Common questions & answers for visiting the Mackerel Islands
Q. What are the Mackerel Islands?
A. Located off the mid-coast of Western Australia, the Mackerel Islands comprise of 10 pristine islands and atolls, two of which have accommodation – Thevenard and Direction.
Thevenard Island features 13 beachfront cabins, 34 single and double ensuite rooms, a general store, restaurant and bar (open seasonally, times vary), swimming pool, activity hire centre, gym, guest laundry, BBQs, boat moorings, airstrip and fuel facilities.
Direction Island is where you can “rent your own island” with a sole beach shack, which is the only man-made structure on the island, allowing you to enjoy the ultimate wilderness experience in an almost untouched environment.
Q. Can I stay there?
A. Of course! We have a range of accommodation for you to find your ideal stay. We can accommodate solo travellers, couples, groups of friends, families, school groups, fishing or diving groups, retreats, corporate and team building escapades, weddings, special requests and more depending on your requirements.
Q. How do I get there?
A. The Mackerel Islands are easily accessible from Onslow, via our ferry boat transfers or your own private vessel or charter plane. From Perth, you can fly daily direct to Onslow with Virgin Australia, the flight time is 2 hours. If driving and heading north up the coast, Onslow is located 1,400km from Perth, 965km from Geraldton and 400km from Exmouth. If driving south from the north west region, Onslow is located 1,130km from Broome, 540km from Port Hedland and 300km from Karratha. Further information is available here.
Q. How long is the trip from Onslow to the Mackerel Islands?
A. Thevenard Island is located 22km (12 nautical miles) from the coast of Onslow and takes approximately 45 minutes by boat. Direction Island is approximately 10km (5.5 nautical miles) and 20 minutes by boat. You can see both islands from Onslow.
Q. Where do I go when I get to Onslow?
A. Our welcome and check-in point is the Onslow Beach Resort (cnr Second Ave & Third St) right in the centre of town on the waterfront. Go to reception where our friendly team will be expecting you. If you need to contact the Onslow Beach Resort, call (08) 9184 6586 or email [email protected].
Q. Are you connected to the Onslow Beach Resort?
Q. Can we camp or bring swags?
A. The 10 islands within the Mackerel Islands group are gazetted nature reserves, therefore no camping is allowed without a permit. We currently do not have camping facilities available.
Q. Can you sleep on your boat?
A. No, sorry we don’t allow this, however do have a range of accommodation types to suit all budgets and requirements.
Q. Do I need to bring linen and towels?
A. All linen, towels and complimentary soap are supplied on arrival.
Q. What is in the cabins?
A. On Thevenard Island, there is a choice of 2, 3 or 5 bedroom beachfront cabins with spectacular ocean views, sleeping 2-10 people. The cabins are air-conditioned and feature a fully self-contained kitchen with a stovetop, oven, microwave, full size fridge/freezer, toaster, kettle, Nespresso coffee machine, plus pots, pans, crockery, cutlery, glassware and utensils. All cabins have a dining and lounge area and their own private bathroom, with the larger cabins having additional bathrooms and toilets. Outside there is a shaded entertaining area with a comfortable outdoor dining setting and a Weber BBQ.
On Direction Island, the sole beach shack is a rustic A-frame cabin and features 2 bedrooms with queen and bunk beds, sleeping 2-8 people. The kitchen is fully self-contained with a stovetop, oven, full size fridge/freezer, seperate deep freezer and all cooking utensils. There is an indoor and outdoor dining setting, ceiling fans, Weber BBQ, raised balcony deck with panoramic ocean views and an outdoor private bathroom.
Q. What services are available on the Mackerel Islands?
A. We sell fuel for boats, ice, bait, tackle, food supplies, alcohol, and general groceries. On Thevenard Island, there is a restaurant and bar (open seasonally, times vary), swimming pool, activity hire centre, gym, guest laundry, BBQ facilities and even a communal freezer to store your fishing catch. We have a state-of-the-art solar power and desalination plant providing fresh water. You can travel over from Onslow on our ferry transfer service, or bring your own boat over and hire a boat mooring in the main bay. We also have an airstrip welcoming private planes. On Direction Island, there is a boat mooring for private vessels under 6m in length, fresh water supply and solar power with a generator backup. Bookings for our ferry transfers are essential on (08) 9184 6444 or [email protected].
