Thinking about a holiday to Australia? Don’t be a drongo and follow the herd down the east coast just because you’ve heard that Sydney’s beaches are a haven for sunbathing, surfing and scoffing shellfish of the barbie. Live a little and head to God’s own country: Western Australia. Here you’ll find more unforgettable attractions than you can shake a didgeridoo at. Great beaches? Check. Awesome National Parks? Check. Cool and cosmopolitan cities? Check. Some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, if not on earth? Check. Whale watching, coral reefs, sunken wrecks, fine wines and historic towns? Yep. Take a holiday to Western Australia and you’ll find the lot and loads more besides.
To give you an idea as to exactly why we think WA is the kangaroo’s cobblers, take a look at this little selection of 10 Unmissable Destinations in Western Australia.
Who needs Sydney when you’ve got Perth? Western Australia’s largest city offers fantastic beaches, as many excellent shops, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs as you could wish for, heaps of attractions for all the family from museums to amusement parks and golf courses to gorgeous gardens, topped off by an atmosphere that’s so sunny, cosmopolitan, laid-back and cheerful you just can’t help having a great time.
- Monkey Mia Beach
Monkey Mia Beach, high on Western Australia’s northern coast, is a marine reserve famed for the pods of playful Bottlenose dolphins that gather there to be fed by rangers; few places anywhere can visitors get as close to these beautiful creatures. Monkey Mia Beach is part of Shark Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site on account of its gorgeous landscapes and biodiversity. Whether you visit for the area’s outstanding biodiversity or to laze on pristine white sands kissed by the warm Indian Ocean, Monkey Mia Beach is an out-and-out beaut.
- Rottnest Island
‘Rotto’ to locals and those in the know, is a small island eleven miles west of Perth’s coast. With twenty bays to choose from, Rotto is heaven for beach bums, divers, snorkelers and water sports enthusiasts but there’s also an engaging collection of shops, museums and galleries, a nature reserve, water amusement park and nine-hole golf course to enjoy on this picturesque and wildlife-rich island.
- Mount Augustus
Uluru (formerly ‘Ayer’s Rock’) may get all the publicity, but Western Australia’s own Mount Augustus is equally unmissable and is twice the size of its famous ‘Red Centre’ counterpart. Seeing Mount Augustus on its own is breath-taking enough, but if you take a holiday to Australia in the spring, you’ll find that the National Park in which it sits is carpeted with colourful wild flowers; a sight so beautiful to behold you’re guaranteed to drop your tinny.
Don’t be fooled by its proximity to Perth: Freemantle is no suburb, it’s a happening and cosmopolitan city in its own right with more than a touch of that Mediterranean/European vibe about it. Steeped in history â€“ Freemantle’s jail dates from the 1850’s and is WA’s only UNESCO-listed building â€“ the city is pleasingly modern too: witness the ‘Cappuccino Strip’ a trendy stretch of chic cafes, coffee shops, restaurants and bars where all the cool dudes hang out. Oh, and Freemantle has wicked beaches too. Naturally.
- Margaret River
Proving that Australians could give a ‘four-X’ about something other than lager, the Margaret River Wine Region of Western Australia is crammed with more than 150 prestigious and award-winning wineries and is responsible for producing some of the most revered tipples on the planet. Away from its coast (more great beaches), this stunningly scenic region also boasts ancient limestone caves, unspoilt forests, a host of charming towns and villages, some superb chocolatiers.
One of the more appealing geological features of Western Australia’s outback is itsÂ gold fields, and at the historic prospecting town of Kalgoorlie, established when gold fever struck in 1893, you can find out more about gold-rush era Australia at the museum and visit the biggest open-cut goldmine in the world: the so-called ‘Super Pit’ from which anything up to 22,000 kilos of gold is still extracted annually.
- Bungle Bungles
Okay, so there are no beaches here, but the Bungle Bungles National Park is another area of Western Australia that has attained UNESCO World Heritage status and is completely unmissable. The Bungle Bungles themselves are vast and unique rock formations which, thanks to a geological quirk, are striped like giant humbugs in orange and black. Walking amidst these alien-looking formations is at once unbelievable and unforgettable.
No list of unmissable destinations in WA would be complete without mentioning Busselton; it’s the most popular city with visitors in the entire state. And it’s not just the fabulous beaches (again) that bring folk here in droves; Busselton is famous for its wooden jetty which extends into the Indian Ocean for nearly two kilometres and was originally constructed in 1865. The waters around the jetty are so clear that it’s a bonzer spot from which to observe all manner of exotic fish going about their daily business on the city’s remarkable artificial reef. Besides the jetty and beaches, Busselton is a beautiful and historic town that rewards exploration.
- Nambung National Park
Anyone taking a holiday to Australia for the enjoyment of the great outdoors, open spaces and solitude will love Nambung National Park. Well, maybe not solitude; the park attracts almost 200,000 visitors each year. That’s thanks to the Pinnacles: a sea of natural limestone formations, some up to five metres in height, that are between 25,000 and 30,000 years old. Whilst the Pinnacles alone are sufficient justification for visiting, this vast expanse of Western Australian desert is also a prime destination for bird-spotters and wildlife enthusiasts.
- Great Barrier Reef
You must read this article about Great Barrier Reef, they’ve explained it better than I could have!