Western Australia Top 10
If Western Australia was it’s own country it would be the tenth largest in the world so it’s no surprise that travellers struggle to figure out what to do here especially if time is a constraint. With such vast distances and so many wild and wonderful things to do it can seem daunting to plan a trip here but here’s my top 10 favourite spots.
1. World Heritage listed Ningaloo Marine Park
Ningaloo is Australia’s largest fringing reef and home to an abundance of marine life and is a must do for snorkelers and divers. While Ningaloo hosts more than 500 species of fish and spectacular coral it’s the larger visitors that make this area so special. Every year like clockwork whale sharks, humpback whales, Manta Rays and turtles come to this area as part of their natural migration.
Time your visit to experience these creatures for yourself:
All year Manta rays are present year round however numbers increase dramatically from May to November
November - March Three endangered species of turtle nestle and hatch amongst the dunes
March - 7 days after the full moon prompts coral spawning
Mid March - July Experience swimming with the worlds largest fish, the whale shark
June - November Humpback whales come to breed
Exmouth is the jumping off point for Ningaloo reef and has a range of campsites, hotels and tours available for snorkelling, kayaking, diving and kiteboarding.
2. Karijini National Park
For those that like a hike with a difference, spend a few days exploring Karijini National Park. Beautiful sunsets and star-studded skies are only the beginning. Get your walking shoes on and take to the tracks and get ready for a few surprises on your way! You’ll be faced with rough terrain, steep descents and scaling rocks through gorges and at times wonder how you’re going to do it but it’s well worth it to reach the waterfalls, pools and picturesque views that await you. My personal favourite is Hancock gorge to Handrail pool but note these walks are not for the faint hearted so choose walks wisely based on fitness and recent weather and never access a restricted area without a guide.
I’d highly recommend the Karijini Eco Retreat in terms of location, staff and amenities but note you’ll need to check dinner times to avoid going hungry. Tours are available or like me you can make your own fun and enjoy these magical places with no-one else around.
3. Rottnest Island (Wadjemup)
This relaxing Island getaway just 19km off the coast of Perth. The Island was named by Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh after discovering king sized “rats” which were in fact quokkas, the islands only native land mammals. These inquisitive furry fellas will likely approach you allowing for some great photos. The island, accessible by ferry from Fremantle, Perth, is car free so once you arrive head straight to collect a hire bike, pick your route and cycle around the island stopping for refreshing dips along the way at the many coves and bays. Theres a great lookout from the Wadjemup Lighthouse and good snorkelling and diving spots at Parker Point and Little Salmon Bay where you can follow underwater trails.
4. Green Head
Don your snorkel and jump from a boat to be greeted with a whole bunch of playful sea lions off the coast of Green Head. One of my absolute travel highlights, these “puppies of the sea” are so excitable and interactive they come right up to you and mimic what you do, so be silly and get your underwater acrobatics on and watch as they copy your every move. I recommend an underwater camera to capture this experience, my video never fails to put a smile on my face on bad days :-)
5. Abrolhos Islands
Immerse yourself in the azure waters of the Abrolhos to discover a colourful underwater maze of coral. The Southernmost coral reef in the Indian ocean is home to hundred of fish species, stingrays, and turtles so it’s difficult to drag yourself back out of the ocean for lunch, but make sure you do so you can explore the island itself for a chance to see sea birds and fur seals. And the journey there and back from Geraldton is pretty spectacular too as you board a small aircraft to enjoy views of the 122 islands and reef from the sky.
6. Monkey Mia
Famous for the daily attendance of wild dolphins to the shoreline, Monkey Mia guarantees you a chance to see these intelligent, gorgeous mammals up close. Every morning feeding starts at 7.45 where you stand at the waters edge and watch as they arrive to be fed and play. While famous for the dolphins, there is much more to see around Monkey Mia and Shark Bay. Don’t be surprised to be greeted by 6 foot Emus when you arrive in camp or to see humpback whales, sharks, dugong and turtles from the coastline and clifftops surrounding this region.
If sunsets are your thing then Broome is going to be your paradise. This outback city boasts one of the most incredible crimson sunsets thats reflects in the shallow water along cable beach for a mirror image postcard picture. Head to the sand with a bottle of wine, take a camel ride or hop on a cruise hen sit back, relax and watch the sun going down over the Indian ocean.
As the jumping off point for most WA adventures Perth starts you off as you mean to go on with it’s laid back vibe. Spend the afternoon relaxing in the sun with a picnic in Kings Park admiring the sparkling river and cityscape then head to Cottesloe beach for a sundowner before heading for dinner, possibly your last fancy dinner for a while if you’re planning on a camper van adventure!
9. Margaret River
No trip to Australia is complete without a bit of wine tasting and i’m not talking goon outside the campervan! Australia has so many wine tasting regions but Margaret River is a favourite for both the wine and the idyllic setting. Leave the car or van behind and enjoy a tour through country roads to some of Australia’s best wineries and learn more about what goes into creating your favourite wine from fantastic sommeliers. And make sure you buy some for the days ahead, get some wine, cheese and bread and venture to the surroundings beaches, capes and caves armed with your picnic basket for that perfect deserted spot with a view of the ocean.
10. The Pinnacles
Walk amongst these giant golden sandstone formations in the Nambung National Park near Cervantes. Plan your trip to see the sun rise or set and watch as the shadows are cast across the desert floor and the light changes the colour of these ancient desert sculptures.
And because just 10 is hard here's some other WA spots worth checking out on your journey through WA:
Natures Window in Kalbarri National Park
Horizontal Waterfalls in Derby
80 Mile Beach
4WDing the Gibb River Road
Valley of the Giants treetop walkway