Western Australia Travel & Holidays Guide
Western Australia Highlights
Perth & surrounds - capital city
South West - attractions of the SW corner
The Southern Coast - wide open spaces and miles of beaches
The Golden Mile - the site of Australia's biggest gold rush
Mid West - spectacular desert landscapes
Shark Bay & Monkey Mia - home of wild dolphin experiences
North West Cape & Ningaloo Reef - home of the whale sharks
The Pilbara - glowing ridges, river gums and spinifex with vivid sunsets
The Kimberleys - red ridges and rugged coastlines
Western Australia A Glance
The state capital is Perth... current population approx. 250,000 . A quick overview of Western Australia is that much of the wealth is in the north and the people are in the south. Western Australia is very big and a journey of a couple of hundred kilometres is a short trip. The state is 2600 kilometres (1625 miles) north-south and 1600 kilometres (1000 miles) east-west.
Those are straight line map distances, actual road distances are considerably further. There are wilderness areas that are bigger than some overseas countries. Man made lakes in the north hold 10 times the volume of water found in Sydney Harbour, excellent coastlines and spectacular coastal scenery in the south, ghost towns on the goldfields, the primary pearling centre of Australia, the world's largest diamond mine and home of much of Australia's Aboriginal dreamtime legends.
Western Australia has always been home to a significant proportion of Australia's Aboriginal people. Archaeological records confirm Aboriginal settlements over most of the state dating back 30,000 plus years. Today many of the Aboriginals live in the northern areas of the state.
What Will I Be Able To Do?
Western Australia is one of Australia's premier holiday destinations, and when it comes to choosing things to do and places to see, the traveller is spoilt for choice. From the sand, sun and sea of the southern coastlines, the early history of the goldfields, interacting with wild dolphins at Monkey Mia, diving with whale sharks, camel rides at Broome and outback adventures in the Kimberleys... the choices are truly endless.
Western Australia is renowned for its spring wild flower displays, most of which can be reached with day tours from Perth. Whatever your preferred leisure activities and attractions, you'll find it in Western Australia, a "must-see" destination.
Here are just some of the things to do in Western Australia. You can book your adventures from the ExperienceOZ ad block in the left column.
What Are My Accommodation Options?
Western Australia offers a selection of traditional hotels and apartments in Perth and the other major centres that cater to all tastes and budgets. A small number of self contained apartments are also available in Perth to provide a home away from home alternative to hotels and motels. If motels and motor inns are your preference, you will find an excellent selection in the city fringe areas and on the main arterial roads into the city centre. Motels and motor inns are more prevalent in the rural areas.
If your plans coincide with the school holiday periods, make sure you have confirmed bookings for all of your accommodation arrangements.
How Do I Get Around?
Western Australia is Australia's biggest state, a place with wilderness areas bigger than some overseas countries. In straight line terms, the state is 2600 kilometres (1625 miles) north-south and 1600 kilometres (1000 miles) east-west. With distances like this to contend with, it's essential that transport arrangements, and the time involved, are carefully considered.
There is no shortage of flights to all of the regional WA towns and bus services also run the major highway through to Darwin and all major centres along the way. A network of sealed roads cover the state's major centres but off the major routes, expect unsurfaced roads.
All Western Australian transport services are detailed in the Public Transport Authority site. Perth has a metropolitan commuter train service and other train services are the Indian Pacific service that links to Adelaide and beyond, plus local services between Perth and Bunbury and Perth to Kalgoorlie.
All major car rental companies are represented in the major cities and towns throughout Western Australia. If you are flying in at Perth to start your visit, consider picking up a rental car at the airport and save on airport shuttle costs. 4WD campers and 2WD motor homes are available for rental from Perth offices. Advance bookings of these vehicles is essential. Tour operators provide itineraries that cover all popular sites.
Driver information and maps are available from offices of the Royal Auto Club of WA (RAC) which has offices throughout the state.
Some typical road distances are:
When Is The Best Time?
Western Australia is a year-round destination, but it does have extremely high summer temperatures over much of the inland and central coast areas. Any travel in those areas at that time of year should be done with all due care, in a roadworthy vehicle, well stocked with emergency spares and equipment.
Carry additional drinking water, plenty of 15+ sunscreen and protective clothing. Pay particular attention to the welfare of any small children in your party. If creature comforts are an integral part of an enjoyable experience, then consider using any of the several tour operators to get to the sights off the beaten track. The state experiences considerable climate variations ranging from tropical to balmy Mediterranean, to desert heat and cold and most things in between.
Winter is June - August with temperatures ranging from around around 8°C min. to 15°C max. in the southern coastal regions, 10°C min. to 22°C max. in the central coastal regions and 15°C min. to 30°C max. in the northern coastal regions. Summer is December - February with temperatures ranging from around around 14°C min. to 24°C max. in the southern coastal regions, 20°C min. to 35°C max. in the central coastal regions and 25°C min. to 35°C max. in the northern coastal regions.
Temperatures in the central desert areas are extreme. Summer maximums typically exceed 40°C and winter minimums can drop to around 3-5°C. The northern areas receive most rainfall during the summer "Wet Season". Monsoonal cyclones (hurricanes) occasionally cross the tropical north coast during the summer months, usually in the region of Dampier to Port Hedland.
This is not a frequent event and usually results in localised property damage and flooding. The southern areas of the state experience winter rains. The further removed from the coast, the less the rainfall.