When people backpacking in Australia all you hear about is the trip down the east coast – Sydney, Cairns, Whitsundays etc and while that is undoubtedly awesome there’s more to see in Australia.
Locals will tell you if you wanna see the real Oz, head west. And you don’t get any further west than WA. The capital of the Western Territory Perth is one of the most isolated cities in the whole world which goes a long way to explain their friendliness. So when you’ve got your backpacked strapped on, think about leaving the crowds of drunken Europeans for a little bit, so grab yourself a used campervan, hit up the public transport or find some flights to Perth .
Make sure you check out these top ten things to see in Western Australia:
1) Karijini National Park: This area is known to be one of the hottest places in the world so bring your sunscreen. Karijini, in Pilbara, requires a bit of a drive but the views will make it all worth while with hundred meters deep red canyons and gorges waiting for you.
2) Wave rock: The name gives away the surprise really but still an amazing rock formation. The hulking sight is nearly 15m tall and over 100m long – it’s a jaw dropping site but after 15 minutes you’ll be done with it! It’s completely free to enter and about 350km from Perth, a day trip is possible but it’d be a long day.
3) The Pinnacles Desert: Found in the Nambung national park, about 250km from Perth, near Cervantes, Wheatbelt, the Pinnacles Desert looks like something from a old school sci fi movie. You’ll finish the day with 1000 identical photos, mark my words. And every one will be tiptop.
4) Perth: The capital of WA (Western Australia) is the 4th largest city in Australia. It has heaps of things to keep you occupied so when you’re in the city, make sure to check out the wild kangaroos visit the Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park, if you time it right watch an Ausse-rules footy match, and of course hit the beach with Scarborough and Cottesloe Beach being the two most popular.
5) Shark Bay: This UNESCO world heritage site is a whopping 830km north of Perth and it is full of great things to see and do. The Monkey Mia dolphins are the main draw, they come to shore every morning and you can feed them but you’re gonna want to get here early to get to the front. Honourable mentions to Shell beach and Hamelin Pool too, well worth a visit each.
6) Mitchell Falls: Found on the Mitchell plateau, these falls are truly breathtaking but they’re a mission to get to. You need to take your own 4WD or go on a tour, it’s a 2 day drive from Kununurra. Did someone say roadtrip??
7) Salt Lakes, WA: Lake Ballard plays host to Antony Gormley’s sculptures in Australia’s biggest salt lake. The lake itself is an easy 55km drive from Menzies with plenty of tour options arrangable from there too. This is one very, very surreal experience.
8) Purnululu National Park: 2000km northeast of Perth, and just like Mitchell falls, the nearest town is Kununurra. It’s a very reasonable $9 entry fee, and this is everything you dreamt Australia to be. Some of the most beautiful vistas imaginable.
9) Ningaloo Reef: One of the few places in the world where you can swim with Whale Sharks! These things can reach up to 18m in length but fear not folks, they are completely omnivorous (they won’t eat us!). This is possible from March to July each year, it costs around $450 USD so it’s not cheap but it’s very, very awesome.
10) Cable Beach, Broome: Simply one of the best beaches in the world, and regularly featuring in lists stating just that. Sunsets to die for, camel rides, the indian ocean lapping at your feet – this is 22km of unadulterated paradise.
This should persuade you that there’s more to Australia than getting drunk on its East Coast, and check it out! Happy travels!