Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Western Australia
With a history dating back to 1897 and a far-reaching reputation, the Fremantle Markets are among the most famous of their kind in Western Australia, and the lively weekend markets are equally popular with locals and tourists. Housed in a striking Victorian market hall, restored in the 1970s, the legendary markets feature more than 150 stalls split between two sections – The Yard and The Hall.
Visiting the Fremantle Markets is an experience in itself, with huge crowds turning out each weekend, and an array of street entertainers, artists and musicians providing entertainment. This is the place to buy fresh farmer’s produce, organic delicacies and artisan foods, or feast on tasty street food. It’s not just food on sale either – the eclectic stalls include clothing and accessories by local and upcoming designers; unique art and handicrafts; great value cosmetics and toiletries; and a myriad of souvenirs.
Devoted to telling the story of the more than 40,000 ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) soldiers that fought in the First World War, the National Anzac Centre is one of Australia’s most important military museums. It’s housed in a purpose-built building in Albany Heritage Park.
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.
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.
With its sandy cove, crystalline waters and close proximity to the Ningaloo Reef, it’s easy to see why Turquoise Bay is renowned as one of Australia’s most idyllic beaches. Running around 600-meters along the west coast of the North West Cape, the Turquoise Bay Beach is one of the many natural highlights of the Cape Range National Park and a hotspot for sunseekers.
The most popular activities at Turquoise Bay are swimming and snorkeling, and the warm, shallow waters are teeming with colorful corals, tropical fish and starfish. For avid snorkelers and scuba divers, there are also plenty of opportunities for spotting reef sharks, sea turtles, manta rays and dolphins in the surrounding waters.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Telling the story of Australia’s whaling industry and the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company—the last of the country’s whaling stations to close its doors, back in 1978— Albany's Historic Whaling Station offers insight into whale hunting, as well as the chance to explore onboard a real whale-chaser ship.
More Things to Do in Western Australia
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.
With its multi-hued, sandstone hiking trails and rugged, coastal sea cliffs, Kalbarri National Park is one of Australia’s most awe inspiring corners. From the lookout atop the Z Bend trail, your gaze will fall 500 feet (152 m) to the Murchison River below, which has slowly carved a colorful gorge through millions of years of erosion. Down south along the coast, you’ll find Red Bluff Beach, where dusty red sandstone and turquoise waters add color and flare to the cove. Keep an eye out for echidna, wallabies, and 150 species of birds, as well as the whales, dolphins, and seabirds that soar and splash within eyesight from the park's six miles (9.5 km) of coastal cliff trails.
Given the park's location seven-hours from the major city of Perth, many visitors choose to experience Kalbarri as part of a multi-day, guided tour with transportation included. Tours range from three days to 19 days of exploring the Western Australian coastline with stops for outdoor activities and visits to other natural attractions, like Pinnacles Desert and Monkey Mia.
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.
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.
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.
The Round House, a historic 12-sided building, was built in 1831 and is the oldest public building in Western Australia. Travelers can tour this unique architectural destination and learn about the original settlement, as well as how this iconic building was once used to house local lawbreakers.
Visitors can learn about the Fremantle Round House's colorful past and also get an up close look at the famous Whaler’s Tunnel—the oldest underground tunnel in Western Australia. Completed in 1838, the original tunnel spanned some 64 meters, but today measures just 46. And while the 1 p.m. sound call that once rang out daily to alert ships on sea to the official time no longer occurs, travelers can sometimes catch a reenactment ceremony put on by some of the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides.
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.
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.
Travelers in search of Australian history, culture and traditions will find all this and much more at the Fremantle Arts Centre in Western Australia. This popular destination attracts as many locals as it does visitors, thanks to a long list of exhibits, events, class offerings and outdoor concerts. Lovely gardens and a quiet café offer up the perfect spot to enjoy a bit of sunshine and relaxation, and the Sunday music sessions are free to the public and attract a diverse crowd. Travelers say the modern art displays and picturesque landscapes make this an essential stop on any visit to Western Australia.
Perth’s sprawling Kings Park crowns a hilltop of natural bushland on the city’s western border. Taking up 1,000 acres (400.5 hectares) of parklands, botanic gardens and bushland, the park was established in 1872.
Western Australia is known for its superb array of wildflowers and flowering trees, and Kings Park is one of the best places in the state to see them.
Visit during September for the spring wildflower display, or year round to take the elevated Federation Walkway across the treetops.
Take a free guided walk, or follow the signs to see the state’s iconic trees, including karri, jarrah, native Christmas trees and pines. The restaurants, cafes and kiosks in the park offer a range of meals and refreshments to recharge your batteries.
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.
Standing watch over the southwestern tip of Australia and marking the meeting point of the Indian and Southern Oceans, the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse boasts a dramatic location. The 39-meter-high tower also makes a striking photo opportunity, with its stark white brick set against a backdrop of deep blue ocean and crashing waves. As well as being located within the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, the famous lighthouse serves as the starting point of the renowned Cape-to-Cape hiking trail, which runs for 135km along the coast.
Built in 1895, the historic lighthouse remains in use, but is now equally significant as a tourist attraction. Tours allow visitors to peek behind-the-scenes of the lighthouse, see the old waterwheel and climb the 186 steps to the top-floor viewing deck. A visitor center, shop and café are also located on-site.
With its gaping canyons, red sand beaches and soaring limestone cliffs, the rugged landscapes of the Cape Range National Park are a photographer’s dream. Stretching for 47,655 hectares along the North West Cape, the protected area includes more than 50km of sandy beaches and lies close to the famous Ningaloo Reef.
Highlights for visitors include boat tours beneath the towering cliffs of Yardie Creek; swimming and snorkelling at Turquoise Bay or Oyster Stacks; bird watching at the Mangrove Bird Hide; or driving through the jaw-dropping scenery of Charles Knife Canyon or Shothold Canyon. Hiking, bushwalking and camping are also popular pastimes with marked trails like Mandu Mandu Gorge and the Badjirrajirra Loop Trail running through the steep gorges and hundreds of natural caves to explore along the way.
The Cape Range National Park is also renowned for its varied wildlife with red kangaroos, wallaroos, emus and perenties frequently spotted; unique wildflowers like Sturt desert peas blooming throughout the summer; and a startling array of birds including mangrove fantails, mangrove whistlers and yellow white eyes.
A pocket of wilderness stretching along Australia’s southwestern coast, the Boranup Karri Forest is one of the main natural attractions of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. A historic land belonging to the ancient Wardandi tribe, today the Boranup Forest is best known as a recreational area, with a network of walking trails, a number of karst caves, a forest maze and a camping area.
The most notable attraction of Boranup is its native Karri trees, pale-barked trees that can reach heights of over 60-meters, making them among the tallest in the world. As well as admiring the unique trees, bushwalkers can spot an array of wildlife, including kangaroos, emus, a wide variety of exotic birds and a colourful array of wildflowers during the summer months.
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