5 Reasons to Visit Western Australia
Published 30 March 2016
Having travelled the length and breadth of Western Australia, our very own International Travel Consultant Jen Smith has put together five reasons why you absolutely must make the time to see this beautiful part of the country. WA, as it’s more commonly known, is often overlooked by travellers in favour of the more popular east coast, but this won’t be the case forever, as more and more people are beginning to discover the best kept secret in Australasia.
Western Australia is a bit like the east coast’s shier sister, often overshadowed by her beauty and ease. Travellers haven’t heard as much about WA, but are intrigued by whispers of her modest beauty. If Australia was a painting, WA is where the painter chose the most vibrant palette. Driving along the road, deep earthy red sands and piercing blue skies travel for miles and miles beside you and in front of you, in a too-perfect line. In a country where distances have to be driven to be believed, it can seem like WA’s beaches, national parks, roads and oceans all seem to carry on forever.
The question is, in such a wild unknown, where do you begin? What is there to do? Here are five highlights to help you make the most of WA:
Working your way up from Perth, Nambung National Park is the first of many national parks you will come across, and is also one of the more unique. Here stand the ‘Pinnacles’, hundreds of limestone spikes spread out across an expansive desert, shaped over the years by storms and searing sun. Only through walking around these quietly majestic spires can you truly appreciate their other-worldly beauty.
While here, take time to find out the fascinating story behind the Pinnacles’ formation, in the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre.
Nature’s Window, Kalbarri
From one set of curiously shaped rocks to another, Kalbarri boasts a national park which will take your breath away. Peeking through Nature’s Window – a rock formation which has created a natural frame – the incredible diversity of WA’s fauna and landscape is laid out before you. This national park also holds many trekking opportunities along magnificent gorges, from one-day to five-day hikes.
The diversity doesn’t stop there: don’t miss out on the gorgeous coastal scenery around the area. There are whale-watching opportunities at the Red Bluff cliffs, and even the chance to surf over at Jacques Rock.
Contrary to its name, Monkey Mia, located on World Heritage-listed Shark Bay, is famous for its marine life. Every dawn and dusk, pods of dolphins flock to Monkey Mia’s shores to greet spectators, and grab some food from the resort’s volunteers. There’s no doubt about it, these wild dolphins are some of the cheekiest creatures you will meet! Even after feeding time, you can often see them frolicking and showing off for the resort’s guests, a truly magical sight.
Although the dolphins steal the show, there are other activities to keep you occupied, such as fascinating Aboriginal tours and fishing charters.
Before I visited Ningaloo Reef, a fellow traveller claimed it was “more beautiful than the Great Barrier Reef”. Strong words indeed, I thought. But two weeks later I found myself repeating the sentiment.
Ningaloo Reef, up in Coral Bay, has some of the best snorkelling in the whole of Australia. Even better, this lovely reef lies close to the beach, so you can just don your snorkel and swim out into the crystal waters, and open your eyes to the incredible world beneath. Turtles, tropical fish, reef sharks, and some of the most striking coral you have ever seen.
For those more adventurous in open water, head to Exmouth, the ultimate playground for divers. Between March and July, the luckiest divers may even swim alongside one of the ocean’s gentle giants, the wonderful whale shark. And that’s not all: humpback whales pick up where the whale sharks leave off, visiting between June and November.
There’s plenty of fun to be had outside the ocean, too. Quad-biking and horse-riding along the bay’s soft sands are just two fun activities available.
Cable Beach, Broome
Western Australia has a superlative of its own: Cable Beach has repeatedly been voted as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. On the road, this relatively untouched stretch is a perfect way to either begin or end your West Coast trip, giving you plenty of space to clear your head.
If you tire of sunbathing or revelling in the peaceful ambience, hop on a boat cruise, or even on the back of a camel.
However you choose to explore WA, whether in a hired campervan, a Greyhound bus, or on one of Intrepid’s fun West Coast Safari tours, you’ll leave wanting to tell everybody about it, and yet also have a desire to keep the beauty to yourself. Australia’s best kept secret will not be kept quiet for long. Make sure you visit the wild west, the shier sister, before she realises just how gorgeous she is.