Western Australia Tips

Old Apr 1, 17, 7:48 pm
  #1  
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Western Australia Tips

Planning for 4th trip to Australia in August. I have to be at an event in Melbourne but would like to add on a week or two in the West as I've already done most of the East + Taz.

Interests: nature, beaches, hiking, history

Options I am considering:
  • Perth + fly to Exmouth
  • Broome
  • Cocos - seems too far for the relatively short time I have
  • Perth + wine country

Am I missing any interesting places? Any favorites?

Appreciate any ideas and thanks for your time!
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Old Apr 1, 17, 7:57 pm
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WA is very big. Distances, flight times & cost can be/are large
http://www.australia.com/en/places/wa.html

Are you interested in the Aussie outback, nature, culture, wines, beaches or ???
Perth city, Fremantle & Rottnest Island are worth a few days

Would not even consider Cocos Keeling Island for a few days
http://www.cocoskeelingislands.com.au/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocos_(Keeling)_Islands
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Old Apr 2, 17, 5:00 am
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Margaret River is pretty special (not just wine though that is world class) and an easy 4 hour drive from PER. Not sure if it is always so uncrowded, but I went one weekend and surf beach had precisely 3 surfers and 1 dog being walked ... on about 1km of beach ... that would be 100,000 people at Bondi And better surf too. Stunning spot for surf + wine + fine food, really world class. I rented a rammed-earth cottage set on a hectare and watched the kangaroos graze 10m from the house. Might be cold in August though (Broome or Monkey Mia would be much warmer) and have a whole different charm and experience.
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Old Apr 2, 17, 7:39 am
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I would say Esperance. I will be going there for the first time in May. After seeing Albany last year I have been so excited about Esperance as by all accounts it is even more beautiful. But in August, maybe too cold.

Exmouth may be a good option. Broome is a fascinating city, but not sure it would be top of my list, especially if this is your first visit to WA.

Have you considered the Outback? Alice Springs, Uluru, or elsewhere?
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Old Apr 2, 17, 11:31 am
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Thanks for all the suggestions - we hadn't considered Esperance or Margaret River. Time for some additional research!
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Old Apr 2, 17, 3:03 pm
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I would suggest Perth and Margaret River or Broome and the Kimberley's. Both can be very active and focus on what you want to do with hiking, nature, and beaches. Advantages to doing both.
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Old Apr 3, 17, 12:30 am
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Originally Posted by becks1 View Post
Planning for 4th trip to Australia in August. I have to be at an event in Melbourne but would like to add on a week or two in the West as I've already done most of the East + Taz.

Interests: nature, beaches, hiking, history

Options I am considering:
  • Perth + fly to Exmouth
  • Broome
  • Cocos - seems too far for the relatively short time I have
  • Perth + wine country

Am I missing any interesting places? Any favorites?

Appreciate any ideas and thanks for your time!
Forget Cocos, there's plenty to do closer.

While you're in Exmouth, make the trip to Coral Bay (bout half hour drive I think). The snorkelling right off the beach there is better wayy than Exmouth (and most other places in the world), or you can do it by glass bottom boat. It's full of life and phenomenal. Whale Sharks and Manta Rays are possible from Exmouth if the season is right and is worth doing. There's natural parks - a nice gorge - around Exmouth as well. Will be freezing in August.

Broome is fine, I used to live in Port Hedland so it was my primary holiday spot. Nothing there I really enjoyed though - some dinosaur footprints, a nice beach etc. If you can get up further north to Derby (can be hard) you can get a seaplane out to the horizontal waterfalls on the Dampier Archipelago and cross them by jetboat if the tide is right. Definitely worth it, and they might run tours from Broome now.

Rottnest Island from Perth is an easy trip and I'd say worth it. Quokkas for days.

Wine country is great, but harder to fly to. Pemberton and Albany are worth a visit, though not necessarily for the wine. Carnarvon also has some great snorkelling near the blowhole, but its extremely inconvenient to get to, there's not much else to do unless you really like bananas, and the snorkelling is in extreme shallow water (less than knee deep) so won't take up to long. So not worth making a dedicated trip, but if you're passing through its worth a stop.
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Old Apr 3, 17, 10:58 am
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Thank you all!

Such great recommendations - we will be researching. We didn't think of wine country nor Kimberleys. Also appreciate hearing that Rottnest Island is worth the time.
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Old Apr 3, 17, 5:31 pm
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Rottnest is lovely ! I went on a Friday , think there was a later ferry back on Friday and the Quokkas come out in the evening. The ferries go from Fremantle , which is great - laid back , bohemian and bit cheaper than the CBD. I stayed in a really nice boutique place , can dig out the name if you're interested..
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Old Apr 3, 17, 11:42 pm
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Going up to Broome there is Matso's brewery which does some yummy different beer. There is a crocodile farm and I really love the guys story's - really awesome and a colourful character himself, it's just out of Broome. Malcolm Douglas I think. Cable Bay has some gorgeous sunsets. I quite like Gantheaume Point and looking back towards Cable Bay.

There is an eco beach resort further west of Broome which was a bit of a drive but I love the remoteness and beauty. I think you can do turtle watching but later than when you will be there.

