With our state border closed at the moment (2020), now is the perfect time to explore our gorgeous home state of Western Australia.
With a state that’s the second largest in the world (second only to a state of Russia), there are boundless opportunities to explore the different landscapes we have here.
I’ve rounded up 15 of the most amazing places you must visit in Western Australia, from a variety of travel bloggers who’ve visited them personally.
15 Places You Must Visit In Western Australia
1. Karijini National Park
Karijini National Park is as spectacular as it is out of the way. Located in the Pilbara, Karijini is 325 kilometres from Port Headland and 1400 kilometres from Perth. Getting there takes some planning, but no one who goes to Karijini is ever disappointed with what they find.
The park consists of a series of gorges, every one of them the stuff of Hollywood film sets. Every gorge is different and has its own highlights. Check out images of Dales, Joffre, Hancock and Weano Gorge to see what you are in for. Some of the best known sights are Circular Pool and Fern Pool in Dales Gorge and Handrail Pool in Hancock Gorge.
You’ll see fern lined pool, cubes and sheets of orange and purple rock and natural rock waterslides. In some of the gorges you have to hold your camera above your head as you wade through chest deep water. At other times you’ll be stepping along smooth rock terraces between towering red rock walls.
Expect to do a lot of walking – much of it over uneven surfaces. We walked through the gorges with two kids under ten and they had a great time. The scenery is so spectacular you quickly forget about tired legs.
Dales Gorge is the most accessible of the gorges. Dales Gorge Campground is right next to the gorge and provides cheap camping. More accommodation is available at the Karijini eco retreat. Two or three full days at Karijini will give you time to see three or four of the gorges and Oxer Lookout.
You’ll be driving on dirt roads. Generally they are suitable for 2WD although check the conditions if it has been wet. Make sure you have supplies including extra fuel. Tom Price, 80 kilometres away is the closest town.
Contributor – Natalie and Steve at Curious Campers
Fremantle, a port city located on the mouth of the Swan River and the Indian Ocean is just a 35 min drive from Perth CBD. Perfect for a day trip or better still stay a few days and explore the region.
Many people prefer staying at Freo, as its lovingly called by locals, over Perth as its in some respects prettier with those famous Indian Ocean sunsets. The best way to get around Fremantle is by foot, explore the amazing historic buildings, read the street signs these provide the history of the buildings and what they were used for. Many include original images of how the streets looked back in the day.
The Fremantle Prison is a popular tourist attraction and World Heritage Site, it’s been welcoming visitors since the 1850’s, originally home to convicts arriving from Britain. The prison runs tours daily which are highly recommended and provide the best experience. Don’t miss the Round House, another historic building built in 1831. Entry to the Round House is via gold coin donation, the structure is unique in Australia. Originally part of the prison complex, it has been used for many different things over the years including storage, functions even a police building.
The WA Maritime Museum is worth a visit for those that love maritime history which the west coast of Australia is rich in. There have been plenty of shipwrecks scattered along the coast due to the treacherous conditions. Fremantle is also the gateway to Rottnest Island, only a 25-minute ferry away. Rottnest Island is very popular with tourists, especially for those after a quokka selfie.
Contributor – Sally at Our 3 Kids Vs The World
If you are looking for a place you have to visit in Western Australia, Broome deserves to be at the top of your list!
Located on the North West coast of the state, it is somewhat isolated but there are regular 2.5 hour flights from Perth as well as some other cities and buses travel here as well from places in WA as well as Darwin.
Broome is most famous for two things – its pearls and camel rides on Cable Beach. Both of these are must visit. Cable Beach is just gorgeous and one of the most stunning places I have been with its aqua water, white sand and red soil making for quite a contrast. The best way to explore it is definitely on a camel at sunset. You will never forget it.
Broome’s pearling past is fascinating to learn about. It basically tells the story of the town. Buying a pearl or twenty to take home is the perfect souvenir. Broome also has quite a unique history thanks to it not being part of the White Australia policy and being bombed by the Japanese in WWII.
If you like to visit crazy beautiful places and enjoy interesting histories, Broome will soon be your favourite place in WA.
Contributor – Sharon at Dive Into Tasmania
4. The Kimberleys
No visit to Western Australia would be complete without spending some time in the Kimberleys; and the best place to base yourself to explore this magnificent, remote part of the state is Kununurra.
Here the visitor is spoilt for choice, with easy access to El Questro Station, Emma Gorge, Purnululu (Bungle Bungles) and the start of the mighty Gibb River Road.
It’s best to allocate three days minimum for your stay in Kununurra, to take in at least the following:
Day trip to El Questro Station and surrounds – It’s an 83-kilometre drive to the main homestead on a sealed road, except for the last 16 kilometres into the station itself. Here you can dine in a very nice licenced restaurant, and to go on a variety of guided tours and walks. On the way back, allocate three hours for a walk up the beautiful Emma Gorge.
