Western Australia is HUGE and so incredibly diverse from the north to the south. It’s almost 4 times larger than the state of Texas in the United States and covers almost 1/3 of the entire Australian continent. Its capital is Perth, my favourite city in Australia! It also tends to be the most remote place from an access standpoint compared to the rest of Australia since international travellers tend to stay in the East. Too bad for them – they’re missing out on such an AWESOME place!
The lovely Perth
We’ve spent most of our time in the southwest including the lovely Perth area and within a 3 ½ hours’ drive from there to Margaret River, Bunbury, Busselton, and farmland near Narrogin and Kulin, more inland from the Indian Ocean. The vast majority of WA’s population live in the Southwest corner of the State with 79% living in the Greater Perth area. Perth is still a relatively small city though with a population of just over 2 million.
View of Perth from King's Park with old Swan Brewery in Foreground
It is such a lovely city with the Swan River winding around and through it and the beautiful warm Indian Ocean with all its magnificent beaches as the Western boundary to it. We have so many favourite things to do in and around the Perth area that we highly recommend to anyone visiting. Two such options include cruising along the Swan River both north to the Swan Valley wine region and south to the quaint city of Fremantle. Perth is also famous for its great beach scene as I mentioned above.
Cottesloe Beach Perth
Perth is a very easy city to get around with some great public transportation options through “Transperth” that are very safe and inexpensive for travellers including their ‘CAT’ (Central Area Transit) buses, trains, and the ferry system. There are many ferry and other water vessel options that operate from the newer Elizabeth Quay area in the waterfront precinct of Perth.
Elizabeth Quay Perth
There’s even a ferry to take you to the place where the cute little marsupials, the quokkas reside, on Rottnest Island just off the coast. Another great place to visit if you want to ‘get away’ from the city and area for a day or even overnight.
Quokka on Rottnest Island
Hiking, biking and walking trails abound in and around Perth as well for those seeking some exercise after so many great culinary options all over the Greater Perth area. In fact, it’s touted that there are 239 scenic trails in the Perth area alone. One such example includes the Perth Bridges Walk that does a 10-kilometer (just over 6 miles) loop around the Swan River that includes interesting sites such as Elizabeth Quay, the South Perth foreshore, and Riverside Drive.
Beautiful Walking Trail in Perth - one of many
Of course, there’s also the beautiful King’s Park area with fabulous views of the city and some great walking trails as well. King’s Park is such a wonderful place with a beautiful botanical garden as well. In fact, it’s home to the spectacular Western Australia Botanic Garden that displays over 3000 species of the unique flora of WA.
King's Park Botanic Garden
There’s so much more to see and do in the Greater Perth area, but I mustn’t be remiss in talking about some of the other great areas south of Perth including another of my favourite wine regions of the world and that is Margaret River. Margaret River is located roughly 170 miles south of Perth and is very easy to get to via their newly improved highway system since we were there over 14 years ago. It took us just over 3 hours to get there and it was very easy driving, even if it is on the ‘other’ side of the road.
Town of Margaret River
Margaret River not only has a great wine region with over 100 cellar doors, but it also has some of the best surfing in the world and over 100 highly decorated limestone caves. In fact, funnily enough, one exquisitely decorated cave was Western Australia’s first tourist attraction back in 1899!
Margaret River's Voyager Estates Winery
The population of Margaret River is less than 9000 people although they have a bustling tourism business year-round. They also have some amazing hiking trails with phenomenal scenery including the Cape-to-Cape Track that spans over 76 miles from Cape Leeuwin in the south to Cape Naturaliste in the north. The views along the way are absolutely stunning of the breathtaking Indian Ocean.
Scenery on Cape-to-cape track
Two other lovely places to visit in the southern part of Western Australia include both their Great Southern Region that includes WA’s oldest colonial port city, Albany and the spectacular Esperance on the Southern Ocean coastline. Plenty to see and do in these areas too including spending time with kangaroos on the beach at Lucky Bay, flying over a bubble-gum pink lake, or driving the Great Ocean Drive, not to be mistaken for the other more famous Great Ocean Road near Melbourne.
Kangaroos @ Lucky Bay in Esperance
I’ve only touched the surface on this great state of Australia so far so that I’ll have to carry on with more in another newsletter later. There are actually so many other fabulous places to visit as well in Western Australia but as I said, they’ll have to wait for next time!