Australia’s West Coast is something of an underrated gem when it comes to travelling Down Under, due to the huge popularity of the country’s eastern attractions. However for those that enjoy exploring the great outdoors and finding their own space, there are few better places.
Western Australia is the country’s biggest state, and indeed one of the world’s largest territories. Thanks to Perth, over 90% of the population lives in the state’s southwest corner. The result of this is, if you wish to find a spot for some peaceful relaxation, you’re in the perfect place.
The most convenient way to travel the west coast is by having your own set of wheels; picking up a station wagon shouldn’t prove too much of a problem, particularly if you’re starting in Perth. It may even be possible to pick up a bargain from a fellow traveller that needs to get rid of their ride before imminently having to leave the country. All you need is a roadworthy examination and certificate of registration and you’re good to go.
There are also plenty of rental firms around if you’d prefer to go down that route. This may be more advantageous for a short trip, but those looking to spend more than a few weeks might feel that buying a vehicle and selling it on – for a potential profit – is more suitable.
It may also be worth considering a camper van, although they can be expensive to buy. Hire companies often offer discounts for longer rentals, while there may even be the potential to relocate a camper between cities for a nominal fee, and usually with some fuel thrown in. Cars equipped with rooftop tents are also becoming ever-popular both for hiring and buying.
Hop-on, hop-off buses are another option for getting round, although they can be expensive and perhaps reduce the freedom afforded by being your own boss, particularly when it comes to exploring the areas where you wish to stop.
Spending the night
There are countless camping opportunities along the west coast that are sure to dazzle, thanks to the lack of other people. Having your own vehicle means stocking up with camping gear, food and supplies is much easier, and means you can explore to find the ideal spot to set up camp.
Camping on the beach is a rite of passage for most travellers, although it may require a permit so be sure to check this to stay on the right side of the law. Try the northern beaches of Broome that stretch up to James Price Point for free camping beside the sand dunes and captivating rock formations.
Sights to behold
North east of Broome lies Talbot Bay, which can be reached by boat. The bay’s islands are simply stunning and the world’s only two horizontal waterfalls can be found here in the Buccaneer Archipelago. Meanwhile burnt red earth stretches right to the coastline of the Dampier Peninsula, while the towering rocks that guard land from sea are an incredible sight at sunset.
Margaret River lies just a few hours south of Perth, and is a superb spot to relax and enjoy a beachside way of life. Surfers can hit the popular and accessible Main Break, or venture down dirt tracks to find more secluded spots. Wine connoisseurs will want to explore the regions offerings of sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon, with numerous vineyards residing just minutes from town.
Check out Kalbarri to the north of Perth for plunging cliffs and dramatic river canyons punctuated, by a spot of dolphin and whale watching; while the Pinnacles are closer to the capital in the Nambung National Park.
If you’re a fan of road-tripping and adventure, Perth is also the fastest place on the west coast from which to reach the big red centre of Oz. The drive to Uluru will take around 25 hours, but it’s well worth it to visit this iconic attraction, and the spectacular Kings Canyon that is found nearby, taking in the alien landscape along the way.
With all this to offer, make sure you take the chance to explore the vastly ignored west side of Australia when you visit.