Western Australia Travel Guide
Occupying the entire western half of Australia, Western Australia can be a challenge to travel around due to the vast distances between population centres. However, investing effort in exploring this enormous state will yield big dividends, as its wine regions, beaches, historic sites, and other attractions count themselves among the best in the entire country.
If your travels have you entering Western Australia from South Australia, plan a rest stop in Kalgoorlie so you can check out the Museum of the Goldfields. As the title suggests, this institution, marked by a massive red mining platform on its exterior, focuses mainly on how the eastern goldfields helped to develop not just Kalgoorlie, but Western Australia as a whole.
In addition to exhibits which explain how these deposits were mined, there are also galleries dedicated to showing how Aboriginals lived off the lands of Western Australia. This will be of interest to those interested in anthropology, as the outback on this side of the country is much less forgiving than the lands to the east.
See the place where legions of Australian and Kiwi soldiers departed for the front lines of the First World War by visiting the National Anzac Centre in Albany. Over 41,000 passed through this town’s harbour during that time – some of whom would never set eyes of the shore of their native land ever again.
Opened in 2014, it is loaded with interactive displays that will bring the troubled era of the Great War to life. Meant to create a sombre tone, this museum will allow you to better understand the tragedy of a conflict, which is rapidly becoming forgotten in the minds of recent generations.
Before leaving the Perth area for other destinations in Western Australia, make sure you check out Fremantle Prison. Dating back to the convict era, when prisoners were sent away from the United Kingdom to perform hard labour in Australia, this institution played a key role in the early development of Western Australia.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this penitentiary was in use as recently as 1991, when it was finally replaced by a modern facility. With options for tours during the day or night, visitors will be able to appreciate the loneliness of solitary confinement, hear about all the dramatic escape attempts over the years, and see the gallows where the worst criminals in this joint met their end.
Heading up the Western Australia coast to Geraldton? Drop by the HMAS Sydney II Memorial. Built to commemorate a sea battle during the Second World War between an Australian and a German vessel that ended badly for both boats, it is another reminder that even the far reaches of the world weren’t immune from the ravages of the biggest war in history.
While the elements of this memorial are poignant enough on their own, local tourism operators offer a daily free tour at 10:30 am. We advise attending, as the perspective and knowledge of these guides will allow you to appreciate the bravery and tragedy displayed in this battle.
While in Perth, sailing over to Rottnest Island is a virtual must. Home to gorgeous beaches, excellent snorkeling, and historic & cultural attractions, travelers of all types will be occupied during their visit here. It is also home to the quokka, a marsupial which is arguably the cutest and friendliest animal on the planet.
Those looking to get underwater will want to do so in Salmon Bay, as it is home to coral formations which can be visited straight off the beach, while those looking to swim will love what they find at Geordie and Parakeet Bay.
After learning about the darker aspects of this isle’s history at the Rottnest Island Museum, history buffs will want to check out the Oliver Hill Battery, as it is one of only five batteries which still retain their original guns from the Second World War.
Wine lovers and avid surfers will definitely want to arrange a trip to Margaret River during their time in Western Australia. The Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon this region produces has put it on the world map, so take your time as you tour from one vineyard to the next.
After sleeping off a long day spent sampling the alcoholic bounty of this region, hit this region’s Indian Ocean coastline for some world-class surfing. Surfer’s Point has some of the gnarliest left breaks in Western Australia – as such, some beaches might not be suitable for novices: be sure to ask locals before getting in the water so you don’t end up biting off more than you can chew.
Headed north to Exmouth, Broome, and the Northern Territory? Pencil in a stop at The Pinnacles. Limestone spires which have whittled down by millions of years of erosion by wind, sand, and water, they are a stunning sight to see against the austere landscape of the Western Australia desert.
All along the coast of Western Australia, you’ll find plenty of beaches that regularly get mentions as the world’s most beautiful. Start your beach hopping travels at Cape Le Grand National Park, where you’ll often find kangaroos basking in the sun on its many postcard perfect beaches.
The water on these Southern Ocean facing beaches can be chilly, though – if you are seeking warmer waters, head to Turquoise Bay instead. Located near Exmouth, this stunning beach is on the doorstep of the Ningaloo Reef, where whale sharks can often be spotted.
Up on the tropical shores of Cable Beach near Broome, its waters are perfect for swimming during the dry season (there are too many jellyfish around during the wet season). No matter the time of year, though, the sunsets are amazing, especially when viewed while on a camel ride.