Driving through the Outback, red dust pluming around your tyres. Swimming in crystal clear waters, a shoal of tropical fish shimmering up towards you. Sinking your toes into the sand, and looking up to see a kangaroo is your only sunbathing companion.
Yes, there’s nowhere quite like Australia; Western Australia, to be exact. Because this vast state is the quintessential Australia, the one you’ve always pictured in your mind.
It’s an extraordinary landscape of rust-red earth, where ghost-white gum trees and emerald-green palm fronds await you, not to mention whale sharks you can swim with, dolphins that will let you feed them and camels you can board for a sunset safari.
You’ll also find one of the world’s leading wine regions, Margaret River, and a capital city in the ascendance, Perth, where new restaurants and bars seem to open with every passing weekend and every visit uncovers something new.
Seeking the sunshine? In Western Australia you can experience summer all year round, with the tropical north at its best when the temperate south sees temperatures drop, and there are enough beaches to switch to a new one every day. Even in Perth you’ll find 19 of them.
Even better, this extraordinary state is closer than you think. Perth is four hours closer to the UK than Sydney, with two hours less time difference to boot.
It may seem like a long flight to get there, but consider this: it takes less than 24 hours to fly to Perth, so this time tomorrow you could be there. And this is what you could be doing…
4 days in Western Australia
Even a stopover en route to Sydney is enough time to explore Perth and Margaret River. Spend two nights in the WA capital, checking out the hip, small bars now lining its laneways and heading out to Fremantle to see its famous prison and taste Little Creatures ales.
You could spend an afternoon on the beach at Cottesloe or exploring the Cultural Centre’s museums and art galleries. Then drive down to Margaret River for two days of wine touring, calling in to wineries large and small.
Stay at the fabulous Cape Lodge, home to the region’s best restaurant, serving locally reared venison and WA seafood washed down with its very own wines.
7 days in Western Australia
Got a week to spare? Spend your first night in Perth, enjoying the city’s exciting new restaurant and bar scene, before hitting the Indian Ocean Drive north. First stop is Cervantes, to check out the Pinnacles, a crop of limestone needles spread across the Outback like an otherworldly phenomenon.
Push on up to the attractive resort town of Kalbarri and take a day here to explore coastal gorges and see the daily pelican feeding. From here drive on to World Heritage-listed Shark Bay to see the oldest life forms on earth, the stromatolites, before checking in to Monkey Mia for two nights. Spend most of your time here in the water, looking out for the resident dolphins, late afternoon is a good time to see them.
More marine life is guaranteed at your final stop, where two nights in Coral Bay will give you enough time to head out on to Ningaloo Reef by boat to check out the manta rays and, if in season, the whale sharks. From nearby Exmouth you can fly back down to Perth.
14 days in Western Australia
With a second week in Western Australia that flight back to Perth connects straight on to one up to Kununurra. This Outback town is the starting point for a true blue Aussie road trip.
Drive into Purnuluru National Park first, for two nights sleeping under canvas and a full day hiking in the Bungle Bungles, a series of red and black striped beehive-like formations that were only ‘discovered’ by the outside world some 30 years ago.
From here drive back to the highway and on to the Gibb River Road, for three days bumping along the dirt track from gorge to cattle station. Spend night one at Home Valley Station and the second at Tunnel Creek campsite, before leaving the Kimberley for Broome.
Two nights here gives you enough time to see Willie Creek Pearl Farm, eat Asian food in Chinatown and see what could just be the world’s most beautiful sunset from Cable Beach.
Produced in association with Western Australia
For more information visit the Western Australia website