Light plane flight to Purnululu (Bungle Bungles) – Here you get to see the enormity of the country, with stunning aerial views of Purnululu and the surrounding Carr-Boyd Ranges, Argyle Diamond Mine and Lake Argyle itself.
Boat cruise on Lake Argyle – this lake is so large you can be excused for thinking you’re on the ocean itself. The surface area of the lake is 1,000 square kilometres. It is a haven for wildlife with a range of fish, birds and freshwater crocodiles in abundance.
There is a range of accommodation in Kununurra from holiday parks with cabins to upmarket resorts like Freshwater East Kimberley Apartments.
Due to the remoteness of the area and the huge distances involved, travellers normally take in Kununurra as part of a Perth to Darwin road trip. Kununurra is 3,600 kilometres drive from Perth if you travel the coastal roads. Alternatively, it’s a 3-hour flight from Perth. By comparison, it’s an 850-kilometre road trip from Darwin, or a 1-hour flight.
Contributor – Keith at Travellin’ Lite
5. Kalbarri National Park
When you plan your trip to the great state of Western Australia, Kalbarri National Park might come up in your search. There are many national parks in WA and many spectacular places but this one is both special and unmissable. Kalbarri National Park is a gem and probably the best representation of the wild and dry land of Western Australia. Located 600km north of Perth, the state capital of WA, the drive takes from 6 to 7 hours.
This long a drive is typical in WA, it’s a big state. There are places to stop along the way, such as the Pinnacles and Jurien Bay so I would suggest overnighting in Geraldton to break up the journey.
Once you are in Kalbarri, I recommend dedicating a couple of days to visiting the national park. With 180,000 hectares, the park is huge and I’m not suggesting you can see it all. Also, there are two distinct areas: the inland park and the coastal park. The Kalbarri Inland National Park is home to dry cliffs and dramatic gorges. Don’t miss the Z-bend and Nature’s Window, some spectacular rock formations. There is some great hiking too, but you have to make sure you start out really early if you visit during the summer months, as the heat is punishing!
As for the best time to visit, spring is really nice, with its display of wildflowers. The Kalbarri Coastal National Park is quite different yet equally beautiful. The rugged cliffs take an eerie colour in the sun and there are various rock formations along the coast. Don’t miss the Bigurda Trail, an 8km coastal walk. Western Australia has world famous sunsets so late afternoon is the best to visit.
Contributor – Delphine at Lestor Lost
6. Esperance and Cape Le Grand National Park
We have been to a lot of beaches in Australia and around the world, but ask us what is the best beach we have ever been to, and we still say Esperance and Cape Le Grand National Park.
It is remote. But that is part of the charm. Whether it is for an extended weekend away from Perth, or part of a larger tour around WA – Esperance should be on any traveller’s itinerary.
- 7.5 hour drive from Perth via the inland route or 11 hours along the coast via Albany.
- 4 hour’s drive directly south from Kalgoorlie.
What to do
Go to the beach
Esperance is set on a long stretch of beautiful beach across the street from the main shops. Browse the shops, grab some fish and chips and set up for the day basking in the sun and playing in the surf. We asked a local where he goes on holidays and he just laughed and said “Nowhere with a beach. Nothing is better than here.” Head to Twilight Beach 7 km west of Esperance for an idyllic and calm beach, great for families.
Visit Cape Le Grand National Park
If you have made it as far as Esperance, it would be a shame not to go a bit further to Cape Le Grand National Park. Approximately 60 kms (40 min drive) east of Esperance, this national park is wild, stunning and the perfect place to get away from it all. It’s also a great place to hang out with kangaroos on the beach. You simply can’t get more Australian.
Lucky Bay has some of the whitest sand you will ever see, making the crystal clear water every shade of blue from turquoise to navy. Hike to the top of the headland overlooking the campsite for a bird’s eye view over the bay. Make sure to take a camera and a jacket. For adventurous walkers, tackle Frenchman Peak or any of the other numerous bushwalks in the park.
Where to stay
There are loads of great places to stay in Esperance. However, if you are the camping type, try to get a place in Cape Le Grand National Park. There are two campsites – Lucky Bay and Le Grand Beach. Both can be booked at Parks WA website.
There is no food or water (but miraculously, there is a coffee van in the morning! Yes! ) so stock up on supplies in Esperance. There are solar hot water showers and immaculately clean bush toilets. Take your rubbish with you.
Contributor – Kate at Wherever You Go, Travel
When we moved to Kalgoorlie-Boulder in 2010, the plan was for it to be a one-year adventure after which we would return to live in Perth.
Ten years on, we are still here and do not plan on leaving this town anytime soon! We have fallen in love with the slow paced country living that Kalgoorlie offers. I love that even during rush hour I am at most the 6th car at a traffic light! I love that I can always find a parking spot where I need it and that my kids can all do multiple different extracurricular activities even if they run at the same time, as everything is just 5-10 minutes away in Kalgoorlie.
