Disconnect from the everyday and the well-trodden in Western Australia, where you’ll step outside of the everyday and into a dream. The country’s largest State with its longest coastline and sunniest capital city of Perth, Western Australia is a place to recharge your spirit – outdoors in the fresh air and wide open spaces, where it’s always summer somewhere. If it’s adventure you seek, these seven destinations are worthy additions to your travel bucket list.
1. Swim alongside gentle whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef
Ningaloo Reef is a dream destination for nature and wildlife lovers thanks to its easy accessibility and lack of crowds. Over 300-kilometres long, this UNESCO World Heritage listed reef is one of the most biologically diverse marine environments on the planet and home to over 200 species of coral and 500 species of fish.
Ningaloo is also home to the gentle whale sharks, the biggest fish in the world. Here you can take an ecologically respectful boat tour run by passionate locals and swim alongside these plankton-eating giants of the ocean – a rare wildlife encounter that will stay with you forever.
You can also swim with graceful humpback whales as they migrate along the coast each year on Western Australia’s ‘Humpback Highway’, or flip underwater with Coral Bay’s acrobatic manta rays. If you prefer to stay dry, you can always glide over the dazzling reefs on a glass-bottom boat tour.
2. Embark on an Aboriginal bush tucker tour near Margaret River
Feel the freedom and experience the flavours of the Margaret River Region. Journey through more than 150 wine producers and 100 cellar doors, where the forest meets the ocean. Best part? It’s only a 2.5-hour drive south of Perth. Winemakers, farmers, surfers and creatives have congregated here, inspired by nature’s beauty. Margaret River is rightly renowned as Australia’s most premium wine region, producing a quarter of the country’s fine wines.
Of course, it’s not just about the wine and beer – there are plenty of other adventures here too. Hike or mountain bike along forest trails that hug the stunning coastline. Surf world-class breaks, watch migrating whales and see other native wildlife.
Take an Aboriginal bush tucker tour or feel the thrill of rock climbing, abseiling, canoeing, horse riding or sky diving. Slow down and discover the stillness of an ancient cave, stroll along the longest timber piled jetty in the Southern hemisphere or just relax on some of the world’s best beaches.
3. Sunbathe with kangaroos in Esperance
An ocean and nature lover’s dream, Esperance is an isle-wrapped town with an unspoilt coastline rivalling any in the world. Nestled amongst white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, pristine national parks, dramatic rock formations and untouched islands, Esperance is about 8 hours’ drive or a short 90-minute flight from Perth.
Share Australia’s whitest beach, Lucky Bay, with friendly sunbathing kangaroos. It stretches for five peaceful kilometres with a stunning backdrop of the Recherche Archipelago’s 110 islands. Other beaches that are popular among locals include Hellfire Bay, Twilight Beach and Blue Haven.
For further adventures, cruise or fly in a helicopter to the small nature reserve of Woody Island — a great day trip or stay longer in a ‘glamping’ hut overlooking the ocean. Spot dolphins, sea eagles and sea lions at play on the boat ride over. Join an eco-tour, swim, snorkel, kayak or just relax on the beach.
4. Meet the adorable quokkas of Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island is a little pocket of paradise in Western Australia that’s jam-packed with adventure. Getting to this car-free, protected nature reserve is easy: take a short ferry ride from the mainland or arrive in style by helicopter or airplane.
You’ll be greeted by 63 stunning beaches, 20 beautiful bays, an abundance of spectacular marine life, and the world’s happiest animal, the adorable quokka. Discover Rottnest Island’s cultural significance and history on an Aboriginal guided tour, then enjoy an ocean boat cruise dining on sumptuous local seafood.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, join a hiking trek through nature or a guided snorkelling tour of the island’s underwater wonders. Jump on an adventure boat to watch whales, dolphins and seals. Savour dinner and a cool drink while the sun sets over Thompson Bay, before retiring in your luxury, eco or glamping accommodation.
5. Soar over the Bungle Bungle Range on a helicopter tour
Spread over the north-western corner of Australia, and with fewer people per square kilometre than almost any other place on earth, is the ancient and untouched Kimberley region. Quiet but powerful; part soulful, part magic. The Kimberley grounds you and the red dust never leaves you.
Gaze from an open-door helicopter at the 350 million-year-old World Heritage-listed Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park. Feel the thrill of a boat cruise through the Horizontal Waterfalls or tackle one of Australia’s greatest four-wheel-drive adventures, the legendary 660-kilometre Gibb River Road.
The Kimberley also offers a range of profound Aboriginal experiences with the world’s oldest living culture and the traditional custodians of this land. Explore ancient rock art galleries, learn about the different Aboriginal language groups or hear Dreamtime stories from an Elder. Got some extra time? Go mud crabbing or spear fishing then camp on Country for bush tucker.
6. Hop on a camel and catch the sunset in Broome
Broome is both a laid-back tropical oasis and the western gateway to the Kimberley. Thanks to its 1800s pearling history, Broome is one of the world’s finest producers of pearls today. It’s also the perfect destination to unwind after more rugged adventures. Relax by the beach with a cocktail in hand or savour local specialties like pearl meat, ginger beer and barramundi.
Sunsets in Broome are a sight to behold. Locals and tourists congregate each evening on pristine, 22-kilometre-long Cable Beach to witness the spectacular fiery colours – sometimes on the back of an unhurried camel. The iconic Sunset Bar is the perfect place to enjoy a cool drink as the fiery sun dips into the turquoise ocean. When the full moon rises over the mangroves of Roebuck Bay at low tide, you can see a ‘Staircase to the Moon’, a legacy of some of the most dramatic tidal movements in the world.
Alternatively, hop on a guided tour to a working pearl farm or cruise through Roebuck Bay to see rare snubfin dolphins or migrating humpback whales.
7. Discover the sun-drenched beaches of Perth
Situated on the banks of the Swan River, Perth is a modern city nestled in nature and brimming with all kinds of adventures. Ready to discover a thriving metropolis filled with small bars, creative restaurants, curated cultural experiences and street art? Visitors to Perth can also look forward to unique wildlife encounters, strolls along vast scenic parks and afternoons spent exploring wine country. It’s all here, in this one sunny city, filled with friendly and welcoming people.
And with 19 stunning beaches within easy reach of the city, a relaxing oceanfront escape is never far away. While you’re there spend an evening at Cottesloe or City Beach and sip a cool drink or savour delicious local seafood while watching the spectacular Indian Ocean sunset.
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