Western Australia is, quite simply, enormous. It covers a massive 2.5 million sq km, if WA was a country it would be the ninth largest in the world but also the emptiest.
Come and visit Australia’s Golden Outback for a taste of authentic Australia, explore the historic townships, the colorful characters, breathtaking scenery and fascinating Culture.
Margaret River Wine Region
The Margaret River region is one of Western Australia’s most picturesque landscapes. Running the length of its coast is the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, which offers soaring coastal cliffs with amazing panoramic views, world class surfing beaches and many perfect bays for fishing and swimming. Complementing all this are more than 160 wineries, galleries, restaurants and quaint towns whose locals have perfected the art of relaxed living.
The best way to get to this region is via Cave’s Road, most of the wineries are found in the Willyabrup Valley, Vasse Felix Margaret River’s oldest winery and vineyard has an excellent restaurant and is a great place to stop for a spot of lunch. You can continue along Cave’s Road to the turnoff signposted Margaret Rivers Mouth, here you get to watch or have a go at riding the legendary waves.
There are many fantastic places to visit including Gnarabup Beach, Boranup Gallery and Jewel Cave there are just too many to list.
The restaurants in the Margaret River Region are very busy at the weekend, to avoid disappointment make sure you book early.
Western Australia’s best dairy is produced in this region there are many places to visit where you can taste specialty cheeses, yoghurts and even watch them being made.
The Berry Farm on Bessell Road Margaret river is another great find, here you can pick your own berries, sample wines and ports and buy all sorts of delicious produce.
Broome during the 1920’s was the capital of the worlds Pearling Industry, with more than 300 vessels competing for finds off the northwest coast of Australia. The main divers were Japanese, their main goal was to find the mother of pearl shell which would be used in jewellery, a pearl was a rare bonus. It was a very dangerous job as the Japanese Cemetery testifies. The Pearl Industry hit rock bottom when the market was flooded with the use of plastic buttons manufactured after World War II. You can still purchase fine pearls from a number of jewellery shops in Broome. Chinatown provides an insight into what the town was like in the pearling days with its timber dwellings and multilingual signs.
Broome has a large Asian population which has helped it retain its character as one of Australia’s most interesting communities. Aboriginal culture here thrives; the town has its own Aboriginal radio and TV station known as GTV. Broome comes alive in August, the population swells tenfold for the Shinju Matsuri – Festival of the Pearl.
There are many attractions here including the “Golden Staircase to the Moon” this optical illusion is created when the moonlight reflects on the ocean bed at low water spring tides. Ganthaeume Point enables you to see giant dinosaur tracks when the tide is low, these are to said to be at least a 130 million years old. Cable Beach is another must see, it is 22km long, its name derives from an underwater communication link between Broome and Java and then onto London. This is now the core of Broome’s tourist industry, with a number of fantastic things to see and do including a crocodile farm, up market resort and the legendary camel ride at sunset along the beach, which is an experience not to be missed.
Australians say that the Kimberley region is the final frontier. It is about half the size of Texas with only 26,000 inhabitants, there are 1.2 million acres of cattle ranches with extensive Aboriginal tribal lands. It was first explored in the 1890’s but it is only in the last 20 years that travelers have begun to discover this vast space. It is a blood red desert that is sliced with lush, forest-filled gorges inhabited by all sorts of creatures including freshwater crocodiles and stingrays.
The coastline is torn by tropical fjords that house tidal waterfalls which flow horizontally. Everything is on a huge scale, in the dry season you will find Desert Rivers that swell from 100 meters wide to a huge 13km wide in the wet season, generations of isolation has left Kimberly the most Aboriginal part of Australia. You can find remote communities that speak their own language newspapers and radio stations.
216km northeast from Broome you will find Derby which is the hub for the huge cattle producing centre of West Kimberley, with only a population of 10,000 very little has changed over the decades. Sightseeing here is mostly done by light aircraft; the flight will take you over King Sound and the Buccaneer Archipelago, one of the worlds most beautiful and spectacular coastlines which will take your breath away, red cliffs, a maze of islands and white beaches. The area is virtually uninhabited except for the mining communities of Cockatoo Island and Koolan Islands. From derby you can go one of two ways the Great Northern Highway or the Gibb River Road this cuts through the centre of Kimberley.
