After coming off the back of a pretty shit start to the year, I felt like I needed a road trip to clear my head and finish off the year on a positive high note.
After some research I narrowed the search down to the state of Western Australia, due to its natural beauty I’d heard about and images I’d seen online. Seemed like a good mixture of an escape to natural surroundings to clear my head, plus a mix of local interaction and delights.
Western Australia takes up 30% of the area of Australia as a whole, so quite a vast expanse of land to cover, yet as I gave myself a fortnight to explore, I narrowed down my travels to the southern region in particular.
I ended up convincing a friend to join me, which would be nice for companionship. As most solo travellers know, travelling solo has its advantages and disadvantages. This time however I didn’t want to be alone, instead appreciate another person to explore with, as well as keeping my mind active after the shit year and before I went mentally insane!
We picked up a hire car at Perth airport, then drove off to explore what Western Australia had to offer us.
Gorgeous Beaches & Coastlines
This has to be the highlight for me and my first thought when I think of Western Australia. Each time I drove around the bend on the coast road, it offered stunning prestine clean coastlines with an overload of natural beauty, to the point where I didn’t know where to look, my eyes needed to stay on the road, yet they easily drifted off admiring the stunning ocean.
When driving the coast roads, be prepared to stop along the way, and all the time admiring the views.
Lucky Bay and Twilight Beach, near Esperance, is where I experienced the whitest of sand beaches in my life. The beaches are simply breathtaking with it’s clear shallow turquoise blue water, it’s the perfect location to sit back and admire the view or even head into the surf for a swim.
As with most beaches on Western Australia’s south coast, Little Beach offers a stunning white sand beach with the clearest of waters, although Little Beach also has large rocks leading from the hillside into the water, which adds to the gorgeous landscape and colour contrast for this area.
Cottesloe Beach is reachable by train or bus ride from Perth, and is popular for Perth locals taking a day trip out of the city. Perfect for a relaxing afternoon watching the sunset with fish & chips, or sitting back reading the Sunday newspaper.
Elephant Rock in Denmark is named after the rocky outcrop that resembles elephants standing in the waters. The bay is protected and a great location for swimming and snorkelling.
We were never bored of the natural sights to take in when travelling around Western Australia, there seemed to be always spectacular landscapes around each bend we drove, or other natural rock formations over the next ridge.
The Pinnacles consist of tens of thousands of limestone pillars rising from the sand, and stand up to five metres in height in the sands of Nambung National Park. Best time to visit The Pinnacles is early morning or late afternoon when the sunlight brings out the true colours of the limestone.
Wave Rock located inland near the town of Hyden, is a 14 metre high and 110m long granite rock formation that has been created over millions of years by erosion to form the shape that resembles an ocean wave. The attraction is popular for tourists admiring the vertical stripe formation on the wave caused during erosion, whilst also taking a photo as if they were actually surfing the “wave”.
Another type of rock is the extraordinary Stromatilites, where rocks older than 500 million years old are abundant in microbialites, and are considered living fossils, possibly the earliest record of life on earth. We viewed them in the water from the boardwalk above, whilst I put my tiny short lived life of say 90+ years into perspective against their lifetime.
Food and Wine
Whether you’re a true foodie or like me just enjoy eating food, you’ll welcome the world’s finest culinary delights when in Western Australia.
Margaret River is front of mind for food and wine for Western Australia, it’s well known for a reason as it produces approximately 20% of Australia’s premium wines. Jump on a wine tasting tour to sample the wine varieties at a range of cellar doors, whilst sampling gourmet food platters.
If wine isn’t your thing, there are many craft breweries available which may appeal more. Head to Little Creatures in Fremantle on a Saturday afternoon for a few drinks and pub grub with friends or even solo. Or drive to Swan Valley for a more rural laid back setting to taste a variety of local craft beers such as Feral Brewing or Homestead Brewery, whilst basking in the natural hillsides.
You’ll become a custom to fine fresh produce when travelling around Western Australia, in particular when in Perth whether it be world class restaurants in Perth, or a tucked away laneway bar.
The west side of Australia has so much natural beauty to take in, however due to its vast landmass, it’s not a quick road trip. As we only explored the southern region of Western Australia, I’m looking forward to returning to explore further up the west coast and even top end towards Northern Territory next time I’m in the region.
Hopefully I venture there sooner rather than later!