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Deputy Premier Roger Cook in Exmouth for total solar eclipse tourism boom

Jamie ThannooThe West Australian
Exmouth is gearing up to host the 2023 Solar Eclipse on Thursday. Pictured is WA State Tourism Minister Roger Cook.
Camera IconExmouth is gearing up to host the 2023 Solar Eclipse on Thursday. Pictured is WA State Tourism Minister Roger Cook. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper/The West Australian

The Ningaloo eclipse is less than an hour from kicking off, and anticipation only building.

On the ground, eclipse chasers are setting up their telescopes and camera, and on the sea the cruise ship Pacific Explorer is bringing another 1500 from Fremantle.

Amongst the many arriving in town is Deputy Premier Roger Cook, who earlier today awarded a “golden ticket” for the town’s VIP viewing site to a well deserving family.

Mr Cook said the influx of visitors has been manageable, and that Exmouth, and the Gascoyne region, were handling the surge well.

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“We did have some expectations that numbers might be crazy, but they’re not, they’re good and it will be a really valuable experience I think,” he said.

“We’re at capacity at the Welch Street overflow campground, we’re at capacity at the viewing platform, its looking very good.”

“There’s a buzz in the town, I think we’re in the sweet spot, welcoming tens of thousands for the event but not overwhelmed.”

While the Premier is in China, Mr Cook won’t be complaining too much about his destination.

“I’ve spoken to some eclipse chasers, they tell me it’s like a 360 degrees sunset, I think it will be extraordinary.”

Get your free Ningaloo Eclipse souvenir poster in The West Australian, April 21 2023.
Camera IconGet your free Ningaloo Eclipse souvenir poster in The West Australian, April 21 2023. Credit: The West Australian

Mr Cook was in Federation Park to award a “golden ticket” for VIP viewing site to the Iliffe family, recognised for their work collecting litter in Exmouth.

Mother Jane Iliffe said the eclipse is a moment her family, and her community, have been anticipating for years.

“Its amazing to finally have it, I feel like we’ve been preparing for it for five years,” said Jane Iliffe.

“The town has managed it well, it doesn’t look like it is packed but it is, because events have been spread out.”

Meeting with the Deputy Premier was Exmouth Shire President Darlene Allston.

“There’s definitely a buzz, an excitement around town, I think its going to be a great day,” she said.

“We’ve been putting a lot in, a lot of time and effort, we’ve been working hard and hoping everything would come together.”

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