With the world’s most isolated capital city and cattle stations bigger than most European countries, the West Coast of Australia definitely has that ‘Final Frontier’ vibe down pat.
So where do you start? Up north, with the waterfalls and red rock gorges of Karijini? A lazy sunset camel ride on Cable Beach? Maybe whale watching off the coast of Albany or a vineyard tour through the Margaret River. (Actually, all of those sound pretty awesome.) One thing’s for sure– when you’re tackling the world’s second biggest state, it pays to call in the experts.
Things to see & do on the West Coast of Australia
Stretching from Bundegi Reef in the north, all the way down to Red Bluff on Qubboa Station, Ningaloo is officially the world’s biggest fringing reef. For some reason it never gets the headlines of its Queensland cousin, but that’s okay. We like it without the crowds. The beauty of Ningaloo tours isn’t just the array of wildlife – you’ll find sharks, manta rays, turtles, humpbacks, dugongs, dolphins and more than 500 fish species just off shore – but the fact that the reef creeps almost all the way up to the beach. You can tackle it with a snorkel and speedos if you want to. Great Barrier who? Explore the Ningaloo on a Perth to Broome overland trip.
Karijini National Park
When it comes to Western Australia’s most famous natural attraction, it’s a constant battle between Karijini and the Kimberley. We can’t pick favourites, but there’s always going to be a soft spot in our hearts for Karijini’s grey-green spinifex trees, the flat plains dotted with kangaroos and wildflowers, the narrow gorges and thundering waterfalls. A Karijini tour is definitely the way to go if you want to check out this wilderness for the first time. You need a high-clearance 4WD to see most of the park (although the eastern bit of Banyjima Dr is now sealed).
Driving from Perth to Broome (or Broome to Perth) is a mighty effort: a good 23 hours on the National Highway if you go inland, more if you hug the coast. But it really is the best way to see Western Australia. And the adventure doesn’t end when you pull into Broome covered in red pindan dust. There’s sunset camel rides on Cable Beach (touristy, but spectacular), dinosaur prints at the beautiful Gantheaume Point lookout, Short Street’s First Nations art galleries or day trips out to Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek. And of course, The Kimberley is right next door if you’d like to extend your adventure a bit further…
Southern Loop (Wave Rock, Albany & Esperance)
Esperance is last big stop before you tackle the Nullarbor: an almost painfully pretty town framed by squeaky white sands and the aquamarine waters of the Bay of Isles. It’s a fair way from Perth to Esperance, but that doesn’t stop the Perth locals driving for hours to see the pristine island of the Recherche Archipelago, just offshore, with their resident colonies of fur seals, penguins and sea birds. To the west you’ll find Albany, a whale-watching hotspot and the oldest European settlement in the state. Last but not least along the Southern Loop there’s Wave Rock, which does pretty much what it says on the tin: it’s a 60 million year-old rock formation in the shape of a giant curling wave. Makes for one hell of a bushwalk.
A glass of Riesling in one hand, some antique knick-knack in the other, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re in country Victoria, or the Barossa Valley in South Australia. Well, a Margaret River tour is WA’s equivalent – a picturesque riverside wine region full of boutique chocolate shops, organic cafes and cellar doors. It’s got an edge over its easterly competitors too: the advantage of great surf at the River Mouth and beautiful beaches like Prevelly and Gracetown. On weekends the little town swells with tourists and daytrippers from Perth (a 3-hour drive), but stop by in a shoulder season, or mid-week, and it still feels like a sleepy country town.
Western Australia’s classic dolphin-watching experience (if you were expecting monkeys, you might be disappointed). Don’t be put off by the Monkey Mia’s slightly resort-y feel – the dolphin watching is what you’re here for. We’ll set up the Monkey Mia tour as part of your WA adventure, so you don’t have to worry about bookings or anything like that. Just get the camera ready. Feeding times start early, usually around 7:45am, but head up onto the pier after the first session – the dolphins usually stick around, herding fish in the shallows or swimming in pods just offshore. See dolphins up close on this tour.
West Coast tour reviews
Thanks Adventure Tours for managing our itinerary during the tour so as to
keep us safe and to ensure a good experience even with the worst fire season known in Australia unfolding throughout
the nation in the summer of 2020. Some of your tours were cancelled where necessary. I felt we were in good hands
throughout. Review submitted 11 Jan 2020
Esperance & Southwest
Adventure, December 2019
Stories from the West Coast of Australia
Thanks Adventure Tours for managing our itinerary during the tour so as to keep us safe and to ensure a good experience even with the worst fire season known in Australia unfolding throughout the nation in the summer of 2020. Some of your tours were cancelled where necessary. I felt we were in good hands throughout.
Review submitted 11 Jan 2020