If you are looking for a West Australian getaway, Kalgoorlie-Boulder might just be the place for you to visit! This mining town is located 600km East of Perth and you can drive here in about 7.5 hours, take the Prospector Train, or fly. Apart from the obvious tourist activities such as visiting the Superpit (the largest open pit mine in Australia), there is plenty to see and do in this beautiful town!
If you are thinking of visiting Kalgoorlie, I highly recommend you check out the Our Gems WA website for information on fantastic attractions and destinations, such as the Goldfields Trike Tour, The Beaten Track Brewery or the historical Boulder Town Hall. If you are visiting Kalgoorlie with your kids, a day at the Mining Hall of Fame and a picnic or a barbecue at Hammond Park are definitely my top two recommendations.
Contributor – Ania from The Sane Mum
8. Perth City
With all the natural beauty in Western Australia, you might be wondering why you’d want to spend time in a city – but Perth city has a lot going for it; its compact yet packed with culture, nature and fun.
The touristy heart of Perth is waterfront Elizabeth Quay. Here you’ll find the controversial Belltower, the $1.3 million Spanda sculpture and a heap of hostelries that offer the perfect view over the beautiful Swan River – go at sunset and grab a window table at The Reveley and you won’t be disappointed.
But as shiny as it is, the quay isn’t where you should spend most of your time. There’s no street art here for starters and Perth’s street art scene is one of Australia’s best. Visit Wolf Lane and the backstreets of Northbridge and Mount Lawley to find some outstanding murals by artists like Stormie Mills and Paul Deej.
If you want nature, Kings Park offers four square kilometres of leafy wandering and the quirky DNA tower to climb, but also take a walk to east Perth and Heirrison Island. Here, you’ll find bright pink galahs, beautiful water views and a fenced-off sanctuary that’s home to a family of kangaroos – trying to spot them is definitely one of the fun things to do in Perth.
Finish your day in either Northbridge or Leederville nipping into the many small bars, beer gardens or restaurants waiting to serve you cold beer and great food– there are hundreds to choose from but some stand-outs include The Garden, Sneaky Tony’s and Lot Twenty.
Contributor – Helen Foster from Differentville
Exmouth is one of the most exciting places to visit in Western Australia. We can confidently say it was our favourite stop during our travels in Western Australia. It is a small but lively town known for its plethora of water activities. Here you can go whale watching, snorkel with whale sharks, enjoy a sunset cruise and more.
The best time to visit is during the dry season from June to August. However, whale sharks migrate past the area from March to June and you can see manta rays and humpback whales from June and November.
The Ningaloo Reef is located just off the shores of Exmouth. This thriving reef is home to many colourful corals and marine species. Don’t miss a chance to get underwater and explore it by snorkel or scuba diving. Some of the best locations are Turquoise Bay for snorkelling, and Marion Island and Lighthouse Bay for diving. If you go with a tour, ensure you choose a responsible operator who will ensure guests keep a respectful distance of the marine life.
If you are more of a land dweller, pay a visit to Cape Range National Park. This huge park is great for hiking. You will find it filled with rocky outcrops, austere gorges, rugged plains, and stunning coastal views.
Contributor – Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel.
10. Margaret River
The town and surrounding region of Margaret River 275 km or a 3 hour drive south of Perth in Australia’s south western most tip is a food lover and outdoor enthusiasts dream.
How better to celebrate your time in Western Australia than enjoying a tour of award winning vineyards and breweries or tasting fresh local fare at any of the numerous bars and restaurants boasting some of the world’s finest chefs.
Following our own tour with Flying Corkscrew we just had to book a table at the stunning Voyager Restaurant. This set menu of 7 courses paired of course with their own wine was undoubtedly the best meal we’ve experienced in the whole of Australia. The bill maybe a little more than you would normally pay but trust us it is still superb value for money.
For a healthy breakfast or sunset option looking out over the sublime Indian Ocean coastline you must head for the White Elephant cafe in nearby Gnarabup just 10km south west of Margaret River centre. You will never forget either the meal or the incredible surroundings.
If you’re somehow still hungry after such treats look out for the Margaret River Chocolate Company. Ideal for small samples or gifts to take home.
Thankfully the surrounding landscape also offers visitors plentiful opportunities for exercise to shed those added pounds. Margaret River is a renowned surfing region and there are countless hiking paths to absorb the views.
For the less active Margaret River is also home to a thriving art scene and countless cultural events.
There truly is no better destination in all of Western Australia. No matter how long your visit it will never seem enough.
Contributor – Paul from The Two That Do
Albany sits at the southern tip of Western Australia a 5-hour drive (418km) south of Perth. The city was Western Australia’s first European settlement and boasts plenty of historic sites.
