Things to Do in Western Australia
Fringed with rocky coves, white sandy beaches, and sun-soaked shores, Rottnest Island’s natural pleasures are numerous—whale-watching, snorkeling, hiking and wildlife spotting along the coast, and taking in the ocean sunsets. At less than an hour from Perth, Rottnest Island, or “Rotto,” makes for an idyllic retreat from the city.
The liquid heart of Perth, the Swan River touches many of the city’s neighborhoods on its way to the Indian Ocean. The river passes through the Swan Valley wine region, Perth’s Central Business District and affluent suburbs, and the port city of Fremantle, and there are lots of recreational opportunities on the banks and in the water.
The Horizontal Falls were once described by David Attenborough as one of the “greatest wonders of the natural world.” Located in Talbot Bay in the Buccaneer Archipelago, the waterfalls are caused by the shifting of ocean tides through the rocks, and are one of Western Australia’s most spectacular sights.
Housed in a Victorian marketplace more than 100 years old, the Fremantle Markets are a Western Australian institution. A visit to the markets offers not only the chance to shop for fresh food and unique gifts, but also to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the entertainment offered by a rotating schedule of street performers.
The Round House, a historic 12-sided building, was built in 1831 and is the oldest public building in Western Australia. Travelers can tour this unique architectural destination and learn about the original settlement, as well as how this iconic building was once used to house local lawbreakers.
Visitors can learn about the Fremantle Round House's colorful past and also get an up close look at the famous Whaler’s Tunnel—the oldest underground tunnel in Western Australia. Completed in 1838, the original tunnel spanned some 64 meters, but today measures just 46. And while the 1 p.m. sound call that once rang out daily to alert ships on sea to the official time no longer occurs, travelers can sometimes catch a reenactment ceremony put on by some of the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides.
Although otherworldly in appearance, the Pinnacles Desert is 100 percent on planet earth. Located along the Indian Ocean's Coral Coast in Nambung National Park in Western Australia (WA), this vast sandy expanse is filled with towering limestone pillars. Plus, at only a few hours' drive from the city of Perth, the site makes for a popular and totally doable day trip.
At more than a mile (1.8 kilometers) in length, the Busselton Jetty is the longest timber-piled jetty found anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere. Ships no longer dock here, and instead the historic jetty draws visitors to the Western Australia coast to stroll its length and take in the views both above and below the water.
Cable Beach encompasses 14 miles (22 kilometers) of unspoiled white sand and turquoise waters. The beach is almost perfectly flat and therefore its calm waters are ideal for swimming. From the shore, you can see the occasional pearling boat—an industry that supported Broome before it was discovered by travelers.
With its sandy cove, crystalline waters and close proximity to the Ningaloo Reef, it’s easy to see why Turquoise Bay is renowned as one of Australia’s most idyllic beaches. Running around 600-meters along the west coast of the North West Cape, the Turquoise Bay Beach is one of the many natural highlights of the Cape Range National Park and a hotspot for sunseekers.
The most popular activities at Turquoise Bay are swimming and snorkeling, and the warm, shallow waters are teeming with colorful corals, tropical fish and starfish. For avid snorkelers and scuba divers, there are also plenty of opportunities for spotting reef sharks, sea turtles, manta rays and dolphins in the surrounding waters.
The Margaret River region is Western Australia’s food, wine, surfing, and leisure playground. It’s also one of the most scenic and lush regions in the state, graced with a mix of coastline, forest, vineyards, and farmland. Wine-loving visitors have more than 140 Margaret River wineries to choose from—its vintages are compared to those of Bordeaux in France—and the area also attracts surfers, whale watchers, spelunkers, and beachgoers to its nearby coastal landscapes.
More Things to Do in Western Australia
Hidden away in an ancient marri forest and dripping with stalactites and stalagmites, Mammoth Cave is a mesmerizing sight. The limestone cave is one of the largest in the Margaret River region, located in Western Australia’s Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.
Jewel Cave is the largest show cave in the Margaret River region and part of Western Australia’s Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. Tucked beneath a forest of karri trees and filled with dramatic stalactites, helictites, and crystals, it’s also home to the largest straw stalactite in Australia—more than 17 feet (5.4 meters) long.
National Anzac Centre
Devoted to telling the story of the more than 40,000 ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) soldiers that fought in the First World War, the National Anzac Centre is one of Australia’s most important military museums. It’s housed in a purpose-built building in Albany Heritage Park.
