This great state in Australia has more than its fair share of gems. Whether you’re escaping the crowds or you’re looking for a hidden place that none of the ‘Insta influencers’ have flocked to yet, this is the guide for you. There are spots to discover in metro Perth, right up to the Kimberley, and down to the Great Southern regions.
If you’re a Perth local, thinking about a staycation to avoid long travel time, you’re in luck. You might’ve lived here all your life but there are still plenty of things to do and see, ones that you may have never heard of.
Lions Lookout Lesmurdie
Located in the Korung National Park, the Lions Lookout walk trail is a 4 km loop that offers spectacular views over the Perth coastal plain. The wide track is an easy 1.5 hour walk. Enjoy the views and bush that explodes into wildflower colour over spring. If your walking shoes are looking for a longer trek, try the 7.2km Victoria Reservoir Walk Trail, also in the national park. This one is a 3 hour circuit.
If it’s a warm day and you’re up for historical insights, head to the coast and learn about Perth’s shipwreck past. The coast along the City of Wanneroo is littered with ships that ran into some misfortune between 1656 and 1963. Onshore signs provide history, stories, and photos of four wrecks in Alkimos, Jindalee, Two Rocks, and Yanchep. The shipwreck trail also has a free mobile app that provides videos, quizzes, and games.
Swan View Tunnel
Head out for a day in Swan View and discover a railway tunnel from the 1890s. Located in the John Forrest National Park, the Swan View Tunnel was reopened as part of a heritage trail. Take a picnic or just some fabulous photos of the family enjoying a day out.
If you fancy a road trip east, there are a few stops that are a bit out of the way but worthwhile.
Lake Ballard, Menzies
The town opened in the gold rush days of the 1890s. The town’s grand buildings including the railway station and nursing post were built from local sandstone. Located 730 km north-east of Perth, Menzies is located on the Golden Quest Discovery Trail.
Head 55km out to the white salt plains of Lake Ballard to visit the largest outdoor art gallery on Earth. The 51 Antony Gormley sculptures are made of black steel and stand tall across the 7km of flat salt lake.
Gwalia Ghost Town
If you love the charm of an old ghost town, Gwalia is worth a visit. Also situated on the Golden Quest Discovery Trail, Gwalia has around a dozen buildings to discover. Check out the miners’ cottages, single men’s camps, Patroni’s Guest House, and Mazza’s Store plus relics of the past.
South West Region
Blackwood River, Augusta
Augusta may only be a 30-minute drive from the bustling town of Margaret River but it’s very different. While Margaret River has grown and been developed in the last two decades, Augusta’s main street has barely changed.
As you drive through the town, you’ll catch a glimpse of where the stunning Blackwood River meets the mouth of the ocean. Stop to enjoy a drink at the Augusta Hotel and marvel at the 180-degree views down the river and across East Augusta. Head just out of town towards the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, and you’ll stumble across pretty bays and beaches looking out over the rugged waters. Throw in a line in the river or ocean to catch a feed of herring or whiting. Just before sunset, watch the huge stingrays scavenge around the bait boards.
Mandalay Beach, Walpole
Walpole is known for its Valley of the Giants tree top walk. Suspended 40 metres above the ground through the tops of the tingle trees, the Walpole-Nornalup National Park is a worthwhile visit. Don’t miss Mandalay Beach while you’re in town; there’s fishing, gorgeous sunsets, and the Norwegian barque.
Great Southern Region
Fonty’s Pool, Manjimup
The 120-year old Fonty’s Pool is a beautiful freshwater dam that covers nearly one acre of land, where swimmers take an industrial-sized black tyre to float around the pool. The scene is set with weeping willow trees and an old diving board. If you prefer to keep two feet firmly on the ground, check out the town’s famous produce, the black truffle, and pink lady apples. The Deanmill Heritage Trail is a 5.5 km walk along an old rail line through bush and farmland. Just out of town, visit the 500 year old, 45 metre high King Jarrah Tree.
Chainsaw Sculptures, Albany
Talented artist Darrel Radcliffe has carved some incredible wooden pieces. On Chainsaw Sculpture Drive, you will discover a cello, a girl, and a horse, a rhino, birds and monks. Don’t miss the usual Albany landmarks while you’re in the area. The Gap and Natural Bridge, plus a trek through the Torndirrup National Park. Visit Albany’s whaling station and the National Anzac Centre to learn about the history of the area.
The Northern Territory has the iconic Uluru but Western Australia has Mount Augustus. What many Australians don’t realise is that Mount Augustus is 2.5 times larger than Uluru. Thought to be 1750 million years old and 1,105 metres tall, this rock is one you can still climb. If the walking trails look too arduous or it’s stinking hot, you can always take the easy way and drive around the 49 km loop trail to discover ancient rock engravings, gorges, and plains. Unlike Uluru, Mount Augustus has vegetation on the rock. Take a dip in the nearby Cattle Pool if you’re hot from the walk.
Charles Knife Canyon
While the hordes of tourists are goggling at Ningaloo, you can beat the crowds and head out to Charles Knife Canyon. Just 21 kilometres south of Exmouth, you’ll take in the view of the bright red rocky landscape on the Badjirrajirra walk. The Exmouth Gulf can be seen from the Exmouth Gulf. The incredible valleys and canyons are enough to rival the cutest turtle pic.
Gibb River Road
If you’re up for an extreme adventure, the Gibb River Road is a great option. From Derby to Kununurra, the mainly unsealed 647 km road can have long corrugated stretches. It’s best to travel in the dry season between May and November when the rivers and waterfalls still have water but the picturesque gorges aren’t too hot to walk through. You can also visit ancient Aboriginal rock art, the Mitchell Plateau, fish for a barra, and spot a freshwater crocodile.
Mirima National Park
The Kimberley has some of the most spectacular national parks in the country. Not all are as widely photographed as the Bungle Bungle. The Mirima National Park isn’t nearly as well known and has the nickname Hidden Valley National Park. Located on the eastern side of the Kimberley, the park is home to some incredible rock formations that are often referred to as the mini Bungle Bungle. Take in the amazing sights in any of the four walk trails.
As we're sure you've gathered, Western Australia is a beautiful place. Whether you're looking to explore Western Australia as a local to the state or an interstate visitor, our domestic travel cover plan assists with personal liability, luggage, unexpected trip cancellation*, and more*.