Western Australia is one of those places that should be on every traveller’s Australia bucket list. Western Australia (WA) is filled with a contrastingly beautiful combination of rugged red outback and a whopping 12,500km of pristine coastline. WA takes up one-third of the landmass of Australia and if it were its own country it would be in the top 10 largest in the world! Travelling in Western Australia has got to be on your travel bucket list.
After two years of travelling around Australia in my van, I can say with certainty that Western Australia is one of the best places to visit in Australia and offers some of the best things to do in Australia. Some of the top things to do in Western Australia include snorkelling in the world heritage listed Ningaloo Reef with the whale sharks, getting up close and personal with baby sharks in a shark nursery in coral bay, marvelling at the pink algae display of Hutt lagoon, experiencing one of only two beaches in the world made of completely of white shells and meeting the smiling quokkas in their only habitat in the world on Rottnest Island. And you can’t forget visiting Perth and Exmouth in Western Australia, or even better, doing a Perth to Exmouth Western Australia road trip!
With a landmass of such a great expanse and so many incredible experiences to be had, it can be hard to decide where to go when travelling in Western Australia! So that’s why we have created this list of the best things to do in Australia as well as a new list of the best places to visit in Western Australia. Whether you’re looking for the best things to do in Perth, WA, the best things to do in Denmark, WA, or you simple want some Western Australia travel inspiration, this is the blog post for you.
Other travel guides you might find useful…
The best things to do in Western Australia...
1. Swim with over 30,000 Crocs in Lake Argyle
Lake Argyle isn’t an ordinary lake. With its shoreline stretching over 900km, it is also home to over 30,000 freshwater crocodiles (don’t worry, they aren’t like saltwater crocs!). Sitting above the lake is Lake Argyle caravan park which offers incredible views overlooking lake Argyle. One of the best things to do in WA is to enjoy a night at the caravan park, swim in the infinity pool (no sharks here!), take a tour to meet the crocs and join one of their morning yoga classes out on the hill overlooking the lake; there aren’t many experiences like it!
2. See a Boab tree
These mythical looking trees called Baobabs (or boab), often referred to as bottle trees or the tree of life, can only be found in Australia and in Africa. When I was travelling in Western Australia and first saw these strange and wonderful trees, I was shocked as for years I thought they were a made-up tree from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s children’s book, The Little Prince. Alas, they are real and magnificent.
These trees are unique in that they have adapted to very harsh desert conditions by storing water in their trunks, which gives them the engorged look. They can be found all throughout the Kimberly region in the northern part of Western Australia: an absolute Western Australia bucket list thing to see.
3. Emma Gorge
Another one of the top things to do in Western Australia is to visit the hidden gem of the Kimberly region: Emma Gorge. This beautiful gorge is located in the million-acre wilderness of El Questro. After a 3km rocky hike, you will be rewarded with a cool oasis of the shady Emma Gorge nestled at the base of a huge rockface. Take a swim to the far side of the gorge to feel like you are caught in a rainstorm beneath the waterfalls cascading down the rock walls. It is really an experience like no other.
4. Bungle Bungles
The Bungle Bungles are a formation of orange and black sandstone boulders that rise 300 meters above the flat plains in Purnululu National Park in the Kimberly region of Western Australia. The caveat of this region is that this can only be accessed by a rugged 53km 4WD access track. So, while this is definitely one of the best places to visit in Western Australia, you will need a 4WD, book a tour or take a helicopter ride to experience the majesty of these sandstone beauties.
5. Spend the night at James Price Point
One of the things sitting at the top of my Australia bucket list was to experience the red dirt of the outback. I mean, what could be better? While the desert is beautiful, it was knocked clean out of first place when I was travelling in Western Australia and realised there was a beach made of red dirt that backed onto the blue ocean.
James Price Point is one such beach and one of the best places to visit in Australia. The vivid blues of the ocean in stark contrast to the red of the beach is something everyone should experience for themselves. If that wasn’t enough, the entire beach is a free camp! Pull up for the night, spend your afternoon dipping in the rock pools near the ocean (avoid the ocean – saltwater crocs are king here) and enjoy this Western Australia bucket list destination.
6. Explore Exmouth
As the closest town to Cape Range National Park, Exmouth is the ultimate hub to experience the beauty of the world heritage listed Ningaloo Reef and one of the best places to visit in Australia when it comes to underwater adventures.
