Most visitors experience an Australian adventure along the east coast, starting from Melbourne to Cairns or vice versa. On their way, they encounter great snorkeling places, white beaches, adventure and some modern cities. It makes the east coast a well-known and touristic place. It is often forgotten that Australia has a lot more to offer. Western Australia is an equally as good (and in our opinion even a better) part of Australia to spend your holidays. Get fully in touch with nature by spending a couple of weeks along Western Australia’s coastline. In this blog post, we list up our favorite places along the west coast.
Note that we recommend to have your own transport when exploring Western Australia. Different companies have small vans for rent where you can sleep and cook in. Perfect for camping! And camping is a big thing in Western Australia. There are a lot of caravan parks and even free camping spots, with drop toilets and gas barbecues that can be freely used. Keep in mind to stock groceries whenever you are in a big city and to take plenty of water with you.
Fifteen must-do stops from south to north
Margaret River is a small town, located 277 kilometers south of Perth. The town itself is pleasant to visit, and along the main road there are plenty of small and qualitative restaurants. On Saturdays, there is a bustling farmers market in town, selling delicious products from the region. But it is the region surrounding Margaret River that makes it worthwhile to visit. The surrounding area is the Margaret River wine region, with more than 100 wineries you can visit. This map gives an overview of the many wineries. Spend some days in this region and taste some exquisite Chardy’s and Sauvignons from this region.
If you want to recover from too many glasses of wine, there are other options than just visiting another wine cellar. The region is also well known for some amazing surfing spots. Even if you are no surfer at all, it is worth a visit just to see how other surfers conquer the majestic waves. A great surfing spot is near the cliffs of Gracetown and Surfers Point rd, Prevelly.
Fancying a hike with some amazing views and unique flora and fauna? Then the cape to cape walk (or at least a part of this walk) should be on your list. This 123 kilometers long-distance walk trail offers you great views over the coastline from South Western Australia. It is possible to do one-day hikes where you just hike a part from the entire walk and return via the beach back to your starting point. Here you can find more information about this track. Another great place to hike is the Boranup Karri Forest. In this forest, Karri trees, some over 60 meters high, offer a scenic spot that shouldn’t be missed.
The best accommodation for campers amongst us is Cape Leeuwin Naturaliste Park. Via this website you can check availability and prices of the campgrounds.
Perth is the capital and largest city in Western Australia. We discovered a laid-back atmosphere, making this city a great place to spend a couple of days. It would take an entire blog post to write about all the things you can do in Perth, so we will limit ourselves by listing up the things we enjoyed the most.
Kings Park: One of the biggest city parks in the world where you can take in gorgeous views over the Swan river and the city skyline. There is a botanical garden as well, that is worth a visit.
Perth zoo: Although the zoo has animals from all parts of the world, it are the Australian animals that are the heroes here.
Rottnest Island: Hop on a ferry from Perth to Rottnest Island and meet the quokkas, the most photogenic animals on the planet.
Perth beaches: Just a 15-minute drive away from the city center, you can find Perth’s most famous beach, Cottesloe. Grab a picnic and join the local people to watch the sun going down.
The Bell tower and Elizabeth Quay: Probably our favorite place to spend an afternoon. The bell tower itself is one of the largest musical instruments in the world. From the open-air observation deck, you can enjoy a 360-degree view over the Swan river.
It is hard to describe this port city that is called Fremantle. It is a mixture between hippies, street performers and colorful locals, against a background of some amazing buildings! You don’t need a list of to do’s for this city. Just wander around and enjoy the atmosphere. On your way, don’t forget to grab a beer in Little Creatures and visit the farmers market.
Lancelin itself is a small fishing town. But it has a certain atmosphere that makes you want to stay longer. Amazing stretches of desolated beaches. Dolphins and seals that frequent the shores. Sand dunes that are perfect for sand boarding. Almost every shop in Lancelin has sand boards at your disposal. So just grab one and slide down one of the majestic sand dunes.
Pinnacles National Park
Probably one of the most visited national parks in Western Australia is the Pinnacles desert. Close by to Perth, a lot of tourist take a one-day trip to this unique national park. A desert like you’ve never seen before, with strange limestone formations rising up from the yellow sand. There are different theories about how these formations were formed, but the most accepted one is that about 30.000 years ago, seashells were blown inland. These shells broke down in lime rich sands and were then eroded by wind and sand. The results are strangely shaped limestone pinnacles, some more than 3 meters high.
