Western Australia


Western Australia is a huge, fascinating state, with a wide variety of things to see and do, but it doesn't seem to get as much attention overseas as the eastern states. This very brief introduction mainly mentions the names of some places that you might like to find out more about and provides links to more information. We'll explore many of these places in more detail in future issues of our newsletter. (We're planning a trip there for later this year, so I'm collecting information sources. During and after the trip we'll report on what we thought about the places we went and things we did.)

Perth is the capital city of Western Australia; Fremantle is Perth's port city. The Swan River connects them. Offshore is Rottnest Island.

South and east of Perth along the coast are Bunbury, Margaret River (wine country!), Albany and Esperance. East and inland are Wave Rock, Norseman, and the mining towns of Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie.

Going north you'll find the Pinnacles (in Nambung National Park), Monkey Mia (famous for dolphins), the Pilbara, Kalbarri National Park, Broome (famous for pearls and Aboriginal rock music festivals), and the Kimberley Ranges. Across the north of the state you'll find Fitzroy Crossing (and the nearby Geike Gorge), Halls Creek, the Bungle Bungles, Kununurra and Lake Argyle (an inland sea created by damming the Ord River).

These are just some of the places that you can visit on your own or on a tour. Most of those we've mentioned can be reached in a conventional car.

Sources of information

Here are some websites with more information. (There are lots more!)

The Kimberley
Lots of links from our Kimberley page http://www.avalook.com.au/wa/kimberly.htm
National Parks in Western Australia
CALM = Dept of Conservation and Land Management
http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/national_parks/ has a detailed site, with maps, opening hours, facilities, tours, all you need to know. For passes, go directly to: http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/national_parks/park_passes.html
This detailed site is very useful if you know the names of towns and cities you might want to visit, so have a good map handy, go to the A-Z index, and search for place names. Most of the resulting pages have a wealth of information about things to see and do, the history of a place, places to stay and eat, tours, you name it. http://www.walkabout.fairfax.com.au/
Map maker and trip planner, plus lots of information. Some of their info is taken from the Walkabout site. http://www.travelmate.com.au/
Countrywide -- Your Guide to Perth and Fremantle
Includes full colour maps in PDF format.
Western Australian Tourism Commission
On this page you can search for tour operators and other info (accommodation, attractions and activities, events, tours, hire, transport, restaurants, shops, conventions, general). You can set up a personalised page.
Visit Western Australia (travel agent; lots of useful info)
Discover West Holidays (travel agent; lots of useful info)
An online guide to Perth -- also has maps.
Gateway to Perth
An assortment of Perth-related information.
Everything you ever needed to know about Perth's public transport system.
FreoNet (everything about Fremantle)
Rottnest Island
Just offshore from Fremantle (Perth's port city) is Rottnest Island. Once it was a prison; now it's a tourist destination. It's a lot of fun, and we recommend a visit if you're in the area and have the time. The island's web site is great. It's well organised and has a lot of useful information on accommodation, history, and things to see and do. You can even send electronic postcards of island scenes! http://www.rottnest.wa.gov.au/
Monkey Mia
Monkey Mia is famous for the dolphins that come to be fed and to interact with the human visitors. These dolphins are not kept in enclosures or required to put on a show; they just come into the shallow water of their own choice. The website has lots of information about the area, the dolphins, and the resort; you can book tours and accommodation through the site, too. It's a nice, no-nonsense site that loads quickly despite the photos. http://www.monkeymia.com.au/
The Nullarbor
The long stretch of coast along the Great Australian Bight, from approximately Esperence (WA) to Port Augusta (SA) is known as the Nullarbor. This website has an impressive collection of information about the history of the area, what to see, where to stay (very few places, mostly roadhouses, along the way), costs, etc. It's also very well organised, so you can easily find what you need. http://nullarbornet.com.au
Traveller's Club
A budget traveller's guide to WA. Includes a list of backpackers hostels and annotated links to lots of other useful information.
Backpacking Around
Check out http://backpackingaround.com for information on accommodation, tours, noticeboard, things to do and much more in Western Australia.
Alternative Traveller
This travel agent specialises in northern Australia -- the Kimberley region of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and North Queensland. I used them when I was planning my trip to Cape York several years ago, and found them very helpful as well as having an impressive selection of tours in their brochure.
Northwest Regional Airlines
Flies between Exmouth, Karratha, Port Hedland, Broome, Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek. (Note: Qantas flies to some of these towns from Perth, Darwin, or Alice Springs, but not between the towns.) http://www.northwestregional.com.au/
Air tours of coastal Western Australia
Wendy Mann, Chief Pilot and Manager, Geraldton Air Charter Pty Ltd, wrote to us: "We do a great scenic tour from Geraldton to the Abrolhos Islands - it includes a scenic flight over the Islands, landing at East Wallabi Island, snorkelling over beautiful coral in Turtle Bay, and a guided nature tour. Morning tea and lunch are provided. "We also specialise in tours to Monkey Mia and Coral Bay and in designing custom tours for clients. http://www.geraldtonaircharter.com.au/"
Western Australia small tour operator information
This booking service's page offers a wide variety of information to help people plan trips around Western Australia. They offer a complete booking service and work particularly with smaller operators, to try to bring them together with people who are looking for a "Real Outback" experience and match the right operator with visitors' expectations. http://www.westaustralia.com/