Perth & Surround
1. Swim with the Dolphin
A dolphin watching or swimming experience is top of the bucket list for many, and Western Australia ranks high as one of the world’s top destinations for memorable close encounters with these amazing mammals.
While bottlenose dolphins can be found all along the coastline, all year round, there are four main destinations in WA where you’re more likely to have an interaction with dolphins, and they’re all within easy reach from Perth. Join us and these playful marine mammals come to meet you in the shallows.
2. Meet the Friendly Quokka at Rottnest Island
Perth’s idyllic island playground, Rottnest is just a short ferry ride from the mainland and a world away from city life. On its shores, 63 stunning beaches, 20 beautiful bays and many coral reefs and wrecks invite you to enjoy some of Australia’s finest swimming spots, snorkel trails and surf breaks.
And on dry land, you’ll meet the cutest mini marsupial, found only in Western Australia, the world’s happiest animal, Quokka, as well as many unique plant and animal species.
3. Fresh Seafood at Fremantle
Against a backdrop of the best preserved 19th century port streetscape in the world, a day out in Fremantle is an eclectic and eccentric blend of fabulous artisanal food, handcrafted beers, great coffee, quirky boutiques and a lively music, arts and festival scene.
No visit to Australia will be complete without an early morning trip to its famous seafood markets, where the freshest catch of the day—caught by fishermen in the wee hours of the morning—can be seen, bought, and if you choose, eaten at restaurants located right by the jetty.
1. Margaret River Wine Region
Producing more than 25 percent of Australia’s premium wine, Margaret River is one of the nation’s largest wine regions, with more than 200 vineyards. It’s also renowned as a world-class big-wave surfing destination, and draws many top-rated chefs with its incredible variety of fine produce.
Take a little time to meet the makers, and sample their unique community life in the vineyards. Then pair your chosen wine with a stunning view, artisanal local produce and good company to share your stories after a full day of adventure. Whatever your tastes, a premium local wine makes the perfect accompaniment to your Margaret River experience.
2. Farm Stay
Live the rural homestead and outback station life like a local. Escape the hustle and experience country living on a farm. Immerse yourself in the rural life and landscapes of Western Australia.
Farm stays invite you to feed the animals, collect eggs, learn to milk a cow and take unhurried bushwalks in the misty morning sunshine. Something out of the norm.
3. World-famous Busselton Jetty
The Busselton Jetty experience takes you 1.8 kilometres out to sea, on the longest wooden-piled jetty in the southern hemisphere, the second longest in the world. Stroll or take a ride in the new electric Jetty Train over the waters of Geographe Bay to the Underwater Observatory.
Walk through the natural wonders that lie beneath the Jetty, where its piles create Australia’s greatest artificial reef, host to an awe inspiring “forest” of vividly-coloured tropical and sub-tropical corals, sponges, fish and invertebrates. Descend eight metres beneath the water’s surface to view more than 300 individual marine species in their natural habitat through eleven viewing windows at various levels in an observation chamber.
1. Swim with the Whale Sharks
Every year the world’s biggest fish congregate along the Ningaloo Reef – whale sharks! These massive yet completely harmless creatures can grow up to 12 metres long and the Ningaloo Reef is one of the only places on the planet where they regularly aggregate in large numbers. The chance to snorkel with these gentle giants is the opportunity of a lifetime, attracting visitors from all over the world.
Whale sharks are slow moving, docile creatures that spend the majority of their time right up on the surface of the water. Therefore, you only need to be competent swimmers to enjoy this amazing in-water experience.
2. Pinnacles Desert
The lunar-like Pinnacles form one of Australia’s most unique and fascinating natural landscapes. Formed over millions of years, thousands of tall limestone spires rise eerily out of the yellow desert sands of Nambung National Park, just outside the coastal town of Cervantes.
