The Ultimate Western Australia Bucket List
From camel rides at sunset to swimming with giant whale sharks, here's the what, where and when for the ultimate Western Australia experience.
Boasting pristine coastlines, glorious sunshine-filled days and diverse landscapes, the expansive state of Western Australia is a beacon for those in search of adventure and outdoorsy experiences. From camel rides at sunset to swimming with giant whale sharks, our ultimate WA bucket list is almost as vast as the state itself.
#1 Sunset camel ride on Broome’s Cable Beach
Sunset camel rides on Cable Beach are to Broome what the Inca Trail is to Peru: an iconic experience that can’t be missed. You’ve seen the photos, with camels lining the shoreline, a glowing, fiery horizon in the distance casting long reflections on the glistening sand. Sure, the Broome camel ride may have reached cliché status, but it’s got a good reason.
#2 Snorkel with whale sharks at Ningaloo Marine Park
Sure, snorkelling with the largest shark in the world, aptly named the ‘whale shark’, may play out in your head to the terrifying Jaws theme on repeat. Yet despite the notorious reputation of their fierce relatives, these magnificent creatures are more gentle giant than prey-hungry predator.
Whale sharks gather in the Ningaloo Marine Park from mid-March to mid-July, providing visitors with an opportunity to witness these impressive animals in their natural environment.
#3 Cape Range National Park
This spectacular national park located in the North West Cape affords a different kind of natural beauty, one found in the contrasts: the red glint of the limestone cliff faces, the idyllic beaches and the quintessentially Australian dry, arid landscape. The expansive park covers more than 50,000 hectares, and is abundant with unique wildlife and plant species. Explore popular Yardie Creek by foot or boat, a breathtaking gorge which is home to the black-footed rock wallabies.
#4 See the mysterious staircase to the Moon
The mysterious ‘Staircase to the Moon’ is an optical illusion of stairs reaching to the moon across the Indian Ocean, that can be found along the Pilbara and Kimberley coastline between March and October. Visibility depends on the whims of the weather gods—head to Roebuck Bay in Broome for your best chance of viewing this phenomenal natural show.
#5 Discover quokkas on Rottnest Island
The oasis of Rottnest Island is a tranquil, car-free haven just half an hour off the coast of Perth city – more importantly, it’s the home of the smiling quokkas! These photogenic marsupials roam the island and are always primed and ready for their close-ups and selfies.
Fair warning: they’ll always steal the show – or shot, rather. Do remember though that all animals and plants on Rottnest Island are protected by law, and quokkas shouldn’t be touched, fed or harmed in any way.
#6 Swim with Humpback Whales at Exmouth
Following a preliminary trial run in 2016, humpback whale tours are again being offered in Exmouth and Coral Bay. Watch and interact with these graceful, majestic mammals as they travel through the warm waters of the Indian Ocean on their annual migration. You’ll leave with memories to last you a lifetime.
#7 Take in the beauty of Horizontal Falls
According to our old pal David Attenborough, Horizontal Falls, near Cape Leveque, is one of the greatest wonders of the natural world, and it has also been described as the only place in the world where water falls sideways. Yep, sideways.
Due to intense, rapid tidal movements moving through the narrow gorges, a natural phenomenon occurs where a horizontal waterfall effect is created. Take a seaplane over Horizontal Falls for unforgettable aerial views or enjoy a bumpy speedboat ride through the falls to experience it at its full power.
#8 Watch baby turtles scurry into the ocean at Ningaloo Reef
Some of the world’s major breeding areas for sea turtles, sometimes referred to as marine turtles, are found right along the stunning Ningaloo Reef. Three species of sea turtles – green, hawksbill and loggerhead – can be seen heading ashore during the breeding season, between November and April, to lay their eggs, which is one of the few times that these protected species leave the ocean.
The eggs generally hatch after six weeks and the baby turtles can be seen scurrying into the warm waters in. It’s a beautiful natural phenomenon if you’re lucky enough to see it.
#9 Scuba dive at Navy Pier
Regarded as one of the top shore diving sites in the world, Navy Pier is an underwater playground teeming with coral and marine life. Despite its smaller area, the biodiversity of this dive site is incredible with over 200 different fish species recorded. Navy Pier is still an active defence facility and dives can only be organised through a licensed operator.
(Lead image: Broome Camel Safaris)