As you keep going there are a number of unbelievable places that you pass through or travel towards here are just a few, Wolfe Creek, Bungle Bungle Range, Purnululu National Park and Argyle Diamond Mine which is a true gem of Kimberley, it is the world’s largest extracting more than 6.5 tonnes per year. This mine was discovered in 1979 and remains the only source of deep pink diamonds; air tours to the mine are available.
The world’s remotest state capital city is closer to Bali than Sydney. The state is mostly barren and parched; the north however is lushly tropical, from September to November people travel from the eastern states to see the huge profusion of wildflowers which turns the south into a collage of colors. The vastness coupled with the small population gives this state a strong sense of being a new frontier, this impression is heightened when with just a few hours drive away you arrive into the Outback.
When planning a trip in WA, it is a must to keep an eye on the map scale and distances. It is very easy to have a great weekend planned to only find that it would mean driving some 1600km. If you are in Perth with a limited time scale, consider joining an organized excursion.
In Perth you are spoilt for choice when it comes to things to see and do, the city takes full advantage of its setting on the Swan River. On the edge of the main business district, set up high on an escarpment lies Kings Park, a 400-hectare of botanical gardens and bush land offers panoramic views over the city and river. From these views you are able to see such sites as the Swan Bells a gift from the St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, Trafalgar Square, London to mark Australia’s bicentenary in 1988.
Perth City offers an abundance of culture; Museum’s, Art Gallery’s and fantastic architecture are all there to be seen. Northbridge is where Perth shows its diversity with its numerous cafes and restaurants from all areas of the world, you can sit and watch all the action from the streets lively nightclubs and bars that are a match for any in Sydney.
Just 19km from Perth City centre it was given a major overhaul in 1987 for the America Cup race and has now since became one of WA’s most popular attractions. It has managed to keep its colonial charms intact, which includes the Round House WA’s oldest public building and its first Jail. There is an excellent Maritime Museum which explores all aspects of the area from World Wars to its many Shipwrecks, also on offer is Fremantle prison which was a maximum security prison up until 1991, here you go on tours including the “torchlight tour” ghost sightings are not guaranteed but have been known.
Little creatures Brewery
This place is favourite of ours at CampaboutOZ, It’s based in Fremantle the Little creatures Brewery started at the turn of the century in the shell of an old boat yard that had previously been used as a crocodile farm! A great place to go and see the ale brewed but more importantly taste, it has changed dramatically from its early days to being one the places to eat, drink and socialize they have fabulous events all week day and night, one thing this place isn’t is LITTLE it is another must see treat on your travels.
You can get this idyllic getaway a number of ways Hillary’s Boat Harbour, Barrack Street Jetty in Perth and Fremantle are all springboards for Rottnest. It was first used as a natural prison for Aborigines, but has now become a holiday hot spot for families. Vehicles aren’t allowed on the island so the form of transport used is cycles these are allowed on the ferry or alternatively they can be hired once on the island. You can spend your time Golfing, playing tennis, or just relaxing on a quite beach. There are only two accommodations available on the island Quokka Arms and Rottnest Lodge at peak times this allocated by public ballot, as demand is so high, so book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Dolphins at Monkey Mia
Shark Bay despite its name is a place where all visitors venture into the water, because this is the site of Monkey Mia, one of Australia’s most stunning tourist attractions. In a small in bay near the township of Denham, wild dolphins come to shore to be fed and mingle with visitors. This interaction between humans and dolphins started when local fisherman used to throw scraps to the following dolphins, by 1964 they were being hand fed. Monkey Mia is on the corner of Shark Bay, it was declared a World Heritage area in 1991. The area cover’s 2.3 million hectares, an array of creatures roam here including humpback whales, loggerhead turtles and dugongs this is a must see for any trip.