It may be one of the most isolated places on the planet. It may also be one of the hottest and most arid regions in the southern hemisphere. Western Australia is a lot of things. But above all, it is a beautiful and often overlooked part of Australia, full of welcoming people, relaxing beaches, and some of the most unique and interesting animal life you will find on any continent.
The wonderful little port of Fremantle is a mere 14 miles from the capitol of Western Australia, Perth. A historic coastal town that's harbored everyone from British Imperialism, through WWII, it's still used as a thriving port today. Be sure to try breakfast at BREAKS, and take a stroll along the charming downtown mall, where you will find talented street musicians entertaining onlookers. On Saturdays and Sundays, the Fremantle Market allows visitors to buy souvenirs, handmade goods, Australian antiques, and a bevy of fresh produce interspersed with local cuisine. Finish off the day on the patio at the renowned brewery, Little Creatures and enjoy some finely crafted beer and gourmet eats.
Get Wet and Wild
Australia has a lot of beaches – but the coastal area in Western Australia is stunning. Bright white sand stretches for miles and miles, as far as you can see and much further than anyone can walk. Dunsborough, Margaret River, Esperance, Cervantes, Geraldton, and Hamelin Bay, are all worth a visit. Squid, lobster, crab, and cod are available in abundance and as fresh as you can get anywhere. The beaches are lined with great restaurants and hole-in-the-walls that will blow your mind with their breaded calamari and fish and chips.
The area surrounding Fremantle is known for fantastic surfing, and paddle boarding. There is a lot of fishing all along the coast, perfect for anglers looking to cast a lines on land or sea. Snorkel along reefs and shallow ocean bays and witness sharks and manta rays, eels and colorful schools of fish. Or hire a scuba guide to take you out to catch a glimpse of the allusive and mysterious whale sharks that frequent the area.
Not only is the wine in Western Australia abundant, but it is one of the cheapest drinks you can get your hands on. Most beer and spirits are imported to the island nation, but wine is made domestically and in great quantity. If you're wondering where to swivel and swirl, most locals will point you towards Margaret River where the majority of vineyards and wineries are located. But Blackwood Valley, Perth Hills, Peel, and Great Southern are also well known for their acclaimed producers.
The name says it all. Tourists travel to this little inlet along the middle coast of Western Australia to witness droves of sharks that hunt and mate in the bay. Don’t be alarmed – these little guys aren’t fond of human flesh, and are almost always are more frightened of you than you are of them. Don’t be afraid to kick off your shoes and walk straight into the water with them (but stay alert for other hazards like stone fish and urchins). Stop by the visitor’s center for a daily “dolphin feeding” to meet the friendly mammals. You'll also want to stop by Shell Beach while you are here – this huge bay is made up of teeny-tiny white conch shells. Millions of them. It is a spectacular sight to behold, and an amazing place to watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean.
A highlight for anyone visiting Perth, Rottnest Island is one of the hottest retreats for it's stunning beaches, gorgeous seaside drives, strange local animals, and laid-back attitude. You’re sure to meet one of the adorable natives on a visit to Rottnest, the quenda. Much like the sloth, these large marsupials have a permanent smile etched onto their fuzzy face, and are very friendly (although it is highly discouraged to feed them). Bikes are a popular way to see the island, and finding a hotel, host family, Airbnb, or hostel is relatively easy. Ferries run from Fremantle to Rottnest several times a day.
These strange geologic wonders are located within Nambung National Park. A short drive from Perth, it is an easy day trip. Walk amongst the mythical stone forest deep within the desert for eerie vibes and incredible photos. It's not your typical national park, but a very cool example of the unique landscapes that define Western Australia.