This article was written by a local student as part of the Young Voices initiative.
The City of Greater Geraldton, typically just referred to as Gero, is a thriving country town by the sea. When you enter our town, you’ll find that Gero is in fact a small region, unlike Perth, where ‘North Gero’ and ‘South Gero’ do not exist… you’re either in town or you’re not. However, this isn’t the only thing that you will discover. As many locals know, or probably anyone that’s been around for more than a week, Geraldton has a range of aspects which define its idiosyncrasy. Here are just a few.
“Come to Geraldton to get blown away” is a common term used by individuals who find ironic humour and puns, funnier than they should be. Whether you’re at the beach, in town or in your backyard. I assure you that there will be a slight breeze. A 25-35 km/h ‘slight’ breeze. The Geraldton wind has become part of our culture; it wouldn’t be Geraldton without it. I mean, we even have a hyper kyphotic tree which is appealed as a tourist attraction because of it. Apart from the impossibility of wearing a hat and peacefully eating fish and chips on the foreshore, the wind does have a few positives. For example, your clothes dry in record time (If they’re still attached to the cloths hoist) and you can play frisbee with yourself (See my other article on “7 innovative uses of the Geraldton wind which will blow you away”). You should just keep an open mind.
2. Finding yourself erupting into spontaneous conversations with random people
Speaking of locals, we’re quite a chatty bunch. We like to take a simple “How yagoin’?” “Great thanks… you?” trade off a step further. “Good to hear, I’m feeling great today, although I’d feel better after this coffee I’m about to order. The weather is great isn’t it? There’s a lovely calm (25-35km/h) wind outside. Are you from town, or just visiting?” and it goes on. Eventually you’ll probably find yourself ‘having to go’ to escape this daunting experience of speaking to people. That’s okay though, you’ll only find yourself in another conversation twenty minutes later, just like the one in the coffee shop, either at the beach or in another store. Really, it can happen everywhere, so be prepared to either stick around or have a list of short excuses to execute a swift departure.
3. Everyone knows everyone
Moving on from this topic of ‘conversation,’ It won’t be long until you just about know every person in town. From your favourite coffee shop, to your grocery store, chemist and bank. You will be on first name terms with just about everyone. It’s an amazing thought, isn’t it? It’s quite a scary one as well. But, sooner or later you will no doubt grow to love it. Geraldton is one of the only places in the world where you can walk into a store and have a thirty minute conversation with the manager, or even speak politics with your waiter. It’s a unique ‘thing’.
3.5. Overly nice customer service
Furthermore it may slightly confronting and odd to have people so eager to help and talk to you. You’d probably think it was a scam and just move on to the next store, only to find the exact same thing. It isn’t a scam, it isn’t marketing, it’s genuine.
4. Oh, and have I mentioned the wind?
To be honest, you’d think we would have some kind of farm manifesting this force into power. I know I’d be a ‘big fan’.
5. Never trusting the weather forecast
On Saturday it’s going to be cloudy with a 70% chance of rain and a ‘slight’ breeze. Except the temperature will be 31 degrees maximum along with a U.V. alert from 8 am until 4.30pm. What?
Basically, treat the weather forecast as a debatable opinion. Geraldton weather cannot be predicted until the preceding morning. As a matter of fact, it probably can’t even be predicted then. There have been days where we have had flash flooding in the morning then drought in the afternoon. So, if you’re making plans based around the weather, be wary. Be subject to change in all circumstances.
6. Everything is 5 minutes away
The saying “I won’t be long, it’s just around the corner” is a common saying used to suppress the thought of a 30 minute drive to a store and back. However, in Geraldton, it’s literally ‘around the corner.’ Everything you need is a five minute drive from your house. Town, sporting facilities, restaurants, everything. The town is one terrace that runs alongside the beach, chances are, walking to the beach from your house would be a breeze. Although for some reason, you don’t often find yourself complaining about a lack of stores or places to go. We seem to have it all here, within the vicinity of a few hundred metres.
7. There is so much more
Apart from what has been mentioned, there are so many more things to see and find out about our great town. I personally have been living in Geraldton my entire schooling life and I’m still finding new things to do and new things to see each and every day. I work as a waiter in a cafe, and every time I work, I meet someone new and unique from the person before. As with every town there are negatives, but here, there are indefinite positives. Go explore and see for yourself!
I couldn’t think of a way to finish this listicle, so I guess I’ll just let it blow over…