and Perth is the most remote capital city on earth. The inland regions consist of vast deserts and mountain ranges in the north and extensive forests and bushlands in the south.
I’ve seen most of the Western Australia coast, from the border with South Australia on the Nullarbor Plain to the meeting of the oceans at Cape Leeuwin to the dolphins in Monkey Mia. Unfortunately I didn’t get further north than Monkey Mia and therefore can’t give you an opinion on places like Broome, the Bungle Bungles, Ningaloo Reef and Karijini National Park. Fortunately I do have quite a lot of highlights to share, all within a two days’ drive from Perth and, as such, easily accessible on short road trips.
Highlights on the Western Australia Coast
The obvious main highlight and potentially great base to explore the southwest coast, Perth has a lot to offer. Kings Park, for example, is one of the greatest public parks in the world, boasting spectacular views of the city and home to an excellent botanic garden.
It is the southwesternmost tip of Australia. The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse can be visited and climbed for pretty nice panoramic views.
Esperance and the South Coast
This quiet piece of paradise is made up of brilliantly white beaches, the bluest of waters and wild inland woods. The beaches are truly spectacular and gloriously empty.
Nambung National Park
Home to one of Western Australia’s most famous attractions, Nambung National Park lies a couple hours’ drive north of Perth. It is there that the Pinnacles make up one of the most surreal landscapes in all of Australia: thousands of limestone pillars rise up out of the sandy desert and create an otherworldly landscape. The best time to visit is around sunset.
Fremantle is essentially Perth’s coastal suburb. It is, however, totally different than the big city; it consists of beautiful buildings, great markets, a harbor and one of Australia’s most visited attractions: Fremantle Prison.
Valley of the Giants
The main attraction in this region in the south of Western Australia is the Tree Top Walk. This is not something for people who are afraid of heights, as you walk 40 meters high in the canopy of tall tingle trees. Those trees, by the way, are one of the tallest tree species in the world.
Kalbarri National Park
Kalbarri National Park can be summarized in only a few words: wildflowers, outback hiking, spectacular gorges and fantastic lookouts.
Monkey Mia and Shark Bay
An absolute highlight on the west coast, Monkey Mia is a prime dolphin watching destination in Australia. It is located in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area and is surrounded by calm bays, azure seas, soft sandy beaches and red flatlands.
Beautiful Margaret River is a small town in the southwest. It’s unique in the sense that it combines beaches, prehistoric caves, tall forests, world-class wineries and some of the best surf in the world.
Stromatolites in Hamelin Pool
Located on the Coral Coast – could a coast have a more inviting name? – the stromatolites in Hamelin Pool are the oldest living fossils on earth. There are only two places in the world where these 3.5-billion-year-old (!) organisms survive and this is by far the most accessible one. You just park your car and walk along a sandy beach and a boardwalk for a few minutes. Definitely an underrated highlight.