Go west my friends, go WEST.
Because if you only visit the east coast of Australia you’re missing out on some of the best landscapes, beaches, food and wine experiences our country has to offer – not to mention sunsets that will blow your mind!
We spent 6 months traveling around WA and today I’m sharing with you our top list of things to do in Western Australia so you can see how incredible Australia’s largest state is.
Many of you from overseas have commented to us that before we started our 18 month journey around Australia that a trip down under was all about visiting Sydney, heading the Red Centre and seeing Uluru, and experiencing the Great Barrier Reef.
Sure, go and see those world class destinations too but we loved so many places in Western Australia and I hope this post exposes you to how diverse Australia really is, and inspires you to put WA and your Aussie itinerary.
Keep in mind this is our list of favourite places in Western Australia. We didn’t get to go everywhere, nor did we like every place. So please add your tips in the comment section down the bottom.
In no particular order, here we go.
1. Take in a sunset at Cable Beach
If you have never witnessed a sunset over the ocean before, Western Australia can help you with that. And one of the best places is at famous Cable Beach. Enjoy a cold drink at the Sunset Bar, Zanders, or our favourite spot was on a Friday and Sunday night in front of the old Broome Surf Club!
2. Marvel at the Horizontal Falls
It all starts with a scenic flight over the coastline from Broome to Talbot Bay. From the moment you take off over Cable beach and then fly over the Buccaneer Archipelago you know this is going to be special.
The Horizontal Falls are a natural phenomena, created by two narrow openings between two escarpments. The tides in this region are some of the biggest in the world, reaching up to 12 metres. Taking on the falls in a jet boat is a thrill I won’t soon forget!
3. Go swim at Elephant Rocks
15 kilometres from the town of Denmark in south west WA brings you to one of our favourite swimming locations in Australia. Named Elephant Rocks because it looks like a herd of elephants paddling in the shallow waters. Elephant Cove is a magic family beach perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
4. Sunset cruise on Lake Argyle
Who knew Lake Argyle is the largest artificial lake in Australia – the size of 11 Sydney Harbours! Our sunset cruise is a priceless memory from our time in The Kimberley region. As the sun was going down behind the red sandstone escarpment we were swimming in a lake (cold beer in hand) that is home to over 25,000 freshwater crocodiles. Not a typo!
P.S. NEVER swim with SALTWATER Crocs!! The Freshies are ok.
5. Fly over the Bungle Bungles
The road out to the Bungle Bungles is infamous for being one of the roughest in the country. Since we didn’t have a 4WD it wasn’t an option. Luckily for me our visit coincided with my birthday and flying over these majestic “bee hive” sandstone domes with Kingfisher Tours that rise 300 metres above Purnululu National Park was the perfect gift!
6. Cycle around Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island is incredible. One of our top 3 favourite islands in Australia. Located 18 kilometres off the coast of Perth, jump on a ferry that takes about 30 minutes and explore by bicycle – there are no cars on the island making it safe and relaxing. Take your snorkeling gear and hit up Little Salmon Bay, Parakeet Bay and The Basin.
7. Knox Gorge walk – Karijini
Knox Gorge is one of the hidden gems of Karijini National Park. Many people we met on the road around Australia said Karijini was their favourtie park, and we loved this hike down into the gorge and clambering around the deep red and purple rock walls. At its end, Knox Gorge narrows into a spectacular ravine with views to Junction Pool below.
8. Breakfast at Town Beach Cafe
Have you ever seen a more divine breakfast view than this? Broome is our favourite place in Western Australia, you’ll understand why after this post – the colours of the water and red earth are incredible. Come to this cafe for brekky at high tide and you’ll get the picture, the full turquoise picture. And the Eggs Florentine were superb!
9. Self-guided hike to Emma Gorge
We only had access to the northern section of the famous Gibb River Road in The Kimberley due to our vehicle not being a 4WD. One highlight was swimming at Emma Gorge, a large cool waterhole graced by a 65 metre high droplet waterfall.
It is a little rocky walking in to the gorge but if we can manage it with a three and seven year old, you can too!
10. Drive out to Cape Leveque
On the very tip of the Dampier Peninsula, 200 kilometres north of Broome is Cape Leveque. Yes, it can be a sandy rough drive, but we did it in our Ford Territory AWD and you will forget about it the moment you arrive – stunning beaches, red cliffs, and magic sunsets.
