Western Australia is vast. Extraordinarily huge. It covers a third of the Australian continent and is more than ten times the size of the United Kingdom.
But that just means there’s more to explore. And getting from one adventure to the next is all part of the experience. There is an excellent network of internal flights, hopping up the coast from Perth to Exmouth, Broome and beyond, while roads are well-maintained – and fast.
A sparse population means very little other traffic, and with distances between communities numbering in the hundreds rather than the tens of kilometres, there aren’t too many turnoffs to remember.
Although distances are measured in kilometres, driving is on the left so getting around independently is simple. Always carry plenty of water, though, and fill up with fuel before leaving town. It could be several hundred kilometres before the next petrol pump.
Travelling around Western Australia is even better out of the car, and there are thousands of kilometres of walking and cycling tracks criss-crossing the Outback, the forest and the coastline. Not to mention dozens of different boat trips, out to sea and along rivers, and plenty of scenic flights, from remote airstrips and above everything from cattle stations to schools of whales.
Wherever you want to go in WA, the experience starts as soon as you set off on the journey.
Five unforgettable journeys in Western Australia
Fly: the Kimberley Aerial Highway
The propellers sputter then burst into life, the engine roars and you feel the lift, up and off from a dusty airstrip that seemed so remote – until you looked ahead, into the Kimberley.
This is the Outback you’ve always dreamed of. The Outback of rust-red earth, slashed with gorges that could swallow the Shard, of thundering waterfalls tumbling into crystal-clear waterholes and of endless skies that look like they’ve never seen a single cloud. You’ll see it all on the Aerial Highway, a series of remote airstrips across the last frontier.
Your plane lands on cattle stations and at luxury lodges unreachable by any other means, dropping in on everything from secluded beaches at Cape Leveque to the beehive-like domes of the Bungle Bungles.
Cycle: the Munda Biddi
Swing around ancient jarrah trees and whizz along the forest floor before something stops you in your tyre tracks: it’s a flash of parrot feather, perhaps, or the glimpse of a galah’s bright pink head.
Don’t let it detain you too long: you’ve got 1,000 kilometres to cover if you want to complete the entire Munda Biddi cycle trail, which runs from Mundaring near Perth to the southern coastal town of Albany. Alternatively, split it up and tackle just a day or two, cycling from one picturesque ex-logging town to the next.
Plan your cycling around an atmospheric B&B or two, such as the Blue House in Nannup, but don’t plan on getting there all that fast. We bet you’ll be stopping plenty, to check out the kangaroos and giant lizards.
Sail: catamaran along Ningaloo Reef
Holding the rail along the catamaran’s edge you can watch a pod of dolphins watching you right back, or a turtle coming up for air. As night falls you lie on deck looking up at the stars, brighter out here than you could have imagined.
These are just some of the extraordinary moments you’ll have as you cruise around World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef with Sail Ningaloo. Clamber aboard Shore Thing for three, five or nine nights cruising and you’ll tour the best parts of the reef, stopping off for snorkeling and scuba diving en route.
Drive: the Gibb River Road
Bumping along a track that stretches ahead in a dead straight line to the horizon, red dirt and blue sky in all directions: there ain’t no drive like the Gibb River Road drive (pictured top), and we guarantee you won’t forget its 670 kilometres in a hurry.
You won’t do much in a hurry here, in fact, kicking up the dust in your wake as you make your way from gorge to gorge, homestead to lodge. Don’t miss the dripping palm fronds and deep red cliffs of Emma Gorge or the chance to walk with the freshwater crocodiles through Windjana Gorge.
Hike: the Cape to Cape
Stand on the corner of a continent, the sea breeze hitting you smack in the face as you contemplate the fact that there is no land between where you stand and Antarctica.
There is land – and a coastal track – behind you, though, running from Cape Leeuwin up to Cape Naturaliste. This is the Cape to Cape Track, a 135-kilometre coastal trail that can be done in five full days, meandering past surf beaches, granite outcrops, limestone cliffs and cascading waterfalls. The track varies from a smooth, wide surface to narrow rocky path and traverses sandy beaches and native bushland.
Produced in association with Western Australia.
For more information visit the Western Australia website.