Welcome to Western Australia!
19 November 2014, 1:00PM
Bordered by the Indian Ocean and Southern Ocean, Western Australia is one of the oldest lands on earth with a living Aboriginal history dating back more than 40,000 years.
With a population of 2.5 million throughout the WA region, it offers an extensive range of qualities including minerals, premium wine, seafood, pearls and gourmet foods to name a few, with an economy dominated by its resources. This is certainly one of Australia’s best kept secrets. With a beautiful range of diverse landscapes and coastlines on offer, WA offers a fantastic outdoor playground for the active traveller.
This month I experienced WA first hand, with some fantastic South WA hospitality on offer.
With a direct flight from Auckland each day, this is certainly a hassle free way to get there. Flight time is 7.5hours, so plenty of time to catch up on the odd movie or three.
Spending just one night in Perth in the suburb of Ascot, a handy location to get to and from the airport. I stayed at the International on the Water situated on the Swan River. The Swan River spans 60km throughout Perth and runs to the Indian Ocean with some beautiful relaxing areas along the way.
The next day I took the coastal drive from Perth towards Margaret River. Along the way there was plenty to see with the beautiful seaside areas of Mandurah & Busselton.
The coastline offers some beautiful beaches down South WA, ideal for snorkelling, diving, surfing and of course relaxing.
On arriving in Mandurah, about an hour drive from Perth, there really is a relaxed feel to the place. Over recent year’s Mandurah has experienced rapid growth and this is certainly apparent with the new looking residential developments of apartments and luxurious homes popping up around the numerous canal waterways. A huge ocean marina showcases plenty of walkways, parks, beaches and shops among the many boats moored in the area.
The beautiful weather offered some fantastic beach time while in Busselton, a great coastal town with a unique attraction being the Busselton Jetty spanning 1.8km out to sea. The jetty was built over 150 years ago and recently refurbished including an Underwater Observatory.
Experiencing the Margaret River region first hand, the locals are super friendly, making us Kiwi’s feel right at home. The beaches offer some well known surf breaks, which have attracted a number of Kiwi surfers over the years. Surf conditions are so good in the South West that each year the world’s best surfers travel to the region for the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, a world champion surfing event. At the iconic Prevally beach there is an awesome cafe directly on the beach so you can watch the dolphins playing while you enjoy your coffee.
A surfer in action at Margaret River
Margaret River, well known as one of the best wine producing area’s in Australia has plenty of vineyards along the way as well as a few dotted brewery’s to experience. Some other key must see’s of the region include the Margaret River Chocolate Factory, Cheese factory and the local Bettenays Nougat - I was lucky to experience this and purchase plenty at the local Saturday market!
Staying at the Peppermint Brook Cottages while in Margaret River, which are set on 1.2 hectares just 700m from the town centre, offers a convenient location.
With an extensive gourmet food selection on offer in the region, this is undoubtedly a superb holiday destination for those of us who enjoy the outdoors as a well as good wine and fine food options.
Heading further south to Augusta, only 30minutes drive from Margaret River, is where the Blackwood River emerges into Flinders Bay. Augusta is a town without the tourist hype found in many of the other built up towns. It is the nearest town to Cape Leeuwin, nine kilometres away on the outermost southwest corner of the Australian continent. This area offers some unique landscape contrasts. On the western side there are boulders and a rugged coastline, whereas towards the east side, there are plenty of white sand beaches.
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
The Cape Leeuwin lighthouse, which is 115 years old, is the tallest lighthouse on the Australia mainland where the Indian & Southern Oceans meet.
Throughout the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park, there are loads of bush walks including old railways that go for miles. There is plenty of exploring to be done with the huge range of limestone Cave walks and experiences on offer in this part of the country. One of the most notable is the Jewel cave. It is WA’s largest tourist cave and offers a thrilling experience with the intricate formations, also home to a frozen waterfall!
Right through the south west the landscape is inspiring in its beauty and opulence, includes pristine beaches, rugged gorges, unique rock formations, towering forests and secluded waterfalls. The climate is also varied, from the Mediterranean climate of the south, to the tropical climate of the north, meaning that you can find summer in Western Australia at any time of year.
Before heading home again, I visited the city of Fremantle. This had a good vibe with plenty of history evident in the town centre with the buildings, wharf and inner city precinct.
I certainly will be back! There is so much more to see and experience in travels to come. Thanks for having me Western Australia.
My top 10 things to do list
• Enjoy the wine of the Margaret River region with a vineyard lunch
• Spend some beach – diving, swim, kitsurf, snorkel, or surf at one of the many beaches and waterways.
• Watch whales either from Cape Leeuwin lighthouse of jump on one of the many charter boats on offer
• Go cave exploring at any of the fantastic options between Margaret River & Augusta
• Visit historic Fremantle and experience the history of this coastal town
• Walk a section of the Cape to Cape track
• Head up the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and see where the Southern and Indian Ocean’s meet
• Experience the Margaret River Gourmet Escape
• Go mountain biking – this area is fast becoming a key destination for a range of mountain biking enjoyment to be had
• Enjoy a picnic on one of the many beautiful beaches along the coastline or the national parks
Events to Note
Augusta Adventure Festival November each year
Busselton Ironman December each year
Margaret River Gourmet Escape November each year
Busselton Festival of Triathlon May each year