Western Australia offers big, bold, and beautiful bucket list items that will encourage exploration and nurture your sense of adventure. From the craggy coastline of the southern edge to the red-crusted beauty of the North West, get ready to gold star your travel bucket list as we take you on a whirlwind tour of the state’s must-sees and dos.
Open the door to Perth at Elizabeth Quay
No Western Australia travel wish list could start anywhere other than the capital Perth. Start your visit with a leisurely stroll around Elizabeth Quay. This regenerated precinct overlooks the magnificent Swan River and is home to the TransPerth ferry, which takes you across the river to South Perth. For just a couple of dollars, you’ll get a short river cruise and a water view of the city. Back at the quay, consider lunch at The Island, a family-friendly microbrewery with al fresco dining to soak up the sun. Enjoy amazing views of the river, the city, and the 29-metre-high sculpture entitled Spanda (but known locally as ‘the paper clip’).
At Elizabeth Quay you can also get a fascinating introduction to Western Australia’s Indigenous cultural heritage. Learn about the region’s First People — the Noongar — on a 90-minute walking tour with Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours. They also offer a guided walk through Kings Park.
Immerse yourself in convict history in Fremantle
The port city of Fremantle is steeped in colonial history, and along with ten other sites across the country, Fremantle Prison has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site as a record of convict life. If ghosts and scary stories thrill you, head to the prison for an after-dark tour. The Torchlight Tour takes you along the cold walls and empty halls, which were built by convicts between 1852 and 1859. As you trail behind one of the many charismatic tour guides, you will hear spine-tingling tales of life behind bars.
Meet our magical dolphins in Bunbury
Western Australia has an epic stretch of coastline (almost 13,000 kilometres!) and amazing marine life. Get up close and personal with bottlenose dolphins at Bunbury’s fabulous Dolphin Discovery Centre. From November to April, open water encounters are available in Koombana Bay where you will have a chance to see or swim with wild dolphins. Imagine seeing dolphins jump and play as you visit them in their natural environment. At the state-of-the-art Discovery Centre, you’ll revel in the colourful aquariums and touch tanks, and learn all about the marine life of the region.
Walk on and under water in Busselton
The iconic Busselton Jetty, the longest wooden-pylon jetty in the Southern Hemisphere, stretches 1.8 kilometres into the Indian Ocean and offers a wonderful experience for all visitors. If you want to get your steps up, take a walk along the wooden planks all the way out to the end, passing fishermen, and in the warmer months, teens jumping and backflipping into the salty water. If you’re lucky, you may spot dolphins, stingrays, and schools of salmon. Another option for getting out to sea is by train. Kids delight in riding the Stocker Preston Express along the jetty. Near the end, the Underwater Observatory allows visitors to see what’s underneath without getting wet.
Honour Australia’s heroes in Albany
Perched high above the coastal city of Albany on Western Australia’s southern coastline is the National Anzac Centre. This award-winning museum within the Princess Royal Fortress details the history and heartbreak of the men and women who fought for our freedoms during the Great War. The interactive display lets you follow your chosen soldier from recruitment to training to the battlegrounds. Navigate the path through to the end, where you’ll discover your soldier’s fate. It’s an emotive experience that visitors from any nation will appreciate.
Head to the best of beaches in Esperance
Every Western Australia bucket list must include a visit to the beach. And if you were to only visit one, Lucky Bay near Esperance wouldn’t disappoint. It is blessed with the kind of coastal beauty that is almost too good to be true. Think blinding white sand, translucent turquoise water, and photogenic kangaroos lounging on the sand (we kid you not!). Pack a picnic, towels, sunscreen, a footy ball and a camera, and settle in for a classic Aussie day at the beach.
Dig into WA’s gold mining history in Kalgoorlie
Western Australia’s modern history is entwined with its mining heritage, and 600 kilometres east of Perth, Kalgoorlie’s Super Pit Mine Lookout is a jaw-dropping sight. The pit is 480 metres deep, 1.5 kilometres wide and almost four kilometres long. Kalgoorlie’s gold mining history dates back to 1893 when Paddy Hannan found the first nugget. Mine tours are also available at Hannans North West Tourist Mine.
Get a bird’s eye view of the North West from Karratha
Western Australia’s vast and ancient North West covers the Kimberley and Pilbara regions, and if you’re short on time, a scenic flight can help you cover a lot of ground quickly. From Karratha, take a helicopter flight over the Dampier Peninsula for epic visuals of its islands and bays. While flying over, keep watch for sea turtles, dugongs, dolphins, and humpback whales. Of the 42 islands beneath you, 25 of them are nature reserves. Many of the islands and islets are home to rock wallabies and quolls, and also nesting grounds for seabirds and turtles. The overhead view offers stunning contrasts of the red rock of the outback, the white sands of the beaches, and the blue-green waters of the ocean. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Need a place to stay? Whether you decide to tick off one or all of these incredible must-sees and dos in Western Australia, Choice Hotels has you covered with a superb range of accommodation options. Search online and book direct for a Lowest Price Guarantee.
About the writer
Jennifer Morton is a freelance writer and photographer. The Canadian expat has lived all over Canada, New Zealand and Australia. When Jennifer is not writing about travel, you may find her lounging on the beach, fishing with her son, sipping coffee at a cafe, reading a book or zooming in on a beautiful scene. She’s also likely to be boarding a plane – or jumping out of one.