Western Australia’s (WA) Central West region is dotted with fascinating historical towns, world-famous beaches and is surrounded by unique wilderness.
If you’ve decided to study at Central Regional TAFE’s Geraldton, Kalgoorlie or Northam campuses not only will you gain the skills for your future career, but you’ll be lucky enough to live amongst some of Australia’s most incredible sights. TAFE International Western Australia (TIWA) is here to help you start your education journey.
Studying in regional WA can provide you with a unique opportunity to experience the amazing natural beauty of WA. The Western Australian (WA) Regional TAFE International Student Bursary 2023–2024 gives international students a chance to experience life in regional and remote Australia while receiving high quality education and training. You will also receive help to find suitable local accommodation and support to find employment in the region!
If you apply for the Destination Australia scholarship in Semester 2, 2023 you could receive AUD$7,500 per semester of study PLUS AUD$5,000 for the WA Regional TAFE International Bursary.
Applications close 30 April 2023 and conditions apply.
How to get to the Central West
Although it’s Australia’s largest state, WA is incredibly well connected, making it easy to get to major hubs in the Central West. For example, Northam(opens in a new tab) is 96km from Perth - only an 80-minute drive, or a two and a half-hour train journey through the beautiful Avon Valley.
You can also catch the train to Kalgoorlie(opens in a new tab), which is 653km from Perth. This takes under seven hours. Alternatively, you can drive, catch a coach, or – most conveniently – fly, which takes an hour. Qantas and Virgin Australia operate multiple flights to Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport daily.
Geraldton(opens in a new tab) is also a one-hour flight from Perth, located 424km away. The roads to Geraldton are incredibly scenic. A drive will take four hours, or you can catch a coach, which takes under six hours and means you can relax and enjoy the views.
Use the Transwa(opens in a new tab) website to explore your public transport options to any of these locations.
Imagine finishing your classes and going to the beach for a swim, or to enjoy the sunset in the fresh sea air. Home to the Central Regional TAFE’s Geraldton campus, including the hub at Fitzgerald Street, the Batavia Coast Maritime Institute(opens in a new tab), and the new Technology Park(opens in a new tab), this seaside paradise is perfect for international students seeking a laidback, beachy lifestyle to complement their studies. This campus offers courses in aquaculture, nursing, patisserie and commercial cookery, early childhood education and community services.
Australia’s largest outback town, Kalgoorlie(opens in a new tab), has a rich history, vibrant hospitality scene and beautiful pockets of nature. Courses in early childhood education and care, individual support and community services are offered at Central Regional TAFE’s Kalgoorlie campus.
Relaxing, riverside Northam is perfect for students looking for country living. As the largest town in the Avon region, which is known for its primary industries and history, international students at Central Regional TAFE’s Northam campus can study nursing, community services and early childhood education at this campus.
Things to see and do in Geraldton
Explore the town
Geraldton(opens in a new tab) is a lively coastal town perfect for adventure seekers and history lovers alike. Your itinerary will be packed with activities. From windsurfing and kitesurfing to tasting your way through the buzzing food and drink scene, there’s something for everyone in Geraldton.
Spend some time learning about the town’s Aboriginal, maritime, and Spanish missionary heritage. Start by visiting the Museum of Geraldton(opens in a new tab) for stories of shipwrecks. Then, discover the architecture of St Francis Xavier Cathedral(opens in a new tab) on a tour. When you have a free weekend, explore the Yamaji Drive Trail(opens in a new tab), which takes you to 14 sites of significance to the local Yamaji People.
It’s also worth taking a trip through Geraldton’s countryside, which bursts into bloom with stunning meadows of wildflowers(opens in a new tab) between July and October. Did you know, 60 per cent of WA’s wildflowers are found nowhere else on earth?
Hop around the Houtman Abrolhos Islands
Located 60km off the Geraldton coast you’ll find the Houtman Abrolhos Islands(opens in a new tab). These 122 coral islands are surrounded by clear blue waters and incredible sea life. Known for the Batavia Shipwreck(opens in a new tab), you can snorkel above the site or take a dive tour if you’re feeling extra adventurous. If you’d rather stay above the water, you can relax in the sea air on a day trip cruise or catch your own dinner on an overnight fishing charter.
Swim with marine life at Ningaloo Reef
Ningaloo Reef(opens in a new tab) is a UNESCO World Heritage site, home to amazing marine creatures. You can swim with manta rays all year round on the Ningaloo Reef. Plus, from March to July, the reef is visited by the world’s largest fish, the whale shark. This gentle giant of the sea is perfectly harmless to humans, with their diets consisting of plankton, copepods, fish eggs and krill. If you’d like to experience what it’s like to swim alongside one, you can take a professionally guided tour out to the reef and be left breathless as the creatures glide past.
The nearby towns of Coral Bay(opens in a new tab) and Exmouth(opens in a new tab) are great spots for snorkelling and camping on the beach. Make sure to go stargazing at Vlamingh Head Lighthouse(opens in a new tab) for clear views of the constellations above.
Things to see and do in Kalgoorlie
Gold mining history
In the middle of the iconic Australian outback, you’ll find Kalgoorlie(opens in a new tab). The town has a rich history in gold mining. The Museum of the Goldfields(opens in a new tab) is a great start. It holds WA’s largest collection of gold bars and nuggets, along with a range of permanent exhibitions where you can learn how early prospectors searched for gold and the lives of mining families in the 1900s.
Once you’ve learnt how the experts did it, you can go hunt for your own gold! There are a handful of gold hunting tours – Pirates Gold Prospecting Tours(opens in a new tab) and Gold Nugget Tours(opens in a new tab) are popular options – which provide detectors, meals for the day, and an experienced guide to lead you through acres of land in the hunt for gold.
Another iconic attraction of Kalgoorlie is the Super Pit(opens in a new tab), one of Australia’s biggest gold mines. Close to 900,000 ounces of gold are still harvested here each year from this 1.5km wide pit. If you time your visit right, you may have the chance to watch a mine blast.
Things to see and do in Northam
Go hot air ballooning
What better way to take in the picturesque views of Northam(opens in a new tab) and the wider Avon Valley than from hundreds of feet above the ground? Northam offers several hot air ballooning services to give you the best view of the town. The view is so spectacular that the town has been elected to host the 23rd Australian National Ballooning Championships in 2023(opens in a new tab)!
If you’re not a fan of heights, it’s just as fun exploring Northam on foot. Stroll down the streets lined with beautiful architecture, chat to the friendly locals, and discover the many craft shops.
A unique sight for WA is the majestic White Swans that have discovered a natural breeding ground along the Avon River(opens in a new tab) in Northam. You can watch the birds being fed each morning by local volunteers.