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Region: Western Australia

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Western Australia, in our experience is a second-timers destination, and if you’ve enjoyed other parts of Australia already, just wait until you’ve seen what WA has to offer.  From the Kimberley, Broome and the Bungle Bungles in the north, through the pristine, untouched and relatively undiscovered Ningaloo Reef, to the extraordinary ecology of Shark Bay, the wild flowers in the spring, Perth and the award winning wines of the south-west – and we haven’t even started on the Nullabor, the Indian Pacific rail journey, the gold fields of Kalgoolie and the whales!

Hamelin's Pool Stromatolites Western Australia          Pinnacles Western Australia          Western Australia - KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Have you considered Western Australia?

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Kirsty Saunders

 

With 12,500 km’s of stunning coastline, 550 species of birds, 12,000 species of wildflowers, and just a little short of 2 million people, Western Australia is a destination in its own right, and without a doubt, Australia’s best kept secret.  With the Indian Ocean lapping the western shores, and the Southern Ocean to the South, the state of Western Australia quite literally smothers the western end of the vast country of Australia.  Perth is the gateway, the major city, and home to a large number of the total population of WA (1.4 million actually which doesn’t leave many for the rest of the State!).

View of the city from Kings Park. Photo courtesy of Nick Walker

Perth has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. It is the sunniest capital city in Australia! Perth is a modern city with a good choice of internationally recognised hotels and apartments. The shopping is good, the city is clean and friendly, and the surrounding wine regions stunning. It boasts the scenic Swan river with its famous black swans, nearby hectares of natural bushland in Kings Park, beautiful beaches, whales, dolphins and the little Quokka on Rottnest Island (a protected nature reserve). It is not too difficult to see why Perth is a popular lifestyle city.

Rottnest Island – photo courtesy of Nick Walker

Quokka – Photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

Perth is the hub, the starting point to explore the rest of Western Australia, and whilst it is possible to visit several places of interest outside Perth on a day trip – for some of these places the distances are huge, with day excursions leaving early in the morning and returning late in the evening.

As far as day trips are concerned once you have cruised along the Swan river to Fremantle and spent a day or two at Rottnest Island, you could consider a trip to Rockingham. Here you can swim with the wild dolphins with or visit as a spectator to see these beautiful animals in their natural environment. They are not fed or made to perform, they simply come because they enjoy human interaction.

If you hire a car, not too far outside the city you can visit Yanchep National Park, where you can enjoy nature-based activities, you will find caves, the Koala boardwalk (home to a colony of Koalas), and a tree adventure park for the kids, with ziplines and rope walks. You are also likely to see wild black cockatoos as well as other parrots and possibly kangaroos too!

A venture out to the famous Cottesloe beach is another day trip to consider. This pretty beach looking out across the Indian ocean boasts beautiful white sand and numerous cafes and bars. In the evening enjoy beautiful sunsets and watch the Rainbow Lorikeets as they come in their hundreds to roost in the pine trees.

Another suggestion is a trip out to the Pinnacles. This will be a long day but worth it. The Pinnacles are limestone formations found within an otherworldly desert landscape in Nambung National Park. An extraordinary site and a great photographic opportunity! You could make this a stop en route if you were driving along the west coast.

The Pinnacles – photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

South of Perth will take you into the Margaret River wine regions of the south west, well worth exploring. There are day trips available if you are using Perth as your base, or you could stop by for a few days. A must see for any visitor to the Margaret River region is Busselton with its heritage listed Jetty. The longest wooden-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere it extends over Geographe Bay for 1.8 kilometres. You can take a leisurely train ride down the jetty to the underwater observatory at the end, where you can experience one of Australia’s greatest artificial reefs. Bunbury is also a great place to stop with its basalt rock formations and where bottlenose dolphins visit close to the shore.

Busselton Jetty – photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

If you continue around the south western tip of Australia, the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean,  you would discover the beautiful rugged coastline of Albany and its natural wonders ‘The Gap’ and the ‘Natural Bridge’. The first European settlement in Western Australia, see Albany’s colonial architecture and the historic whaling station – now a museum.