Here you can walk from the beach to snorkel this diverse marine life on the reef and is one of a few places in the world where you can swim with the gentle giants of the sea: the whale shark. Swims with these gentle giants of the sea are often listed as one of the best things to do in Western Australia!
7. Stroll along Shell Beach
While Australia is known for its white sandy beaches, this white beach is a horse of a different colour (so to speak!). Shell Beach is one of two beaches in the entire world made completely of shells which puts it high on the list of top things to do in Western Australia.
The water at shell beach may look inviting but it’s very high in salt content so may not be the refreshing swim you may be hoping for, but is a fun way to experience floating with ease when travelling in Western Australia.
8. Take a peek through Nature's Window
Located on Western Australia’s Coral Coast, Nature’s Window is a beautiful sandstone arch formation that perfectly frames the Murchison river below. While this is definitely the main attraction for tourists in Kalbarri National Park, you can also enjoy many hikes in this park as well as see the river from a birds-eye view at the Kalbarri Skywalk platform that projects 25 meters over the gorge. This is definitely one of the best things to do when travelling in Western Australia!
9. Hutt Lagoon
Australian pink salt lakes are such a unique experience and are one of the best things to do in Australia. Hutt Lagoon is one of the best places to visit in Western Australia to see this natural event. The pink colour comes from a type of algae (Dunaliella Salina) and is at its most vivid midmorning or just before sunset.
10. Visit the Pinnacles
Located in the Nambung National Park, the Pinnacles are a collection of limestone pillars. These unique structures formed 30,000 years ago after the coastal winds eroded the sand, leaving the limestone exposed to the elements. This is a perfect day trip from Perth, an absolute must on a West Coast Australia road trip, and one of the best places to visit in Western Australia!
11. Swim with the Sea Lions in Jurien Bay
Jurien bay is one of the best places to visit in Australia to see the Australian sea lions. These animals are the rarest of their species with only 10,000-20,000 in existence. Lucky for us, these ‘puppies of the sea’ take residence on Essex Rock, a short 15-minute boat ride from Jurien Bay. There are many tours operating daily, giving you a chance to swim and play with these extremely playful animals. A must-do when travelling in Western Australia!
12. Spend a day exploring Perth
Perth is the capital city of Western Australia and it is home to 2.6 million people (roughly 77% of Western Australia’s population!). With its beautiful sandy beaches, ranges for mountain biking, as well as a whole host of foodie delights, waterfalls, markets and other amazing things to do in Perth, Western Australia, Perth should be on your Western Australia bucket list!
13. Sleep in a prison cell at Fremantle Prison
Fremantle prison is the largest convict built structure in Western Australia and was a high-security jail for over 140 years until 1991. It has since transformed into not only one of the best things to do in Perth, but one of the top things to do in Western Australia as you take a step into the lives of the inmates, become immersed in the history of this site with a tour and, if you want a West Coast Australia bucket list night to remember, you can also spend a night in one of the original prison cells at the fremantle prison YHA hostel!
14. Cycle around Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island (aka ‘rotto’) is an iconic nature reserve 19km out to sea from Perth. Boasting 63 beaches and 20 bays, an abundance of unique flora and fauna, marine life, this is one of the perfect places to visit in Western Australia to snorkel, relax and recharge. It is also the only place in the world where you can meet the world’s happiest animal: the friendly neighbourhood marsupial, the quokka.
Aside from meeting the locals, biking around the island is one of the best things to do in Western Australia. Hire a bike, make your way around the 22km circuit to the west end, spot a quokka or two, visit the seals, go for a snorkel and enjoy all that this beautiful island has to offer!
15. Take a West Coast Australia road trip
One of the best things to do in Western Australia by far is to do a road trip! There are so many amazing things to do on the West Coast but there is so much space in between that one of the only ways to see all the top things to do in Western Australia is on the road. If you’re travelling in Western Australia and you want to see it all, this is the way to go!
16. Wild dolphins at Bunbury
One of the bucket list things to do in Western Australia is to see the abundance of wild dolphins. While many will recommend Monkey Mia, I would suggest heading a little south of Perth to see the dolphins at Bunbury.
The volunteer team here are incredible and are on stand by every weekend morning at the Interaction Zone as they wait for the resident dolphins to come in. If you’re lucky you can meet Shanti, the matriarch of the pod who has been visiting the centre since it opened in 1989!
