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Region snapshots show the True Blue nature of WA

May 17, 2006
Region snapshots show the True Blue nature of WA

Western Australia is a largely unspoilt holiday destination that is refreshingly unpretentious, full of natural wonders, friendly people and comes complete with a relaxed lifestyle.

The greater Perth region is like a microcosm of the whole state. The Swan Valley and Darling Range are dotted with vineyards, restaurants and boutique hotels and guesthouses.

If the beach scene is your thing, in Perth, head to Trigg and Scarborough to catch some waves, or learn to surf. Other spots along the coast are the domain of windsurfers, kite surfers, wave jumpers and sailors.

The rustic holiday island of Rottnest is just offshore. Here, you can snorkel over shipwrecks, laze on the beach, or throw in a fishing line. Swim with dolphins in Rockingham or watch them play at Mandurah.

Kings Park is one of Perths most popular attractions. Its made up of 400 hectares of park and bush land, devoted to WA flora, overlooking the city and Swan River.
For history head to New Norcia it is Australias only monastic town. But, to get really close to heaven, try ballooning or skydiving in the Avon Valley.

4wd Mount Nameless. Courtesy Tourism WA
4wd Mount Nameless.
Courtesy Tourism WA

Perth has a lively and original music and arts scene. Northbridge, Leederville, Subiaco and Fremantle are full of bars and restaurants, pubs and clubs.

There is culture too. The Art Gallery of Western Australia features a permanent collection of some of Australias most famous artists. Their indigenous art collection in particular, is one of the best in the world.

Australias Coral Coast

The Indian Ocean is teeming with marine life including humpback whales, dolphins, turtles, dugongs and colourful tropical fish by the thousands.

Beach Fishing. Courtesy Tourism WA
Beach Fishing.
Courtesy Tourism WA

Become one of the lucky few who can say they have swum alongside the biggest fish in the world. Whale sharks pass by each year at Ningaloo Reef. Luckily these creatures, which can grow up to 18 metres long, eat only plankton.

There is also the chance to swim with graceful manta rays, or snorkel over the reef. No overcrowded pontoons here its just you, a mask and fins, and the most amazing marine life you are ever likely to see. Pristine waters make visibility excellent, and WAs weather means you hardly ever need a wetsuit.

Dolphins are found right along the coast and there are many opportunities to interact with these inquisitive creatures feed them at Monkey Mia in the Shark Bay World Heritage area or watch them at play.

Canoeing Murchison Gorge
Canoeing Murchison Gorge

You will find all kinds of interesting marine activities right along the coastline. Explore deserted islands of the Dampier Archipelago and the Abroholos Islands or chase some waves and wine off Kalbarri and Geraldton.

Inland, the wildflowers rival the coral for colour. With over 12, 000 species on show between July and November, the wildflower season is one of the states best loved natural attractions.

Stop by the Pinnacles near Cervantes. These bizarre limestone pillars will amaze you with their rugged beauty.

Cliff and sea colours dazzle on the Great Aust Bight
Cliff and sea colours dazzle
on the Great Aust Bight

Australias Golden Outback

For history, heritage and high adventure, head to the Gold Rush country of the 1890s. You can explore mines and museums, pan for gold or visit one of Kalgoorlies historic pubs.

Check out world-famous sculptor Antony Gormleys life size figures contemplating the salt flats of Lake Ballard.

Wildflowers abound here too. During the season, Australias Golden Outback is covered in an artists palette of colour.

Crocodile at Wyndham croc farm Pic by Geoff Carter
Crocodile at Wyndham croc farm
Pic by Geoff Carter

And for brilliant white beaches, bush and bunking down under the stars, head south to Esperance a place so relaxed even the kangaroos sun bake on the beach.

The authentic way to see the real outback is by four wheel drive. And if you want to meet some locals as well as wildlife, make sure you include a pub stay, farm stay or station stay along the way.

Australias South West

For generations, the warm climate and ideal soil conditions have drawn winemakers from around the globe.

Everlastings,  Ninghan Station WA
Everlastings, Ninghan Station WA

Now, Western Australias wineries are recognised as some of the best in the world while still maintaining a warm and personal approach.
At Australias South West the local winemakers are more than happy to share their secrets and show you how they transform humble grapes into award winning drops. Some wineries offer wine blending lessons where you learn how to make your own.

Once you have found your favourite wine, its tempting to pick up a supply of local cheeses, chocolates and ice cream and cocoon yourself at a luxury retreat. Indulgent spa treatments, gourmet food and your favourite person the perfect escape.

But do pull yourself away from the log fire for a while there are some amazing natural attractions to discover.

Hamersley Range.jpg. Courtesy Tourism WA
Hamersley Range Courtesy Tourism WA

Wild surf beaches alternate with secluded bays. You can paddle down peaceful rivers or search for whales at sea.

Tall tree forests, underground caves and dramatic sea cliffs make a visit to this and the Great Southern wine region, truly unique.

Australias North West

The region is a vast wilderness area waiting to be explored.

Indigenous figures at Wyndham Pic by Geoff Carter
Indigenous figures at Wyndham
Pic by Geoff Carter

Karijini National Park, near Tom Price, is a must see. Here, the red earth suddenly opens up to reveal dramatic gorges, secret canyons and enticing rock pools. Each new colour in the rock hints at the Earths history. For an indigenous perspective on the area, stop by the Interpretive Centre as you enter the park.

As you explore, it is easy to believe you are the first person to ever visit the area - that is, until you stumble across ancient rock art. The Bradshaw paintings near the Gibb River Road are thought to date back to the last ice age. At the Burrup Peninsula there are more than 10,000 rock engravings making it one of the most important indigenous art sites in the country.

Perhaps the oldest artwork is the Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park. Mother Nature spent 20 million years eroding these huge orange and black beehives into a state of perfection. The Bungles reveal another angle to their beauty from the air.

lake argyle Pic by Geoff Carter
Lake Argyle Pic by Geoff Carter

A luxury cruise is a great way to explore the Kimberley coast, rivers and gorges. Make sure you include the Buccaneer Archipelago on your itinerary. The fishing is amazing, and the Horizontal Waterfall spectacular.

The coastline is equally breathtaking. With 22 kilometres of white sand, kissed by warm, crystal waters, Cable Beach, Broome is justifiably world famous. To appreciate the drama of the tidal plains at Derby, take to the air. The horizontal waterfall at Talbot Bay in the Buccaneer Archipelago has to be seen to be believed.

Whether you choose to travel by caravan, motorhome, four wheel drive, charter plane or luxury cruiser, this ancient landscape will leave you feeling both inspired and humbled.

Editors Note: GoSeeAustralia thanks Tourism Western Australia and Geoff Carter for this feature and assistance with pictures.

Editor's Note also see:

Monkey Mia Dophins interact
Monkey Mia Dophins interact

sea plane for trip to bungle bungles Pic by Geoff Carter
Sea plane for trip to Bungle Bungles
Pic by Geoff Carter

Python Pool Millsteam-Chichester National Park. Courtesy Tourism WA
Python Pool
Millsteam-Chichester National Park.
Courtesy Tourism WA

Weano Gorge Karijini. Courtesy Tourism WA
Weano Gorge Karijini.
Courtesy Tourism WA

Natures Window Kalbarri National Park Image supplied courtesy Tourism Western Australia
Natures Window
Kalbarri National Park
Image supplied courtesy
Tourism Western Australia