10 Unmissable Adventures in WA
From ancient landscapes to Aboriginal rock art and UNESCO-protected reefs – the otherworldly beauty of WA is a treasure trove of wonders, waiting to be explored.
Discover 10 Unmissable Adventures in WA
Swim with humpback whales on Ningaloo Reef
UNESCO-listed Ningaloo Reef is the world’s largest fringe reef and the only place in WA where you can swim with humpback whales. Approximately 40,000 of these gentle giants migrate along the coast between July and October every year (although migration season can vary), travelling between summer breeding grounds in the north-west shelf and winter feeding grounds in the Antarctic.
Tour operators in Coral Bay and Exmouth focus on intimate small-group experiences that prioritise the wellbeing of the whales and the safety of passengers. In-water interactions are always on the whales’ terms – although their friendly nature means Ningaloo has a 78% interaction success rate.
You may also be lucky enough to spot back flipping manta rays, dolphins and turtles during your adventure. All operators offer an ‘observer’ price for those who’d prefer to stay dry. Most also provide a hydrophone (an underwater microphone), which allows you to hear the whales’ mystical song.
Explore Hancock Gorge, Karijini National Park
The vast landscape of Karijini National Park is an ode to WA’s ancient wild beauty. In the heart of the Pilbara region, it’s the state’s second largest national park and a living museum carved out over two billion years. Explore cascading waterfalls, scale some of the oldest rocks on the planet and descend into cavernous gorges.
The majestic Hancock Gorge is unmissable and one of the park’s most popular sites. The hike into the gorge has been described as a ‘journey to the centre of the Earth’, referencing its steep descent and multi-hued, layered rocks.
Climb the ladder down into the gorge, passing through chambers and rock pools before reaching Kermit Pool, a striking green visual feast made for photographs (and cooling off!). Take on the gorge’s spider walk yourself or join a group with a local guide – it’s one of the most rewarding experiences Karijini National Park offers.
See the incredible night sky at the Pinnacles, Nambung National Park
Discover the pinnacle of otherworldly beauty at the Pinnacles in Nambung National Park. Here, thousands of limestone pillars rise from the shifting yellow sands, creating an ethereal landscape to rival any sci-fi movie. Some are as tall as 3.5 metres, others are jagged and many resemble tombstones.
Around 200 kilometres north of Perth and far from the city lights, the Pinnacles’ remote location provides a prime spot for stargazing. It’s best to visit during ‘Milky Way season’ – mid-January (before dawn) to mid-November (just after dark). This is when the Milky Way core, the spectacular galactic centre, is most visible and lends itself best to night photography. Gaze up at a sky filled with somewhere between 100 and 400 billion stars, with thousands visible to the naked eye – a truly humbling experience.
Other natural beauties of Nambung National Park include the coastal dune systems of Kangaroo Point and Hangover Bay and the boardwalk at Lake Thetis, boasting fascinating thrombolite rock structures.
Visit the friendly quokkas on Rottnest Island
Free of cars and home to arguably the world’s happiest creature, Rottnest Island is completely loveable and utterly unique. Friendly quokkas roam the island, often stopping for selfies with visitors (although you should let them come to you and always maintain a respectful distance!).
Rottnest Island is an A-Class Reserve, meaning its local wildlife are protected by law, providing a safe and happy environment for the many animals that call it home. Its rich ecosystems mean lucky visitors can spot rock parrots, red-capped robins, sea lions, seals, dolphins and more. Explore by foot along the Wadjemup Bidi walking trails or rent a bike and cycle along the coast, discovering 63 pristine beaches and 20 idyllic bays along the way.
Getting to Rottnest Island is easy; stay at the Duxton Hotel in Perth and hop on the ferry from Fremantle (taking approx. 20 minutes).
Marvel at Australia’s only Horizontal Falls
Unearth one of the Kimberley’s most fascinating otherworldly phenomena: Horizontal Falls. So spectacular that David Attenborough proclaimed it ‘one of the greatest natural wonders of the world’, Horizontal Falls is the product of fast-moving turquoise waters at Talbot Bay, squeezing through two narrow gorges of the McLarty Range, resulting in powerful rushing waterfalls. Tides in the Kimberley can reach up to 10 metres and the direction of the flow reverses, ensuring the water flows two ways every day.