The Natural Bridge – photo courtesy of Nick Walker

Albany – photo courtesy of Nick Walker

Whilst you are in this region visit Denmark with its wineries, and the remarkable Treetop Walk  ‘valley of the giants’  in Walpole -Nornalup National Park. The Ariel walkway is 40 metres above the ground amongst the canopy of huge Red Tingle and Karri trees, which are unique to this area.

Tree Top Walk – photo courtesy of Nick Walker

Whilst you are in this neck of the woods we can recommend another wonderful way to spend your day, which is to take an Eco cruise boat trip around the secluded inlets of Walpole and Nornulup. This wilderness is a very special place, a naturalist’s paradise and a real hidden gem.

Continuing along the southern coast of WA, you will reach Esperance. Here you will find beaches amongst the finest and whitest anywhere in the world. Offshore, Fur Seals and Sealions shelter on the islands of the Recherche Archipelago. You can take a scenic flight to see the surreal ‘pink’ lake Hillier on Middle Island.

Esperance – photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

Heading inland from Perth, head to the Outback town of Kalgoorlie. Originally founded during the gold rush of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, this little town has thrived and continues to mine the precious ore from the Super Pit.  Make sure you take the drive up to the viewing platform for views of one of the biggest holes you will ever see!!

Wave Rock – photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

Or by taking a different route inland discover the little town of Hyden, famous for the Wave Rock!  You could combine the two if you made it part of a self-drive route.

If you drive North from Perth, along this remote coast, you will eventually reach Kalbarri (which would take over 6 hours). You can drive through the Kalbarri National Park and see the spectacular Murchison Gorges and take the opportunity to go on a river cruise on the Murchison River. Kalbarri is a delightfully unpretentious fishing village at the mouth of the River, with several simple but wholesome restaurants. As with each community on this route, the locals are genuine, friendly, welcoming and very typically Australian – proud of their country and their heritage without any brashness. Drive to Shark Bay from here and the dolphins at Monkey Mia.  Shark Bay is another gem; pristine coastline, dolphins and dugongs by the dozen and a delightful lack of tourists.

Monkey Mia – photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

It’s another 5 hours drive from here to Ningaloo Reef via Coral Bay.  Coral Bay is a remote and secluded treasure, and second only to the Great Barrier Reef itself. This area is not inundated with tourists and it does not have a huge choice of international resorts and accommodation and but there are some excellent fish restaurants!

Ningaloo Reef – photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

The bay itself is contained within the Ningaloo Reef which offers it perfect protection from the ocean outside.  Here, glass bottomed boats take you to view the coral, whilst longer expeditions will take you further afield, skilfully negotiating the narrow channels through the reef. The Ningaloo Reef is little brother to the Great Barrier Reef.  Closer into the shore, it is easily accessible to all. 500 species of fish are to be found here, plus sharks, enormous manta rays, turtles and dugongs – there is always something to see:

March to May – Coral spawning

March to June – Whale Sharks

June to November – Manta Ray

June/July to October/November – Humpback Whales

November to March – Turtle nesting and hatching.

However long you plan to stay here will probably not be long enough. You could fly to Exmouth in order to visit Coral Bay and Ningaloo Reef if you weren’t planning on driving.

Finally, another destination that you must consider is The Kimberleys, three times the size of England straddling the states of Western Australia and Northern Territories, The Kimberleys offer a perfect location for ‘getting away from it all’ – literally!!  Broome is the major gateway to this region of canyons and gorges and freshwater swimming holes.  Plan the timing of your visit carefully, avoiding the cyclone season when many roads are impassable due to flooding.  Out of the cyclone season, the adventurous traveller will find gorges and rock formations to rival those anywhere in the world. Consider a small group escorted tour here, using 4WD vehicles and a mixture of camping and motel accommodation – this area will leave an indelible mark on your memory. A visit to this region would certainly involve an internal flight, either directly from Perth or from another location during your travels around Western Australia.