Q. We know the fishing is awesome, but what else is there to do for me and my kids?
A. Lots! One of the best things about visiting is that you can let the kids run free to explore and discover the island – they’ll squeal with delight at the sight of ghost crabs, turtle tracks, ta-ta lizards that “wave” hello, cool shells and googly eyed squid floating close to shore.
Then, jump on a SUP board or kayak, hire a plaka boat and cruise the waters to spot incredible marine life, take a nature discovery walk, reel in dinner from the beach, spend a few hours or a few days snorkelling, play a beach cricket or volleyball game, cook up a storm on your shaded cabin deck with a chilled drink, head out for a sunset 4WD tour, or join our skipper on one of our fishing charters or diving charters.
Need more to do? Partake in a little beachcombing, stargazing, bird watching, humpback whale or dolphin watching, see turtles nesting and hatching, or become part of history by scribing in our Island Diaries.
Q. Do you have a list of your pricing and activities?
A. Yes, we have all tours, activities and accommodation prices outlined on this printable list.
Q. Is there food and alcohol there?
A. Yes! On Thevenard Island, you can order meals, wine and tap beer from the Flying Fish Bar & Restaurant (open seasonally, times vary).
You can buy food items and liquor at competitive prices at the Island General Store, making it easy to help limit the amount of supplies you need to cart around with you on holiday, or if you forget or run out of something.
We also have an online grocery store so you can pre-order your food and drinks prior to your stay at either Thevenard or Direction Island, and arrive to a stocked fridge and pantry in your own cabin. Check out the online store!
Please note the Mackerel Islands operates a NO BYO ALCOHOL policy on Thevenard Island due to liquor licensing conditions, however we are happy to order in special items with notice. If you’re playing castaway on Direction Island, BYO is acceptable.
Q. Can I order food other than what’s listed on the online grocery store?
A. You can with sufficient notice. We will do our best to accommodate special requests, including special occasions, so please provide as much notice as possible.
Q. Are there boat moorings?
A. Yes, moorings are available close to shore and your cabin at $10 per night per boat – these must be booked in advance on (08) 9184 6444 or email [email protected]. We also supply fuel for boats daily.
Q. What time / how often do the ferry transfers or tour boat charters leave?
A. For overnight guests:
Ferry transfers depart from Onslow 4 times per week to the Mackerel Islands and take approximately 45 minutes. Departure time from Onslow to the islands is typically 12:00 noon, departure times returning to Onslow are 10:00am from Thevenard Island and 10:30am from Direction Island*. Bookings for our ferry transfers are essential.
A. For fishing and diving charters:
We operate an 11m LeisureCat accommodating up to 10 people with experienced and knowledgeable skippers. Charters are seasonal so please contact us for the most up to date information or visit our fish or dive pages.
A. For day trips:
Half day and full day trips depart from Onslow subject to availability and minimum numbers, and run for approximately 4 to 8 hours from departure to return. You will be advised of departure times upon booking as these vary.
Contact us on (08) 9184 6444 or [email protected].
*Occasionally times may vary due to weather conditions and demand.
Q. Can I park my car, caravan or boat trailer? Where and how much does it cost?
A. Yes, we offer secure overnight parking on the mainland in Onslow for $10 per car or caravan, $15 per car and trailer. Please note this is not a powered site.
Q. What is the best time of the year to come?
A. Our peak season runs from March to October, however the quieter months provide some amazing nature experiences, especially turtle hatchings. It is warmer during this time and there is a risk of cyclone activity between November – April; however we have tight procedures and policies in place should this occur during your stay.
Q. Is the day trip cost inclusive of weekends?
A. Yes, our rates remain consistent during the week and on weekends. Check out our day trips page for detailed information and inclusions.
Q. Is there phone reception?
A. Yes, the Telstra 3G network is available on the islands.
Q. Where do you get ice?
A. We have communal freezer storage for the fishing fanatics out there, where we have large stores of fresh ice. Thevenard Island has a state-of-the-art desalination plant pumping huge quantities of fresh water around the island, so ice and fresh water just isn’t a problem!
Q. What medical facilities do you have in case of emergency?
A. All permanent staff are trained in First Aid for treatment of minor injuries. Swift transport to Onslow Hospital is provided if required, which is a two-minute drive from the Onslow jetty. For emergency situations Mackerel Islands is registered with the Royal Flying Doctor Service. There is an airstrip on Thevenard Island for the landing of aircraft in emergency situations. It is advisable to let staff know of any potential medical requirements as soon as possible.
Do you have another question? Please contact us.