Western Australia is a huge place spanning several completely different climate zones, geological provinces and ecosystems. And that’s not to mention the difference between the more built-up population dense areas with all the mod-cons, and the vast, empty deserts and wilderness areas!
When you’re planning your travels around Western Australia and deciding where to go and what to see, it is helpful to think of the state being as divided up into distinct regions, each of which offers its own unique travel experiences. For the purposes of this website I’ve divided the state up into 9 regions.
Perth and Surrounds
Perth and Surrounds – The city of Perth and the area surrounding it has no shortage of interesting places to visit. I’d recommend anyone who visits Perth not to miss Kings Park, to spend a day or two in Fremantle, and also make the effort to do a day trip (or a longer stay) on Rottnest Island, one of my favourite places in the world. If you’ve got time to kill in the city, head east to the hills for some bush walking, picnicking or camping, south to Pinjarra and Dwellingup for more of the same, north-east to the Swan Valley for yummy food and wine tasting, or head up or down the coast to explore beaches, fishing and snorkelling spots and sand dunes.
South West Western Australia
The South West Region – more often referred to as “Down South” by Perth people. The South West has forests with some impossibly tall trees, rivers and an absolutely spectacular coastline with great beaches for surfing and for swimming. It’s also home to several wine regions (including the famed Margaret River Region), lots of artists and galleries, top restaurants and an excellent range of accommodation, from bush camping all the way through to expensive spa retreats and luxury lodges.
Mid West Coast
Mid-West Coast – from Perth all the way up to North West Cape, a string of beautiful and varied beaches awaits the traveller. The beaches just keep getting better and better the further north you go, with superb fishing, surfing, wind surfing and snorkelling. Much of this coastline is uninhabited, so there are plenty of places to camp, or explore by four wheel drive.
The Wheat Belt
The Wheat Belt – WA’s main agricultural region, farming mostly wheat and sheep. Fairly monotonous land, most people would find it boring to drive through (not me, though), but there are a few real gems hidden away off the beaten track. The main ones are the huge granite formations such as Wave Rock and Elachbutting Rock. Some of the Wheat Belt towns are among the oldest in WA, with a bit of history and some nice old buildings.
South East WA
The South East Region – the vast south east is a flat land of mallee scrub and salt lakes. Down on the coast, west from Cape Arid, you’ll find one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world with beautiful beaches, dramatic headlands and islands remote from civilisation. To the east, the Nullarbor Plain stretches 1100km over into South Australia. The plain is arid and flat, with no trees. It ends abruptly at its southern edge along the Great Australian Bight, where a continuous line of huge cliffs plunge into the Great Southern Ocean – a spectacular sight to see.
The Kalgoorlie Gold Fields
The Gold Fields – a vast outback region beginning about 5 hours drive east of Perth, featuring desolate red-earth outback scenery, beautiful graceful eucalyptus trees, salt lakes, and bawdy mining towns (and ghost towns) with Victorian buildings from the gold-rush days. Don’t miss the Kalgoorlie Super Pit – a massive open-cut mine, so big you just have to go and see it! If you’re into prospecting, there’s still gold yet to be found out there.
The Murchison-Gascoyne – this region of WA is where the outback begins to the north, with wheat farms giving way to red dirt and vast sheep stations. Amazing wild flowers, remote station stays, old mining towns and interesting geological formations are the main attractions of the Murchison-Gascoyne. In the north of the region you’ll find the biggest rock in the world (depending on how you define that), Mount Augustus.
The Gascoyne and Pilbara – the West Australian outback to the north and west is a spectacular region to visit. The red earth and spinifex seem to go on for ever and ever, but after the mid-year rains the wild flowers bloom, in many places forming carpets of pretty colours. The rocks in this
region are some of the oldest on the planet and are rich in minerals. Mining is huge in the Pilbara. This will become especially apparent if you have to wait at a railway crossing for an iron-ore train to pass – these trains are kilometres long! Don’t miss the spectacular gorges and waterholes in the Karijini National Park – this is the highlight of the region for most travellers.
The Kimberley – last but not least! The Kimberley is the most amazing, awe-inspiring region – a wild place of dramatic landscapes, raw and often hostile nature, extreme weather, and vast untouched wilderness. The The Gibb River Road is a classic Kimberley road trip, taking in a great many of the region’s landscapes and attractions. The Kimberley is best explored in a four-wheel-drive, so you can tackle the rough roads and get out into the wild. The coastline is largely inaccessible, but for a few boat tours and fishing charter companies that can take you to some amazing completely remote places that you’ll never forget.
All the Regions on a Map
- Purple – Perth and Surrounds
- Green – South West
- Yellowey Green – Wheat Belt
- Golden Yellow – Kalgoorlie Gold Fields
- Pink – South East (Esperance and the Nullabor)
- Blue – Mid West Coast
- Orange – Murchison-Gascoyne
- Red – Pilbara
- Brown – Kimberley
- Beige – Remote Desert
Last Updated: 18th June, 2014.
First posted on 15th December, 2013 by Bonny.
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