The West's Blowhole Coast

More Than Just Rugged Scenery

Pounded by the relentless seas of the Indian Ocean, the Western Australian coastline has been carved and sculptured into some of the most rugged, picturesque and dangerous coast to be found anywhere in the country.

Death, hardship and tragedy have dogged this treacherous stretch of coastline for hundreds of years dating back to the days of early Dutch explorers and traders who came to grief here as long ago as the 17th and 18th centuries. Ancient East India Company squarerigged ships, mostly heading across the Indian Ocean in the prevailing westerly winds bound for Java, often found themselves, due to poor navigation or sheer bad luck, slamming into the jagged reefs and rough W.A. coastline violently drawing short their journeys in scenes of death and destruction.

But it is the West’s Blowhole Coast, some 74 km north of Carnarvon, that the most vivid reminders of this coastline of death, destruction and misadventure can still be plainly seen. Ships’ captains Dirk Hartog, Janz, Vlaming and Dampier were all uncomplimentary in their diaries of this region of W.A.’s coastline.

Pounded by huge rolling swells steaming in every 12 seconds from the Indian Ocean, this coastline has been gouged and scoured shaping rugged cliffs, caves, overhangs and crevices over millions of years. With awesome ferocity waves pound into rock faces and under enormous pressure are funnelled into gaping passages and rock holes forcing plumes of spray in powerful jets of water spurting high in the air, often to heights of 20 metres or more, shaking the very cliff faces with thunderous violent force. These unique blowholes (located at the end of the coastal access road) have been spectacularly erupting for hundreds of years.

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