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What to do in Western Australia

by Travelbag on 18 November 2019, 10:11AM

Cottesloe Beach Perth

With its incredible weather, beautiful natural landscapes and buzzing cities, Australia’s undoubtedly one of the world’s best holiday destinations. While the East Coast has been known to hog the limelight, the West Coast is equally as impressive. Imogen Skipper from our Baker Street shop recently visited Western Australia and came back raving about it: “I had the best time ever and can’t recommend it enough!”

If you’re thinking about visiting WA yourself and looking for inspiration, here’s what Imogen got up to.

Day 1 – Perth

Our first full day was spent exploring Perth, Australia’s sunniest city. We wandered around the shops in the city centre and took a stroll along the Swan River before heading to the Western suburb of Cottesloe. The white sand and clear waters make Cottesloe Beach a popular hangout for both tourists and locals – and it’s one of Perth’s best spots for snorkelling and swimming. We stopped for lunch at Barchetta on Marine Parade. This bustling boulevard, just behind Cottesloe Beach, is packed with bars, cafes and restaurants, so you can grab a bite to eat while looking out at the Indian Ocean.

After our beach time we headed back into the city centre, to Kings Park. This incredible green space boasts epic views of the city, and is even bigger than New York’s Central Park. The Botanic Garden contains over 3000 indigenous plants, including a giant 750-year old boab tree. In the evening we got tickets for Moonlight Cinema – an open air cinema in the park where you can watch a movie and enjoy a picnic as the sun sets.

 Kings Park Perth

Day 2 – Rottnest Island

We were up bright and early on our second morning to catch the ferry to Rottnest Island. This beautiful patch of land, just 19 kilometres offshore, is home to adorable marsupials known as quokkas. The quokkas are the island’s most famous residents, and it’s customary for visitors to snap a selfie with the cute little critters.

The ferry to Rottnest Island took about half an hour. On arrival we popped into Pedal and Flipper to hire bikes, then headed off to explore the island. We also rented snorkelling gear so we could make the most of the water. Rottnest Island has 63 beaches and 20 bays – we managed to tick off a fair few but unfortunately couldn’t cram them all into one a day! Back in Perth, we spent the evening at the QT hotel – it has a rooftop bar with great cocktails and even better skyline views.

Rottnest Island

Day 3 – Fremantle

Just half an hour from Perth, Fremantle’s a port city with something of a boho atmosphere. Affectionately known as Freo, it’s packed with trendy cafes, museums and historic sites. Fremantle Prison is one of the main attractions. Built by convicts in the 1850s, it was in use right up until 1991 and is now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can do tours at various times throughout the day – or, for added drama, join the Torchlight Tour that runs on Wednesday and Friday evenings. After exploring the prison, we headed over to the Fremantle Markets. This old Victorian building – open Friday to Sunday – has more than 150 food stalls, making it a great place to grab lunch. From the market it’s just a short stroll to the Little Creatures brewery, where you can sample Western Australia’s most famous beer.

Day 4 – Exmouth

After three days in and around Perth, it was time to catch a flight to Exmouth. Sitting at the far north end of the Ningaloo Coast, Exmouth is the gateway to Cape Range National Park. There are plenty of opportunities for bushwalking in Cape Range – or you can take a boat tour along Yardie Creek – but the real draw is the water. The park’s full of hidden bays and secluded beaches, but the most impressive is definitely aptly named Turquoise Bay. Ningaloo Reef – the world’s largest fringing reef – lies just metres offshore. Frequently voted one of the best beaches in Australia, it’s a particularly great spot for drift snorkelling. We entered the water at the southern end of the beach and the current just carries you along. As well as loads of colourful coral, we saw a couple of turtles and hundreds of different types of fish.

 

Day 5-8 – Coral Bay and Ningaloo Reef

On the morning of day five we drove an hour and a half south to Coral Bay – a tiny beach town with just one main street and a small cluster of shops. We spent a bit of time relaxing on the beach before joining a three-night tour with a company called Sail Ningaloo. This has to be one of the best things I’ve ever experienced on holiday. There are around 10 passengers onboard, and three crew members, and each day you visit some of the best snorkel and dive sites on Ningaloo Reef – many of them secluded spots, not frequented by any other companies. Over the four days, we swam with numerous turtles, manta rays, and tropical fish. There were also opportunities to kayak and learn about the reef. Once we returned to Coral Bay, we managed to fit in a swim with the gentle whale sharks – an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience and something I will never forget. If you’re visiting between March and September, this is definitely something you should do.

Gentle Whale Shark

Day 9 – Perth

On the last day of our trip we returned to Exmouth and caught a flight back to Perth. If you have a few extra days, though, you could drive back instead, ticking off more attractions en route. Work your way along the Coral Coast Highway and you’ll eventually hit the World Heritage-listed Shark Bay area. This is the most westerly point in Australia. It’s home to the oldest living fossils in the world – the Hamelin Pool stromatolites – and a beautiful beach with no sand that’s instead covered in millions of tiny white sea shells. Further along the Peron Peninsula is Monkey Mia, where wild bottlenose dolphins swim to shore every morning. If you’re lucky, you might get the chance to feed one!

Continuing south, your next stop will be Kalbarri National Park, where deep gorges cut through towering sandstone cliffs. Spend some time here hiking, canoeing or quad-biking. Before finally making your way back to Perth, there’s one more attraction you should see – the Pinnacles. About 200 kilometres north of Perth, these unusual limestone formations in Nambung National Park are one of Western Australia’s most iconic sites. No one’s sure exactly how the Pinnacles came to be, but it’s agreed that they’re definitely worth a visit. Stop by the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre to learn more about them, and discover the natural and cultural heritage values of the area.

Kalbarri

Ready to start planning your trip to Western Australia? Call 020 3944 7004 and speak to one of our experts today.

Or, if you still need a little persuading, find out more about swimming with whale sharks.


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