The Shire of Ashburton is a big place for the stars and there’s so much to explore.

Onslow is one of the rare places in Western Australia where you can see both the Sun and Moon rise and set over the ocean! A very astronomical place, indeed! There’s a relaxed vibe in this modern town. It’s home to significant mining operations including gas and salt and is now including Astrotourism as part of its welcome for visitors.

The Shire of Ashburton is getting prepared to host visitors for the 2023 Total Solar Eclipse and joined the Astrotourism Towns network in May 2021.

The Shire is expansive and has a holiday where you can combine Astro activities on the coast and inland with stunning Pilbara landscapes, like visiting the incredible sculpture of “Resilience” near the town of Paraburdoo.

Night Sky Stargazing Experiences

If you’d like a stargazing experience in the Shire of Ashburton, there are a lot of options:

1. From First Avenue in Onslow, the Staircase to the Moon can be seen on full moon nights from April to October each year. It’s a beautiful sight to see the full moon rise over the ocean which creates the virtual steps to our nearest celestial neighbour.

2. Don’t forget, that Onslow is one of the rare places where you can see both the Sun and Moon rise and set over the ocean! Head up to Dreamers Hill to see sunsets and sunrises in all their glory. Even the beaches are named Sunrise and Sunset! There are also sunrise and sunset viewing spots along the Ian Blair Memorial Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is a leisurely 1km stroll that takes you from the ANZAC War Memorial to Sunset beach.

3. Cheela Plains Station Stay has had interpretive experiences before and the stop over half way between Onslow and Karijini National Park is well worth it. If you have a 4WD make sure to explore Beasley Gorge and see the “Great Oxidation Event”. This is a rock timeline recording the rise of oxygen in the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere more than 2700 million years ago!

4. Catch a ride with Pilbara Camel Trekking and Cultural Tours. Imagine your very own camel ride to the stars where you’ll discover how Aboriginal people, the world’s first astronomers, used the night sky to guide everyday life.

4. Join Clinton Walker and Ngurrangga Tours to soak in Aboriginal culture and heritage. Clinton is an award-winning tour guide and on some of his tours you’ll experience the night sky through his eyes. His overnight tour explores the Millstream-Chichester National Park and George Gorge. This tour includes camping under the stars where you’ll learn more about connections for the Yindjibarndi people.

5. Karijini’s Dales Gorge Campground Astro Tours run from May to September each year. Enjoy a night under the stars and see astronomical objects close up through telescopes.

6. Board a boat to the Mackerel Islands for the stunning dark night sky. There is so much on offer during the day followed by magical evenings dining under the stars!

Stargazing & Tourism Information

Observing Site

The local community welcomes you to use telescopes and binoculars or enjoy an evening of stargazing here.

Astrophotography Hot Spot

Bring your camera to take stunning images of the starry night sky over this special landscape.

Visitor Centre

For accommodation, meals and other sightseeing in the local area, check in with the local visitor centre.

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