Stand at the lookout and ponder the natural forces of water and wind that shaped the Pinnacles from seashells over millions of years. Better still, visit the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre and see the Pinnacles’ story revealed in interpretive displays, as well as some insights into the plants and animals that have made their home here.
3. Pink Lake at Port Gregory
Port Gregory lies near the mouth of the Hutt River on Western Australia’s Coral Coast and is home of the Pink Lake called Hutt Lagoon. This picturesque fishing village is encircled by five kilometres of exposed coral reef. Originally developed to serve the Geraldine Leadmine, the town is now a holiday hotspot for fishing, diving and offers a range of accommodation options.
Hutt Lagoon boasts a pink hue created by presence of carotenoid-producing algae Dunaliella salina, a source of ß-carotene, a food-colouring agent and source of vitamin A. Depending on the time of day, the season (time of year) and the amount of cloud cover, the lake changes through the spectrum of red to bubble-gum pink to a lilac purple. The best time of day to visit is mid-morning or sundown.
Australia's Golden Outback
1. Wave Rock
One of Australia’s biggest waves is also the furthest from any ocean – Wave Rock rises 15 metres above the outback plain. Over 2,700 million years in the making, today it’s a popular tourist destination.
This 110-metre long multi-coloured granite cliff is shaped remarkably like a huge wave about to crash onto the bush. Pose on the rock face and surf the giant wave or see it from a different perspective by following the walk trails around the base and over the top.
2. Lucky Bay
Australia’s whitest beach, Lucky Bay, is also one of Western Australia’s most idyllic; the biggest jewel in a string of stunning beaches along the coast of Cape Le Grand National Park and Esperance. Its squeaky-clean sand, turquoise water, perfect swimming conditions and breathtaking views of the Recherche Archipelago regularly put it at the top of Australia’s best beach list. Even the kangaroos can’t resist lazing on the sand here.
Venture beyond the beach and you’ll find some excellent walking tracks, many offering sweeping views of the wildlife-rich Recherche Archipelago. Be sure to keep an eye out for migrating whales between July and October.
3. Lake Hillier
Picture a lake of the brightest bubblegum-pink sitting beside the deepest blue ocean. Lake Hillier is one of the extraordinary sights you’ll see flying or cruising through the pristine wilderness of the Recherche Archipelago.
The lake is separated from the Southern Ocean by just a thin strip of sand and it’s widely believed that the water’s permanent strawberry milkshake colour is due to the extremely high level of salinity. Measuring just 600 metres wide and shaped like a footprint, this relatively small feature has a huge impact when viewed from a scenic flight or cruise, and the untouched islands of the Recherche Archipelago create a stunning backdrop, rich in marine life.
1. Staircase to the Moon
Between March and October each year, when conditions are just right, visitors to the North West region are treated to a natural spectacle – the Staircase to the Moon.
This natural phenomenon is best seen from Roebuck Bay in Broome, when the full moon rises over the exposed mudflats at extremely low tide and creates a beautiful optical illusion of stairs reaching to the moon.
2. World Famous Cable Beach
Broome’s Cable Beach is justifiably world famous for its 22 kilometres of sun-kissed white sand, turquoise water and spectacular Indian Ocean sunsets. But what really gives it a top spot on the must-do list is the experience of taking in all its tropical splendour from the seat of a camel train.
The beach is very much a part of Broome’s history, earning its name from the telegraph cable laid between Broome and Java in 1889, connecting Australia’s North West with the world. Word of this beauty spot has travelled far since then, but it’s still possible to find your own secluded slice of paradise.
3. Horizontal Falls
What makes the water fall sideways? These incredible natural wonders are the work of some of the largest tidal movements in the world. As the tide ebbs and flows, a huge volume of water is forced through two narrow cliff passages, creating a variation in ocean level of up to four metres and a unique waterfall effect.
Described by David Attenborough as “Australia’s most unusual natural wonder”, Horizontal Falls is a natural phenomenon that is as intriguing as it is stunning.