Luxury Escapes Guide to Western Australia’s Natural Wonders

Pristine white sand beaches, impressive national parks, crystal-studded caves and heritage-listed reefs. The wondrous West is waiting to be explored.

No matter where you visit in Western Australia, you can be assured that Mother Nature will put on a show.

With an impressive line-up of awe-inspiring wilderness, a staggering 60 national parks, four incredible World Heritage areas and an abundance of native wildlife, the west is absolutely brimming with natural wonder – from top to bottom.

In the south, you will find the gorgeous Margaret River region, home to some of the state’s best wineries, breweries and distilleries, as well as towering forests, breathtaking coastline and crystal-studded caves. Head north and you’ll reach Perth (Boorloo), an urban oasis playing host to bustling beaches, spectacular sunsets and mind-blowing rock formations. Nearby Rottnest Island (Wadjemup) is also home to the quokka – the happiest, and arguably cutest, marsupial on earth.

The mid-coastal region of Western Australia is a symphony of colour. Here you will find sparkling turquoise water, rust red sand dunes and brilliant coral reefs, which are home to many endangered species. Further north is the Kimberley, a vibrant and largely untouched region offering all kinds of outback experiences – from cultural journeys to four-wheel driving excursions across the wilderness.

When it comes to bucket-list nature experiences, Western Australia has plenty to offer. From snorkelling with gentle whale sharks on the Ningaloo Reef (Nyinggulu) to a once-in-a-lifetime journey through the Horizontal Falls (Garaanngaddim) or camping under the stars on the Dampier Peninsula, there is no shortage of destinations, activities and experiences that will take your breath away. Better yet, Ningaloo Reef is now even easier to access with direct flights with Qantas between Melbourne and Learmonth (Exmouth), launching on 30 April 2023.

Read on to discover your ultimate guide to Western Australia’s natural wonders.

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Perth & surrounds

Pristine beaches

With 19 beautiful beaches featuring soft white sand, sparkling turquoise water, an abundance of marine life and spectacular sunsets, there’s something for every beachgoer in and around Perth. For a sheltered swim, head to one of Perth’s iconic beaches – Cottesloe, Coogee or Scarborough. Feeling more active? Head to Trigg Beach where you will find flocks of surfers and the best swell in the city. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a bottlenose dolphin! Keen snorkellers can explore the underwater world at Mettams Pool or head across to Rottnest Island to admire fish, corals, and of course, the resident quokkas.

Kings Park

Enjoy panoramic views, unique bushland and tranquil gardens at Kings Park and Botanic Garden (Kaarta Koomba). Perched atop Mount Eliza, this urban oasis is one of the world’s largest and most beautiful inner-city parks. Start your visit with a coffee at one of the park cafes before joining a free walking tour to learn about native fauna and significance to Perth’s Noongar people. Explore the State War Memorial, then continue onto the Botanic Gardens to admire more than 3000 species of native flora. Complete your visit by soaking up the sweeping river and city views from the suspended Lotterywest Federation Walkway.

The Basin

Located on the idyllic Rottnest Island, the Basin is one of Perth’s best kept secrets. Taking its name from the naturally hollowed out reef that forms a bowl or ‘basin’, the Basin is a pristine natural swimming pool absolutely teeming with marine life. With more than 400 species of fish as well as a plethora of colourful coral to explore, this little patch of azure bliss is the perfect place to while away a few hours on beautiful ‘Rotto’. As you enjoy the soft white sand, keep an eye out for dolphins and the friendly native quokkas.

Wave Rock

While Perth’s coastline attracts surfers from near and far, it’s inland that you will find the biggest wave. Located a four-hour drive from Perth, near the wheatbelt town of Hyden, is the towering Wave Rock. Formed more than 2.7 billion years ago, this multi-coloured granite cliff resembles a giant wave launching into the bushland below. It’s a staggering 15 metres high and 110 metres long. While Wave Rock can be enjoyed all year round, we recommend visiting during wildflower season when the formation is surrounded by a sea of dazzling colour.

Castle Rock Granite Skywalk

Test your limits with an exhilarating walk through Porongurup National Park to the top of Castle Rock on the Granite Skywalk. The first part of this hike is a breathtaking journey through jarrah, marri and karri forest to Balancing Rock – a huge granite boulder perched precariously on a larger rock. From here, you will ascend to the lower lookout before scrambling over rocks and climbing a six-metre enclosed ladder to reach the Granite Skywalk. The spectacular steel Skywalk winds its way around the massive granite dome and provides panoramic views of nearby farmland, ocean and The Stirling Range.

