Remote wilderness experiences and exceptional climate are the main attributes that draw visitors to the Gascoyne. The Gascoyne’s natural attractions are world class with the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, including Monkey Mia in the south; the Ningaloo Reef World Heritage Area in the north; and Kennedy Range and Mount Augustus National Parks to the east.

At 260km in length, the Ningaloo Reef is one of the world’s largest fringing coral reefs and is home to thousands of species of marine life and megafauna including migrating whale sharks, manta rays, turtles and humpback whales. Visitors can experience much of this marine life directly from the beach, making the Ningaloo experience unique in Australia.

The Shark Bay World Heritage Area is one of the few areas around the globe that meets all four natural criteria for the World Heritage Listing; natural beauty, biological diversity, natural processes and earth’s history. Monkey Mia, in the eastern gulf of Shark Bay, was one of the first places in the world where wild dolphin interaction became possible.

Cultural Tourism

There are more than 120 Aboriginal tourism businesses in Western Australia that contribute 339 full-time equivalent jobs and $43.8 million in economic impact to the WA economy. However, there are only a handful of Aboriginal tourism businesses in the Gascoyne. Recent research by Tourism WA indicates 81% of visitors to WA are interested in participating in an Aboriginal tourism experience, but only 17% have this experience. A significant opportunity exists for tourism to create jobs and economic prosperity for the Gascoyne’s Aboriginal population.

Aboriginal Cultural Tourism forms an integral part of the Commission’s strategy for Aboriginal economic development. The Commission supported the original construction and reopening of Gwoonwardu Mia Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre, and continues to support the success of Gwoonwardu Mia as an Aboriginal business and tourism hub.

The Commission also supports Aboriginal people to share their Cultural Heritage and connection to Country by developing Cultural Tourism opportunities in the Gascoyne. The Commission’s primary Aboriginal economic development initiative is the Targeted Aboriginal Business Support (TABS) program which supports businesses from a wide variety of industries, including Tourism. Through the TABS program we are supporting a number local Aboriginal artists and traditional landowners to develop a diverse range of Cultural Tourism products including, guided cultural tours, bush food inspired dining experiences and artistic expression.

The TABS program achieves its objectives by connecting businesses with support agencies, providing grant writing support, educational qualifications, access to business development, marketing, business financing tools, and motivational coaching/ mentoring.

Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Cultural Adventures
Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Cultural Adventures, Shark Bay

Food Tourism

Gascoyne Food Festival

With its first event in 2015, The Gascoyne Food Festival has quickly grown into Australia’s largest regional gastronomic food experience. Typically running annually from July to September, the event allows patrons to sample an array produce from the Gascoyne within a stunning collection of unforgettable destinations in the region.

The schedule of events includes everything from fine dining to 4WD experiences on the pristine beaches of Dirkhartog Island and to relaxed social dining experiences sampling local seafood and alcohol canned within this region.

Year on year most events in the schedule are sold out and attract visitors from both within and outside the region. Events often receive media coverage which positively promotes the Gascoyne region and local primary producers. The events also provide valuable workforce development opportunities for volunteers and students from local hospitality and vocational skills education providers.

Gascoyne fruit loop

The Gascoyne fruit loop drive trail is a 10km trail of the Carnarvon horticultural district. The fruit loop spans both the South and North River Road in Carnarvon.

Click here for a brochure featuring some of the produce the fruit loop has to offer.

Tourists enjoying Carnarvon's Fruit Loop trail

Tourists enjoying Bumbak's ice-cream on Carnarvon's Fruit Loop

Gascoyne Growers market

Occurring every Saturday morning between May and October, the Gascoyne Growers market bring the best of Gascoyne produce to Carnarvon CBD making it accessible to tourists and locals. The market has a vibrant and social atmosphere where locals and tourists complete their weekly shopping, indulge in a delicious breakfast and freshly made smoothies or coffee.


Increasing artificial light pollution in Australia and internationally has reduced many people's ability to see the stars in their home towns and cities, more than 80% of the worlds population now live under a light-polluted sky and as a result, people are beginning to seek out dark sky experiences.

