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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More Things to Do in Western Australia
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.
Town Beach is one of many sandy spots in Broome, and its main attraction is its water playground that dominates the foreshore. Built for kids of all ages, the playground is designed to be all-inclusive, enabling children of all abilities to play. A range of sprayers including a whale tail sprayer, mistry twisty, sneaky soakers and froggy-o-sprayer are set up to provide a fun play environment. The playground operates on a cycle that randomly repeats and is activated when a start button is pressed.
Safety is paramount here. Soft-fall ground covering ensures a non-slip environment, and the water is UV filtered and chlorinated. A designated area for disabled children includes a self-propelling, custom built, water submersible wheelchair that is available for free hire.
While the playground is a huge part of the attractions of Town Beach, the beach itself is also popular. Besides the bay being a calm swimming spot, the grassy foreshore also offers a great place for picnics. Just beside the playground sits the Town Beach Café, serving coffee, pastries and more.
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.
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.
Tunnel Creek National Park is one of the Kimberly region’s most famous attractions. Though small in size compared to the other national parks that cover the Kimberly region, at just 91 hectares, Tunnel Creek has a huge attraction – being home to Australia’s oldest cave system.
Tunnel Creek is located in the Napier Range, the same range as the nearby Geikie Gorge. The remains of an ancient reef system formed 350 million years ago, the limestone that forms Tunnel Creek is what makes this region so ancient. The tunnel of tunnel creek runs for 750 meters. It reaches a maximum height of 12 meters, and a maximum width of 15 meters. There are a number of animals making their home in the caverns, including at least five species of bat, which led to the cave’s nickname of The Cave of Bats. Freshwater crocodiles occasionally take up residence in the large pools of water that dot the floor of the cave.
Tunnel Creek became famous in the late 1800s as the hideout of the Aboriginal outlaw and leader Jandamarra. The cave has been used by the Aboriginal people for hundreds of years, and the walls are covered in their artworks.
The largest cemetery in Australia, Broome Japanese Cemetery was established at the beginning of Broome’s pearling industry.
In the early days of the pearling industry at Broome, many Japanese men worked as divers. Most of the headstones in the Japanese Cemetery pay tribute to the hundreds of individual divers who died whilst pearling – either from drowning or from the bends (decompression sickness). There are also monuments to catastrophic events, such as a large stone obelisk for those who drowned at sea during a cyclone in 1908. Such cyclones were relatively common in the area, and cyclones in 1887 and 1935 claimed the lives of around 250 Japanese divers between them.
There are 919 Japanese are buried in the cemetery. Many of the headstones are simply marked by colored rocks carried from Broome’s beaches. Before the Japanese became divers, the industry survived by kidnapping local Aboriginal people and training them to dive for pearls. Only 50 metres south of the main Japanese Cemetery lies the Aboriginal section of the cemetery. Unlike the Japanese section, the Aboriginal graves are largely unmarked and unattributed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Windjana Gorge sits within the Windjana Gorge National Park in the Kimberly region of Western Australia. Formed by the Lennard River, Windjana Gorge runs for 3.5 kilometres through the Napier Range – of which Tunnel Creek is also a part. Windjana Gorge is over 100m wide in parts, and the walls range between 10 and 30 metres high.
The Lennard River runs through Windjana Gorge during the wet season, and forms into pools in the dry season. Like much of the Kimberly, Windjana Gorge is home to many species of Australian wildlife – including some which aren’t found anywhere else – and is steeped in Aboriginal culture. Windjana Gorge is a significant spiritual site for the Bunuba people, who believe that there are powerful creation spirits that reside in the Gorge.
A path runs the length of the gorge (3.5km), following the path of monsoonal vegetation alongside the permanent pools of water in the dry season. A ruined homestead, Lillimooloora, was built in 1884 from local limestone, and sits within the park.
The Windjana Gorge Campground is the only place to stay in the park, and is well maintained. Bathrooms with showers are situated on site, and the campground is suitable for caravans – though there are no powered sites. Camping does incur a fee, and park rangers collect it in the evenings.
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.
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.
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