Need some inspiration for your next weekend getaway in Western Australia?
As the largest Australian state, there are a plethora of options when it comes to picking a destination for your next West Australian-based getaway. From sandy white beaches to mesmerising desert rock formations, Western Australia encompasses so many different landscapes that you’re truly spoilt for choice.
If you’re in need of a nudge in the right direction, we’ve got you covered with this collection of 10 unique West Australian destinations that are just waiting to be explored. Make the most of your time away with these beautiful, quirky, and all-round spectacular locales.
South of Perth just outside Bunbury lies the beautiful countryside of Ferguson Valley. With rolling green hillsides, this wine region and agricultural hinterland is sure to take your breath away in more ways than just one. If you fancy a bit of exercise with your sightseeing, why not take in the stunning scenery from two wheels rather than four at the Mount Lennard mountain bike trails. After you’ve worked up a sweat, treat yourself to a wine tasting from one of the many cellar doors and wineries dotted across the region such as Talisman or Henty Brook Estate. For something a little quirky, make sure to drop in to Gnomesville near Wellington Mill. This small town is home to an estimated 5000 gnomes but no one seems to know how the collection originated. Visitors are encouraged to leave their own gnome and add to the community or take a souvenir with you by purchasing one from the Ferguson Valley Visitor Centre.
Rich in history and natural beauty, the surrounds of Hyden in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt Region is another stop worth making. Welcoming around 100,000 tourists a year, Wave Rock, is located four-kilometres from this small township. This 15-metre-high granite cliff is a remarkable 110-metres long and has taken the shape of a wave about to break. Other notable rock formations in the area include Hippo’s Yawn as well as Mulka’s Cave wherein you can find some incredible Indigenous artwork. Just north of Wave Rock you will come across Lake Magic – a flat salt lake that is best viewed at sunrise or sunset where you can admire the changing colours of the sky across the clear water. Enjoy the view or take a dip in the adjacent salt pool gypsum pond whose buoyancy and therapeutic properties are said to be greater than that of the Dead Sea.
Margaret River Region
Staying in the state’s south, there’s no denying that the Margaret River Region radiates weekend getaway potential. Here you will find the town of Augusta, which is a 10-minute drive from Cape Leeuwin – the most south-westerly point of Australia where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet. The peninsula is also the residence of the country’s tallest mainland lighthouse, standing at 39-metres. Heading north, Lake Cave is another attraction that is sure to dazzle all who enter. Through a sunken forest lies a cavernous crystal chamber whose details are mirrored in the tranquil lake that takes up the cave floor. Although you may not be able to swim in this lake, you can get your water fix at Injidup Natural Spa. This naturally formed rock pool inlet is just a few minutes’ drive from Yallingup along the coastline and is a relaxing place to enjoy the water, sheltered from the battering waves.
Urawa Nature Reserve
For those of you who love nothing more than gazing up at the night sky, Urawa Nature Reserve should be high on your bucket list. The area covers over 7900-hectares and is home to astrophotography hotspot, Perkins Well #2. Settle in for a night of stargazing, or if you’re an avid photographer, pull out your telephoto lens and snap some magical shots of the Milky Way. Or, for something that is best discovered during the day, a further five-kilometres away in Mullewa, visitors will find an area that is easily described as prime wildflower country. There are a number of walks and trails around the area that take you through the fields of native wildflowers, the most popular of which being the Mullewa Bushland Trail, the Wildflower Walk, and the Town Heritage Trail. Visit in spring for optimal viewing while learning about the local heritage of the town and culture of the Indigenous people.
One of the most iconic and picturesque destinations in all of Western Australia lies along the Coral Coast near Yallabatharra. Hutt Lagoon is the famed bubblegum pink lake whose distinct hue is a result of extremely high level of salinity. Get the most striking perspective by air, as Hutt Lagoon sits almost parallel to the jewel-blue-coloured Indian Ocean. There are many spots along the perimeter to stop and enjoy the view and try to do so around mid-morning or sunset on a clear day. If you’re after a bit more of an adrenaline rush, the nearby Kalbarri’s Wagoe Beach might be more your cup of tea. Take in the sweeping views of the ocean as you drive along the white sandy dunes on a fully guided, self-drive quad bike adventure. And apart from wanting to tackle the elevated dunes, be sure to stop and admire the view after your quad bike tour.
