With landscapes ranging from national parks to wine country, turquoise coastline to rust-red gorges, nowhere suits a road trip better than Western Australia.
There isn’t anywhere in the world quite like Western Australia. Where else does rust-red outback meet turquoise sea, and sea-pounded cliffs meet undulating vineyards? Where else can you swim with giant fish and walk among the wildflowers?
This vast state is diverse and beautiful, especially if you’re an adventure seeker. Or nature lover. Or gourmet enthusiast.
Get camping, settle into sunny seaside hotels, or retreat to glamorous resorts. However you do it and whatever your budget, take time to immerse yourself in the WA experience and you won’t be disappointed.
Most of all, simply hit the road and see as much of this magnificent state as you can. Western Australia is a great driving destination, whether you’re meandering along a coastal highway, into the heart of premium wine country, or through the outback to spectacular gorges.
With such a big area to cover and so many decisions to make, it makes sense to book your WA experience with someone in the know like Flight Centre.
Choose whatever gets your motor running: the Kimberley by four-wheel drive, the gold-rush towns of the inland surrounded in wheat fields and granite outcrops, or the tingle forests and piercing blue seascapes of the South West.
If variety is the spice of any holiday, then Western Australia provides a smorgasbord of choice.
Urban adventure: Perth
Vast Western Australia may be synonymous with wide-open spaces, but most visitors get an urban start in Perth. No cause for complaint there. Perth is sublimely located on the Swan River, fringed in beaches and bathed in seemingly perpetual sunshine.
Explore the magnificent sprawl of Kings Park and WA Botanic Garden, delve into the origins, wildlife and history of the state at the new WA Museum Boola Bardip, and explore the city’s vibrant restaurants and bars and ever-lively arts and events scene.
Then take a trip out to Rottnest Island – after all, who doesn’t want a photo with a quokka, those furry stars of the internet age?
You might even consider an island overnight, since Rottnest features pristine beaches and secluded bays, breezy headlands, salt lakes and nature reserves dense with birds, seals and sea lions.
Grape expectations: Margaret River
For a relaxed driving holiday, head two hours south of Perth to the Margaret River region, best known as a gourmet getaway.
More than 150 wineries produce some of Australia’s top sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, but you’ll also find micro-breweries, delis, chocolatiers, gourmet stores and hatted restaurants.
Even if you just put together your own picnic with local produce from the Saturday Margaret River Farmers’ Market, your tastebuds will be titillated.
Margaret River is much more than simply great food and wine, though.
At Busselton, walk the wooden jetty that thrusts two kilometres out to sea, and descend beneath the waves at Underwater Observatory to admire 300-odd species of marine wildlife. Cape Naturaliste is riddled with limestone caverns and underground rivers, nowhere more spectacularly than at Ngilgi Cave, whose stalagmites and stalactites look like avant-garde sculptures.
Keep an eye out anywhere along the coast (between June and December) for the sight of migrating humpback and southern right whales.
Thrill yourself with a helicopter ride over the spectacular coastline, or take a tour with Koomal Dreaming and learn about the 60,000-year culture of the local Wadandi and Bibbulman people.
The Margaret River region has magnificent white-sand beaches – such as at Bunker Bay or Eagle Bay – and rugged wilderness, too.
Bring your hiking boots and stretch your car legs by immersing yourself in its coastline of rock formations and national parks, and maybe even tackling part of the 135-kilometre Cape to Cape Walking Track.
Western Australia’s fabled wildflower season is a staggering annual display of nature at its most flamboyant.
It starts in the Pilbarra around June and slowly moves south, arriving in the Perth surrounds in September.
Time your visit to the South West for October or November and you’ll be rewarded with a glorious palette of colour.
And with such a big area to cover and so many decisions to make, it makes sense to book your WA experience with a company in the know such as Flight Centre.
Top surf breaks and soaring inland karri and jarrah forests are other regional attractions here. At Cape Leeuwin, Australia’s tallest lighthouse provides tremendous views to take your breath away – or maybe that’s just the fresh ocean breezes. The nearest town is laidback Augusta, just the place to tackle the golf course, fish on the Blackwood River or spot whales at Flinders Bay.
To book your Margaret River getaway with the experienced team at Flight Centre, call 1300 791 203 or click here.
Wild things: Coral Coast
The 1,200-kilometre Coral Coast Highway between Perth to Exmouth is all about spectacular landscapes, natural wonders and shimmering turquoise ocean.
Think splendid beaches, adventurous four-wheel driving, snorkelling and rock fishing, and meals of lobster and prawns as an orange sun slides into the Indian Ocean.
If you have the time, a great way to explore is by motorhome over a couple of slow weeks, which really gives you the opportunity to soak up the scenery.
At Nambung National Park, the limestone desert outcrops of the Pinnacles are famous for their resemblance to a Mars-like landscape. Don’t miss the opportunity to divert inland from Geraldton towards Mullewa.
There are seasonal wildflowers almost everywhere in Western Australia, but the display is especially spectacular here. Between late July and early October, coneflowers explode like fireworks, wreath flowers grow in distinctive circles of pink and yellow, and everlastings create carpets in white, yellow or pink.
Kalbarri National Park north of Geraldton provides glorious 400-million-year-old gorges and dramatic coastal rock formations.
Both the beach sands and wildflowers are fabulous, and the cantilevered Kalbarri Skywalk provides spectacular views. From here onwards, the road leads between red outback and blue ocean.
Stop at Shell Beach for the sight of billions of crushed shells 10 metres deep and running for 70 kilometres. There’s another marvel at Hamelin Pool: stromatolites rightly described as “living fossils” that have inhabited the Earth for 3.5 billion years.
At Shark Bay, get up close to the famous and friendly bottlenose dolphins of Monkey Mia, who regularly turn up in the mornings for a feed.
The journey along the Coral Coast Highway ends – but the adventure continues – at Exmouth, where the ocean is draped in the world’s largest fringing coral reef.
Ningaloo Reef allows you to snorkel over coral and (from mid-March to July) you can swim with humpback whales, manta rays and whale sharks, those gentle giants of the marine world. Some of these magnificently mottled fish weigh 20 tonnes and are 13 metres long.
Everything is outsized in Western Australia, including the thrills.
To book your Western Australia holiday with the experienced team at Flight Centre, call 1300 791 203 or click here.
Pen a poem of 50 words or less, to describe YOUR ultimate Western Australia experience, and you could win one of four WA holidays valued at $5000 with Flight Centre. Competition runs 8–28 April 2021. Enter online at flightcentre.com.au/deals/western-australia-competition. T&Cs apply.