It’s been several months since my 3 month journey around Australia by completely overland means, but I still havn’t even finished writing about half of it! I experienced so much, and in so little time.
People often ask me, what was my favourite part of the trip? It’s really difficult to answer that question. Australia is a pretty big country, and each state/ territory has it’s own unique identity and culture. So when asked that question, I usually break down my highlights by state.
Western Australia Highlights
Western Australia was probably my favourite state to travel in. It is by far the biggest state in Australia, and yet it is the least visited. There are parts of Western Australia where it feels like you might be the first person to ever see that particular location. Western Australia has vibrant urban centres, vast outback deserts, stunning natural beauty, and great food and wine. There is really something for everyone here – if you are willing to make the long trip.
Western Australia also had some of the best weather of any state during my journey, as well as being the first complete state I visited. (I started in the Northern Territory, but I didn’t finish exploring it until the end of my trip.)
So here are my favourite things from Western Australia, including a few things I didn’t get to do, but would really like to experience some day:
Despite having our trip cancelled on the first day, and then spending the entire second day vomiting into the rough ocean, the Ningaloo Reef is still one of my highlights. Western Australia is one of the very few places in the world where you can swim with Whale Sharks. Whale Sharks are actually fish, not whales, and can grow up to 15 meters. They are the world’s largest fish! They are also extremely gentle and only feed on plankton.
Swimming with them is an incredibly surreal experience. Despite being sick as a dog from the rocky boat ride, once I was in the water with the whale shark, it became the only thing that I could focus on. It was so gentle and graceful, and completely unconcerned with the group of eager swimmers who surrounded it.
Read more about our experience swimming with Whale Sharks
Fremantle is a small community just outside of Perth, and can be reached by the train network. Fremantle can get quite busy on a weekend, as city siders flock there for the beautiful nearby beaches, the great boutique shopping, and the amazing food and atmosphere.
Our main highlight of Fremantle was hands down the self guided beer discovery tour we led ourselves on. Fremantle is home to several craft breweries, and we made it our mission to sample them all.
I love national parks and interesting geological features, so it is no surprise that the Pinnacles are high up on my personal list of highlights. The Pinnacles are limestone formations that rise out of the desert sand in the Nambung National Park. We stayed in the nearby town of Cervantes and went on an extremely entertaining tour with an ex park ranger. The Pinnacles will be a highlight for anyone who loves landscape photography, and sci fi fans who want to pretend they have just landed on the moon.
Read more about the Pinnacles here.
Outback Western Australia – The Bungle Bungles
The Bungle Bungles are one of those things in Western Australia that I would really love to see, but just didn’t have the chance to on this trip. The Bungle Bungles range are bee hive shaped formations in the Kimberly region of Western Australia and are a great place for hiking and camping. Another popular activity is flying a helicopter over the region.
We didn’t have time to see the Bungle Bungles, so we rented a car in Kununurra and explored near by El Questro park instead. This was one of our first tastes of the outback proper, and we even managed to find a hidden swimming oasis in the middle of the desert, complete with waterfall.
Read more about our road trip in El Questro.
Foodie Delight – Swan Valley And Margaret River
The fertile regions of the Swan Valley and Margaret River make them perfect wine and fresh produce growing regions. Margaret River is by far the more famous of the two regions, and it is the one area I didn’t get a chance to explore. In order to properly explore Margaret River you will want to spend at least 2 -3 days in the area. It is possible to do a day trip from Perth, but you will end up spending more of your time driving than drinking, and who wants that?
The Swan Valley on the other hand, while less famous, is much closer to Perth. We went on a grazing tour with Taste Bud Tours and got to sample fresh honey, freshly roasted coffee, home made ice cream, and of course plenty of wine.
Read more about the Swan Valley and Taste Bud Tours.
Western Australia Logistics
The main airport gateway to Western Australia is Perth.
Lauren and I travelled through Western Australia with mini traveller passes from Greyhound Australia. These passes allowed us hop on, hop off travel along the Greyhound Network. We used them to get everywhere we went in Western Australia.
Another way to get to Western Australia is by train. Great Southern Rail operates a Sydney-Adelaide-Perth line called the Indian Pacific. Read more about our Indian Pacific experiences here.
A portion of our trips travel was provided by Greyhound Australia. Greyhound provided our mini traveller passes through Queensland and the Northern Territory. Although Greyhound did not provide our Western Australia mini traveller passes, we loved them so much that we bought them anyway.