There are many options for exploring WA and if you want to see it all, a combination of driving and air would be best.

Contact us to help you put together your tailor-made Western Australia itinerary.

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday to Broome & The Kimberleys

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This wild and remote region of Western Australia lends itself to a four-wheel drive trip, with unpaved roads, untouched wilderness and stunning scenery. The best time to go is in Australia’s winter, between May and October; temperatures are more moderate with low or no rainfall, meaning warm days and clear nights.

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Broome & The Kimberleys

This wild and remote region in the northern part of Western Australia lends itself to a four-wheel drive trip, with unpaved roads, untouched wilderness and stunning scenery. The best time to go is in Australia’s winter, between May and October; temperatures are more moderate with low or no rainfall, meaning warm days and clear nights.

Day 1: Arrive Broome
Day 3: Fitzroy Crossing
Day 5: Halls Creek
Day 7: Kununurra
Day 9: Home Valley
Day 12: Mount Elizabeth Station
Day 13: Mount Hart
Day 14: Windjana Gorge National Park
Day 15: Derby
Day 17: Broome
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The best time to go is in Australia’s winter, between May and October; temperatures are more moderate with low or no rainfall, meaning warm days and clear nights.

Day 1: Arrive Broome
Arrive into Broome, the ‘Pearl of the North’, for a 2 night stay. Broome began as a pearling port in the late 1880’s, and has developed into a charming seaside town that still produces some of the world’s finest pearls. Visit Cable Beach; comprised of 22 km of beautiful sand with warm Indian Ocean waters edging it. At nearby Roebuck Bay, between March and October when conditions are just right, the magical illusion of the Staircase to the Moon can be witnessed.

Day 3: Fitzroy Crossing
Collect a hire car this morning and drive the sealed road to the typical outback Australian town of Fitzroy Crossing. From here, explore Geikie Gorge National Park; an impressive waterway with abundant wildlife, soaring weathered cliffs and caves with ancient rock art.

Day 5: Halls Creek
Continue on the sealed road to Halls Creek – the first place in Western Australia to discover gold. Halls Creek is a bustling town, and is the gateway to both the World Heritage listed Purnululu National Park Bungle Bungle Range, which is best seen on a scenic flight, and the Wolfe Creek Crater – formed when a giant meteorite crashed into the earth thousands of years ago.

Day 7: Kununurra
Head to Kununurra today, continuing along the sealed road. Close to the border with the Northern Territory, this township is located on the banks of the Ord River and is a hub for agriculture and mining. Take a cruise on Lake Argyle, explore Mirima National Park or fish for Barramundi on the Ord River.

Day 9: Home Valley
Begin the journey along the unsealed Gibb River Road today – the reason you need a four-wheel drive! Your destination today is Home Valley Station, an outback oasis at the foot of the spectacular Cockburn Range. A working cattle station with indigenous owners, Home Valley Station offers a wide array of activities and tours, as well as nightly campfire entertainment.

Day 12: Mount Elizabeth Station
Continue along the Gibb River Road to Mount Elizabeth for a two-night stay. Explore the plentiful waterholes, and their surrounding Aboriginal rock art.

Day 13: Mount Hart
Drive west, stopping en route at one of the many waterholes for a dip, and on to Mount Hart Wilderness Lodge. Located within the King Leopold Conservation Park alongside the Barker River, the Mt Matthew, Annie and Yellow-man gorges are only a short drive away.

Day 14: Windjana Gorge National Park
Head to the Windjana Gorge National Park for an overnight stay, and take a trip to explore spectacular Tunnel Creek.

Day 15: Derby
Complete the final section of the Gibb River Road today, arriving into the town of Derby, located on King Sound, for a two-night stay. From here, take a scenic flight to the Horizontal Waterfalls – a massive tidal water movement rushing through small gaps in high cliffs to form a horizontal waterfall, or to the Buccaneer Archipelago – a thousand rugged islands with beautiful beaches, rainforest and mangroves.