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
Perched on Australia’s southwestern tip, the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse has been standing watch over the meeting point of the Indian and Southern oceans since 1895. The 128-foot-tall (39-meter landmark and its grounds provide scenic photo ops and the chance to spot dolphins and whales, depending on the time of year.
One of the most popular visitor attractions of Geographe Bay and part of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, Ngilgi Cave is an expansive natural wonder. The series of underground caves and tunnels are filled with dramatic stalactites, helictites, shawls, and shimmering deposits of calcite crystal.
Just 45 minutes from Perth, Penguin Island is an engaging ecotourism destination. Home to over 1,000 of the world’s smallest penguins, the island is teeming with animal activity. Attend a penguin feeding presentation, look to the skies for signs of seabirds, or search the seas for a glimpse of dolphins or a rare Australian sea lion.
Kings Park & Botanic Garden
The Central Park of Perth, Kings Park & Botanic Garden boasts a hilltop perch with views of the Swan River and city skyline. Locals and visitors flock here for picnics and walks amid wildflowers, bushland, landscaped gardens, and historical memorials.
Bungle Bungle Range
In the northeastern corner of Western Australia, the Bungle Bungle Range is a top natural feature in Purnululu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The beehive-shaped striped sandstone domes for which the area is now famous were known only to the local Aboriginal people until they were “discovered” by a film crew in the 1980s.
Lancelin Sand Dunes
For those road-tripping up the coast of Western Australia, perhaps from Perth to Exmouth, a stop in Lancelin is easy and convenient. Visiting Lancelin from Perth on an organized day trip often includes additional attractions such as Caversham Wildlife Park, the Pinnacles Desert, or the Swan Valley wine region. Once there, sandboards can be rented in town for your own sandboarding enjoyment.
Kalbarri National Park
With its multi-hued, sandstone hiking trails and rugged, coastal sea cliffs, Kalbarri National Park is one of Australia’s most awe inspiring corners. From the lookout atop the Z Bend trail, your gaze will fall 500 feet (152 m) to the Murchison River below, which has slowly carved a colorful gorge through millions of years of erosion. Down south along the coast, you’ll find Red Bluff Beach, where dusty red sandstone and turquoise waters add color and flare to the cove. Keep an eye out for echidna, wallabies, and 150 species of birds, as well as the whales, dolphins, and seabirds that soar and splash within eyesight from the park's six miles (9.5 km) of coastal cliff trails.
Given the park's location seven-hours from the major city of Perth, many visitors choose to experience Kalbarri as part of a multi-day, guided tour with transportation included. Tours range from three days to 19 days of exploring the Western Australian coastline with stops for outdoor activities and visits to other natural attractions, like Pinnacles Desert and Monkey Mia.
One of Australia's most stunning stretches of coastline, Cape Leveque, located on the tip of the Dampier Peninsula, has been home to Aboriginal communities for some 7,000 years. Visit to see the area’s brick-red cliffs, pearl-white sand, and clear blue water, explore the remote landscape, and learn about the local Aboriginal communities.
When it opened in 1899, the Perth Mint was the third branch of Britain’s Royal Mint in Australia. Today it produces gold, silver, and platinum bullion coins and bars. Visit to see exhibitions about Western Australia’s gold rush history and collections of rare gold nuggets and coins.
A large granite rock formation shaped like an ocean wave, Wave Rock is located in Western Australia’s Golden Outback region and situated in a bushland environment. Standing nearly 50 feet (15 meters) tall and 360 feet (110 meters) long, the formation is part of a geological area dating back more than 2.5 billion years.
Town Beach is one of many sandy spots in Broome, and its main attraction is its water playground that dominates the foreshore. Built for kids of all ages, the playground is designed to be all-inclusive, enabling children of all abilities to play. A range of sprayers including a whale tail sprayer, mistry twisty, sneaky soakers and froggy-o-sprayer are set up to provide a fun play environment. The playground operates on a cycle that randomly repeats and is activated when a start button is pressed.
Safety is paramount here. Soft-fall ground covering ensures a non-slip environment, and the water is UV filtered and chlorinated. A designated area for disabled children includes a self-propelling, custom built, water submersible wheelchair that is available for free hire.
While the playground is a huge part of the attractions of Town Beach, the beach itself is also popular. Besides the bay being a calm swimming spot, the grassy foreshore also offers a great place for picnics. Just beside the playground sits the Town Beach Café, serving coffee, pastries and more.
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