17. Walk the Busselton Jetty
Busselton Jetty is the longest timber jetty in the southern hemisphere and ranks high on the best places to visit in Western Australia. Standing at 1.8km long, you can choose to walk or take the train, and at the end of the jetty, you can experience one of six underwater observatories in the world. With a 9.5-metre observation chamber you have a great opportunity to come face to face with over 300 species in their natural habitat.
18. Have an a-Maze’n time at the Margaret River maze
While the southwest Margaret River region is most famous for its wine, I will say that one of the best things to do in South Western Australia is to spend a day at the Margaret River maze! (or hey…maybe both?).
While you won’t often find this ranked on the top things to do in Western Australia, this hidden gem features Western Australia’s largest hedge maze as well as five hectares of beautiful gardens, an 18 hole mini-golf course as well as a host of other larger than life games throughout the gardens to keep you entertained. It is worthy of a place on your Western Australia bucket list.
19. Enjoy a wine and cheese board in Denmark
Not to be confused with Denmark in Europe, Denmark is a quaint little town in the southwest with rolling hills and a perfect climate for white wines to thrive. Denmark is often ranked as one of the best places to visit in Western Australia and with so many amazing things to do in Denmark, Western Australia, it’s easy to see why!
While in the area, I stopped in at The Lake House, a winery that backs onto a beautiful lake with a range of wine and cheese boards (they also do a vegan range if you book ahead). Grab it to go and sit down on the tables overlooking the lake. Tucked away in the shade under the beautiful willow tree you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon. It was one of my favourite things to do in South Western Australia!
20. Climb the Gloucester Tree
This region is one of the only places in the southern hemisphere where you can see Karri Trees, some of the tallest trees in the world, growing up to 90 metres in height! If you’re after a once in a lifetime experience for your Australia bucket list then you absolutely must climb the Gloucester Tree.
This tree was originally created to be a fire lookout in 1947 and now is open to tourists to climb if they dare. The lookout at the top stands at a staggering 53 metres and isn’t for the faint of heart when travelling in Western Australia. There is a small wire netting around the beams plugged into the tree, but outside that, you’re free climbing. So be sure to wear enclosed shoes and hold on tight as you experience one of the best things to do in South Western Australia.
21. Walk through the Valley of the Giants
If climbing trees isn’t your thing, you can still experience the beauty of the Giant trees that can be found in this region. Spend a day exploring the Valley of the Giants, to see the Giant Tingle trees best known for their hollowed-out trunks.
If you have the cash to spare, head to the Valley of the Giants to see the large forest on display. If you’re looking for some more budget-friendly things to do in South Western Australia, then head to see the giant tingle tree just outside Walpole: you still will get to experience the magic without blowing your budget!
22. Explore the beauty of the Rainbow Coast, WA
A trip to the Rainbow Coast is one of the best things to do in South Western Australia. In this region featuring Albany and its surroundings, you will find so many different things to add to your Australia bucket list including the Bibbulmun Track World-Class Walking Trail Western, Elephant Rocks, as well as the famous tingle trees in the Valley of the Giants!
23. Hike Bluff Knoll
Nestled away in the Stirling Ranges about 4.5 hours from Perth, Bluff Knoll is one of the highest peaks south-west Western Australia sitting at just over 1000 metres above sea level. This trail is a 6.8km return, but don’t let that fool you; this is a relentless incline that feels more like 15km. Definitely something to do when travelling in Western Australia if you like being active!
Of all the things to do in South Western Australia, why climb this monstrosity? The view from the top is unparalleled and is by far one of the best places to visit in Western Australia if you enjoy a hike with a view!
24. Lucky Bay
This one is mandatory on a list of best things to do in Western Australia; the crystal clear waters and friendly kangaroos make Lucky Bay high on every traveller’s Western Australia bucket list. Located in Cape le Grand National Park, in the town of Esperance, it’s a must-visit if you’re heading to WA.
Note: when I showed up to explore this paradise the weather was overcast and the furry friends were few and far between. If you’re looking for a picture with your favourite furry friends be sure to go when the weather is warm and the sun is out. That being said, I was still blown away by the vibrancy of the blue water. Even on such a cloudy day, it was one of my favourite things to do in South Western Australia!
What are your favourite places to visit in Western Australia?
Where are the best places to visit in Western Australia? Anything you’d add to this Australia bucket list?
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