° ° °
° ° °
SAMPLE TRAVEL ITINERARY IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
° ° °
WESTERN AUSTRALIA ESSENTIAL TRAVEL GUIDE AND TRAVEL TIPS
WHAT ARE THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA?
Western Australia is a vast territory, almost as big as the European Union, and represents the least visited frontier across Australia. Reading articles or watching documentaries dedicated to Australia, you will rarely hear about places like Karijini, Shark Bay or Purnululu: all destinations still not very known among tourists, but so beautiful, to seriously compete with Australia's most popular attractions. A trip to Western Australia is especially recommended for nature lovers, mainly thanks to the unique geology and extreme landscapes, while, apart the capital Perth, you will not find large cities or shopping districts. In Western Australia there are almost all animals that can be found in the rest of Australia, plus some endemic species (such as the cute quokka), while you will not find koalas, who prefer instead the eucalyptus forests of the eastern regions. The major attractions in Western Australia are:
These are just the main attractions in Western Australia, scattered along the itineraries usually offered by tour operators. For people wishing to discover more, there is probably all the coastline south of Perth and south of the State, among beautiful sea and forests.
HOW TO GET TO WESTERN AUSTRALIA?
Generally, Western Australia tours start either in Perth, Broome or Darwin. Perth has better connections compared to Darwin, with many direct flights from Middle East and Asia, while Darwin is a little bit more isolated. There aren't many international flights to Broome, but a stop in either Perth or Darwin is normally required. If the Western Australia tour ends in a different city, you may return to the departure city by an internal flight (thus closing the "circle"), although some operator offers the possibility to go back on the same bus used for the tour (but this may be very long). If you are arriving in Perth, as the flights getting there are usually quite tiring, you may wish to find a driver waiting for you, rather than looking for a taxi or take public transport: Airport City Transfer offers full peace of mind ride from Perth airport to Perth, Fremantle or to any place where you will spend your first night.
IS INDEPENDENT TRAVEL IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA SAFE, OR IS BETTER TO JOIN A GROUP?
Australia is a safe destination, people are friendly and helpful, while crime is a largely unknown: all factors which definitely encourages to travel independently. However, you must not underestimate the issues posed by the extreme environment and by the enormous distances that separate the major points of interest: distances that are often filled only by an arid desert, where it may be difficult to handle any emergency. Although Australia is a well developed country, with an excellent quality of life and good services, one should not forget that only a small fraction of the continent is actually civilized and that everything else is in the hands of a wild nature, seeing extreme weather and dangerous (poisonous) animals. Another aspect not to be underestimated is the cost of living: apart from fuel, everything else may cost up to 3 times more than your country (at least comparing to European Union average) and traveling in a group, would allow to spread fixed costs over a larger number of participants.
In general, if you are a small group of friends and the itinerary includes only "official" paved roads, you may consider going on your own, with a fair compromise on cost and safety. On the other hand, if you are traveling alone or if you want to visit remote places (just a "simple" trekking to Karijini is strongly discouraged if done independently), it is certainly best to join a group. There are many tour operators that offer itineraries in Western Australia to suit any need, with different price ranges depending on the services: the trip illustrated in this travelogue was made by Adventure Tours Australia on a vehicle suitable for all types of roads and a maximum capacity of 20 people, with overnight stays in hostels or tents and total self-sufficiency with the provisions.
HOW MANY DAYS SHOULD BE PLANNED FOR A TRIP TO WESTERN AUSTRALIA?
Probably one of the first difficulties that arise when deciding to go to Australia is just time needed, as the country is huge, with enormous distances that separate the various attractions. For a classical tour route that covers Perth and the surrounding area, before going to the north onto Kalbarri, Shark Bay, Coral Bay, Exmouth, Karijini and Broome, a minimum of 15 full days should be planned. If, once in Broome, you also want to visit the Kimberly region, you need to add between 6 and 12 days, depending on the attractions you are interested in (certainly, you will not want to miss the Devonian reef and Purnululu / Bungle Bungles National Park). Much of the organized tours use the provided schedule. Other tours, especially for the part from Perth to Broome, tend to cut the time spent between Shark Bay, Coral Bay and Exmouth, reducing the overall itinerary to 10 or 11 days, but providing only one free day at each of the three destinations just mentioned. This can be acceptable during the Austral summer, but in winter, between May and September, the best time to observe whale sharks and other marine fauna, is basically required to choose whether to take an overland ride to enjoy landscapes and kangaroos, or go snorkeling, without any chance to participate in both the activities.
