When I first started to plan my big solo escape to Australia and Asia I only intended on going to Australia’s east coast as this is the part of the country I had heard most about. As I started my research using Australia’s tourism website, I learned a lot more about Western Australia and all of it’s incredible wild spots and thought that this was definitely more for me! Plus it’s sunny and warm practically every day of the year making it even more of an attractive destination!
So, in the end, I started off in Western Australia as flights worked out better for me to go to Perth from London and I’m so happy that I began my journey on this side. From stunning deserted beaches, to fascinating underground caves, amazing wildlife and a huge untouched coral reef, Western Australia has so much to offer and is ideal for solo travellers, friends, couples and families.
After spending over three weeks in Western Australia, I’ve concluded that these are my 10 favourite places and activities that I’m sure will make you want to book a flight immediately!!
1. EXMOUTH & NINGALOO REEF
This is one of the most amazing places I’ve been too in my life. There are hardly any tourists and you can enjoy the wild stunning beaches of the Cape Range National Park literally to yourself! In addition, the wonderful Ningaloo Reef, a World Heritage Site, is within swimming distance of the beaches so you can easily go in for a snorkel or even diving if you’re qualified.
I got to swim with a turtle by the reef for a good 5 mins and even touch it’s shell which was such a memorable moment (even though I don’t have any photos to prove it). The variety of fish, corals and other marine wildlife are very impressive and I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed by this gem of the Indian Ocean. You’ll also see lots of kangaroos, dingos, emus and other wild animals in the park.
2. PERTH BEACHES
I couldn’t get enough of all the extraordinary beaches of Perth. Each one seemed to be better than the last. They’re all really long, wide and made of fine white sand. The ocean is turquoise blue and not too cold making it so inviting for a swim. My personal favourite beaches are Scarborough, Floreat & Leighton Beach. Remember that the sun is really strong in Australia so do use a Factor 30 minimum and top-up with sun cream regularly.
3. SWIM WITH WILD DOLPHINS
This was probably my favourite experience out of all because I particularly loooooove dolphins and to be able to encounter these extraordinary animals in their natural habitat was a lifetime experience for me. Rockingham is just over an hour drive from Perth and from here you can head out on an organised boat tour with Rockingham Wild Encounters. If you’re lucky (they have a high success rate) you’ll come across the dolphins which are residents of the bay. We were extremely lucky and got to see a group of 15 dolphins which just kept coming back to swim and interact with us and we were all in awe with these beautiful creatures (Note, we did not feed them or anything to lure them in).
I really admire the work carried out by this company and sincerely hope that after reading more about what they do you will spread the word and try to refrain people from going to see dolphins in marine parks. Did you know that dolphins in the wild can live up to 45 years of age or more and that in captivity they only live for 5-10 years? Please remember to always support businesses that offer interaction with wild animals in their natural habitat instead of in any form of captivity.
4. LANCELIN SAND DUNES
These pure white sand dunes are renowned for being the biggest ones in Western Australia spanning over 2km and they’re incredible! You can either just go there and walk up (FYI – it’s super windy so be careful with your camera gear because my camera got lots of sand in it…) or you can go on a 4 wheel drive or even sand boarding if you’re feeling more adventurous.
5. PINNACLES DESERT, NABUNG NATIONAL PARK
These fascinating limestone formations within the Nambung National Park are absolutely incredible and the visit is really worth the 2.5 hours drive from Perth, especially if you’re going to the sand dunes in Lancelin which are on the way. It’s such a unique place and there are several theories as to their natural formations over thousands of years ago. I truly enjoyed my walk and drive around the Pinnacles Dessert as it really makes you feel as though you’ve gone back in time. Despite the wind there, it’s extremely hot so make sure you wear a hat and take enough water for the walk.
6. UNDERGROUND CAVES
The Margaret River region has over 100 known caves which have been formed over the last 1 million years by the constant movement of water through limestone but only 6 of them are open to the public. I’d recommend visiting at least 2 or 3 caves because they’re all so different and magical in their own way – a 3 cave pass costs AU $54.
7. INJIDUP NATURAL SPA
This place was high on my list and was even more breathtaking than I could have ever imagined. These stunning rock formations and natural rock pools are superb and I recommend venturing off to find your own private pool.
8. MARGARET RIVER WINERIES
If you’re a big fan of wines like me then you’ll love the Margaret River region! As you drive around you are surrounded by vineyards and wineries and can stop at any of them to do a free tasting and even enjoy a nice meal as most of the larger wineries have restaurants serving delicious gourmet meals. The oldest winery in the region is Vasse Felix, the popular ones are Piero and Cullen and, if you prefer a smaller family run winery, then head to Cape Grace.
9. WEST COAST SUNSETS
Sunsets are obviously the best in the west wherever you are in the world and I got to see some pretty amazing sunsets whilst I was in Western Australia – think of beautiful beaches and pink cotton candy skies… My favourite sunset spots were Scarborough Beach in Perth, the Vlaming Head Lighthouse in Exmouth and Surfers Beach in Yallingup.
10. ROTTNEST ISLAND
This beautiful island is only a 25mins ferry ride from Perth and has the most pristine waters and charming little beaches. The ferry is a bit pricey – AU$67 return – but, trust me, it’s worth every dollar! The island is a protected natural reserve and the main way to get around is by bike (as it’s car-free) which you can rent close to the harbour. You will also want to go here to spot the famous quokkas which are unique to Rotto. Remember to finish your day with a lively drink at Hotel Rottnest bistro to watch the sunset before the last ferry departs.
If you do go to Western Australia I recommend spending at least three weeks to see all of these places and more time if you plan to drive the whole coast. It’s quite remote and more deserted than the east coast which is why I flew to Exmouth from Perth. This meant missing out on places in between such as Kalbarri and Monkey Mia which I had on my list but as I was travelling solo I found it a bit too risky to drive such distances on my own in case I got stuck in the middle of nowhere. However, I did rent a car in Perth to drive down to the Margaret River region and the drive went perfectly fine on my own.
I hope that this article has inspired you to visit Western Australia. If you have any questions about the destination please leave these in the comments below.
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