Historical Attractions

Solar Observatory

34 kilometres south of Exmouth on the Exmouth/Minilya Road.

This historic site can only be viewed from the main road and is not open to the general public.


34 kilometres south of Exmouth on the Exmouth/Minilya Road.

Named after Wing Commander Charles C Learmonth, the RAAF Base was an operational air base during World War II. Extensions to the base and airfield commenced in 1970 by the No 5 Airfield Construction Squadron and were completed in 1974. The base is currently in a "caretaker" situation and is frequently used for Army, RAAF and joint services exercises. Not open to the general public.

Potshot Monument

32 kilometres south of Exmouth on the Exmouth Minilya Road.potshot

This site commemorates Operation Potshot, 1942-45. After the Allied retreat before the advancing Japanese in 1942, Fremantle and Albany became bases for US submarines operating in the S W Pacific area. However because of the long distance involved, an advance base was required and Exmouth Gulf was selected for this purpose. An airstrip was built and a fighting squadron stationed here, an anti-aircraft battery established and in May 1943 the US tender "Pelias" anchored in the Gulf to start servicing submarines moored alongside the tender. In spite of the hastily prepared defences, the risk of danger from enemy air attacks was high. "Pelias" therefore retired to Fremantle and the Gulf remained a refuelling base for submarines until February 1945, when most of the facilities were destroyed by a severe cyclone.

Navy Pier

16 kilometres north of Exmouth.

Situated at Point Murat on the tip of the North West Cape. The pier was constructed in 1964. It was designed to withstand 10 metre waves likely in a cyclone. The decking will disengage under severe wave pressures putting less strain on the main structure. Until recently the pier was used to receive supplies for the base which came from the US every two months. Access to fishing from the pier or diving near the pier is STRICTLY PROHIBITED to public.

Wreck of SS "Mildura"

20 kilometres north of Exmouth.

The cattleship SS "Mildura", carrying Kimberley cattle south, foundered on the reef during a cyclone in 1907, however, no lives were lost. (Teak timbers and iron salvaged from the ship were used in renovations to Yardie Homestead). The hulk sat forlornly on the reef until World War II when allied planes used it for bombing practice. Today the rusting wreck is a sad reminder of a once proud lady.

Vlaming Head Lighthouse

11 kilometres north of Exmouth turn left into Yardie Creek Road and then 8 kilometres.

Built in 1912 and operated under the charge of two lighthouse keepers, Vlaming Head Lighthouse stands on the northernmost tip of Cape Range. Sadly for the romantics, the role of the lighthouse was taken over by an automatic light positioned on Tower Eleven in the VLF Antenna Field. It can be seen at night flashing its solemn warning to mariners of the proximity of the Cape and the dangers of the nearby reefs.

A panoramic drive which climbs steeply to the tip of the coastal range at Vlaming Head, gives a sweeping view of both sides of the North West Cape with the 13 tower network of the Naval Communications Station sprawling at the base of the range and the station itself with the township of Exmouth visible in the distance. Interpretive Signage is mounted with detailed information about the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area, Oil Exploration off the North West Cape, history of the Vlaming Head Lighthouse, History of Exmouth's involvement during World War II and the Naval Communications Station Harold E Holt. Coin operated binoculars are also available for viewing.

When ascending the hill to the lighthouse you will see on your left old empty drums that the lighthouse keepers pushed over the edge after he had used the fuel to fire the light.

The Lonely Grave

11 kilometres north of Exmouth turn left into Yardie Creek Road and then 7 kilometres along.

On the left of the road just north of Lighthouse Caravan Park, a lone white cross can be seen marking the grave of F J Reddy, who died during construction of the Vlaming Head Lighthouse in 1912.

The Old Lighthouse Keepers Quarters

11 kilometres north of Exmouth turn left into Yardie Creek Road and then 7 kilometres down.

This building is now part of the Lighthouse Caravan Park residence. The duplex-type quarters were constructed in 1912 at the foot of Vlaming Head. Life for the lighthouse keepers was very difficult in such a harsh and remote environment.

Old Radar Site (on Lighthouse Hill)

At the extremity of the Lighthouse Hill Lookout, is the position that the ruins of the World War II aircraft warning radar ruin stood. This aircraft warning radar was operational until February 1945, when the installation was severely damaged by a cyclone. As the war was then rapidly drawing to a close, the radar site was not rebuilt and was left to stand as it was. Today stands a replica of the original warning radar of which was sent to the Maritime Museum in Fremantle.