Getting to the Mackerel Islands, Western Australia

Getting here is easy! The Mackerel Islands are a collection of 10 pristine islands and atolls scattered off the mid-coast of Western Australia, 22km from the mainland of Onslow, or approximately 1,400km north of Perth, in the spectacular Pilbara region.

Two of the islands welcome guests - Thevenard Island and Direction Island - with accommodation, facilities, activities and tours.


Map of where the Mackerel Islands are


The Mackerel Islands are located a short hop off the coast of Onslow and are easy to access via Perth.

Options for getting here include travelling to Onslow by road or by air and then taking our island transfer service or your own boat across.

Thevenard Island also has airstrip access for private light planes or charter flights.

We have secure parking on the mainland in Onslow (charges apply) so you can park your car, motorhome, campervan, caravan or boat trailer worry-free before heading over to the island on the ferry or your boat.

Island Transfers

Onslow to Mackerel Islands - Thevenard Island
Transfers to Thevenard Island are operated by a ferry service from Beadon Creek. The ferry is a 45 minute crossing.

Onslow to Mackerel Islands - Direction Island
Direction Island is currently closed for the 2023/2024 season.

See our island transfers page for timetables and further information and contact our reservation staff to book and confirm your transfer arrangements.

Please arrange your transfers before booking your accommodation. Services are subject to demand and may be changed or substituted at short notice due to weather conditions, passenger numbers and operational requirements.

Ferry ticket prices:

  • $120 return for adults
  • $60 return for children (3-12 years old)
  • Free for infants (0-2 years old)
  • $300 return family pass (2 adults + 2 children)

Take Your Own Boat

You are welcome to bring your own vessel and hire a boat mooring at the islands - these must be booked in advance. We also supply boat fuel. Please see our Boating Info page.

Boat mooring hire prices on Thevenard Island are $20 per boat per night.

Boat mooring hire on Direction Island is complimentary for guests.

Secure Car Parking

You can park your vehicle securely in our parking facility located near Beadon Creek in Onslow, before heading over to the island on the ferry or your boat.

Secure parking prices:

  • $15 per car, motorhome or campervan per night
  • $20 per car + towed caravan per night
  • $20 per car + boat trailer per night

By Road

Road travel from Perth to Onslow is a comfortable drive of about 1.5 days on fully sealed roads.

Onslow sits almost right in the middle of Exmouth and Karratha, being a 4 hour drive north from Exmouth or 3 hour drive south from Karratha.

Onslow Road runs about 80km off the North West Coastal Highway, which connects the main towns of Geraldton, Carnarvon, Exmouth, Karratha and Port Hedland, or off the Great Northern Highway which connects from Broome.

If you're adventuring through the stunning Karijini National Park, the Nanutarra Munjina Road will connect you with the N W Coastal Highway then Onslow Road, and takes approximately 5 hours drive time.

Approximate Distances & Driving Times
Perth to Onslow: 1,400km - 14 hours & 30 minutes
Geraldton to Onslow: 965km - 9 hours & 45 minutes
Carnarvon to Onslow: 495km - 5 hours
Exmouth to Onslow: 400km - 4 hours
Karratha to Onslow: 300km - 3 hours & 15 minutes
Karijini National Park to Onslow: 450km - 5 hours & 30 minutes
Port Hedland to Onslow: 540km - 5 hours & 30 minutes
Broome to Onslow: 1,130km - 11 hours & 20 minutes

By Air

Perth to Onslow
Virgin Australia flies direct from Perth to Onslow, making it a short 2 hour flight from Perth and the easiest way to get here. You can check flight times and schedules here.

Private Aircraft
Thevenard Island has a 1,000m brick paved airstrip. Should you require further information on airstrip access, please contact our Island Manager on (08) 9184 6444 or [email protected].

Airport Transfers & Taxis
Airport transfers between Onslow Airport and Onslow Beach Resort (where you'll check-in before heading over to the Mackerel Islands) are available on the resort's mini-bus, please contact reception on +61 8 9184 6586 or email [email protected] to arrange. A taxi service also operates from the Onslow Airport.

By Air - Fly/Drive

Perth to Exmouth (Learmonth)
Qantas flies daily between Perth and Exmouth (Learmonth), travel time is approximately 1 hour 40 minutes. Pick up a hire car in Exmouth and travel the 400km distance to Onslow, driving through the Ningaloo region or Cape Range National Park, before arriving at the next stage of your adventure at the islands!

Perth to Karratha
Qantas and Virgin Australia fly daily from Perth to Karratha, travel time is just over 2 hours. Pick up a hire car in Karratha to explore the 300km distance to Onslow, where you can road trip along the way to the Burrup Peninsula, Millstream-Chichester National Park, or out to Karijini.

Scenic Flights
Charter planes are also available to transfer guests from Exmouth or Karratha directly to Thevenard Island on a light plane scenic tour. Flight times are approximately 35 minutes. For more details, pricing and availability, please contact Ningaloo Aviation or Aviair.

Car Hire Services
Car hire is available from Karratha, Learmonth and Exmouth with Avis and Hertz.