Australia’s biggest state is also Australia’s biggest adventure. Imagine sleeping with kangaroos under the southern skies, helping to round up the cattle on a remote cattle station and surfing the big breaks of the Indian Ocean. Western Australia has all this, and plenty more. The only question is, where to start?
Begin in the north and head straight into the Kimberley, Australia’s last great wilderness. This is an extraordinary place where you can get so far off the beaten track that sometimes there is no track.
You can walk through towering gorges past dozens of snoozing (and perfectly safe) freshwater crocodiles, plunge through raging rivers in your 4WD and discover Aboriginal rock art in remote caves.
If you’ve seen Baz Luhrman’s Australia, which was filmed here, you might find yourself expecting Hugh Jackman to emerge from the bush, dipping his cowboy hat in greeting.
Moving south, you could meet an elusive creature, the black-footed rock wallaby. Train your eyes on the cliffs above Yardie Creek in the Cape Range National Park to spot them.
Then return to your luxury tent at Sal Salis, an eco resort where you might just discover a kangaroo or three sleeping on your deck on your return.
From here take the seven hour drive inland to Karijini national park, feeling the Outback scenery open up around you as you push into true wilderness. This is the Pilbara, and after the Kimberley it is WA’s largest protected area. Walk through brick-red gorges to sparkling waterholes, passing white-trunked snappy gums and lush spinifex, and don’t miss Oxer Lookout, overlooking the point where four gorges come together.
Even close to the capital city, Perth, it’s easy to get away from it all – and meet the quirky quokka to boot. Don’t know what it is? Visit Rottnest Island or Google #quokkaselfie, where you’ll soon find out. It may even try to steal your lunch.
As might the state’s cocky birdlife: you can’t picnic long in the bush here before an inquisitive parrot pops in to see what it can rustle up. The longer you sit still here the more camouflaged lizards and goannas you’ll spot reclining on the ground.
The wildlife in Western Australia is so abundant you don’t have to be lucky to spot it. For a quick fix, though, head to Lucky Bay, in the Cape Le Grand National Park near Esperance, where a permanent population of kangaroos camps out on the sands, offering up the perfect Aussie souvenir shot.
Top Five Adventure Trips In Western Australia
1 Stay on a cattle station
Fish for barramundi in the mighty Pentecost River, canter through the rust-red Cockburn Ranges on horseback or take an airboat ride across the Kimberley mud flats.
Then come in for dinner at Home Valley Station just off the Gibb River Road. You’ll see a few cowboy hats at the Dusty Bar and Grill and hear live country music. Camp out under the stars or bed down in style in one of the station’s comfortable Grass Castles, where your kingsize bed has uninterrupted views of the river.
2 Ride camels across the sands
Broome has more in common with the deepest Outback than it does with Perth, and there’s an almost Wild West air to this tropical country town.
Immaculate Cable Beach is its star attraction, stretching north of town over 22km of pristine white sands and facing directly into the sunset. Climb aboard a ship of the desert to explore, heading out just before that daily light show fires up the sky on a camel trek across the sands. This is a ringside seat quite unlike any other.
3 Cycle from beach to beach
Rottnest Island gets its name from the unique species that makes its home here. The quokka is a beaver-like marsupial once mistaken for a large rat by Dutch mariners and you’ll see them resting under shady bushes all over the island as you pedal from secluded cove to unspoiled beach.
Cycling is the best way to explore this 11km-long island, with bike trails running all over it and hundreds of quiet sandy beaches to aim for. Cycle far enough and you may even find one you can have to yourself.
4 Surf the Indian Ocean
Western Australia is famous worldwide for the consistent top quality waves that crash into its coastline. Everyone knows Margaret River (especially Yallingup with its ten-footers) but you could try something different and head to Jake’s Point near Kalbarri for powerful left-handers or Esperance for reef breaks.
Still a beginner? Surf schools line the coast; get started at sheltered Cottesloe in Perth or on the long, rolling waves at Denmark on the south coast.
5 Climb an ancient karri
Test your head for heights in Tall Timber Country, where the Gloucester Tree challenges the brave to climb its trunk. This is the world’s tallest fire lookout tree and 60 metres tall. It’s well worth tackling the spiral of metal stakes that encircle it to form a ladder, not just for the bragging rights but also for the views out over the forest of ancient karri trees.
Produced in association with Western Australia.
For more information visit the Western Australia website.