Naturally heated therapeutic artesian bore baths at Wooramel Station River Retreat

Tourism WA recently completed research a Dark Sky Research Report that explored the current perceptions, knowledge and attitudes to Dark Sky Tourism, and looked into drivers and barriers to partaking in Dark Sky Tourism, along with discovering any cross-activity opportunities to inform product development and marketing strategies. The research highlighted that there is a high level of interest in Dark Sky Tourism, dining under the stars, viewing wildlife at night and stargazing.

The Gascoyne with its pristine night sky and stable weather conditions is perfectly placed to take advantage of this increasing global demand for dark sky tourism, and Astrotourism in particular.

The Commission is actively supporting Local Governments and other stakeholders to progress Astrotourism in the Gascoyne. The availability of Astrotourism products, being a night time activity, will assist to increase visitor overnight stay and spend. Notably, the potential for good economic outcomes is high as spend does not appear to be a significant barrier to Astrotourism. The recent Tourism WA research found that the majority of the target market anticipated spending the same or more than a typical holiday. Astrotourism is also a year round activity, that will support increased visitation in shoulder periods and in the off-season.

Astrotourism also provides Aboriginal people and Traditional Owners of the Gascoyne a significant opportunity to increase workforce and tourism industry participation. 

Aboriginal people of the Gascoyne have a significant connection to the night sky, having utilised the start for tens of thousands of years to provide information on seasonality, food sources, navigation, and to support allegories and maintain traditional lore. Cultural tourism that incorporates Aboriginal Astronomy provides visitors a unique cultural experience while they share in the Gascoyne's rich cultural history.

The Commission is particularly dedicated to growing the Gascoyne Astrotourism sector in the lead up to the 2023 Ningaloo Eclipse. On April 20 2023 Exmouth will be one of the best locations in the world to see the 2023 Total Solar Eclipse which is expected to bring an influx of both domestic and international visitors. In 2018 the Commission acted to ensure the security of regional branding and established the domain name Early in 2021 that domain name was handed to Tourism WA for ongoing development. 

The Commission also recognised early on the potential economic benefits such an event will bring to our region and advocated strongly for a working group to be established to ensure a coordinated approach from Government. The Commission now has an important role in the Ningaloo Eclipse Working Group to ensure regional development outcomes and local content opportunities for the Gascoyne are maximised.

Marine Tourism

The Gascoyne region supports approximately 4,600 jobs and produces an annual economic output of $2.4 billion (based on REMPLAN data for 2020). The tourism industry is the largest employing industry sector and it contributes approximately 667 jobs (14.4%) to the region’s total employment.

In 2021 the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attraction commissioned Economic contribution of Ningaloo, a study into the economic value to the State economy of the Ningaloo Coast, the study estimates the value to be $110 million per year. Sustainable development of the tourism industry relies on successfully leveraging the region’s natural capital, including the Ningaloo World Heritage area in the north and the Shark Bay World Heritage area in the Gascoyne’s south.

Inland Tourism 

The Shire of Upper Gascoyne is the entry way to the Kennedy Range, Mount Augustus, the wool wagon pathway and the Kingsford Smith mail run. Shire of Upper Gascoyne is 46,602 square kilometers and home to approximately 290 residents. Peak visitation to the area occurs in the cooler months from April to October and access is dependent on rainfall. Prior to COVID-19 the area attracted approximately 4,000 visitors each year, this number increased to 6,500 visitors in 2020. Given the recent increase in inland tourism, the visitation number is estimated to increase exponentially in 2022.

Mount Augustus Tourist Infrastructure upgrade

The State government has invested $10 million to upgrade Tourism infrastructure at Mount Augustus. This project will include upgrading road infrastructure, improving telecommunications to ensure visitor safety, upgrading the airstrip, and developing trails to bolster tourism in the area.

Plan for Our Parks

Running concurrent with the $10 million investment into Mount Augustus is the Plan for Our Parks (PfOP) initiative. Immediately south of the national park is a 600,000‑hectare parcel of unallocated Crown land that was purchased for conservation and is part of the PfOP initiative. The Burringurrah Reserve and community is an enclave at the centre of this land.

Aboriginal ranger program

As part of the PfOP program in the Mount Augustus area, Aboriginal rangers will be employed to assist with park management and to implement much of the planned works associated with the redevelopment of recreation sites and trails. Hands-on training will be provided to develop the skills, capacity and experience of the rangers in conservation and land management.