We camped at Kooljaman, and don’t miss visiting the Cignet Bay Pearl Farm.
11. Fall in love with Coral Bay
I’m happy to say Coral Bay lived up to its reputation as one of Western Australia’s favourite family holiday spots, with Bill’s Bay, the main beach, being a highlight. A huge, sweeping bay protected by the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park making it a snorkeling and swimming paradise.
12. Do a cellar door hop in Margaret River
Margaret River is one of the best wine regions in Australia, and with over 100 cellar doors you’re spoilt for choice. Our favourite wineries included Cape Mentelle, Caz enjoyed being served by our French friend Nicolas (see pic above), Happs, Peace Tree, Leeuwin, and Settlers Ridge. For a full list of wineries on offer click here.
13. Snorkel “The Drift” at Turquoise Bay
Turquoise Bay is reason enough to visit the town of Exmouth on the Coral Coast. You’re swimming within metres of famous Ningaloo Reef and the popular drift snorkel is one of the coolest snorkeling experiences you can have. Swim out a few metres and let the powerful current carry you a few hundred metres down the beach. Exit and repeat.
14. All alone on Waterfall Beach
Keep walking over the headland from Little Beach in Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve near the town of Albany and you’ll come to beautiful Waterfall Beach. It’s totally worth the short drive from Albany, and the short climb. Secluded and private. We had this beach all-to-ourselves!
15. Walk along Yardie Creek Gorge
At the end of the sealed road in Cape Range NP you get to Yardie Creek where you can explore the gorge on foot or on a Yardie Creek boat tour. We did the 1 hour return walk along the cliffs and the views were spectacular. The only downer was the pesky flies. Besides dealing with flies, it can get very HOT here in summer so walk early in the morning!
16. Witness the Staircase to the Moon
If you are in Broome for the Staircase to the Moon, come down to Town Beach to watch this phenomena as the moon rises above the mud flats at low tide shining its light upon it so it looks like stairs leading up to the moon. Also seen from the Mangrove Hotel.
17. Go quad biking at Coral Bay
I took Kalyra on her first quad biking adventure with Quadtrek and it was the best quad biking track I’ve ridden yet. Incredible coastal scenery, we rode up and down big sand dunes, spotted turtles off “Turtle Cliffs” and even went snorkeling at Five Fingers Reef. Kalyra couldn’t stop talking about how much fun this was!
18. Hamersley Gorge, Karijini
Stand in wonder in front of the famous natural waterfall and pool at Hamersley Gorge in Karijini National Park. No more words needed!
19. Sunset camel ride along Cable Beach
There are many vantage points to take in the sunsets at Cable Beach and one of the most unique ways is on board a trusty camel with Broome Camel Safaris. What a relaxing 45 minutes. Our kids, and us big kids, thoroughly enjoyed this. Not to mention the bonus free cocktail at Zanders afterwards – all part of the deal.
20. Sip on a Ginger Beer at Matso’s
I’m not a fan of Australian domestic beer, we always seek out craft breweries on our travels and Matso’s Brewery is a Broome treasure. Their ginger beer competes with the Pearler’s Pale Ale as my favourites. They even have chilli and mango beer. And this cider impressed me too, and I don’t drink cider.
21. Drive the Charles Knife Canyon
A mini-version of the Grand Canyon, right near the coast. An unsealed road follows the ridges of Cape Range National Park just outside the town of Exmouth and takes you high up into the sky providing breathtaking views down into the multi-coloured gorges and all the way to the coast.
22. Stand among the Valley of the Giants
400 kilometres from Perth near the town of Walpole in south west WA, stand under the large red tingle trees then do the Tree Top Walk and explore the canopy of the magnificent tingle forest. Some of the largest and oldest trees in the country.
23. Relax at Zebedee Springs, El Questro
We barley scratched the surface of The Kimberley region, only spending two nights at El Questro Wilderness Park. If you make it to El Questro, we highly recommend an hour or two immersing yourself in the Zebedee hot thermal springs.
24. Spiderman walk at Hancock Gorge
One of our favourite adventure walks in all of WA was the Spiderman walk at Hancock Gorge in Karijini National Park (minus the superhero costume). We even took the kids on this walk, no problems!