Sand dunes at Lancelin

The small coastal town of Lancelin has become a popular tourist destination thanks to its two-kilometre stretch of pure white sand dunes, rising 30 metres into the sky. With the slope at a steep 45-degree angle, Lancelin is popular among adrenaline seekers, with sandboards, dirt bikes and four-wheel drives all available to hire in town. From the top of the 4000-year-old dunes, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding town, farmland, sand hills and coastline. Visit at dawn or dusk to enjoy a spectacular colour show as the sun rises or sets.

Margaret River region

Cape to Cape Track

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Margaret River region with a trek along the world’s longest coastal trail – the Cape to Cape Track. Traversing the entire 130km length of Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, from Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, the track will take you through spectacular karri forests, across deserted white sand beaches and along massive granite cliffs. Spend your days searching for seasonal whales (May to December annually) and dolphins at sea and spotting kangaroos and brown bandicoots among the sheltered woodland sections. Along the way, carefully time your breaks to savour some of the region’s best food and wine.

Crystal-studded caves

Beneath the surface of Margaret River is a crystal-studded wonderland waiting to be explored. This area is home to more than 150 underground limestone caves featuring gleaming crystal ornaments and impressive stalactites. These caves are like natural time capsules – over the last century researchers have discovered fossilised remains of long-extinct animals, including Tasmanian tigers. The popular Mammoth, Jewel, Lake and Ngilgi Caves are all an easy drive from Margaret River town centre.

Injidup Natural Spa

A natural salt spa that doesn’t cost a cent? Count us in! Injidup Natural Spa is a hidden rock pool, located among breathtaking 100-million-year-old cliffs at the edge of the Indian Ocean. When the conditions are just right, powerful waves crash past the boulders at the edge of the ‘pool,’ creating a small waterfall that delivers an excellent massage. If you’re after a peaceful swim or visiting with children, low tide is the perfect time to explore the spa, while high tide will bring bigger waves and more powerful surges of water.

Boranup Karri Forest

Transport yourself to another world with a scenic drive through Boranup Karri Forest, located just south of Margaret River. The karri is a native gum tree, which can reach up to 60 metres in height. Here, towering karris cover the hilly slopes and valleys of the forest, creating an impressive scene that will leave you speechless. Take a leisurely drive up to Boranup Lookout, stopping to admire local flora and fauna along the way. From the lookout, you will enjoy views over the canopy of karris and across the coastal heath all the way down to Hamelin Bay.

Ningaloo Reef & the Coral Coast

Ningaloo Reef

Home to an abundance of large marine animals – from sea turtles to humpback whales, colourful tropical fish, and vibrant coral gardens, the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Ningaloo Reef is one of Western Australia’s best kept secrets. Among the many regular visitors to this sparkling underwater world is the whale shark. Snorkelling or diving with these gentle giants, which can grow up to 16 metres long, is an ethereal experience and one that’s certainly worth adding to your bucket list. Ningaloo Reef is easily accessible via Exmouth Airport, where Qantas offers regular flights to Perth and Melbourne.

Cape Range National Park

Located alongside the pristine Ningaloo Reef is some 50,000 hectares of rugged bushland, known as Cape Range National Park. This park is home to an array of wildlife, including kangaroos, emus, echidnas and wallabies, which can be spotted on one of the many walking trails. The best way to enjoy all that Cape Range has to offer is with a stay at one of the many campsites – from the waterfront Osprey Bay, where you can snorkel with turtles straight off the beach, or the remote One K Campground, which is only accessible via four-wheel drive.

Spa Pool

Deep inside Karijini National Park is an oasis: a striking, ice blue pond that sits among the large, curved rock walls. To reach the pool, start at the Karijini Visitors Centre and follow the tree-lined chasm to Hamersley Gorge -, a walk that will take you past spectacular polished boulders and beautiful waterholes. After 30-minutes in the striking bushland, you will arrive at Spa Pool ready for a swim under the waterfall. Spend a few hours here and watch the vibrant rock formations change in texture and tone as the sun shifts throughout the day.

