Green Head

Green Head

Sometimes you just need to get away from it all.  You need to recharge the batteries.  To abandon the rat race, and go somewhere that offers complete respite from city life.

One of the great benefits of living in Western Australia is that it is possible to find somewhere that is reasonably seclusive, where you can relax in relative solitude, far away from the bustle of the crowds.

Fortunately, our sparse population guarantees that such places are found within a few hours drive from Perth.

For me, the small coastal village of Green Head, on Western Australia’s Coral Coast, provides the perfect panacea for the stresses of city living.  It is just a great place in which to relax and let that stress dissipate.

Green Head is not hard to find, but you do have to do a little looking.

It is not on a main road; in fact it is not even quite on the minor road!

Green Head is a little offshoot, thirty-six kilometres west of the Brand Highway about forty kilometres north of Badgingarra.  Perhaps the most popular way to reach Green Head from Perth is to take the Cervantes/Jurien turn-off north of Cataby and follow the coast road.  This will eventually take you to Dongara and the Green Head turn off is thirty-three kilometres north of Jurien Bay.

The town is one of the small rock lobster fishing communities that dot the mid-western coast.  It was once mainly populated by farmers who built holiday shacks there and used it as a weekend respite.  Nowadays, the quality of housing is a lot more salubrious as cray fishermen build sturdy brick and tile homes. Most of the shacks that once dotted the coast have now been pulled down to make way for public reserves, so holiday housing is now confined to the township only.

Green Head has some very pretty aspects.  There is a series of bays and beaches, all of which face a different direction, so it is always possible to find a beach that is

Dynamite Bay, Green Head

sheltered from the wind.

And believe me, during much of the year you do need to find somewhere to shelter from the wind!

It seems to blow a gale here most of the time.  Morning, noon and night, the wind blows with much strength in Green Head.  I should point out that this constant wind is not unique to Green Head, but occurs just about everywhere along this part of the coastline.

The wind and tides do affect your activities, particularly if they relate to fishing and boating.

We learnt from the experience ignoring local conditions.  A group of us had planned to set off early one morning to launch our boat at Billygoat Bay to do some fishing.  We got to the launch ramp nice and early, ready for a big day’s fishing – only to find that it was low tide, and we were confronted by the sight of a reef that seemed to extend for miles to the distant water line.  End of grand boating expedition, but the start of a leisurely walk to explore the reefs and offshore islands that now had land bridges to the coast.

Green Head’s main swimming beach is called Dynamite Bay, and it is a very pretty sheltered cove surround by limestone cliffs which almost completely surround it.  There is a white, clean, sandy beach and good amenities.  The water seems to be safe for swimming, and ideal for snorkelling as the water is very clear and not too deep.  I’ve seen dolphins swim close inshore at Dynamite Bay and sea lions regularly visit too.

South Bay forms a long crescent as it arches south to Jurien Bay.  There is a good boat ramp at South Bay and the beach is ideal for fishing.  With a four-wheel drive you can drive far enough along the beach to find your own secluded spot.

There is a good walk track around the various bays at Green Head and some spectacular scenery too.  There are many offshore reefs and islands that constantly change due the tides.   The cliffs themselves are limestone, and the constant action of wind and water has created many fascinating shapes and a multitude of caves that sometimes extend quite deep beneath the cliffs.

Satellite image of Green Head

Just north of the town is a series of bays and beaches that are very easy to reach by car.  The road is unsealed, but in very good condition.  If you have an off-road vehicle, you can drive along the beaches for easier access to the better fishing spots.

With a permanent population of just over three hundred, Green Head is a very small town, but it does have good amenities, including a supermarket and general store.

The caravan park is quite sheltered, and well located next to Dynamite Bay.  There is plenty of other accommodation available.

We rented a modern unit that slept nine people for just $75.00 per night during peak season.  Facilities were excellent, and everything was provided except for linen and food.  It had a big kitchen and living area, and a nice backyard with fish cleaning sink and BBQ.  Pets were permitted as the backyard was very secure.

If you don’t have your own boat, there is a charter boat available that is suitable for both fishing and sightseeing.  With many small, offshore islands that harbour a variety of marine life close by, a trip by charter boat is certainly a worthwhile experience.

To the south is Fisherman’s Island, an Australian Sea Lion breeding colony.  Access to the island is restricted, but some charter operators are registered to take tourists there.  The seal lions quite often beach themselves on the Green Head beaches, but it is not recommended that you approach within four metres of them for, despite their big, blue, trusting eyes; they can turn on you in an instant.  The sea lions may look cute, but they are aggressive hunters.  While human is not on their normal menu, they do like to preserve their personal space and their fangs do look quite capable of causing severe damage to our thin skin.

Because Green Head is off the main road, there is very little traffic in the town.

Green Head will not provide you with a wildly exciting environment.  This is no party town.  Green Head is a place in which to relax and to potter about fishing, boating or swimming.  It is great for families who want a relatively cheap holiday that is not too far from Perth.

Whilst the constant wind can be frustrating at times, it is also very refreshing to walk along the headlands or beaches facing the full brunt of a breeze that almost knocks you off your feet; it certainly blows away the cobwebs.

That breeze does make it perfect for wind surfing, and the few I watched one afternoon were absolutely screaming along a lengthy run.

Apart from the ample marine activities, Green Head is a perfect base to use during the June to November wildflower season.  There is much native bush nearby, and it is close to a number of wildflower reserves and national parks.

In fact, the area between Cervantes and Eneabba is known to host over two thousand species of flowering plants including black kangaroo paw, cats paw, smokebush, cowslip orchids, scarlet feather flower, woody pear and banksia.

Green Head is a typically Australian, laidback sort of place that we usually take for granted, that is just marvellous when you need a relaxing break.

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