WHAT IS THE BEST SEASON TO GO TO WESTERN AUSTRALIA?
People generally go to Western Australia for landscapes and nature, hoping to spend outside as many hours as possible, and therefore looking for best weather conditions. So, what is the best time to visit Western Australia? Answering this question is not very simple, as Western Australia is a huge territory having different weather patterns. Thus, let's see what is the best season to go to Western Australia, depending on the regions that you would like to visit:
OTHER USEFUL THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO WESTERN AUSTRALIA
° ° °
WESTERN AUSTRALIA TRAVELOGUE AND PHOTOS
|<<-- GO Most trips in Western Australia will either start or finish in Perth, the main gateway to this part of the country. The city and the surroundings have much to offer: the modern downtown, Kings Park and Fremantle with its old prison, are attractions that shouldn't be missed during any trip in Western Australia.|
|<<-- GO Less than an hour sailing from Fremantle, Rottnest Island offers a real subtropical paradise with large white sandy beaches and coral reefs, quokka (a small rare marsupial) and remains from a recent past, as the island was an important base to patrol Australia's largest port.|
|<<-- GO Traveling from Perth to the north, you shouldn't miss a visit to the spectacular white sand dunes of Lancelin, where you can try out the sandboarding (a kind of snowboarding, but on the sand). A little further north, The Pinnacles Desert will surprise visitors with its rock formations that emerge from vivid ocher-colored sand.|
|<<-- GO Kalbarri National Park offers spectacular landscapes among canyons and ancient rocks shaped by Murchison river over millions and millions of years. The bravest ones will be able to experience the thrill of abseiling with ropes along a tall wall of orange rock.|
|<<-- GO For its particular geology and biodiversity, Shark Bay is one of the most interesting destinations in Western Australia. Here you can see a kilometers of beaches made exclusively of small white shells, while Monkey Mia will entertain visitors with dolphins. Shark Bay is also one of the few places in the world to observe live stromatolites directly from a beach.|
|<<-- GO North of the Tropic of Capricorn, along the Indian Ocean shores, Coral Bay offers the opportunity to swim along one of Australia's richest coral reefs, sometimes reachable by swimming directly from the beach. An excursion aboard a quad bike, can be instead a good way to visit sand dunes and remote beaches.|
|<<-- GO The town of Exmouth is located on a peninsula stretching out in the Indian Ocean: it is part of the Cape Range National Park for its biodiversity and for the beautiful landscape dominated by narrow gorges, magnificent coral beaches and endless Savannah. During the Southern Winter, Exmouth is one of the best places in the world to observe the whale sharks.|
|<<-- GO Karijini National Park is one of the most spectacular places in Australia: its canyons, sometimes so narrow to require walking in a single line, offer a glimpse into the geological history of the planet, as most of the rocks are up to 2.5 billions of years old. Waterfalls and natural pools offers instead a good chance for a refreshing swim.|
|<<-- GO The Kimberly occupies the northernmost part of the state of Western Australia and is the ideal place to observe ancient fossil coral reefs dating dating back to the Devonian era (about 400 million years ago), but now isolated in the center of a continent, far away from any sea.|
|<<-- GO Discovered only in 1980, Purnululu National Park is featured by spectacular dome shaped mountains with black and orange stripes (Bungle Bungles) created by a quite unique process. Instead, narrow canyons dug into conglomerate rocks will keep hikers even more busy among fantastic landscapes.|
|<<-- GO The Dampier Peninsula and Buccaneer Archipelago offer spectacular tropical landscapes, which are most appreciated by flying over the region with a small plane. The Horizontal Waterfalls are a quite unique phenomenon in the world, while a landing at Cape Leveque allows visitors to swim among stunning beaches almost completely deserted.|
° ° °