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Thursday, 17 November 2011
Why Choose to Visit Western Australia?
Why Western Australia?
Australia is a dream holiday destination for many people, but most travellers are drawn to the hugely iconic Australian destinations of Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, the tropical paradise of the Whitsunday Islands, Uluru, or the majesty of the Great Ocean Road. However, the often overlooked Western Australia, which is the largest state of Australia and occupies the whole of the Western third of Australia, has much to recommend it as the perfect holiday destination. Western Australia covers an area of around 2.5 million kilometres, and is bounded by South Australia and the Northern Territory to the east and the Indian Ocean to the north and west. Western Australia has a vast range of climates, habitats and geographical features. There are miles of silver sand beaches to be enjoyed in Western Australia, abundant and diverse wildlife to be watched, forests to be hiked through and hot, burning deserts to camp in.
Perth, State Capital of WA
About Western Australia
The state capital of Western Australia is Perth, and of the approximately 2.2 million inhabitants of Western Australia, 85% of them live in Perth and the south western part of the state. The coastal region of the south west has a Mediterranean climate and was originally forested and is the home of the Karri tree, which is one of the tallest trees in the world. This part of Western Australia is now an important area for agricultural production, and has many different eco-systems and a huge range of native species, many of them now, unfortunately, under threat. The central parts of Western Australia are arid semi-desert or desert. These desert regions have very few inhabitants and the major industry is mining. The temperatures in these desert areas can be very extreme, with the hottest temperature recorded in 1998 in the Pilbara being 50.5 degrees centigrade. In the extreme north of Western Australia, lies the ancient region of the Kimberley, which has a tropical climate with a rainy season and a dry season.
Western Australia's First Inhabitants
There is a lot of academic controversy on when the first humans arrived in Western Australia, but estimates vary between 40,000 to 60,000 years ago. The Kimberley region especially has many ancient Aboriginal rock art sites. The first European believed to have first set foot in Western Australia is Dirk Hartog, a Dutch adventurer who made landfall in 1616. The British and French started to explore the coast of Western Australia during the 18th century and settlements were founded at what is now known as Albany and on the Swan River, later becoming known as the towns of Perth and Fremantle. The growth of Western Australia was given an enormous boost in the 1890s when gold deposits were discovered around Kalgoorlie. Some of the major industries of Western Australia today are agriculture, mining and tourism.
Travelling Around Western Australia
So how do you get to Western Australia and then travel the huge distances between destinations when you arrive? International flights into Western Australia mainly arrive into Perth, with a few arriving in Broome. Perth is a vibrant modern city, with a good public transport system and plenty of hire cars and taxis available. If you want to travel on from Perth, there are domestic flights available to the other major tourist destinations in Western Australia such as Kalbarri, Broome, Monkey Mia, Kalgoorlie, Albany, Exmouth and Kununurra from Skywest, Virgin Blue and Qantas. For those who prefer to watch the scenery go by, Greyhound Australia runs frequent services between Perth and Darwin that stops at all major centres on the route, though be warned the journey from Perth to Broome takes around 34 hours! Perth is also where the Indian Pacific Railway starts its long journey across the Nullarbor to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. The more adventurous can hire a car, a four wheel drive or a motor home. There are excellent campsites throughout Western Australia, and this is an excellent way of exploring the region. There are also a wide range of organised tours that you can book on. These tours generally depart from Perth or Broome, and can range from basic backpacker camping trips through to luxury accommodated tours.
Pinnacles Desert, WA
Tourist Attractions and Things To Do
So where can you holiday in Western Australia and what can you do? Perth, the state capital, is a beautiful city situated on the Swan River. Perth offers excellent shopping, dining and night life. Walk through the beautiful King’s Park, take a boat trip down the river to Fremantle and Rottnest Island, or go and watch a major sporting event. If wine is your thing, visit the beautiful Margaret River area and visit the wineries and revel in the stunning scenery. Travel up the coast stopping of at the Pinnacles Desert and at Kalbarri for swimming, fishing and the natural wonders of the Kalbarri National Park. Marvel at the dolphins at Monkey Mia and go whale watching or snorkelling in the pristine, clear waters of the Ningaloo reef at Exmouth. Travel inland to explore the Pilbara and Karijini National Park. Further north, relax in the tropical climate of Broome, the gateway of the Kimberley. Learn about Broome’s pearling history, ride a camel on Cable Beach or take a trip to Cape Leveque. Travel through the ancient landscapes of the Kimberley, to visit the Gorges, drive the Gibb River Road, take a boat trip on Lake Argyle or investigate the famous Bungle Bungles.
Cable Beach, Broome
There is truly something for everyone in Western Australia. There is a huge range of accommodation to choose from, ranging from luxury resorts and hotels, to remote eco resorts, self catering apartments, basic backpackers, to camping and caravan parks. You can see crocodiles, kangaroos, whale sharks, emus, dolphins, whales, turtles and pelicans. There is excellent hiking, fishing, diving, cycling and surfing. Eating ranges from sophisticated restaurants with international cuisine in the towns to cooking dinner on a fire under the stars. Learn about the indigenous aboriginal culture and visit the excellent museum and art gallery in Perth. Western Australia is so vast that it is unlikely that you will ever be able to see it all, but it is never too soon to start!