25. Look through Nature’s Window in Kalbarri
We visited this park at the wrong time of day and had to deal with the heat, and the flies, and the middle of the day is never the best time for photography. I’ve seen some incredible photos of Nature’s Window in Kalbarri National Park at sunrise! Get up early folks!
26. Meet Prince Leonard at Hut River Province
Ever heard of Hutt River Principality? Me neither until we met with Prince Leonard and his Royal Family. Long story short, Prince Leonard completely screwed over the government and created his own country.
When the government tried to take some of his farm land off him, he found loopholes in the law and discovered that back in the day, Western Australia had not been formed properly as part of Australia. Therefore, his land was not actually Australian land but part of Britain.
The sharpest, and most intelligent 82 year old I’ve ever met. He cracked us up! He pays no Australian taxes and does not have to follow Australian law. As you leave his country visit his Post Office and get your passport stamped. And of course they have their own currency. What a classic!!
27. Drive on Lucky Bay at Esperance
Cape Le Grand National Park is home to Lucky Bay, 45 minute drive from the town of Esperance. You’ve probably seen photos of kangaroos hopping about, that’s Lucky Bay. After 18 months around Oz we were kinda kangaroo-ed out and blase about beaches. And whilst I wouldn’t hurry back to Esperance, this beach is open to four wheel driving and the sand is that compacted you could drive almost any car on the beach, even our AWD which was cool.
28. Find paradise at Sandy Bay
If Turquoise Bay isn’t reason enough to put Exmouth on your list, Sandy Bay should do it. This beach easily made our list of 38 best beaches in Australia. Endless white sand, crystal clear water, dark blue skies and the shallow waters of Sandy Bay made it an excellent beach for our kids. Apparently it’s a popular place for kite surfers when the wind is right.
29. Lunch at the Mangrove Hotel
Speaking of views in Broome. Take a look at the turquoise water, red earth, and green mangrove viewed from the beer garden at the Mangrove Hotel. Listen to live music, indulge in cocktails, have a cold beer and sample the Kimberley’s best produce. Must try: the venison chorizo pizza, slow cooked with cherry tomato and goat’s cheese. OMG!!
30. Get up close with wild stingrays at Hamelin Bay
Possibly the most picturesque beach in the Margaret River region with fine white sand, crystal clear turquoise water, and natural dunes. But that’s not all, Hamelin Bay is the best place we’ve seen wild stingrays in Australia. They come right into shore and swim around your feet. Amazeballs!
31. Stand on Shell Beach
Not a beach to swim at or lay around on, but Shell Beach is interesting in that the actual beach has been created by millions of tiny shells and is worth a look if you are doing the World Heritage Drive in the Shark Bay region.
32. Discover Pemberton
From the karri forest, to the sand dunes, to the Great Southern Ocean. Our 4WD beach and forest eco adventure tour with Pemberton Discovery Tours was one of our favourtie day tours in WA. Who knew this region had the largest inland dune system in the southern hemisphere?! Graeme and Toni, the owners are super friendly and informative.
33. Venture into Francois Peron National Park
If you own a 4WD you can have an adventure along a scenic coastline with dramatic red cliffs and white sandy beaches and it’s possible to see dugong, manta rays, turtles and sharks swimming in the water. We got as far in as the Homestead with our AWD. Francois Peron lies within the Shark Bay World Heritage area.
34. Walk the 1.8 kilometre Busselton Jetty
You can catch the famous “Jetty Train” out to the end, but after driving 50,000 kilometres around Australia we needed all the exercise we could get. And the views over Geographe Bay are stunning. Heritage listed Busselton Jetty is the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. Fancy a swim? They race around this thing!
35. Sunset at Cottesloe Beach
Perth’s sunsets are legendary and Cottesloe, a beach-side suburb about a 15-minute drive from the Perth CBD is one of the best places to watch the sun go down over the Indian Ocean. Grab some takeaway fish and chips or bring a picnic and sit under the shady Norfolk Pines.
36. Refresh yourself at Dales Gorge
At Dales Gorge you can experience three highlights of Karijini National Park. Enjoy a refreshing swim at Fortescue Falls, take in one of the prettiest settings in WA at Fern Pool, or take a dip at Circular Pool (pictured above).