At the entrance of the national park, there is a tourist information center where everything about the Pinnacles is explained. The Pinnacles desert can be visited by driving the tour in the park, but the best way to explore the park is by foot.
Kalbarri National Park
About 600 kilometers north of Perth, where the Murchison river meets the ocean sits Kalbarri national park. The park is split into two sections, a coastal section and an inland section. The inland is the main attraction. Best known sight is the ‘Natures Window’. But the coastal section is worth a visit as well. We particularly appreciated the real Australian feeling when hiking the Eagle gorge.
Not far from the shark bay region, a spectacular natural phenomenon can be found: Hamelin Stromatolites Pool. These are the oldest and largest living fossils on earth. It offers you a view on how the earth may have looked like 3.7 billion years ago. The pool is half an hour drive from Denham and is definitely worth the detour.
Also situated in the Shark bay region is shell beach. Shell beach is covered with shells for a 60 km stretch to a depth of 7–10 m. It is one of only two beaches in the world made entirely from shells. The seawater has a high salinity due to both the geomorphology and local climate of the area. This high salinity has allowed the cockle to proliferate unchecked, since its natural predators have not adapted well to this environment.
One of the favorite destinations from visitors in Western Australia is Monkey Mia beach. The reason for that are the early morning visitors to the beach. Every morning, a group of bottlenose dolphins bring a visit to the beach to greet all the spectators. The dolphins already visit the shores for more than 50 years, and in 1982 the Monkey Mia dolphin research project started. Visitors get the chance to stand with their feet in the water with the dolphins swimming at only one meter distance. During the encounter with the dolphins, volunteers give you a thorough introduction to the life of the dolphins and their behavior.
Francois Perron National Park
This national park is situated only a couple of kilometers from the Monkey Mia reserve. For most sights in the park, you will need a 4 WD, but some sight are accessible with 2WD as well. In this national park, you can experience the raw beauty of Australia, red cliffs against the blue color of the water. It used to be a sheep station and you still can visit some building dating from that period, with signs explaining how it was living here on such a remote spot. A definitely must-do is the 40-degrees natural hot tub, especially in the evening, with a sky full of stars above you.
The views above the water are amazing, but the views underneath the water are truly gorgeous. The place for snorkeling in Western Australia is Coral Bay. The coral of the Ningaloo reef starts right at the edge of the water. First take a walk at the beach, then head into the water. The flow of the water will take you back to the original place you started. That way, you can observe in a relaxed way the huge diversity of corals and fishes. In that area, you can also book tours to swim with manta rays and whale sharks.
The lighthouse in Exmouth
The Vlamingh Head lighthouse near Exmouth is the perfect place for another beautiful sunset in Western Australia. Drive your car to the top, find a good spot, open a good bottle of wine and enjoy the spectacle!
Cape Range National Park
Cape range national park is situated near Exmouth, and lies next to the Ningaloo reef. The area offers the most stunning beaches of Australia, with turquoise beach as the number one. The area resulted from a gradual uplifting from the sea floor followed by changing sea levels, wind and water erosion. The landscape has slowly eroded and the result is rugged limestone, deep canyons and pristine beaches. Besides enjoying the beaches, we also recommend to visit Yardie Creek: a spectacular gorge where the water is trapped by a sandbar.
Karijini National Park
When imagining the outback of Western Australia, most travelers think of dark red color dust. And that is exactly the color that defines Karijini National park, one of our favorite spots in Western Australia. Not exactly at the coast, but situated more inland, this park offers a real Western Australian outback experience. Inside the park, there are different parking lots where several hikes take you to fairy tale pools, red terraced cliffs and gorgeous waterfalls. In this blog post, we describe our four favorite hikes in Karijini National Park.
A great endpoint (or starting point) from your trip to Western Australia is Broome, a coastal town in the Kimberley region. The first thing you should do when being in Broome is see the sun falling in the water at the endless sandy stretch at Cable Beach. In Broome, you can also book tours to watch ancient dinosaur tracks and visit the Malcolm Douglas crocodile farm. Looking for some late evening fun, Matso’s Broome Brewery is the perfect spot to taste some beers when enjoying the views from their terrace. And the town is also home to Sun pictures , the world’s oldest outdoor cinema.