Monkey Mia and Shark Bay

The colourful and diverse Shark Bay World Heritage Area is home to an abundance of natural wonders, including living fossils called stromatolites. The shallow water plays host to green and loggerhead turtles, one of the world’s largest dugong populations, migrating humpback whales, dolphins and manta rays, while families of emus, bandicoots, wallabies and bilbies wander the land. The Shark Bay region also encompasses Monkey Mia - a marine conservation park, famous for its wild dolphin experience, where visitors can watch from the sand as park rangers feed the frolicking bottlenose dolphins a portion of their daily diet.

Hutt Lagoon

On the Coral Coast Highway, just south of Kalbarri National Park, is Hutt Lagoon – a pink lake covering an impressive 70 square kilometres. The lagoon colour is caused by extreme levels of salinity, which can make the water appear pink, purple or even red depending on the time of day and year. To appreciate this natural wonder in all its glory, take a scenic flight from Geraldton. From up high, you can appreciate the striking contrast between the bright pink lake and the azure waters of the neighbouring Indian Ocean, separated by a narrow sand dune system.

The Kimberley

Bungle Bungle Range, Purnululu National Park

One of the most famous symbols of the Kimberley is the striking Bungle Bungle Range. Surrounded by grass-covered savannah plains, these iconic black and orange striped sandstone domes rise a staggering 300 metres into the sky. View the captivating mounds from the sky on a scenic flight or take a guided four-wheel drive to learn about the Bungles and their ancient surrounds. Once you’ve finished admiring the dazzling beehive-like formations, explore the wider Purnululu National Park, a World Heritage Listed region, with a hike to the stunning Cathedral Gorge or Echidna Chasm before camping under the stars.

Horizontal Falls

Any destination Sir David Attenborough has referred to as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world” should be on your bucket list! Horizontal Falls is an unusual natural phenomenon, located in the turquoise waters of Talbot Bay – it truly must be seen to be believed. The unique, sideways waterfall effect is formed by a fast-moving tidal current that squeezes massive volumes of water through two narrow gorges at an astonishing rate. The falls are best witnessed from above, by plane, or with a jetboat ride through the surging water.

Roebuck Bay’s elusive Staircase to the Moon

During low tide at Broome’s Roebuck Bay, several kilometres of mud flats are left exposed. When the full moon shines on a clear night, its reflection on the tidal flats creates a striking staircase of light that stretches from the shore to the horizon. This natural phenomenon only occurs for two to three days a month, between March and October. During this elusive event, you’ll also find the Staircase to the Moon markets at Broome’s Town Beach. Visit the market to explore local produce, handmade products and a variety of international food, all while enjoying the sounds of local musicians.

Gantheaume Point

Have your very own Jurassic Park-style adventure at Gantheaume Point (Minyirr), where you will discover real dinosaur footprints. These 125-million-year-old fossils are preserved in the reef rock, so they’re only visible at low tide from the top of the cliff. After you’ve had your paleontological fix, explore the stunning coastal surrounds and admire the contrast of rusty red cliffs against the sparkling blue of the Indian Ocean. Gantheaume Point, which is located a 10-minute drive from Broome town centre, is also home to a towering steel lighthouse and a beautiful beach.

Dampier Peninsula

With pindan cliffs, open woodland, mangrove creeks, white sand beaches and pristine water, the Dampier Peninsula is one of Australia’s most wild and wonderful regions. The local Bardi and Nyul Nyul people have been protecting this land for thousands of years and are more than happy to share their methods of hunting, gathering, fishing, storytelling and bush medicine. During your cultural tour of the Dampier Peninsula, you can taste bushfoods, go snorkelling, camp under the stars as you listen to stories of the Dreamtime or simply enjoy the refreshing sense of isolation.

Gibb River Road

If you’re searching for a bucket-list experience that takes you into the heart of Outback Australia, the Gibb River Road is it. On this electrifying 600km drive from Derby to Kununurra, you’ll experience all the colours of the Kimberley – from inky blue-black night skies studded with stars to vibrant red dirt wilderness and brilliant sunsets of pink, purple and orange. This once-in-a-lifetime journey will take you through national parks, stunning ranges and open plains. You’ll venture past native wildlife, sparkling waterfalls, freshwater springs and ancient gorges as you discover the true meaning of the word ‘outback’.

Travel guides to explore Western Australia

Luxury Escapes Guide to Western Australia’s Natural Wonders

Luxury Escapes Guide to Western Australia’s Natural Wonders


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