The holidays are winding down and real winter…unrelenting winter…freezing, ice-scraping, too many clothing layers winter…is making itself entirely too much at home. You are thinking of escaping. To anywhere that has sunshine.
Welcome to Western Australia, the sunniest state in Australia. Its land mass constitutes nearly a third of the whole country and its topography runs the full gamut from lush green to desert. Whether you are escaping now or planning for next year, here are some of WA’s ‘hottest’ spots to visit.
- Karijini National Park. Amidst the red earth of the Pilbara area’s mineral mining mecca is this jewel. Almost nothing but sun as you dip into any (all!) of the park’s incredible rock pools, walk along the trails leading to waterfalls, abseil a few gorges and marvel in this desert oasis. Make a point to visit Oxers lookout, where four separate creeks merge to form an incredible waterfall.
- Shark Bay World Heritage Area. Swim with whale sharks at this area that attracts thousands of domestic and foreign travelers each year. Don’t miss Shell Beach. The ‘sand’ is made up of millions of tiny cockle shells and stretches for 70 miles. There are only two like it in the world. Drop into Pearlers restaurant in Denham which is made entirely of shell blocks carved out of the beach.
- Kalgoorlie. The wild west of OZ- just stroll the town’s historic main street and you’ll see it is so. Visit Australia’s largest open-cut mine, The Super Pit. It is said to be visible from outer space. This is Gold Country so plan on striking it rich while panning for gold and learn about WA’s rich mining heritage.
- The Great Southern region. Head south for a bit of green and cooler temperatures. WA’s diversity is evident with a trip through the majestic Karri forests near Pemberton. The Karri tree is the third tallest in the world. Further south in Denmark (the city, not the country) to walk along the famous Tree Top Walk through Tingle trees. It’s also a great area to do some apple picking- Pink Lady being a regional favorite.
- Margaret River. A southern wine region spreading inwards from the Indian Ocean that is developing an international reputation and certainly gives the eastern states’ wine regions a run for their money. Nearby are some ancient caves waiting to be explored.
This is a huge state with much to offer but is often overlooked by tourists to the eastern cities of Sydney and Melbourne because of the distance away. Don’t be lulled by an opera house away from this greatest of Australia’s jewels. Plan on renting a car and learning to drive on the left side of the road for an experience like no other.