Geraldton was a great cruise stop. What? You’ve never heard of it?? Well – neither had we! The port was industrial, so we were forbidden to walk through. But that meant that the city provided free shuttle buses that took us to the middle of town. There was a really lavish shopping street that went on for many blocks, with stores, restaurants, bakeries, and cafes. Many of the buildings date to the early 19th century, and they were mostly kept up and taken care of.
We spent a bit of time in St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, which made us gasp as we entered. It is like walking into a Moorish mosque in Spain, with gorgeous stripes everywhere. Apparently, originally, the background striping was black and white, but today it is a muted gray and white, which softens the interior. Work began on its construction in 1916 by a very beloved Fr. Hawes (later Monsignor Hawes), who designed it (and actually helped build it) based on churches and mosques he had seen around the world. Very unfinished, it opened two years later. The new bishop refused to grant any money at all toward its ongoing construction, as he considered it “peculiar.” But today, there is a host of volunteers at the church, very eager to tell the story of the beloved Fr. Hawes and their beautiful, unusual church. We found it to be the city’s major attraction.
The beaches are gorgeous, like all we have seen on the Indian Ocean. Some of the sand dunes were being “repaired,” but we don’t know what that means exactly. Everyone we encountered seemed very proud of their city and all it has to offer. There is a photo of the bent-over trees, which are famous up and down the west coast due to the constant wind. Best of all for us, for the first time in over two months, we got to go to a movie theater and see a new movie – with popcorn! It was great. Geraldton had everything.
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