This unique phenomenon is located in the Buccaneer Archipelago and is not yet accessible by car. Tours typically depart Broome, but providers can recommend the best times to witness the falls. Take a scenic flight or embrace the adrenaline rush with a plane visit, landing at the falls and taking a thrilling boat ride through the torrents – hold on tight and prepare to get wet!
Experience a tour in the Kimberley
The majestic Kimberley abounds in rich Aboriginal history and culture, best told via its rock art and local guides. For an authenic experience, Kooljaman is a camp run by the Bardi Jawi people on the stunning red coastline of Cape Leveque and gives insight into the region’s Aboriginal roots.
You could also join a bush tucker tour and sample traditional bush foods while learning about native ingredients and bush medicine that has been passed through generations.
A Silversea cruise from Darwin to Broome is one of the best ways to experience the ancient beauty of the Kimberley. Witness the thundering 80-metre King George Falls, the spectacular Hunter River Region – home to an immense mangrove system surrounded by soaring red sandstone cliffs – and the countless natural phenomena of Broome, including the 22 kilometre white-sand Cable Beach.
Go on a wild seafood tour in Mandurah
There’s only one thing that tastes better than fresh seafood – fresh seafood that you’ve caught yourself! Mandurah has a 100-year history as WA’s seafood centre, making it the perfect place to indulge your tastebuds.
Embark on an ocean-to-plate experience as you take to the seas to catch crayfish, before a delicious onboard BBQ featuring your haul plus local barramundi, prawns, oysters, blue swimmer crabs, salmon and marinated octopus. Cruise Mandurah’s canals and waterways as you sip local beer and wine, maybe spotting dolphins, pelicans and other wildlife along the way.
Make the delightful Seashells Mandurah your base, located on the shores of Comet Bay, surrounded by the Indian Ocean and glittering waters of Dolphin Quay on the Mandurah Ocean Marina. The spacious, self-contained apartments are ideal for couples or families, while the property’s beachfront infinity pool invites sunset dips with breathtaking views.
Go snorkelling at the Abrolhos Islands
An unforgettable experience amid unique coral reefs awaits in the Abrolhos Islands, a cluster of 122 islands, around 60 kilometres west of Geraldton. Often described as ‘the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean’, the Abrolhos offer some of the world’s most incredible snorkelling and diving locations.
Crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life are easily accessible from the shore, with Turtle Bay a popular snorkelling spot. Swim between colourful corals and a diverse range of fish, including crayfish and seals. Abrolhos waters are also home to sea lions, bottlenose dolphins and sampson fish, which have become so friendly, they can be fed by hand.
The islands can be explored by scenic flight, seasonal live-aboard boat charter or full-day fishing and luxury charter. Keep an eye out for Tammar wallabies and breasted sea eagles as you explore, as well as opportunities to spot migrating whales when flying on clear days.
Wander through Australia’s largest outdoor gallery
Head to WA’s golden outback and watch nature and art collide at Lake Ballard, home to Australia’s largest world-class art site. World-renowned British artist and Turner Prize-winner Antony Gormley has created Inside Australia, an ethereal display of 51 stark, black steel sculptures across seven square kilometres of remote salt lake.
Located 90 minutes’ drive from Kalgoorlie or 55 kilometres from Menzies, the sculptures rise from the flatlands like apparitions, shimmering like mirages in the heat of the outback. The result is an otherworldly experience, equal parts haunting and beautiful, that will linger long after your visit. While you may have seen photographs or videos, nothing comes close to the lived experience and we encourage everyone to become an ‘Insider’.
Combine your experience with a history lesson by following the Golden Quest Discovery Trail, tracing the legends left behind by some of the country’s greatest explorers.
Hike the Cape to Cape Track
Intrepid explorers can embark on Margaret River’s longest and most famous hike: the Cape to Cape Track. The 140 kilometre walk typically takes five to six days and takes you along the ridge and beaches of Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, following the coast from Cape Naturaliste in Dunsborough to Cape Leeuwin, Augusta.
Walkers can expect breathtaking Indian Ocean views and an abundance of wildflowers in spring, passing through coastal heath, magical karri forest and woodlands, discovering remote beaches, limestone caves and historic lighthouses as they go.
Make Bayshore Beachside Resort in Dunsborough your launchpad for the start of the walk, enjoying an idyllic stay in your private villa before dusting off your hiking boots. Not ready to tackle the whole track? There are plenty of short walks along the route, with some parts hard paved or covered by a boardwalk, making them accessible for wheelchairs and prams.