Day 17: Broome
Return to Broome for your onward or homeward flight.

Photographs courtesy of Australia Tourism

Broome      Kimberley Waterfalls

Kununurra      Purnululu National Park

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Little Gems

Perfect for a visit in our English summer and a wonderful opportunity to explore the true outback of Australia
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Ningaloo Reef, Monkey Mia and more…

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Explore the Ningaloo Reef on this coastal Western Australia itinerary. This part of Western Australia is undiscovered and off the beaten track, but offers a reef experience second only to the Great Barrier Reef – or better some would say

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Ningaloo Reef, Monkey Mia and more…

This part of Western Australia is undiscovered and off the beaten track, but offers a reef experience second only to the Great Barrier Reef – or better some would say.

Day 1: Ningaloo Reef
Day 3: Coral Bay
Day 5: Monkey Mia
Day 8: Kalbarri
Day 10: The Pinnacles
Day 11: Perth
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Western Australia is often on the list for a second time visit to Australia and is an area that few Aussies have visited, never mind overseas visitors.  This is a land of vast open spaces, long straight roads, road-trains, road-houses and the wonderful Ningaloo Reef.

Day 1: Ningaloo Reef
Fly north from Perth to Exmouth. Pick up your car and make your way to the wonderful Ningaloo Reef. Easily accessible, it is home to 500 species of fish, sharks, enormous manta rays, humpback whales, turtles and dugongs – there is always something to see. However long you plan to stay here will probably not be enough; this area is not inundated with tourists and does not have a huge choice of international resorts and accommodation. It is a remote and secluded treasure and second only to the Great Barrier Reef.
Ningaloo Reef 2 nights

Day 3: Coral Bay
Drive south dropping in to the coastal town of Coral Bay, a remote and secluded gem. The bay itself is contained within the Ningaloo Reef which offers it perfect protection from the ocean outside. Here, glass bottomed boats take you to view the coral, whilst longer expeditions will take you further afield, skilfully negotiating the narrow channels through the reef.
Coral Bay 2 nights

Day 5: Monkey Mia
Drive to Shark Bay and the dolphins at Monkey Mia. The scenery changes dramatically several times en route. Stop for lunch in the small coastal town of Carnarvon. Shark Bay is another gem; pristine coastline, dolphins and dugongs by the dozen and a delightful lack of tourists.
Monkey Mia 3 nights

Day 8: Kalbarri
Continue south to the town of Kalbarri. This little town is quite unique, located at the mouth of a river gorge that emerges from the local National Park which is well worth exploring.
Kalbarri 2 nights

Day 10: The Pinnacles
Continue south to the Cervantes for a look at the Pinnacle, a major natural attraction in the Nambung National Park. There are several scenic drives that one can take as an alternative here and with enough time, these would be worth taking.
Cervantes 1 night

Day 11: Perth
Return to Perth through the Swan Valley, so time for a little wine tasting. Spend 3 nights in Perth giving you time to visit Rottnest Island, perhaps take a cruise on the Swan River or simply explore the city.
Perth 3 nights

Photographs Australia Tourism Copyright

Fish - ningaloo reef      Pinnacles

 

WA.jpg; Self Drive      KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

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Little Gems

Stop by at Shark Bay, a World Heritage area famous for its stromatolites.  These living fossils provide a unique insight into what the world was like at the dawn of time.
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‘Sal Salis was the highlight of our trip – a wonderful beach camp and close enough to the Ningaloo Reef that we felt we could almost touch it’
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Explore South Western Australia

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Often considered a holiday in its own right, Western Australia covers most of the western half of the vast continent of Australia. This itinerary explores the south west corner of Western Australia.

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Explore South Western Australia

Often considered a holiday in its own right, Western Australia covers most of the western half of the vast continent of Australia.  This itinerary explores just the south west corner.

