The sheer size of Western Australia (WA) is hard to comprehend. WA is the largest state occupying around a third of the continent. If WA was a country, it would be the 10th largest in the world. The entire United Kingdom almost fits into WA a staggering 11 times and England over 20 times.
Western Australia has so much to offer that planning a holiday is all about trying to decide what to see and do with the time you may have available. There are so many options, experiences, attractions, and places to visit.
The good news for us travellers is that Qantas has just brought this Awesome state ‘Down Under’ closer to us all. Today passengers on-board the new Qantas Dreamliner will be enjoying the inaugural non-stop flight from London Heathrow Airport directly into Perth.
When to Visit Western Australia
Western Australia is a year-round holiday destination. The summers can be hot especially the further north you venture. The south has more of a Mediterranean climate. Generally, the seasons will offer the following:
Summer (Dec- Feb)
Summer temperatures average 30°C/86°F between November and April. Maximum temperatures during the height of summer can reach and sometimes exceed the 40°C/104°F mark.
During winter the temperatures are usually around 19°C. Minimum temperatures occasionally drop to near 0°C on clear nights. During winter Perth goes through lengthy dry spells but when it does rain, it pours.
Spring (Sep-Nov) and Autumn (Mar-May)
These are my ideal times to visit Western Australia. The climate I find is perfect, not too hot and the changing seasons offer so much variety. If you love flowers then you need to plan a trip in Spring, particularly October and November as this is the best time to see the famous wildflowers.
Getting to Perth, Western Australia
From London’s Heathrow Airport you can be in Perth in just 17 hours, non-stop on the new Qantas Dreamliner. The flight arrives into the domestic terminal in Perth allowing you to clear customs and immigration and making any domestic connections seamless.
Other routes to Australia via the Qantas hub in Singapore connect you to a multitude of Australian cities. When travelling with Qantas if you are intending to use domestic connections go for an ‘Explorer’s Fare’ this offers you additional luggage allowance and discounted fares on most domestic routes and even onto New Zealand.
Qantas code share with Emirates, so if you prefer a connection through Dubai, that will also give you access to an ‘Explorer Fare’.
There a many other carriers to get you ‘Down Under’ through the middle East with Emirates, Etihad, Qatar or Oman Air. Alternatively look at Singapore Air, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Air, Thai Airways, Virgin and British Airways amongst many other possibilities.
Perth is the capital city of Western Australia and is the most isolated capital city in the world with a population of over 1,000,000 people. This vibrant city is nestled on the banks of the Swan River, between the Indian Ocean and the Nullarbour Desert.
Perth has a population of around 2.1 million, making it the fourth largest city in Australia. Perth is an exciting, modern city with excellent access to a variety of outdoor activities and attractions. The city offers a laid-back culture with an active beach scene and awesome nightlife.
There are stunning beaches close by the city, ideal for swimming, surfing and snorkelling. Popular beaches include: Cottesloe, try the Fish and Chips from Amberjack’s – delicious. Mettams Pool is the spot to head for snorkelling and Leighton Beach is the place to head if you enjoy kite-surfing.
A wander through King’s Park offers awesome views of the city and the Botanic Gardens are amazing. Head up north to Scarborough if clubbing is your scene and North Beach rocks; full of cafes, bars and awesome restaurants.
A ‘must do’ when in Perth is a visit to the ‘car-free’, Rottnest Island. Catch the ferry across and meet a cute quokka. This protected reserve is home to 63 beautiful beaches. The Basin is regarded as one of the best beaches while Strickland Bay is known for its surf breaks and Radar Reef for its reef breaks.
The many uncrowded beaches along the Perth coastline define the lifestyle: Perth is laid-back, fun and a safe city to explore.
Historically, the Perth region was home to the indigenous Nyoongar people who have been living in the area for the at least the past 40,000 years. The British settlers established a colony in 1829, naming it “Perth” after the city of Perth, Scotland.
From 1850, an influx of convicts boosted the size of the colony. The discovery of gold in the 1890s triggered a boom and other subsequent mineral discoveries, has been the key to the economy of Western Australia.
Getting around Western Australia
In Australia you drive on the left, the same side as the UK. The roads are in excellent condition and you can enjoy a journey of a life-time. Self-drive offers a multitude of routes and many Awesome sights, towns and attractions to plan a memorable journey through this incredible landscape.
Campervan (RV) is a popular way to explore this massive state and allows you to take advantage of the many national parks and secluded beach areas at your own pace.
If you hate driving, but you want to see the countryside, opt for a coach tour. There are excellent providers offering anything from direct transfers to amazing tours. A coach tour is great way to make mates while travelling or if you simply need a cost-effective means of transport from one point to another. The advantage of a guided tour is the wealth of local knowledge that comes along with the crew.
Domestic flights are affordable and the quickest way to traverse the large distances especially if you are bound with time restrictions. A flight from Perth to Learmouth Airport at Exmouth, for example, can cost as little as £35 if you purchase a Qantas ‘Explorer Fare’.
Western Australia Highlights
The wildflowers that erupt after the rains best time to see them is Oct – Nov
The Pinnacles Desert in the Nambung National Park
Geraldton‘s Northern Beaches – awesome for snorkelling
Horrocks voted Australia’s #1 Mainland Beach for 2018
The Pink Lake at Hutt Lagoon
Shark Bay — on the westernmost point of Australia, the small town is known for stromatolites and the dolphins at Monkey Mia. Get up early and go meet these gorgeous wild creatures, its truly an awesome experience.
Kalbarri National Park — explore vibrantly coloured gorges and cliffs sculpted by the Murchison River as it flows to the sea
Coral Bay and Exmouth — 1250km from Perth, are gateways to the magnificent Ningaloo Reef
*Ningaloo Reef is the world’s largest fringing reef and has to be on your itinerary for the following good reasons:
Dive amongst the Whale Sharks best from March to July
Between July and November marks the Humpback Whales season; the best months are August – September.
Giant Manta Rays are resident all-year round but the best months for interaction is from mid-May through to mid-September
The Turtle hatching season is a great time to experience these awesome creatures
Karijini National Park features huge canyons and gorges, awesome hiking trails through majestic scenery
Margaret River is renowned as a fine wine and a stunning surfing region
Mount Augustus is often claimed to be the largest monolith on Earth, rivalling the better-known Uluru in Northern Territory for size
Purnululu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring the mysterious Bungle Bungle dome formations
The Southern Forests region, known for its lush ancient forests around Denmark and Pemberton where towering karri and marri trees fringe the rugged coastline of D’Entrecasteaux National Park
Watch out for my next blog posts for Western Australia which is going to focus on three Awesome Road-Trips. My favourite way to explore a destination – self-drive.