If you’ve felt the pull of Australia drawing you in for a second year of travelling and have already travelled the well beaten path of the East Coast, then why not think about heading west for a change of scene?
After all, the West Coast of Australia also harbours everything from reefs to rainforests, national parks galore and thousands of miles of unspoilt coastline. With your launch pad to adventure being the world’s most remote city, Perth, your adventures promise to be rural, wild and untamed. Here, we take a look at why you should spend your second year in Australia exploring the best of what the West has to offer…
Ningaloo Reef vs The Great Barrier Reef
Undeniably both the Ningaloo Reef and The Great Barrier Reef deliver epic underwater experiences! They are both listed as World Heritage Sites, both see populations of Humpback Whales heading to their warm waters to breed and both have stunning coral systems which home masses of marine life! However, with one located on the East and the other on the West Coast of Australia, the differences between the two are noticeable.
The Great Barrier Reef, has a very developed tourism infrastructure and is bordered by the luscious green rainforest of the Daintree. At 2,300km long, it is the largest living structure on Earth and is visible from outer space! In contrast the Ningaloo Reef is bounded by the deep reds of the sandy desert and has a significantly limited infrastructure with regards to tourism. It is classified as a fringe reef meaning that it is little distance from the landmass of Australia, and although much smaller in size than the Great Barrier Reef, this does mean you can dive or snorkel straight off the beach! When it comes to bringing you something that the Great Barrier Reef doesn’t, the Ningaloo Reef can boast about hosting the annual migration of whale sharks to its shores, an abundance of manta ray and is far less damaged by bleaching than the Great Barrier Reef meaning you’ll see stunningly colourful corals whilst snorkelling or diving the Ningaloo Reef.
The Bungle Bungles vs Uluru
You may all be familiar with Uluru – Australia’s most famous rock, but have you heard of the Bungle Bungles? Purnululu National Park, in the Kimberley Region of WA, is home to the funny-named, natural dome formations known as the Bungle Bungles. These large domes are made from sand and gravel deposited over millions of years and one of their most spectacular features is their unique orange a black tiger like stripes – most striking at dawn and dusk. Unlike Uluru you can get up close and personal with this phenomenal landmark and explore on foot, enabling you to understand how they have been geographically formed over the years. The Bungle Bungles, like Uluru, are deeply significant to the indigenous people and you will learn much about the history and culture of the land whilst visiting. If you can stretch your budget to afford a scenic flight over the area we promise it will go down as a highlight of your travels in Australia!
Margaret River vs the Hunter Valley
Wine lover? If so this one is for you! You may have heard of the Hunter Valley in NSW and Jacobs Creek in South Australia but did you know that Western Australia also exports some world class wines? From Shiraz to Chardonnay, Semillon and Sauvignon, Margaret River – a few hours south of Perth – is a must on your Western Australia itinerary. Margaret River isn’t just famous for its wines, it’s also here where you’ll experience some excellent surfing on the waves of the Indian Ocean as well as stunning sandy beaches. A popular spot for a weekend away from Perth, you’ll find an abundance of forests here as well as some picturesque camp sites so you can really get in touch with nature. Booking onto a wine tasting tour is a must whilst visiting as that way you can fully enjoy sampling the many incredible wines on offer!
Monkey Mia vs Airlie Beach
When it comes to seaside destinations Airlie Beach on the East Coast and Monkey Mia on the West Coast may just be too distinctive to compare! Both in the heart of National Parks they are most definitely stunning for their own separate reasons. However, with Airlie Beach being THE coastal resort of the East it often means it’s overrun with tourists. Hop over to the West and you’ll find the coastal paradise of Monkey Mia. It’s here that you’ll be able to meet the world famous Monkey Mia dolphins as they swim right into the shallows. Monkey Mia is around a 9 hour drive north of Perth, so you’ll definitely want to split the journey over a couple of days. (View this Perth to Monkey Mia tour)
Karijini National Park vs Daintree National Park
Daintree National Park on the East Coast is where the rainforest meets the reef, and is where you can enjoy activities such as surfing through the rainforest canopy all just a stone’s throw from sandy beaches and the Great Barrier Reef. However, a must visit National Park in Western Australia is definitely Karijini National Park. Known as the Jewel of Western Australia – Karijini is where you’ll find stunning clear waterholes teaming with life as well as stunning waterfalls that cascade down from craggy cliff faces. As Karijini is 1,475.1 km north of Perth, the best way to visit is on a Karijini group tour either going North from Perth or down from Darwin – but either way this unruly wilderness is a must see on your WA itinerary.
Have we convinced you to spend another year travelling Australia yet? With its enormous expanse you definitely need to make sure Australia’s largest state, Western Australia, is firmly on your itinerary. Due to the lack of tourism exploitation in the West, you really are given the chance to experience Australia in all its unspoilt glory.
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by Gemma Glover