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.
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.
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.
Just 45 minutes from Perth, Penguin Island is an engaging ecotourism destination. Home to over 1,000 of the world’s smallest penguins, the island is teeming with animal activity. Attend a penguin feeding presentation, look to the skies for signs of seabirds, or search the seas for a glimpse of dolphins or a rare Australian sea lion.
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.
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.
From the moment you walk through the giant fiberglass replica of a crocodile's head, you know that the staff at Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park is wild about crocs. Located on the outskirts of Broome, this adventurous park is home to native saltwater crocodiles deemed too aggressive to remain in their outback communities. Though the park is only open for three hours, visitors are able to see handler-led feedings in the afternoon, when crocodiles the size of cars enjoy their daily meal. You’ll also find four other crocodile species in the park, as well as American alligators, dingoes, cassowaries, wallabies, and hundreds of kangaroos. The park serves as an active breeding center for rare wallabies and kangaroos, so feel free to ask the staff about any of the animals in the park.
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.
More Things to Do in Western Australia
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A visit to Western Australia wouldn’t be complete without an adrenaline-infused ride across the Lancelin Sand Dunes. Rolling hills of textured, white sand provide the landscape for your next sand surfing adventure. Thrill seekers rejoice, these dunes span more than a mile (2 kilometers) — the largest in Western Australia! Navigate the steep sand bumps and curves in a dirt bike, off-road vehicle or sandboard. Once you make it to the peaks you’ll bask in panoramic views of Lancelin, including vast farmland, sweeping sand dunes and refreshing coastline. Visit during dawn or dusk for killer scenery.
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.
Sun Picture Gardens Cinema is the oldest picture garden still in operation in the world.
Sun Picture Gardens Cinema began between 1903 and 1913, when the Yamsaki family operated a theatre in their Asian goods store. The building was sold in 1913 and the new owner then converted the building into a cinema. Sun Pictures itself opened on December 9, 1916, playing silent films. In 1933, the cinema began to play films with sound. During World War II, when the town was evacuated, the cinema was vandalised, and due to a series of floods – and a boycott over segregation – didn’t truly recover until 1974. In 1989, the cinema became protected, and in 2004 was certified in the Guinness World Book of Records as the oldest open air cinema in operation.
Sun Picture Gardens Cinema is now accompanied by Sun Cinemas – an indoor cinema opened in 2002. Seating in the cinema remains true to the original layout. Six padded bench seats line the front rows, in front of deckchair style seating that takes up the rest of the cinema.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Western Australia’s oldest buildings, Fremantle Prison is an important reminder of Australia’s convict history. Built in the 1850s by the very convicts who inhabited its cells, the prison was notorious for its deplorable conditions and brutal capital punishment.
A large granite rock formation shaped like an ocean wave, Wave Rock is located in Western Australia’s Golden Outback region and situated in a bushland environment. Standing nearly 50 feet (15 meters) tall and 360 feet (110 meters) long, the formation is part of a geological area dating back more than 2.5 billion years.
With its lush wetlands, limestone caves, and wildflower-filled plains, Yanchep National Park makes an attractive retreat from nearby Perth, and at less than an hour’s drive from the city, it’s a popular choice for a day trip. Established in 1957, Yanchep is also one of Australia’s oldest national parks.
Right on Perth’s doorstep, Swan Valley offers an idyllic retreat from city life. Renowned as one of Western Australia’s oldest wine regions, its expanse of vineyards and scenic waterways are home to numerous wineries, breweries, and distilleries, and an excellent selection of artisan shops and gourmet restaurants.
Set on the Swan River’s north shore, Elizabeth Quay is a waterfront entertainment hub filled with green spaces and esplanades, eateries, and public artwork. The quay is located in Perth’s central business district, and is a great starting point for exploring the rest of the city.
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.
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- Things to do in Broome
- Things to do in Fremantle
- Things to do in Margaret River
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- Things to do in South Australia
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