Things to Do in Western Australia
The Horizontal Falls were once described by David Attenborough as one of the “greatest wonders of the natural world.” Located in Talbot Bay in the Buccaneer Archipelago, the waterfalls are caused by the shifting of ocean tides through the rocks, and are one of Western Australia’s most spectacular sights.
The liquid heart of Perth, the Swan River touches many of the city’s neighborhoods on its way to the Indian Ocean. The river passes through the Swan Valley wine region, Perth’s Central Business District and affluent suburbs, and the port city of Fremantle, and there are lots of recreational opportunities on the banks and in the water.
Fringed with rocky coves, white sandy beaches, and sun-soaked shores, Rottnest Island’s natural pleasures are numerous—whale-watching, snorkeling, hiking and wildlife spotting along the coast, and taking in the ocean sunsets. At less than an hour from Perth, Rottnest Island, or “Rotto,” makes for an idyllic retreat from the city.
Located to the north of Broome, the Dampier Peninsula is a huge, largely uninhabited stretch of land running from the northern edge of Coulomb Point Nature Reserve to Cape Leveque.
The Dampier Peninsula is one of the last true wildernesses in Australia. Residents in the area include tiny communities, pearling camps, the occasional tourist resort and the communities of the Bardi, Njulnjul and Djaberadjabera people – the traditional owners of the peninsula and the region surrounding it.
Dampier Peninsula is known by the Aboriginal people as Ardi, which means "heading north." The landscapes of the Dampier Peninsula are stunning. Turquoise blue waters shelter coral reefs and abundant tropical fish life, turtles and dugongs, whilst deeper waters are home to dolphins and, seasonally, migrating whales. Inland, the rich red earth dominates the landscape.
One of the best ways to explore the Dampier Peninsula is with the local Aboriginal people. Sample bush foods, learn to make spears, catch mud crabs, and be introduced to a way of life that existed for thousands of years before European settlement.
With its sandy cove, crystalline waters and close proximity to the Ningaloo Reef, it’s easy to see why Turquoise Bay is renowned as one of Australia’s most idyllic beaches. Running around 600-meters along the west coast of the North West Cape, the Turquoise Bay Beach is one of the many natural highlights of the Cape Range National Park and a hotspot for sunseekers.
The most popular activities at Turquoise Bay are swimming and snorkeling, and the warm, shallow waters are teeming with colorful corals, tropical fish and starfish. For avid snorkelers and scuba divers, there are also plenty of opportunities for spotting reef sharks, sea turtles, manta rays and dolphins in the surrounding waters.
With 122 almost entirely uninhabited islands and a vast expanse of coral reef stretching along the Coral Coast, the Abrolhos Islands are Western Australia’s answer to the Great Barrier Reef. Visit for world-class snorkeling, wreck dives, marine life, and bird sightings.
Although otherworldly in appearance, the Pinnacles Desert is 100 percent on planet earth. Located along the Indian Ocean's Coral Coast in Nambung National Park in Western Australia (WA), this vast sandy expanse is filled with towering limestone pillars. Plus, at only a few hours' drive from the city of Perth, the site makes for a popular and totally doable day trip.
Cable Beach encompasses 14 miles (22 kilometers) of unspoiled white sand and turquoise waters. The beach is almost perfectly flat and therefore its calm waters are ideal for swimming. From the shore, you can see the occasional pearling boat—an industry that supported Broome before it was discovered by travelers.
At more than a mile (1.8 kilometers) in length, the Busselton Jetty is the longest timber-piled jetty found anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere. Ships no longer dock here, and instead the historic jetty draws visitors to the Western Australia coast to stroll its length and take in the views both above and below the water.
Housed in a Victorian marketplace more than 100 years old, the Fremantle Markets are a Western Australian institution. A visit to the markets offers not only the chance to shop for fresh food and unique gifts, but also to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the entertainment offered by a rotating schedule of street performers.
