from Sydney to Airlie Beach. (I’d still like to make it south to Melbourne one day, especially now that it’s not zero degrees there like it was in June).

Subnote: yes, now I use kilometers and degrees Celsius in day to day conversation.  I also never expected that to happen.  My American brain was programmed something like this…”What’s going on? Why bother using these weird, impractical units of measurement!? Why are they doing this!?” It took me longer than I care to admit to realize that America is the only country who insists on using inches/feet/miles, pounds and ounces, and degrees Farenheight. If you travel to any other country in the world, they ALL speak the same language as far as these measurements go, and it’s pretty much “use it or get the stink eye.”

So, Geraldton.

To be clear, I am technically staying in Isseka.  Isseka is a tiny 10-property region set among the beautiful rolling hills of farmland just outside of Northampton.  Northampton is an adorable town (or “shire”) 30 kilometers (approx 20 miles) outside Geraldton, with a couple of thrift shops, a grocery, a few pubs, cafés, a craft gallery, etc. For the purposes of “where is Alex in the world?”, Geraldton is specific enough.

Just before I arrived in Geraldton, the only feedback I’d heard about the place was a passing comment from a woman who had once lived there. I told her I was staying near Geraldton for a week and then planned to move on toward Perth. She laughed, “yea, I lived in Geraldton for four years and I reckon it’s a place you won’t want to stay for more than a week!” Ok, noted. Geraldton = lame.

O contraire, mon amie!

I headed to the town center of Geraldton with no expectations and was surprised and delighted at what I found there.  How had people raved about Broome and no one had ever mentioned this adorable place to me?!

(Broome is a vacation destination situated smack in the middle of a barren 4000 km stretch (2700 mile, 40+ hrs driving) between Darwin and Perth.  It has a nice beach, but there are tons of jellyfish (at least there are in September), the weather is 30+ degrees Celsius (85+ Farenheight) with 99% humidity, and the town leaves a bit to be desired.  There’s only so much ice cream, cheap beer and sarongs a person needs. Ok, I realize what I just said – ice cream, beer, sarongs.  But trust me, it’s a snooze fest in a fly-infested, natural sauna).

The beach in Geraldton is a block away from the main strip.  It isn’t quite as vast as the 7k stretch of beach in Broome, but otherwise boasts similar positives. The water is crystal clear, the sand is white and fine, the palette is a stunning mix of turquoise and deep blues. There is a running path along the water, a great park for kids and families, and various cafés overlooking the surf.

Sure, the main shopping street is relatively small, but compared to any town between Geraldton and Darwin (including Broome), Geraldton is a metropolis.  Meaning there is a Target in the same zip code.

In building Geraldton,  I think Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie got together with local Australian artists and made a colony of awesome meets adorable. . . (For anyone outside of the USA, hide your credit cards and then take a moment to google Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie).

There isn’t just one cool shop, there are at least 20 cool shops (notice I say “cool” to differentiate between other businesses such as banks, travel agencies, news stands, Target, etc.)  All shops and cafés on the strip share the same artistic, hand crafted and intimate vibe, but each place has its own character. Come one come all!  Hippies, snobs, fashionistas, surfers, beach babes, athletes, mommies, daddies, girlfriends, boyfriends, backpackers, gardeners, decorators, treasure hunters, Pinterest addicts, vegans, gourmands, sandwich lovers.

While I’m not a crusader, I certainly support “local.” Usually I am most aware of this when I’m back in The States, since in the USA local  directly applies to my personal and geographical home base. This may sound ignorant, but the concept of supporting local business has rarely been a priority for me as a backpacker.   Sure, if I like a place and the option is available of course I buy local. But generally, I buy what I need (okay okay! And a lot of crap that I don’t need. Though I stand by any decision to buy gourmet chocolate and/or cheap decent wine). And I (try to) buy what is cheap most economically reasonable).

Bearing this in mind, my purchasing decisions show just how much I like Geraldton. I actually went out of my way to pay more and buy things from local shops that I could buy at a larger chain store.  I am now the proud owner of:

  • gold temporary tattoos
  • a cute pair of brushed gold stud earrings
  • organic ginger candy, dried papaya, goji berry dark chocolate, and salted butter chocolate.  Or, at least I was the owner before the dormant fat kid in me temporarily woke up.
  • new watercolor and pastel pencils (a necessary investment for future travel)
  • organic cinnamon to spice up my water bottle
  • A new black liquid eyeliner (yes, it’s organic and yes, I expect at least 50% of you to roll your eyes right now)
  • A scroll of decorative Cavallini paper with a map of Australia on it

I bought these things from local stores to show my support for Geraldton.  And I’m glad I did.

