Time stands still at is­land haven

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr Tom Zaun­mayr vis­ited Theve­nard Is­land and Onslow Beach Re­sort as a guest of Mack­erel Is­lands.

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.

Pic­tures: Tom Zaun­mayr

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.

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