Why visit Western Australia? My top spots to see!
My top 6 spots to visit in Western Australia!
Western Australia isn't commonly at the top of international tourists 'to-do' lists when coming to Australia, most often overlooked for the Eastern States, however, check the top 6 destinations below are a pretty good darn reason why this amazing state should be on your itinerary when visiting Australia!
During my time in Western Australia I have travelled the Mid-West, Gascoyne, Turquoise Coast and South West regions somewhat extensively. These destinations are both remote and costly to visit from the Eastern States of Australia, however, with time to travel, a good 4WD and some camping gear, Western Australia presents an amazing opportunity to explore some of the country’s most remote desert to pristine reef destinations.
Below are the top 6 destinations, that make Western Australia my favourite state on this continent:
This is one of Western Australia’s best kept locals secret. Unless you’re a keen surfer, who’s read up on the prime breaks in WA, chances are you’ve never heard of this place.
Off a dirt road, 100km’s North West of Carnarvon in WA’s Gascoyne region, you’ll find the infamous ‘King Waves Kill’ sign, hook a right and further 70km’s North, along a 4WD only track you’ll find Gnaraloo Station, a privately owned camping ground in the heart of Western Australia’s pristine Ningaloo Reef.
Having lived most of my life on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef, I thought I was privileged, unaware I was, that this treasure existed almost diagonally opposite from where I grew up.
Gnaraloo is a perfect spot for the family, adventurist, avid surfer, nomads – anyone who appreciates the outdoors & loves the ocean will adore this destination. From it’s turquoise lagoons to pumping reef breaks, Gnaraloo is the perfect spot to adventure, relax and unwind all in the same location.
You must take everything you require for the trip in with you, a spare jerry can of fuel, fly nets for your face, enough food and water for a few days, and a decent battery powered esky are my must haves! It’s remote, but it’s more than worth it!
2. Coral Bay
You'll almost instantaneously understand why I've rated this my second most favourite spot in Western Australia the moment you drive down the sand path into the bay. It will smack you straight in the face like a boxing kangaroo - simply put, it's WOW.
Given this is one of the most pristine spots on the West Coast, it get's busy but it never gets East Coast busy! This place runs at it's own pace and it's impossible to be stressed while in Coral Bay. There are limited accommodation options here, a small backpackers, camping ground and a few (two!) hotels so try to book well in advance if you intend to travel of holidays periods such as school breaks - it's a popular escape for locals too.
The bay itself is the most pure colour of turquoise I think I've ever seen, on bright sunny days the underwater visibility is incredible. Coral Bay is also part of the Ningaloo Region meaning you will have the opportunity to dive some of Australia's most lively and untouched reef destinations possible.
There are also a number of tour operations in the Coral Bay region, for an even better look at that reef, I would highly recommend booking a whale shark diving experience, it's one of the only places in the world you can do it and truly a once in a lifetime experience. Coral Bay Ecotours are a well respected and long time tour operator in the region - certainly worth checking out.
3. Margaret River Wine Region
Commonly the Margaret River region is at the top of travellers list whilst visiting WA and rightfully so, this spot has plenty going on and has some truly breathtaking landscapes. From Augusta right up Cape Naturaliste to Busselton the Margaret River Region has such a diverse array of landscapes both coastal and bushland as well as activities, sites and delicious restaurants and bars that will appeal and cater to all ages and budgets.
Coming from Queensland, lush green rolling hills and heavy rainfall was nothing new to me, having said that, I adore this about the region, but its why it's not higher in my list.
Margs as it affectionately known to local Western Australian’s is the Byron Bay of Western Australia. The region is known for its laid back ‘trendy’ surf culture, beautiful wineries and scarcely populated beaches.
Margaret River is best visited in the summer months when it has low rainfall, hot days and cooler temperatures at night, making it quite possibly the ultimate climate. However with good weather comes bigger crowds!
Enjoy an early morning surf a one of Margs numerous world class surf breaks, or simply enjoy a coffee from the carpark and watch the surfers slide into barrels so regularly you’ll think you’d died and gone to surf heaven.
Jump on a wine tour and explore some of the best local drops in town before heading back into the town centre at night to dine at one or Margs amazing local restaurants or take in some live music at Settlers Tavern.
Margaret River is truly an amazing place to unwind, its lush bushland surroundings give you the feeling your miles away from everything, it’s such a peaceful equivalent to the bustling East Coast surf spots.
This little beach side town, doesn’t have the best reputation in Western Australia, but this has been my base camp for three years, and it’s got plenty to offer.
The largest town North of Perth, Geraldton is situated right on the coast and knocks on the doorstep of Western Australia’s Abrolhos Reef.
Both just north & south of the town are surf breaks where you can surf usually with a maximum of 10 other people. The town itself is a mecca for wind & water sports, being one of WA’s windiest neighbourhoods.
The Geraldton community is truly an interesting mixed bag, more sports clubs per capita than you could kick a footy at, an ever emerging arts & culture scene with a number of local boutique festivals and events, a strong multicultural scene with Aboriginal tourism on the forefront & a thriving hospitality and restaurant scene with numerous new additions popping up regularly.
It’s a fantastic spot to spend a holiday, or why not set yourself up here & stay a while?
Where red dirt cliffs hit the deepest blue oceans, the first time I laid my eyes on Kalbarri, I wasn’t sure if it was reality or a heavily photo-shopped postcard.
This quaint little town lies on a river mouth about an hour and a half drive North of Geraldton (great spot to visit on the way to Gnaraloo!).
Kalbarri is a perfect weekend destination spot and has activities for the whole family. Hire canoes and little dinghies for a day of fun in the river mouth, or catch some of WA’s hollowest barrels at Jakes Point, a heavy reef break just south of the town centre.
Avid hikers rejoice, a few minutes drive from the town centre you can visit the Kalbarri National Park, home to the stunning ‘Natures Window’ which overlooks a massive gorge. Full day, overnight and 4 hours hikes all start from this point. The four hour hike is perfect for someone with a moderate fitness level who enjoys a great view and some climbing.
Pack your swimmers, surfboard and a good pair of runners and enjoy an adventurous weekend!
6. Namburg National Park – Pinnacles Desert
Situated along the scenic Indian Ocean drive, halfway from Geraldton to Perth in the Wheatbelt region, the Namburg National Park is an absolute natural treasure, totally underrated by locals and 100% worth pulling off the highway for.
Pinnacles Desert was the real draw card for me in Namburg National Park, which huge limestone pillars towering well overhead, scattered throughout a desert of the yellowest soil.
Drive your 4WD around the desert and simply marvel in the natural beauty of it, or jump out of the car and wander around. This sport is best visited on sunset, as the lighting illuminates the yellow sand amazingly.
Spot by Jurien Bay whilst you’re in the Park, another one of WA’s gorgeous little seaside towns with clear turquoise water and the occasional friendly sea lion taking a dip also!
Note For Travellers:
Visitor Centres & local Government Websites are usually very handy to find out what’s going on in each region as local government is generally involved in numerous events. Lonely Planet have also released a really comprehensive guide to the West Coast