37. See the Perth Skyline from Kings Park
Kings Park overlooks the Swan River and offers sweeping views of the city. This park is the largest inner city park in the southern hemisphere, larger even than New York’s Central Park. Walk amongst the tree tops on the elevated bridge, the pathways, the botanical gardens, and picnic amongst the gum trees.
38. Grab a coffee (or cold bevvy) on Cappaccino strip
I’m still trying to figure out if the historic seaside port of Fremantle is a suburb of Perth or it’s own city? Help me out! The Cappuccino Strip is the centre of Freo’s entertainment precinct with cafes, restaurants and bars shoulder to shoulder. Or hit up trendy Wray Ave. P.S. I loved the HUGE pumpkin scones at the Fremantle Bakehouse.
39. Be wowed by Pink Lake
Yes, it really is PINK. If you’re driving the Coral Coast stop in at Port Gregory for a look at Pink Lake. Its pink hue is created by bacteria (Dunaliella salina), which becomes trapped in the salt granules. The lake is best viewed at sundown.
40. Walk amongst The Pinnacles
Take a scenic drive or walk (as I did) amongst the limestone formations of The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park. Nambung is in the Wheatbelt region, 162 km northwest of Perth.
41. Hit the beaches in Margaret River
When most people think of Margaret River their first thought is probably wine. But I can confidently say after road tripping around Australia, this stretch of coastline has some of the most stunning beaches in the country.
42. Enjoy a pint at Little Creatures
The Little Creatures Pale Ale is up there with my fave beers in Australia, and their brewery in Freo is a top spot on the water to grab a pint, and a pizza. There’s a big sandpit for the kids outside, or duck upstairs to Creature’s Next Door above Freo’s fishing boat harbour for a quieter drink.
43. The Basin
No, you are not on the Great Barrier Reef or somewhere exotic in Asia. If you don’t cycle around Rottnest Island and only have time for a hand-full of Rott’s 60 beaches and bays, put The Basin at the top of your list! And Pinky beach next door. Look at that water!
44. Green Pools, Denmark
A few hundred metres walk around the headland from Elephant Rocks is Greens Pool, another picturesque swimming area definitely worth a visit when in Denmark. Not quite as pretty as Elephant Rocks, but still a lovely sheltered area to swim, snorkel and relax.
45. Drive the Boranup Forest
The Margaret River Region is not all wine tasting, beer drinking, gourmet lunches and lazing on beaches you know! Take a scenic drive through the Boranup Karri Forest and feel dwarfed by the massive karri trees that can reach 60 metres or more in height.
46. See wild dolphins in Bunbury
Get up close with wild dolphins at the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury, just a 170 kilometre drive south of Perth. You don’t have to go all the up way to Monkey Mia (I wouldn’t hurry back there). The discovery centre has an interaction zone and you can even choose to have a swim encounter in their natural environment.
What an interesting and different place this is. Whilst in Bunbury head out to Gnomesville, the magical home to over 3,000 Gnomes scattered in the bush who have migrated here from all over Australia and around the world. Located by the roundabout at the junction of Wellington Mill and Ferguson Roads, Wellington Mill.
48. See a summer concert at Leeuwin Estate
I’ve always been a big Powderfinger fan, one of Australia’s best rock bands out of Brissy. They’ve broken up now so seeing former lead singer Bernard Fanning perform solo at Leeuwin Estate in Margaret River was a bucket list moment. And what a great setting it was to have a picnic and sample a few wines to boot.
49. Freak yourself out climbing the Gloucester Tree
Not my idea of fun, I’m shit scared of heights! But if you’re braver than me you can climb 61 metres to the top of the Gloucester Tree and apparently see one of the most spectacular views of the Karri forest. I’ll take your word for it, reo-bars jabbed into the trunk, no thanks!
50. Sunset from Gantheaume Point
At the southern end of Cable Beach in Broome is Gantheaume Point, a red rock cliff face overlooking a white sandy beach. Especially spectacular at sunset, but any time of day is worth the short drive on the unsealed road. Or an early morning walk along Cable Beach is nice too!
There you have it.
Our list of recommended places in Western Australia. I guess you get the hint we absolutely loved Broome, Karijini, and the Margaret River Region.
What have we missed?
There is much more to see and do in WA and we welcome your suggestions in the comment section down below!
This post was originally published on ytravelblog.com