It’s the cutest town you’ve now never never heard of, and I recommend paying a visit if you ever find yourself on the west coast of Australia.


22 thoughts on “The coolest town you’ve never heard of

  1. Mate you legend. Geraldton couldnt have asked for a better wrap if we paid someone. Good effort and hope you come back again oneday. You should see the Abrolhos Islands over Autum or Spring when the days are at their best and the wind is minimal.


  2. I came to Geraldton 5 years ago for a 2 week holiday and I never left. Been here ever since and it is the best decision I have made 🙂
    I love this town and so proud to call it my home 🙂


  3. Clearly the author is white. Try spending time in Geraldton with the slightest hint of melanin and you will no doubt repel these observations.

    With colour, you will be expelled from any such “cool” shop the moment you enter it, most often by an uneducated, white 17 year old incapable of spelling their own name let alone the phrase “racial profiling”. Your hipster coffee will be served to you burned, late and slapped down in front of you – if it is served to you at all. Entering a car park requires navigation through a barrage of hate-filled stickers on cars with slogans like “F— off we’re full”. Nothing could possibly scream “unwelcome” more.

    Never in my life have I experienced such segregation in the simplest of lifestyle habits. Geraldton is hardly a cool town. Please stop this misinformation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mary, thank you for your comment. You are correct, I am Caucasian. I’m pretty tan, so sometimes I’m confused for Native American, but my actual heritage is Mediterranean. I’m Greek.

      I’m sorry to hear of your negative experiences, and I hope that people will hear the anger and pain in your words and reconsider their actions if racism or ignorant hatred is ever the motivator.

      Be well and warm regards,

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We could have you Alex as our new MAYOR . The elections are coming up soon. Need someone with your positive attitude !


    2. I am really sorry to hear that has been your experience Mary. I know many non- Caucasian people in Geraldton who have had a different experience, and many caucasian people also don’t like Geraldton and have had bad experiences.. everyone’s experience is different hey! But I do hope that Alex does not stop writing of her experiences because many people find her way of capturing her journey very refreshing and inspiring! kind regards.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. ♥♡♥♡♡♥♡♥♡
    Big hugs and kisses to my best friend Aims and her beautiful family in Gero – love always from Margi n Henri ♡♥♡♥♡♥♡


  5. Ive lived in the Midwest area all my life and yes like any other place geraldton has its good and bad points but times are difficult at the moment but I enjoy the climate and lifestyle here after all life is what you make of it Glenn

    Liked by 1 person

  6. If you a racist, stay away if you accept people for what they are come here and enjoy what we have. Having spent the last 10 months travelling around our great country we as a town / city we claim we are not a bad place to visit,leave racism in the boot of your car and you will appreciate what we have !


  7. I came to Geraldton in 1972 from Scotland and fell in love with the place.It is a great place to bring up kids ,5 mins gets you to where ever you want to go.And there is good and bad every where you go, and there is lots worse places to live Eleanor


  8. Im from Geraldton,lived there for 21 years, its definitly not the kinda place for vegans. It lacks restaurants that have any such decent options unless your content with bland subway sandwiches with carboard patties. So yeah, its not for everyone.


  9. Uhh actually Flowvitality and the health food stores have an abundance of vegan products, foods and coffee!

    Just saying.

    I’m really surprised about the review, glad you liked it 🙂


  10. I got stuck there after a breakdown and it was the best thing that could have happened to me! I travelled all around Australia, still good old Gero is one of my favourite places for sure!!


  11. I was born & raised in ‘Gero’, spent most of my life loving & missing that place. I don’t care what you say as a ‘dark’ kid that grew up & spent most of there time working in that great town, I wouldn’t trade it for a second. This is a great review of a much forgotten about city on the west coast. For those that want deride the review, think about what you are doing to the town!!


  12. Thank you so much for your great comments on our lovely Geraldton. I also came to Geraldton for a short visit 30 years ago ,met my husband ,have raised 3 daughters and own one of the small local businesses,your review was like a breath of fresh air. Best Wishes on all your future travels and I hope one day you will come back and visit again

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s