Going east of Broome I chose to do a tour - you can use viator for tours who seem good. That was to get to Windjana Gorge and Tunnel creek. It's lots of driving if you go on your own so I chose to go with a tour and have a natter! Bit of aboriginal history here.

I did drive to Geike Gorge - got sucked in by the you tube video! The actual tour wasn't as impressive - once again LOADS of driving.

Also drove to Derby and flew to Horizontal falls - now THAT you tube video was awesome and it is worth staying overnight on the boat. Very small simple room but more than adequate. But you get to see the falls 12hrs apart and they are really spectacular seeing the difference. I thought Oz was a bit ugly but it's sights such as these that really have you eating your words!! There were some err... friendly sharks? with massive whiskers that you can feed. You get into a cage and they come up for feeding. You can snorkel underneath within the cage to watch them - they are totally cool. Some other cool fishies. We took another boat tour. I would one day like to go up there for a longer stint. You can also do a helicopter tour the next morning which is also cool getting that birds eye view. You take off to horizontal falls from the ground in a wee plane but the views are great and you land on water - super cool!

There were other places I really wanted to get to but didn't have time like Cygnet pearl farm and Cape Leveque.

Other places I'm keen on are the bungle bungles, mitchell plateau - I think you fly to Kununarra to get closer.


I think closer to Tom Price is Karajini National Park which I would one day love to explore.

Exmouth - there is Coral Bay where you can go snorkel and swim with Mantarays on a tour - apparently a resident population. I've been up there twice now and well, we stuffed up timing of things and the next time had crap weather so no tour

The whale sharks are AWESOME and so worth going - the tour was incredible. They are massive! One of those events in life you don't ever forget. Also saw a baby tiger shark, a dugong. Little bit of time for some snorkelling.

I quite like snorkelling that coast line. Turquoise Bay is popular for drift snorkelling as is the Oyster stack but please be sensible. There are signs to follow as there is an opening in the reef where the water flows out so get out before you reach these areas. They are sign posted. Oyster stack is tidal - bit tricky to get onto but I really love the Ningaloo Reef. There are many other bays with very few people which I love!

Yardie creek for a walk or take the boat tour.

Also just at dusk you can look down the stretch of road and count at least 20 kangaroos coming out for a looksie. We saw Emu's also.

There was a cool place to 'glamp' called Sal Salis. Like most of these places they're overpriced but something unique for us at the time and really enjoyed it. Great to chat to a few others over food.

In Exmouth I've stayed at Mantaray - was Novotel until very recently under Accor but it's quite nice. Anyway very little at Exmouth to otherwise see. There is a lighthouse? at the top of the corner into the national park with great views.

Perth is a way more chilled out city than the east coast. I quite like the open mall feel of 2 of the main streets Hay and Murray. If you like wine there is Swan Valley out towards the airport. I haven't been around as much of it as I'd like but the visitor centre has a good wine map. I think the region is good for port?

Freemantle and Rottnest island are nice areas. The clarity of the water and that turquoise blue really draw me in. Not a lot in the way of shelter on Rottnest. You can cycle there, grab a drink or eat.

South of there Busselton Jetty is worth a walk. Love the beachfront area. Great sunsets. Margaret River has some 120 odd wineries and some beer places, chocolate etc. There are also some caves to visit. I liked Lake Cave and Jewel Caves. The beaches are also awesome down there. Canal Rocks is worth visiting and seeing people jump off the little wooden bridge. Hamelin Bay.

Albany is a bit more of a drive with picturesque waters but Esperance I have a soft spot for. Definitely fly rather than drive. But just amazing beaches. About 11 or so off to the West? and another national park Cape Le Grand. Lucky Beach. I'm a sucker for pictures and it was a picture of Lucky Bay with a kangaroo on it that led me to Esperance. Of course I fell asleep in the car waiting for dusk and totally missed the damn kangaroo! haha but SERIOUSLY wild and stunning coastline there. There is the pink lake which I think is not very pink most of the time. Twilight beach was voted Australia's best one year I'm sure. Very cool rock not far out which people swim to and jump off. But if you want to get away from it all or just see raw beauty - then WA is where you go. Very much gets 'looked over' by tourists IMO.

This is a state I'll come back to time and time again.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 11:11 pm
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We are looking at a potential visit to WA in January. Thanks for all these great suggestions
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Old Apr 18, 17, 3:41 pm
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Originally Posted by worldiswide View Post
We are looking at a potential visit to WA in January. Thanks for all these great suggestions
But bear in mind it's wet season up north and WA as a whole will be very hot, 33C or greater most days (and very often 40C particularly away from the coast). Some of those suggestions won't work in January.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 9:35 pm
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Thanks for reminding me. We were in Darwin in January during wet season and it wasn't pleasant.. season needs to factor into plans...how about Margaret river?
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Old Apr 20, 17, 7:38 am
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Originally Posted by worldiswide View Post
Thanks for reminding me. We were in Darwin in January during wet season and it wasn't pleasant.. season needs to factor into plans...how about Margaret river?
Down south near Margaret River will be fine, but still be hot. Exmouth/Coral bay is still a go, since you'll be spending most of the time in the water.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 7:40 am
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Margaret River is fine in Jan ... wine, surf and coffee, what more could you want?
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