About a year ago I started chatting with the fine folks over at Western Australia Tourism about putting a trip together. At the time they were running a contest featuring their picks for Western Australia Bucket List experiences, which I also wrote about here. Well, it’s been a long time in the planning but I am finally leaving today to visit Western Australia and tackle my own version of the bucket list experiences.
Why Western Australia?
I’ve only been to Australia once but I loved everything about the experience. Australia did a great job of both surprising and comforting me at the same time. It’s a massive country though and to really explore it would truly take a lifetime. I think that’s what many of us here in the U.S. at least don’t realize, that there’s a lot to do in Australia aside from the usual top five lists. Western Australia piqued my interest in particular because of Bill Bryson, the famous travel writer.
His book “In a Sunburned Country,” painted a picture of Australia I had never seen before. It wasn’t all about Sydney and kangaroos, he described a massive and endlessly fascinating place that was unknown to me. He also spent a fair amount of time featuring Western Australia, somewhat erroneously calling Perth the most remote city in the world. He shared stories of this far away land that included dazzling vistas and quirks of nature like stromatolites, the longest living organisms on the planet. At the time I thought it was a place I would never see in person, which is why it’s so humbling to me that today I will board a flight that will (eventually) take me to this beautiful state in Australia.
What Am I Doing?
Western Australia is the largest state in Australia and is frankly enormous. It covers one-third of the Australian continent and is about four times the size of Texas. Needless to say then that deciding what to do in just ten days there isn’t easy. I know I will only get to see a fraction of what looks like a beautiful place, but I think I’ve chosen well.
Perth and Surrounding Areas
The capital of Western Australia, Perth is one of the most isolated big cities in the world. Usually the climate in Perth is very Mediterranean, but as you may know this year all of Australia is experiencing tremendous heat waves, especially in Perth. I’m not going to let that get me down though and hope to see as much of the city and environs as possible. In addition to the city sights, I’ll also be doing a few day trips to nearby Rottnest Island, The Pinnacles and Freemantle. Freemantle is of particular historical interest to me as it was the first part of the area that was colonized and along with ten other places in Australia has been recognized by UNESCO as an Australian convict site. More than historic buildings though I hope to see what makes Perth tick through its restaurants and cafes. Cities like Perth have great stories to tell and I can’t wait to discover them.
This coastal region lies along the state’s mid-western coastline and includes many of the features tourists flock to see. It’s home to the Ningaloo Reef where in winter months whale sharks and many other forms of marine life pass through giving snorkelers once in a lifetime opportunities to swim with some amazing animals. But there’s much more to do along the coast than just that and I’ll be experiencing some of the best activities the region has to offer. I start off in the oddly named town of Monkey Mia where I’ll get to see first hand the oldest living organisms on the planet, stromatalites. Then I’ll join an overnight kayak adventure that will take me deep in the natural beauty of the coastal region, while at the same time learning more about the area’s original inhabitants and why this part of the country is so important to them. It should be an amazing experience and I can’t wait to share it.
This massive region of Western Australia covers more than 50% of the state and includes vast distances and stunning landscapes. I had to make some really hard decisions because I felt like I could spend all of my time here and enjoy every second of it. What I will be doing though sounds amazing and I simply can’t wait. My visit to the Outback starts in Kalgoorlie, a gold rush town that is the starting point for many to this beautiful region. From there I will grab a car and drive along the Golden Quest Discovery Trail, a self-drive route that features some amazing places like Lake Ballard, a remote salt lake home to some very unusual outdoor sculptures. I’m really looking forward to exploring this part of the state on my own; seeing what makes it so remarkable.
So this is a quick overview of just some of the things I’ll be doing in Western Australia. I know there’s a lot I will be missing and I’m sorry for that. But that just means that I’ll have to come back one day and see everything else. I’ll be chronicling everything as I experience it of course, so please be sure to follow the #WABucket hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to see my latest adventures.
Is there anything you want to know about Western Australia or think I should do while there?
All photos courtesy of Western Australia Tourism