My husband, Leon, and I spent a lot of time planning to visit Australia in the summer of 2016, but we kept mulling over the countless places to visit. Sydney was at the top of our list, but three weeks in the country’s most popular city was overkill. I wanted to see the outback. Australia is known for its vast red desert that’s home to some of the world’s rarest of species and natural phenomena. I wanted to trek through gorges and go bushwalking; Leon wanted to explore city life. However, we didn’t want to skip the pristine beaches and marine life that’s made Australia famous over the years. After researching these different places, we realized that Western Australia offers all of these options. From gorges to the outback to the coast, here are 10 reasons to fall in love with Western Australia.
Broome is a small town in theory (about 14000 inhabitants), and it’s remote location in the Kimberley region of WA has drawn many people to its natural wonders and pearling industry. However, one thing to remember is that everything is spread apart. The bus from our hostel was $4 AUD each way just to Cable Beach a few km down the road, and cabs cost upwards of $25 AUD each way. To cover all that in half a day would have broken the bank and made us quite exhausted. Instead, we decided to check out Cable Beach and were very happy with our decision. We ended our hectic travel day by watching one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.
Karijini National Park
Make sure you’re in shape for some class V hiking trails because those are the ones that lead to the most beautiful and remote spots. Don’t try to tackle these hikes if you don’t have the physical constitution. You’ll only be putting yourself and others in danger.
Be ready for a break from technology. The closest place with cell phone service is an hour outside of the national park, and WiFi is essentially unheard of within these parts. However, after a day of adjustment, you start to really love the silence. No news reports, no text message notifications, and no staring into your cell phone screens for endless amounts of time. Instead, you’ll be treated to great conversation with the locals and grade A adventure. Take a risk and shut off for a few days. (Check out this great National Geographic article about how nature results in physiologic changes to your brain.)
While visiting Vlamingh Lighthouse, one of the most beautiful moments was being able to watch pods of humpback whales and their infants breaching in the distance. Surfers sit at the water’s edge during sunset, getting as close as possible while watching a phenomenal show. Exmouth is yet another gem found in Western Australia.
Honestly, I don’t have any cool and fun knowledge about galahs. I could look up facts on Wikipedia and claim them as my own, but where would that get any of us? And why must we always offer evidence for things that we merely enjoy?
I’ve listed galahs on here because they were so much fun to watch. They interact gently with each other, preening and caressing one another as they rest under the shade from the strong Australian sun. When you see them for yourselves, you’ll understand what I mean. Enjoy observing a species that is native to Australia.
If there’s anything that I’ve learned in my life, don’t underestimate anything based solely on its size. This town offers A LOT to do. There are so many activities in Coral Bay, including snorkeling with humpback whales, whale sharks, manta rays, and other marine life. We went on a snorkeling trip with Ningaloo Reef Dive, and the crew was amazing. So friendly and knowledgeable, they made us feel safe and excited while participating in something extraordinary. While we weren’t able to swim with whale sharks (we just missed the season), we were the first group to successfully get in the water with humpback whales and take part in a study investigating human-whale behavioral interaction. The beaches were some of the best in Western Australia, and we saw yet another beautiful sunset.
For several decades, the dolphins interacted more closely with visitors. However, as when anyone gets too close to animals in nature, it usually leads to harmful effects. The rangers now ensure that only 3 people get to feed the dolphins and do not allow any physical contact.
Kalbarri National Park
There’s a class II hike that leads down to the ocean’s edge and you can climb the limestone rocks to get different views of the coast. Be careful, as the rocks are very old and have been known to fall apart.
One thing about traveling is that you won’t always get to see the things that are popular on Instagram or Pinterest. I had high hopes of visiting Nature’s Window, but ended up being even more excited by the coastal cliffs, and even walking through the canola fields that you find as you enter the park. Enjoy everything that happens on your trip because it could be even more special than you expected.
The Department of Parks and Wildlife in Australia protects the Pinnacles. It remains one of the most unusual natural displays of geological evolution in the world. For this reason, I have to put in a disclaimer that you should not climb the pillars. They are billions of years old; imagine how you would like someone climbing on your back if you were that old. All joking aside, they are fragile objects that Australia works hard to keep and protect. In fact, until 1934 this park was relatively unknown. Let’s try to keep them here for as long as possible.
Fremantle is an old Victorian town that has since become home to local breweries, markets, artists, and musicians. It’s common to see people entertaining large groups of crowds around the town. Unlike large cities where you feel inundated with buskers, Fremantle feels more laid back and everyone has fun interacting with the locals. The Fremantle Market was one of the best I’ve ever seen and you should include it on your list of things to do during your visit. Weekends are busy since locals like to picnic on the green and children run around on the shore. Leon and I visited the Maritime Museum which is home to the remains of the Batavia, a shipwreck that occurred in 1629. (The museum includes free entry, although they encourage donations.)
Lonely Planet hit the nail on the head when it included this city on its top 10 list. Fremantle is a combination of beautiful, interesting, and relaxing. It just gives you one more reason to fall in love with Western Australia.
10 Reasons to Fall in Love with Western Australia
If you’re ever planning on visiting Australia, you should definitely include Western Australia as part of your itinerary. As you can see, it includes everything that you could imagine when you plan your dream trip to Australia. Frequent flights to southeast Asia are available due to Western Australia’s close proximity to this part of the world, and could be included in a bi-continental trip. From the outback to the coast to city life, you’re definitely going to fall in love with Western Australia.