The Best of the West
What’s not to love about Western Australia? Where wine, wildlife, sand, sea and sun are the state’s staples. You’ll find some interesting rock formations too, along with mining heritage and shimmering bursts of seasonal wildflowers. Here are eight great reasons to getaway to WA.
1. Wave Rock
The elements have shaped this granite formation into a giant ocean wave over the past 2,700 million years. At 15 metres tall and 110 metres long, it’s a wonder to behold, and first caught the world’s eye back in 1963, in a National Geographic publication. Wave Rock is also a stone’s throw away from the town of Hyden, wineries and seasonal wildflower displays.
2. Margaret River
More than 25 per cent of Australia’s premium wine comes from the 200-plus vineyards in Margaret River. Regional specialties include cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, semillon and sauvignon blanc. Just beyond Margaret River's award-winning wineries, there are hundreds of kilometres of white-sand beaches to explore along the Indian Ocean.
3. Busselton and Lighthouse
Busselton has twice been voted WA’s Top Tourism Town. Yachts bob in the Port Geographe Marina and, nearby, Busselton’s timber-piled jetty stretches out over turquoise seas, the longest in the southern hemisphere. A 40-minute drive away is Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, where you can climb to the top for breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean.
The gold rush is long over but Kalgoorlie is still a mining town. The Super Pit, one of the world’s largest open-cut mines, produces 900,000 ounces of gold each year. Along with its twin town, Boulder, Kalgoorlie offers plenty of glimpses into the region’s gold-rush past from the Museum of the Goldfields to Hannans North Tourist Mine.
5. Monkey Mia
Wild bottlenose dolphins have been visiting the waters of Monkey Mia for four decades. Today, many visitors are able to hand-feed the dolphins under the supervision of park rangers. While times vary, these friendly mammals can be seen up close to Monkey Mia’s shores, as many as three times a day.
6. The Pinnacles
Thousands of limestone spires, some five metres tall, rise out of Nambung National Park to create an otherworldly landscape. Thought to be between 25,000 and 35,000 years old, they were created as the sea slowly receded over millennia, and remain of great significance to traditional landowners to this day.
Each spring, more than 1,000 species of wildflower burst into bloom across the Kalbarri region. Giant pockets of colour carpet the land, from bush flowers such as banksias and hakea to species of pea, lily and the endemic Kalbarri spider orchids. The array of native flora on display is nothing short of spectacular.
8. New Norcia
Experience the life of a Benedictine monk in New Norcia, the only monastic town in Australia. The community was founded by Spanish Benedictine monks back in 1847. As well as for religious traditions, today New Norcia is known for its artisan bread and award-winning local olive oil.
Need to Know
Join our 14 Day Wonders of the South West land journey, where regional highlights come to life on an in-depth discovery of WA, from Wave Rock to Stirling Range National Park and Margaret River to Monkey Mia.
Visit – a Margaret River winery for a tasting.
Enjoy – an exclusive factory tour and sample handmade chocolate bars at Gabriel Chocolate.
Savour – a seafood dinner at Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort.
Set out – on a wildlife cruise on picturesque Shark Bay.