Western Australia

Bungle Bungles, Purnululu National Park, Jean-Marc La Roque / Auscape International

Capital City: Perth

 

Western Australia is defined by its size. Spanning an area of 2.5 million square kilometres, it covers one-third of the Australian continent. In dramatic contrast to its size, its population is just over two million, around one-tenth of Australia’s total population. Over 72 per cent of Western Australians live in or around the capital city of Perth.

Within this great state are incredibly diverse landscapes – an ancient terrain of rugged ranges and dramatic gorges to the north, towering forests to the south, arid deserts to the east and 12 889 kilometres of the world’s most pristine coastline to the west. To match the huge variety in landscape are huge differences in climate, from the tropical humidity of the north and the dryness of the desert to the temperate Mediterranean-style climate of the south-west.

After driving for hours along empty highways, you’ll get a true feeling for the state’s vastness. But you will be amply rewarded when you reach your destination. Western Australia boasts precious natural features, including the 350 million-year-old Bungle Bungle Range, the limestone sentinels of the Pinnacles desert, and the majestic karri forests of the south-west. There is the extraordinary marine life of Ningaloo Reef, the friendly dolphins of Monkey Mia and Rottnest Island’s famous quokkas.

Western Australia’s historic sites are also a highlight. The Aboriginal people who first inhabited the land up to 65 000 years ago left a legacy of distinctive rock art. Albany, the site of the state’s first European settlement in 1826, boasts well-preserved heritage buildings, while gracious 19th-century buildings in the capital city of Perth and its nearby port of Fremantle hark back to the days of the Swan River Colony. Remnants of great gold discoveries remain around Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie from the 1890s, which transformed Western Australia into one of the world’s great producers of gold, iron ore, nickel, diamonds, mineral sands and natural gas.

Some more things to do while you're in Western Australia

  • Fremantle Prison

    Fremantle Prison

    If only the walls of this forbidding Fremantle landmark could talk.

  • Derby
    Gibb River Road

    Test your mettle on this rugged, 650-kilometre outback adventure.

  • Lake Cave
    Lake Cave

    You’ll be spellbound by this underground lake’s still, eerie waters

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Fishing spots

Have fishing rod, will travel … if that’s your philosophy, you’ve come to the right place. Western Australia is an angler’s paradise, with easily accessible metropolitan fishing spots like Perth’s Swan River, further-flung outposts such as the Dampier Archipelago, and a fishy population spanning salmon, snapper, dhufish, mulloway, whiting and so much more.


Eco-friendly activities

Looking for a destination where you can dive with whale sharks and manta rays, learn to surf on legendary breaks, or swim, slide and hike through stunning remote gorges? Western Australia’s eco-friendly activities will make your spirits soar: there’s something in this immense state to suit every green-minded thrill-seeker.


Golf courses

When it’s time to tee off, Western Australia has some great courses which need to be played. Enjoy views of the Indian Ocean while playing the impeccable greens at Cottlesloe, battle against the wind (that elemental links ingredient) at Secret Harbour or try to avoid the greenside traps on the long par-four second hole at Lake Karrinyup.


Restaurants & cafes

No matter what your budget or preference, you’re guaranteed a good feed in Western Australia. Laid-back coastal capital Perth does waterfront dining with flair, while cafe culture is thriving everywhere from Bunbury to Broome. The lush south-west is famed for wineries and organic produce, and you’re never far from ocean-fresh seafood.


Eco-friendly places to eat

With ecotourism and sustainable travel on the rise, Western Australia’s eco-friendly dining options are gradually increasing. Organic ingredients are featuring more prominently on restaurant menus, especially in the state’s south-west, where the Margaret River region is leading the way with its organic wines and produce.

Eco-friendly places to eat by region

Popular eco-friendly places to eat


Breweries

Western Australia is a craft-brewing mecca. Home to boutique heavyweight Matilda Bay Brewing and the lauded success story Little Creatures Brewery, the state’s beers will quench the most demanding thirst. As an added bonus, famed wine regions Margaret River and the Swan Valley now boast local craft breweries as well.

Campsites

In a state as large as Western Australia, it’s hardly surprising that camping can take many forms. A site at a seaside caravan park, a tent pitched in the deepest bush or the remotest gorge – the possibilities are as limitless as your imagination. Enjoying Western Australia’s great outdoors couldn’t be easier.


Caravan parks

Who hasn’t dreamed of hitting the highway and seeing what the horizon brings? With its wide open spaces and dramatically diverse landscapes, Western Australia makes for unforgettable caravanning. A network of well-equipped parks, both coastal and inland, allows you to break up your journey and enjoy this great state’s myriad attractions.


Hotels, motels & B&Bs

Western Australia’s accommodation options are as diverse as its geography. After a luxury escape? Choose from architect-designed spa retreats, ritzy inner-city icons or beachside penthouses. Mid-range more your style? How does a cute boutique hotel or renovated country pub sound? On a budget? Take your pick from B&Bs, motels and charming chalets.


Eco-friendly places to stay

As Western Australia’s ecotourism industry grows, so too does its range of eco-friendly lodgings. The Kimberley and north coast are home to several sublime coastal resorts, some of which are Aboriginal-owned. Biodynamic farm stays, converted kilns and eco-retreats dot the south-west, and Rottnest Island’s wind-powered holiday units are green with rustic style.


Rest areas

Western Australia might look big on the map, but that’s no guide to how vast this state truly is. When travelling the network of highways across Western Australia, rest areas offer a welcome chance to hop out, walk around, and sometimes even stay for the night. They might be there to break up your trip, but there’s the occasional added bonus of stunning views and epic scenery. 

Events

What better way to get to know a place than by attending a local festival or sporting event? The highlight of Perth’s busy calendar is the famed Perth International Arts Festival, while the southern regions offer a mouth-watering range of food- and wine-related events year-round. Up north, anything goes … wheelbarrow race, anyone?

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