Although tourists venture to the big cities on the Eastern side of Australia, Western Australia is a gem just waiting to be explored. Swim with whale sharks, head to the gold fields or surf the crystal-clear ocean. When you need a break, enjoy the Swan Valley vineyards and check out the city of Perth.
Cruise the Swan River past parks and skyscrapers to 40 vineyards in the Swan Valley. Or, stop by the Perth Zoo. Visit Rottnest Island, where you can explore history, bike ride to secret beaches and kayak to secluded bays. Feast on seafood and soak up the carnival atmosphere in historic Fremantle. Discover the lookouts, landscaped gardens and Aboriginal heritage of Kings Park. Swim, surf, fish, windsurf and sail on clean and uncrowded beaches like Cottlesloe or Scarborough. Then stroll the sunny boardwalks, beaches and marinas of the Sunset Coast.
This coastal paradise stretches from Cervantes and the moonscape Pinnacles Desert in the south to Exmouth and Ningaloo Reef in the north. Bushwalk past gorges, cliffs, winding rivers and white beaches in Kalbarri National Park. Four-wheel drive in Cape Range National Park, where spectacular gorges, carved by ancient rivers, meet Ningaloo's coral reefs, clear blue seas and sandy beaches. Swim with the docile whale sharks, the world's largest fish, at Ningaloo Reef between April and June. In the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, you can feed wild bottlenose dolphins at Monkey Mia and get up close to sea lions, manta rays, dugongs and humpback whales.
Tackle adventure on the rich red earth of the Gascoyne Murchison outback. Discover the national parks and snow-white beaches of Esperance and the South Coast. Witness the rugged outback come alive with the color of wildflowers in winter and early spring. Learn about the Aboriginal history of Mount Augustus and the Kennedy Range. Escape to the Wheatbelt's small, friendly towns and geological wonders like Wave Rock. Head to Kalgoorlie and the goldfields for gold rush history and unique flora and fauna. From the sparkling Southern Ocean to Western Australia's red heart of the outback, you won't forget these diverse and theatrical landscapes.
Ride a camel on Broome's breathtaking Cable Beach and see dinosaur footprints preserved in rock. Four-wheel drive the red dirt road from Broome along the Dampier Peninsula, where you can stay in an Aboriginal wilderness camp and see the church with a mother-of-pearl altar. Further north in Derby, watch the sun set over the King Sound and fly over the Horizontal Waterfalls on the islands of Buccaneer Archipelago. From Kununurra, you can explore the beehive-shaped domes of the Bungle Bungle Range and boat down the Ord River and vast Lake Argyle. Get up close to a huge treasure trove of ancient Aboriginal rock on the Burrup Peninsula, near Dampier. Further south, don't miss the spectacular red gorges, waterfalls and emerald swimming holes of Karijini National Park.
Dive the Southern Hemisphere's largest accessible dive wreck—the HMAS Swan—from Dunsborough. Visit world-class wineries, swim in the crystal clear waters of Bunker and ride the waves of Surfers Point in the lush Margaret River region. Here you can canoe through sun-speckled woodlands and relax on 75 spellbinding beaches. Check out fossils in Mammoth Caves, mirrored underwater lakes in Lake Cave and straw stalactites in Jewel Cave. Take a fairytale drive through towering karri forests to Hamelin Bay, where you can snorkel with stingrays and walk the idyllic sands of Boranup Beach. Visit romantic Augusta, where lighthouse-tipped Cape Leeuwin parts the Indian and Southern Oceans. Swim with dolphins in Mandurah and Bunbury and spot whales from the towns of Augusta, Albany and Dunsborough from June to October.