Things to Do in Western Australia
Swan River carves its way through the middle of the city of Perth before joining with the sea.
Fed by the Avon, Canning and Helena Rivers, the Swan River itself is only around 60km long. Over 130 species of fish inhabit the Swan River, including bull sharks, catfish, rays and bream. Bottlenose dolphins are also regularly seen in the estuary.
One of the easiest ways to appreciate the beauty of the Swan River is simply to take a walk along its banks. Cycling and walking paths line the foreshore, and parklands along the water’s edge keep things interesting. Circuiting the river by the Narrows Bridge and the Causeway is a casual 10km walk well worth undertaking.
Cruises along the Swan River are also popular, often lasting a few hours – or simply take the ferry across the harbour for a cheaper option. Jet boating and parasailing are activities less suited to appreciating the quiet beauty of the river, but guaranteed to get your heart pumping.
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.
At over a mile in length, the Busselton Jetty is the longest of its kind found anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere. Because Busselton’s Geographe Bay is far too shallow for ships, the Jetty was constructed as a means of transporting cargo to deeper water. Though ships no longer dock here today, Busselton Jetty is now a draw for legions of coastal visitors, who stroll the jetty, take in the views, and swim in the waters of Geographe Bay whenever it’s warm enough in summer. Aside from the scenic stroll over water, a popular activity at Busselton Jetty is visiting the Underwater Observatory, where a spiral staircase leads 26 feet to the ocean floor below. With 11 portholes for viewing beneath water, the Observatory offers a look at marine life inhabiting the artificial reef, which includes a colorful collection of coral that’s rare for the southern latitude.
Purnululu National Park, or the Bungle Bungles, is one the world’s most beautiful areas to be discovered as recently as it has. Not thirty years since its discovery, this majestic 239,723 hectare range located in Kimberley, Australia, features utterly unique and beautiful layered sandstone domes closely resembling beehives.
Once inhabited by aborigines, in this amazing park you will discover gorges, wallabies, and fan palm trees. In the plains surrounding the sandstone domes you can catch exotic plant-life, such as beautiful bright yellow acacia flowers and grevilleas.
The only way to discover the Bungle Bungles is on foot, but with temperatures averaging more than 30 Celsius (86 F), so make sure you come prepared. Luckily, on your journey you will discover fresh-water rock pools, so refilling bottles and going for a dip is only part of the fun.
More Things to Do in Western Australia
The eerie limestone shapes of the Pinnacles are a popular day trip from Perth, rising out of the desert floor like something from a lunar landscape. The weather-worn pillars were formed by zillions of seashells blown here from the sea many thousands of years ago.
The surrounding landscape is made up of desert and dunes. Bottlenose dolphins can be seen in nearby Hangover Bay, and in the park you’ll also see gray kangaroos, emus, cockatoos and other birds. Learn more about the ecology and biodiversity of this country at the Pinnacles Desert Discovery interpretive center, with displays, information, shops and lookout. While you’re here, take the opportunity to swim and laze on white-sand beaches, try fishing or snorkeling, or bring a picnic and cook up a storm on the park’s barbecues.
One of Australia's most stunning stretches of coastline, Cape Leveque is filled with saturated hues: brick-red cliffs, pearl-white sand and clear, blue water.
It’s fantastically remote but there is an excellent eco-resort run by the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land and miles of that glorious beach.
There are lots of activities available once you get to the cape. Glass-bottomed boats will give you a look at the beautiful corals and fish that live in the waters around the cape and the fishing is excellent especially for mackerel, tuna and sailfish. There are also cultural tours you can undertake with the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land which will teach you about their way of life on the cape.
It’s easy to indulge in gourmet food, great wines and river scenery on a great day out from Perth by taking a trip to the Swan Valley. Right on Perth’s doorstep, the Swan Valley kick-started the state’s flourishing wine industry.
The best way to experience the Swan Valley’s wineries, food outlets and scenery is by car or tour coach, following the Swan Valley Food and Wine Trail.
Sample wines at award-winning vineyards, buy a beer at a boutique brewery, see heritage buildings and colonial history at Guildford, and experience life on the Swan River with a cruise.
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.
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