Day 1: Margaret River
Day 4: Denmark
Day 6: Esperance
Day 9: Kalgoorlie
Day 11: Hyden
Day 12: Perth
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 Day 1: Margaret River
Driving south from Perth brings you Rockingham where a short ferry journey takes you to Penguin Island – to see Australia’s largest colony of Little Penguins (the smallest penguins in the world), as well as sea lions and dolphins. Continue south into Geographe Bay and the south west’s wine regions.
Margaret River 3 nights

Day 4: Denmark
Drive around the south western tip of Australia to the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean. Sample the local wines and visit the remarkable Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk.
Denmark 2 nights

Day 6: Esperance
Continue along the southern coast to Esperance. The beaches here are amongst the finest and whitest anywhere in the world.
Esperance 3 nights

Day 9: Kalgoorlie
A 4 hour drive north brings you to the Outback town of Kalgoorlie. Originally founded during the gold rush era, this little town has thrived and continues to mine the precious ore from the Super Pit.
Kalgoorlie 2 nights

Day 11: Hyden
West to the little town of Hyden, famous for the Wave Rock. This is one of Australia’s most famous land forms, resembling a giant surf wave of multicoloured granite.
Hyden 1 night

Day 12 – Hyden to Perth
Return to Perth before your return/onward flight(s)…

Photographs Copyright Australia Tourism

Road Sign      Wave Rock1

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Little Gems

The wines of the Margaret River area are delightful – consider reversing this itinerary and ending with a relaxing stay exploring the vineyards.  Consider also travelling on to your next destination by train.  The Indian Pacific departs from Perth on its three night journey to Sydney, with a stop in Adelaide on the way.
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Western Australia

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Amanda Skingle

 

Picture courtesy of Tourism Austraila

Picture courtesy of Tourism Austraila

Western Australia is the largest state and is about 10 times the size of the UK, yet it only has a quarter of the population of London. With such a variety of landscapes and so many things to do there is more to this side of Australia than you think! Here is a taste of what’s on offer:

Perth

The main gateway to Western Australia, Perth is the place to start or end your holiday and with so much to do you will need a few days here to explore. You could take a picnic to Kings Park and Botanic Garden, take the free city bus to attractions such as the Perth Cultural Centre, Art Gallery and the Swan Bell Tower, cruise along the Swan River or just sit and relax on Cottesloe Beach.

Ningaloo Reef

The Ningaloo Reef is little brother to the Great Barrier Reef.  Closer in to the shore, it is easily accessible to all.  500 species of fish are to be found here, plus sharks, enormous manta rays, whale sharks, turtles and dugongs.

Picture courtesy of Tourism Australia

Picture courtesy of Tourism Australia

Rottnest Island

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, then take the short ferry ride over to Rottnest Island. It is classified as a Class A Nature Reserve so you can expect to see protected and rare species of plants, marine life and wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for quokkas, a small kangaroo like animal only found in Western Australia.

The Pinnacles

The Pinnacles are found in the Nambung National Park, about three hours north of Perth along the Indian Ocean Drive. Here you can see the weathered limestone spires rise out of the yellow sand dunes. Once there you can enjoy either a scenic walk or follow one of the drive trails through the park.

Margaret River

Just three hours south of Perth you can discover one of Western Australia’s most renowned food and wine regions. With more than 120 wine producers, this area produces some of the countries best wines. Many food and wine events are held throughout the year and one of the most popular is the Margaret River Gourmet Escape which is a four day event held in November.

The Kimberley

Found in the north of Western Australia close to the boarder of the Northern Territory, The Kimberley is made up of rugged gorges, white rapids, and calm ocean. There is plenty to do there from a sunset camel ride in Broome, a 4WD down the Gibb River Road and the unusual scenery of the Bungle Bungles in PurnululuNational Park.

So with all this and a whole lot more there really are some great reasons to visit Western Australia. Call us today on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk to start planning your bespoke, tailor made holiday down under.

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