Wheatbelt Central Coast
If you’re all about sun and sand, look no further than the Wheatbelt’s Central Coast region. Staying towards the coastline – away from the rich agricultural landscape that stretches out over the midlands – lies Nambung National Park. This desert landscape is dotted by thousands of huge limestone pillars formed overtime from erosion in the area. They will certainly make you feel like you have been transported to another planet.
Following the Coral Coast Highway south from Cervantes, you will pass a number of incredible lookout points and stunning beaches. Take in panoramic views of the Indian Ocean from Wedge Lookout, Nilgen Lookout and Ledge Point Lookout but not before making the most of the water at the gorgeous Hangover Bay by swimming, surfing, windsurfing or snorkelling. Once you reach Lancelin, get yourself ready for the ultimate sandboarding experience. The Lancelin Sand Dunes are massive hills of glaringly white sand which are best enjoyed by sliding down them. Bring your own board or rent one for the day. But remember, you have to walk back up if you want to slide down so get ready for a good leg workout!
Wanting a beach escape but can’t go tropical? Look no further than Esperance in Western Australia’s south. This gorgeous area, more specifically Lucky Bay, bears the title of Australia’s whitest beach which is something that must be seen to be believed. Humans aren’t the only ones that enjoy this spectacular stretch of beach, with kangaroos making an appearance every so often. There are plenty of other seaside destinations in close proximity to Lucky Bay that are just as breath-taking. If a comfortable swim is what you’re after, head over to Blue Haven Beach and Twilight Cove. For the surfers, West Beach, Fourth Beach or Observatory Beach will be a great place for you to catch some waves. Or if you’ve managed to fit your fishing rod in the car, cast a line at Bandy Creek Harbour or Salmon Beach. Whatever your style, Esperance and the 110 islands of the Recherche Archipelago seascape are the perfect backdrop for your next trip.
On the northern end of the Coral Coast Highway, Exmouth is the ideal place to base yourself for a weekend of reef and sea exploration. As the northern gateway to the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area, Exmouth is teeming with activities for all ages and abilities. This beautiful turquoise water is home to Australia’s largest fringing reef, Ningaloo Reef, which is a playground for all types of marine life including dolphins, manta rays, whale sharks, turtles and humpback whales. Get up close and personal with the 500 species of fish and 200 varieties of coral that call this place home by snorkelling or a guided glass-bottom boat tour. For those a little more experienced, swim over to Navy Pier to explore one of Australia’s top 10 shore dive sites, known as the aquarium without glass. This area’s UNESCO World Heritage listing covers land as well as water. The deep red gorges and canyons of Cape Range National Park also warrant a day or two of exploration with sites such as Yardie Creek, Charles Knife Canyon and Shothole Canyon.
Purnululu National Park
Travelling to northern Western Australia and the Kimberley region wouldn’t be complete without making a visit to World Heritage listed Purnululu National Park. This semi-arid savannah landscape contains one of Western Australia’s most loved geological attractions, the Bungle Bungle Range (also known as the Bungle Bungles). These orange and black sandstone domes stand 250-metres above the ground and were a secret kept by local Indigenous custodians until 1983. For the best vantage point, take to the sky in a helicopter flight over the Bungle Bungles and get a taste of the majesty of these formations or you can explore some of the key points of interest by foot. One of the most popular spots in the range is Cathedral Gorge, a large natural amphitheatre with a pool of water in the centre that has actually housed musical performances in the past due to its incredible acoustics. Other notable walks include the Piccaninny Creek Lookout and Echidna Chasm trails.
You can’t possibly have a destination guide for Western Australia without including the beloved Rottnest Island. Home of the smiling quokkas, this small island off the coast of the state’s capital Perth will have you grinning from ear to ear. Take a scenic bike road to either of the two lighthouses on the island, Wadjemup Lighthouse and Bathurst Lighthouse or if you aren’t feeling like exerting that much energy, opt for a Segway tour instead. Surrounded by gorgeous bays, Rottnest Island has plenty of options to choose from when it comes to snorkelling and other water activities such as diving, stand-up paddle boarding, glass-bottom boat tours, surfing and fishing. Uncover the history and culture of this special place along the Wadjemup Bidi, a series of walking trails that take you all across the island showcasing its natural features and significant landmarks. With so much to do here, you’ll never get bored so make sure you spend as much time as possible soaking up the landscape and trying to get the perfect photo of the cute little quokkas.
Looking to explore more of what this beautiful state has to offer? Start by washing away your worries with these top 10 Australian waterfalls that are waiting to be chased. Or, for a place to tuck in at night, these 10 eco-friendly and sustainable accomodation retreats across Western Australia is the perfect option for your weekend travels.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.