The largest state in Australia, Western Australia is a place of rugged beauty and picturesque perfection, filled with contrasting landscapes and hidden hotspots. In recent years, the number of travellers waking up to the wonders of the west and swapping their east coast itineraries for a WA adventure has steadily grown - and we for one are all about it! If you want to get excited about wandering westward for your next Aussie vacay, take note of these seven things you can't miss on the west coast.
Snorkel with whale sharks in Exmouth
Can you imagine swimming in the ocean next to a marine creature as big as a school bus? The world’s largest fish, whale sharks are thankfully a gentle giant of the deep and rather unperturbed about sharing their swimming space with humans. For ocean enthusiasts, cutting a few laps alongside these beautiful animals is high on the to-do list, and Exmouth is the only place in Australia where you can achieve this experience. Whale sharks roll into Exmouth every April to July and whether you choose to snorkel or dive, being in the water with these majestic creatures is a surreal, once in a lifetime opportunity.
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Get up close to wild dolphins in Monkey Mia
Another great experience for travelling animal lovers, Monkey Mia is regarded as one of the best places in Australia to get close to wild dolphins. The reserve is located in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, around two hours drive from Perth, and dolphins have been frequenting these crystal-clear waters for up to fifty years now. There’s no guarantee you’ll get to feed the dolphins as there are restrictions in place to ensure they still hunt and behave normally. However, walk to the water’s edge, particularly in the morning and you’re more than likely to have a fin pop up and say hello.
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Get a quokka selfie on Rottnest Island
How could you not want to get close to a creature permanently painted with such a jovial expression? Quokkas are known for their happy, ‘smiling’ faces, a type of small wallaby found only on a few small islands off the west coast, most notably Rottnest Island. Between 10,000 and 12,000 quokkas call Rottnest home so you will absolutely score a selfie with one of these cute creatures while you’re there. With ferries departing Perth every half hour between 7:00 am and 3:00 pm, quokkas aren’t the only reason you should head over to the island. From the white sand beaches and perfectly clear waters, you can fish, surf, snorkel and cycle - the perfect island escape for outdoor explorers.
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Chase another kind of wave at Wave Rock
Sure, Western Australia has epic waves at Margaret River, but there’s another incredible type of wave to be found at Wave Rock. 15 metres high, 110 metres long and more than 2,700 million years in the making, this multi-coloured granite cliff is one of Western Australia’s most beloved attractions. You can find Wave Rock near the Wheatbelt town of Hyden, around three to four hours drive from Perth. After you’ve captured your next epic Instagram shot ‘riding’ the wave, see a collection of over 450 ancient rock paintings nearby at Mulka’s Cave and learn the story of a local Aboriginal legend.
Explore the Pinnacles Desert
There’s something slightly extraterrestrial about the Pinnacles Desert, located in the Nambung National Park. Here you will find thousands of limestone pillars, scattered across the sand dunes, some around five metres tall. Taking a trip to The Pinnacles to marvel at these natural structures and wander through this unique landscape can’t be missed while you’re on the west coast.
Sandboard in Lancelin
Imagine sliding down pure white sand picking up speeds of 70km per hour as you take in another one of Western Australia’s mesmerising landscapes. Most people come to Lancelin for the opportunity to sandboard, but you can also explore these epic dunes by 4WD or quad bike. Super fun for all ages, you can reach the Lancelin Dunes in less than two hours from Perth.
Capture your next scenic selfie in Kalbarri National Park
From Nature’s Window to Hawks Head, Kalbarri National Park is filled to the brim with stunning views to explore. One of Western Australia’s top national parks to visit, you can explore inland gorges, ancient rock formations, climb lookouts, hike trails and see dramatic coastal cliffs.
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While we’ve kept it short and sweet with these seven simple things, we promise there are hundreds of reasons to make a trip to Western Australia a top travel priority in 2020. Speak to one of our travel experts to find out more, including how to get there, where to start and what time of year to go!