WHETHER you are looking for some last-minute winter sunshine, or perhaps just a change of scenery, Western Australia is the perfect place to visit. Get away from the manic stress of Christmas present buying and escape with your family for a week or so.
Western Australia is 2.6 million square kilometers of arid desert, lush bushland and beaches boasting the whitest sand and turquoise waters, while plenty of adventures are just waiting to be discovered.
It prides itself on being one the most diverse regions on the planet, with an abundance of fun activities to be enjoyed. Alongside an essence of romance throughout the region, it is the perfect place to whisk your loved ones off to this winter.
In no particular order, here are five reasons Western Australia should be next on your travel itinerary.
You can play with friendly dolphins
Dolphins are highly intelligent and love playing around in the water – they have even been known to ride the waves to the shore, just for their amusement. At Monkey Mia beach, wild bottlenose dolphins visit the sandy shores to grab a bite to eat from trained conservationists, and then enjoy an occasional belly rub from beachgoers.
Monkey Mia beach is one of the most renowned places in the world for interaction with wild dolphins. Feeding times begin at around 7am and then again at noon in the designated feeding section of the beach.
If you happen to be in the South West region, a visit to the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury is certainly worth your time. Explore the Digital Dolphinarium and learn everything about dolphins when they approach the shore in warmer months, or go on the Dolphin Eco Cruise to meet these gentle creatures.
Explore the national parks
Western Australia is home to more than half of the nation’s biodiversity hotspots and several national parks, bursting with flora and fauna. Iconic and Australia-specific animals such as kangaroos and the ‘world’s happiest animal‘ – quokkas – can also be found wandering the burnt orange land, looking for food and shelter.
Get closer to nature at Perth Hill’s John Forrest National Park, located just a 45-minute drive from the bustling city center. You can cycle along the old railway tracks, walk through the bush and meander alongside the rivers, taking an occasional dip if you want to cool off.
Nambung National Park, located in the Coral Coast region has tall limestone spires, jolting out of the ground. The park is located in the Pinnacles Desert and is brilliant for short strolls and wild games of hide-and-seek with the kids.
Western Australia is also home to the Cape Le Grand National Park in the Golden Outback, D’Entrecasteaux National Park down in the South West, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park in the South West and Rottnest Island in Perth.
Bask in the sun on the beach
With an expanse of 12,500 kilometers of coastline, you are sure to find your perfect spot along Western Australia’s shoreline.
The crystal waters that lap at the powdered white sands on Western Australia’s beaches are often accompanied by silky blue skies.
Perth’s iconic Cottesloe Beach has smooth terraced lawns and majestic Norfolk pines, perfect for a laidback afternoon with the family.
Walpole plays host to a multitude of beaches and camping locations along the Rainbow Coast. Down from Conspicuous Cliff lies Conspicuous Cliff Beach, a popular picnic spot in the summer sunshine. And if you head just a little further up the coast, you will find Mandalay Beach with spectacular views of Chatham Island – if you’re lucky, you might sneak a peak of the shipwreck that washed up in 1911.
Frolic in the sand or indulge in water-based activities such as swimming, snorkeling and surfing at more of Western Australia’s immaculate beaches including Bathers Beach, in Fremantle, Perth; Hamelin Bay in the South West; and Middleton Beach in Albany, South West.
Meet Australia’s native furry friends
Australia may be known for its range of dangerous animals, but as our mothers always said: “They’re more scared of you than you are of them.” Western Australia, however, has plenty of cute animals that certainly want to be your friend as much as you want to be theirs.
Caversham Wildlife Park in Swan Valley, a mere 30 minutes’ drive from Perth, is one of the largest collections of Western Australia’s cutest inhabitants. Feed the kangaroos, cuddle with koalas, gawk at wombats and even listen to keeper talks by the park rangers on the weekends.
Rottnest Island is home to the adorable Quokka, which has been dubbed the happiest mammal in the world as they wear a constant smile and don’t mind humans getting a selfie or two. They are, however, very rare on the mainland, so conservation sanctuaries have been set up for them on this island.
If you haven’t already guessed it, Western Australia is blessed with the incredible shoreline, which means fresh, flavorful seafood all year round. No matter which city or town you find yourself in along the Western Coastline of Australia, you won’t struggle to find a delicious restaurant to suit the whole family, as Perth itself has more restaurants per capita than any other part of Australia.