Time stands still at island haven
Standing in knee-deep water casting a line into the clear blue ocean, a parade of shovel nose and black tip reef sharks swim idly by your feet.
You stand there in silence, sinking to your ankles in the soft sand as the world goes by.
It is only a matter of time before something bites on the end of the line to break the silence.
This is just a moment in time at Thevenard Island, part of the Mackerel Islands off the Onslow coast, one of many moments which make this place a heaven for those who need to forget time exists for a while.
A trip to Thevenard starts in Onslow, one of the oldest towns in the North West whose vibe and architecture has not yet forgotten its roots despite the huge sums of money coming in from major resource projects right on its doorstep.
It is a small town which in itself could only keep travellers occupied for one or two days — mustsee’s include the salt jetty, old Onslow townsite, the memorial walkway and the good shed museum — but coupled with modern accommodation options at the likes of Onslow Beach Resort and a trip to the islands, filling in a week becomes an easy and rewarding experience.
Here, you will find a mix of fishing shack-style homes intermixed with flash new developments.
Nothing highlights this better than the town’s two watering holes.
At the end of the main drag you have the revamped Beadon Bay Hotel, a traditional two-storey corner block pub complete with hearty pub grub and the types of classic Aussie brews generations have grown up on.
It is not hard to sit outside with a pint and get lost in the atmosphere on a Friday afternoon here.
On the other hand you have the Onslow Beach Club, which has undergone a facelift recently.
This is a decidedly more contemporary venue featuring glossy white interiors, lavish light fixings, a range of modern seating options and uninterrupted views of Town Beach.
The food could still be described as “pub grub”; however, no expense is spared in the pursuit of quality produce.
For for example, the beef is sourced from the local Minderoo Station. As for the drinks line-up, it is more in-keeping with Perth’s booming small bar scene than a typical Pilbara pub, a refreshing change for those who have latched on to the craft beer boom.
Having spent the night in Onslow you head out to Beadon Creek where your boat awaits to take you out to Thevenard.
It is a short and usually calm 45-minute trip. For those with your own boat, there are moorings available right outside the beach cabins on the island.
The island itself is a low-lying haven for shorebirds and aquatic life, fringed by clear blue waters which need no Photoshop enhancements.
You come here for three reasons: fishing, snorkelling and relaxing.
On the fishing front, Thevenard is a gem. Reports from many who
have made the trip say it is rare to have a line sitting in the water for more than a few minutes without a bite from the likes of mangrove jack, golden trevally or the island systems’ namesake, mackerel.
Even in adverse conditions, such as those experienced on our trip, a steady flow of fish were reeled in after a bit of patience.
Snorkelling around the island is also top-notch: turtles, crayfish, reef fish and a wide variety of coloured corals are easily accessible from the beaches.
The island can provide snorkelling and dive gear, as well as fishing rods and tackle. The general store keeps a stock of all the basics: bait, snacks and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
The beach shack-style accommodation fits in perfectly with the image. The cabins are simple, tidy and spacious enough for a full family house of up to 10 people.
The large patios overlooking the ocean are roomy enough to have the neighbours around for a feed as well.
For those wanting even more isolation the nearby Direction Island is the stuff everyone dreams of; a private island all to yourself.
Direction Island can accommodate up to eight persons in the lone cabin nestled by the beach, 11km off the Pilbara coast. The seclusion of both islands is the biggest selling point. Whether fishing, diving, swimming or sleeping on the beach it’s easy to get lost in your own world, and you do notice the lack of any man-made noise.
One of the beach shacks at Thevenard Island.
Onslow Beach Club and Resort.
Fishing rods lined up and rigged for the guests.
The 4WD bus at Thevenard Island.
An angler’s dream.
Fishing off the jetty at Thevenard Island
A shovel nose shark.