Ashburton River, Oriol Alamany / Auscape International

Population 574

Onslow, on the north-west coast between Exmouth and Karratha, is the supply base for offshore gas and oil fields. This part of the coast is among the north's most cyclone-prone and Onslow has often suffered severe damage. The town was originally at the Ashburton River mouth and a bustling pearling centre. In the 1890s gold was discovered nearby. In 1925 the townsite was moved to Beadon Bay after cyclones caused the river to silt up. During World War II, submarines refuelled here and the town was bombed twice. In the 1950s it was the mainland base for Britain's nuclear experiments at Montebello Islands. In 1963 Onslow was almost completely destroyed by a cyclone. It is now an attractive tree-shaded town.

Visitor Information

Second Ave (May–Oct), (08) 9184 6644; or council offices, Second Ave, (08) 9184 6001


Nearby national parks

Nearby towns

  • Exmouth

    One of the newest towns in Australia, Exmouth was founded in 1967 as a support town for the Harold E. Holt US Naval Communications Station,...more

  • Karratha

    Karratha is the Aboriginal word for 'good country'. Founded in 1968 as a result of expansion of the iron-ore industry, Karratha was...more

  • Coral Bay

    Coral Bay is famous for one thing: its proximity to Ningaloo Marine Park. Ningaloo Reef boasts an incredible diversity of marine life and...more

In Town

Goods Shed Museum: memorabilia from the town's long history and collections of old bottles, shells and rocks; in visitor centre; Second Ave.

Beadon Creek and Groyne: popular fishing spot.

Ian Blair Memorial Walkway: 1 km scenic walk; starts at Beadon Point and finishes at Sunset Beach.

Heritage trail: covers sites of interest in town; contact visitor centre for map.


Termite mounds: with interpretive display; 10 km S.

Mackerel Islands: excellent fishing destination. Charter boats are available for daytrips or extended fishing safaris; contact visitor centre for details; 22 km off the coast.

Ashburton River: swimming, camping and picnicking; 45 km SW.

Old townsite heritage trail: self-guided walk around original townsite including old gaol; contact visitor centre for map; 45 km SW.

Cafes & restaurants around town

Beadon Bay Hotel

Located in the centre of town and close to the beach, this hotel is a very popular spot for socialising and also serves up reasonably priced counter meals. Known for its resilience, the pub has survived several cyclones.... Find out more

Nikki’s Licensed Restaurant

The compact coastal town of Onslow is home to Nikki’s Licensed Restaurant, where locals come for steak and fresh seafood. Apparently they serve the best prawns in the state, which is believable considering... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Ocean View Caravan Park

Situated on the beachfront, this park is ideal for fishing enthusiasts. It is also a good place for a rest, with clean basic facilities. In the busy season the park holds sausage sizzles once a week. Bookings are... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Club Thevenard

Thevenard Island is one of the ten islands that make up the Mackerel Islands. The accommodation village, Club Thevenard, is a refurbished ex-mining camp that can cater for up to 55 guests, from singles and couples to... Find out more

Direction Island

Longing to escape to a deserted island? On Direction Island, seclusion is guaranteed since the only structure on the island is a beach cabin which sleeps six. Totally self-sufficient and only accessible by private vessel... Find out more

Onslow Mackerel Motel

With the Indian Ocean just metres away and the town within walking distance, the Onslow Mackerel Motel is ideally situated. The modern rooms are fully self-contained, with air-conditioning, internet access, barbecue... Find out more

Onslow Sun Chalets

Right on the beachfront in one of the north-west’s few remaining seaside bush towns, these motel rooms and self-contained chalets are close to Onslow’s attractions.... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Robe River rest area 84 km

44km S of Fortescue (R) or 120km N of Nanutarra (L)

Just off the highway under a few trees on the riverbank.

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