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Western Australia Destinations
The Main Places to Visit
and Things to See in WA
Western Australia is a great travel destination for anyone who loves nature and the outdoors, beautiful beaches, forests, deserts, and getting well and truly off the beaten track into pristine wild country.
This page will get you started in the right direction in working out where to go in WA and what you most want to see. Western Australia is a huge, vast land with immense distances between destinations, so unless you have a lot of time on your hands you might need to pick a few key places and attractions, or focus on one region.
On this page...
Regions of Western Australia
As I mentioned at the start, WA is a huge place. Although it may not feel like it on a 10 hour drive through the outback, Western Australia spans several quite radically different climate zones, geological provinces and ecosystems. 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.
It's helpful to think of the state being as divided up into distinct regions, each of which offers its own unique travel experiences. Click to go to the Travel Regions of Western Australia page, where I've made a map of the regions with a brief overview of what each region has to offer.
Perth, Australia - WA's Big City
Almost all travellers in Western Australia (and locals, too!) will find themselves in the capital city, Perth, at some point.
Perth is a beautiful, clean city blessed with a string of perfect white-sand beaches, a mild climate with plenty of sunshine, lots of open parkland and natural spaces, and a relaxed, outdoorsey way of life. Over the past decade it's been a boom town, rapidly growing economy, improvements and more interesting.
The eastern suburbs of Perth and the Swan River, viewed from Kings Park, near the city centre.
Perth has a lot going for it, especially if you live there for a while, but it's not exactly one of the world's "great cities" in terms of history, arts or culture...
As far as destinations in Western Australia go, Perth city is nowhere near the most fascinating, amazing or unique destination in WA, but it is the jumping off point for everywhere else.
Beaches and Coastline Destinations
So much of life, and travel, in Western Australia is centred around the beach. The state's 28000km-long coastline (that's 17500 miles) has no shortage of beaches, coves, dramatic rocks and cliffs to explore.
The main beach and surf travel destinations along WA's coast are:
Perth city has a beautiful coastline with long, white-sand beaches and clear sparkling seas. For a different kind of beautiful beach - coves and bays sheltered by reefs with really good snorkeling - don't miss a trip to Rotto 18km off the city's coast!
Ningaloo Marine Park - 300km of remote outback coastline, fringed by a thriving tropical reef. Swim with whale sharks and manta rays, go snorkeling from the desert-paradise beaches and see fish and coral within 100 metres or so of the shoreline, explore gorges and canyons. The towns of Exmouth and Coral Bay are well set up for travellers, with plenty of accommodation and tours that can take you to places you otherwise can't get to without a boat or off-road vehicle.
Kalbarri - a town north of Geraldton and just south of the spectacular Zuytdorp Cliffs. The area has a ruggedly beautiful coastline of red rocks, cliffs and beaches with excellent fishing and some nice places to swim and snorkel, too. Inland is the Murchison River and the Kalbarri National Park where you can explore gorges and go canoeing or bush walking. Lots of opportunities for getting off the beaten track in a four-wheel-drive, but also plenty of wonderful scenic places and fishing spots accessible with just a normal car.
The coastline north from Perth, known as "The Turquoise Coast" - a popular escape for Perth people wanting a weekend getaway for fishing, swimming and camping, and a world-class windsurfing destination, especially during the summer months
Margaret River Region - a wild, rugged and beautiful coastline with awesome surf and scenery, and plenty of calm swimming beaches too. Easily one of the best travel destinations in WA, with many and varied things to see and do - from scrumptious restaurants and top quality wines, to caves, forests, beaches and hiking trails.
Esperance - this town on the south east coast of WA is renowned for the awesome beauty of its coast line. Esperance beaches are frequently voted the best in all of Australia. The water is clear as glass, icy cold and brilliantly coloured beneath a blue sky, and the beach sand a pure-white powder. Massive headlands of granite loom high at either end of each bay. Off shore, a string of granite islands make up the Recherce Archipelago. Simply spectacular.
Western Australia's South Coast - the beaches near the towns of Denmark and Albany are some of the most picturesque and dramatic in Western Australia. The William Bay National Park and Torndirrup National Park are easy to get to and feature wild and beautiful coastal scenery not to be missed if you're staying on the south coast.
Shark Bay - a convoluted coastline and marine environment pristine and unique enough to be a World Heritage Area. Shark bay is best known for the dolphins at Monkey Mia, the Hamelin Pool stromatolites and Shell Beach (a beach over 100km long made up entirely of cockle shells). If you have a 4WD or boat, you can explore further - even to Dirk Hartog Island, but if not there are tours you can join that will get you to more out-of-the-way places such as the Peron Peninsula.
Broome - a town in the south-west Kimberley region home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world - Cable Beach. The coastline around Broome and Cape Leveque is varied and interesting, with mangroves, striking red rocks, mud flats and of course beautiful beaches. Cable Beach is the most obvious and most accessible, but there are plenty more to explore by 4WD on the way up to Cape Leveque.
Western Australia Travel Destinations Map
This map gives you an idea of where the main Western Australia tourism destinations are, in relation to Perth and everywhere else.
View Western Australia Destinations in a larger map
A. Perth City
and Rottnest Island
B. Cape to Cape -- Margaret River Region
E. The Stirling Range
and the Porongurups
and the South East coast
G. The Nullabor Plain
gateway to the WA Gold Fields
I. The Wheat Belt
J. The Turquoise Coast
L. Shark Bay World Heritage Area
M. Mount Augustus
N. Karijini NP
and The Pilbara
P. Pilbara Coast and Islands
R. Cape Leveque
Travelling beyond WA? Check out this website: Travel Australia Bible. I'm recommending it because it's one of the most comprehensive Australia travel websites written by people who you can tell have actually been to the places they write about. It's got useful info if you're planning a vacation in Australia from overseas, plus a good well-rounded index of destinations for each state, including Western Australia.