The area is well known for its natural beauty; the water that laps the shore here is the most spectacular shade of blue. We got our first sight of this in Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve at Little Beach. (image)
Albany is also the home of some great hiking. Be sure to set aside some time to explore Torndirrup National Park and two of the region’s best known rock formations Natural Bridge and The Gap.
When it’s time to head indoors, the National Anzac Centre which sits high on a hill overlooking King George Sound, has some excellent stories to tell. It was from this point that thousands of Australian serviceman and women departed for war. Visitors to the centre are given a veteran’s details and follow their journey throughout their time at the centre.
Tip: If you decide to stay a few days, Emu Point is a great spot to relax. We used Emu Point Motel as our base while exploring the region. The beachfront Emu Point Café makes a fantastic breakfast.
Contributor – Paula from Australia Your Way
12. Porongorup National Park
Located just a forty-minute drive from Albany, the Porongurup National Park is not to be missed when visiting the Great Southern Region of Western Australia. The Porongurup’s, as it is known to locals, is a 15km east to west granite mountain range.
Enjoy a country escape and stay in beautiful accommodation in Porongurup itself, giving you great access to all the Porongurup National Park has to offer. From ancient geology, bushwalks, wine tasting and more, Porongurup is a lovely place for a short or long getaway.
At the main car park you’ll find ample parking and will be required to pay a park entry fee. There is an information shelter that will give you all the information you need relating to the history of the area and mountain range, as well as tracks for walking and exploring. There are beautiful spots to enjoy a picnic in the bush, including shelters and picnic tables and toilets.
You cannot visit the Porongurup National Park without doing the Castle Rock walk to Granite Skywalk. Although the Skywalk may seem daunting for those who fear heights, it is highly recommended and it gives you spectacular views across the region and all the way to Albany on a clear day. There are a range of walks for varying levels of fitness and certainly something for all ages to enjoy.
Contributor – Erin from Australian Mountains To Sea
13. Rottnest Island
If you are visiting Western Australia, you need to make time for a day trip to Rottnest Island.
It’s well known mostly for the presence of a really cute little mammal not too hard to get a selfie with, but there’s a whole lot more to this small island off the coast of Freemantle.
Steeped in colonial history, as well as a dark past of Aboriginal mistreatment and death, the island was seen as critical to the defense of the mainland and has also been a military location and internment camp for Prisoners of War. It is now a Class A reserve, the highest level of protection afforded public land, in recognition of the island’s unique habitat and wildlife.
With no predators, this is likely the only place you will see the cute little Quokkas outside of a zoo. They are completely unafraid of humans so its not too hard to get your photo moment.
Accessible only by air or boat leaving either Perth or Freemantle, it is a 30-45-minute journey to the island. There is more to do than can fit in one day, there is accommodation available on the island if you wish to take advantage of all that there is to see and do.
Contributor – Holly from Globeblogging
14. The Pinnacles
A drive to the Pinnacles in WA’s Nambung National Park is a must for anyone living in Perth. It’s a great day trip being around 2 hours drive north of Perth along the coast.
It’s one of the main attractions of Australia’s Coral Coast and is home to natural limestone structures up to 3.5m tall. Scientists believe they were formed around up to 30,000 years ago after the ocean receded and a deposit of sea shells were left behind.
Over the centuries, coastal winds blew the sand away leaving these limestone pillars exposed above the ground.
You don’t need a 4×4 to get to the Pinnacles, but make sure you stick to the marked track as you drive through the desert landscape. There are toilets and BBQs available but make sure you bring plenty of water as there is no drinking water available.
There is an entry fee per car of up to 12 occupants (currently $15) as per many of the national parks in Australia.
After your visit, head to nearby Cervantes for an epic seafood lunch at the famous Lobster Shack.
When you think of picturesque seaside towns, you could easily be seeing Busselton in your mind.
With the longest timber-lined jetty in the southern hemisphere, it’s a town that needs to be on your list of places to visit in Western Australia.
The calm waters are well protected, making Busselton the perfect spot for any water activities – swimming, snorkelling, diving, fishing or water-skiing.
There are so many places to stay here, from camping and caravan parks to private homes to rent and hotels, but you need to book well in advance as it is super popular especially in the summer with families.
The foreshore is gorgeous, and The Goose is a well-known spot for lunch overlooking the ocean. But the main attraction here is the amazing 1.8km long jetty. You can either walk it, or take the tourist train to the end.
When you reach the end you might be surprised to find an underwater observatory. Head down around 8m to the sea bed and see the array of marine life living under the jetty. It’s a good idea to pre-book your tickets – the observatory is an optional extra – as they only allow a limited number of entrants at any time.
And there you have it – 15 places you must visit in Western Australia.
How many of these places have you visited so far?
And which one will you be visiting next?
Let me know in the comments below.