More Things to Do in Western Australia
One of the most popular visitor attractions of Geographe Bay and part of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, Ngilgi Cave is an expansive natural wonder. The series of underground caves and tunnels are filled with dramatic stalactites, helictites, shawls, and shimmering deposits of calcite crystal.
Just 45 minutes from Perth, Penguin Island is an engaging ecotourism destination. Home to over 1,000 of the world’s smallest penguins, the island is teeming with animal activity. Attend a penguin feeding presentation, look to the skies for signs of seabirds, or search the seas for a glimpse of dolphins or a rare Australian sea lion.
In the northeastern corner of Western Australia, the Bungle Bungle Range is a top natural feature in Purnululu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The beehive-shaped striped sandstone domes for which the area is now famous were known only to the local Aboriginal people until they were “discovered” by a film crew in the 1980s.
Devoted to telling the story of the more than 40,000 ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) soldiers that fought in the First World War, the National Anzac Centre is one of Australia’s most important military museums. It’s housed in a purpose-built building in Albany Heritage Park.
Hidden away in an ancient marri forest and dripping with stalactites and stalagmites, Mammoth Cave is a mesmerizing sight. The limestone cave is one of the largest in the Margaret River region, located in Western Australia’s Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.
Western Australia’s Pink Lake, or the “Hutt Lagoon,” makes for some spectacular photo opportunities—a bright bubble gum-pink pool that stands in stark contrast to the azure ocean just to the west. The inland sea is a natural phenomenon, caused by its resident algae, and it’s one of just a handful of its kind in the world.
The Round House, a historic 12-sided building, was built in 1831 and is the oldest public building in Western Australia. Travelers can tour this unique architectural destination and learn about the original settlement, as well as how this iconic building was once used to house local lawbreakers.
Visitors can learn about the Fremantle Round House's colorful past and also get an up close look at the famous Whaler’s Tunnel—the oldest underground tunnel in Western Australia. Completed in 1838, the original tunnel spanned some 64 meters, but today measures just 46. And while the 1 p.m. sound call that once rang out daily to alert ships on sea to the official time no longer occurs, travelers can sometimes catch a reenactment ceremony put on by some of the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides.
Located just outside of Broome, Gantheaume Point is one of the region’s most impressive natural landmarks and serves as an important paleontological site. The red-rock cliffs contrast with the waters of the Indian Ocean below and offer spectacular photo opportunities.
One of Australia's most stunning stretches of coastline, Cape Leveque, located on the tip of the Dampier Peninsula, has been home to Aboriginal communities for some 7,000 years. Visit to see the area’s brick-red cliffs, pearl-white sand, and clear blue water, explore the remote landscape, and learn about the local Aboriginal communities.
Perched on Australia’s southwestern tip, the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse has been standing watch over the meeting point of the Indian and Southern oceans since 1895. The 128-foot-tall (39-meter landmark and its grounds provide scenic photo ops and the chance to spot dolphins and whales, depending on the time of year.
When it opened in 1899, the Perth Mint was the third branch of Britain’s Royal Mint in Australia. Today it produces gold, silver, and platinum bullion coins and bars. Visit to see exhibitions about Western Australia’s gold rush history and collections of rare gold nuggets and coins.
For those road-tripping up the coast of Western Australia, perhaps from Perth to Exmouth, a stop in Lancelin is easy and convenient. Visiting Lancelin from Perth on an organized day trip often includes additional attractions such as Caversham Wildlife Park, the Pinnacles Desert, or the Swan Valley wine region. Once there, sandboards can be rented in town for your own sandboarding enjoyment.
The oldest inland town in Western Australia, York was settled in 1831 and is known for its heritage architecture. With a location on the Avon River in Avon Valley, York is an easy day trip destination from Perth, one that offers history, culture, countryside scenery, and adventure activities.
The Central Park of Perth, Kings Park & Botanic Garden boasts a hilltop perch with views of the Swan River and city skyline. Locals and visitors flock here for picnics and walks amid wildflowers, bushland, landscaped gardens, and historical memorials.
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