Have an adventure in the north west
The Kimberley is one of world’s wildest terrains, thousands of kilometres of wilderness including the Bungle Bungle Range and the Purnululu National Park to be explored. So vast is this section of the country that the taxis have wings, and travellers get about using the Kimberley Aerial Highway, a collection of remote landing strips throughout the region.
The parties are big here too with one of the most famous, the Ord Valley Muster, taking place in May. What started as a humble dinner for local businesses is now a massive celebration of over 30 events across 10 days. Base yourself in Kununurra where there is plenty to see and do including the famous Elephant Rock or Sleeping Buddha that rests on the banks of the Ord River. You can visit Five Rivers Lookout situated at the convergence of five local waterways, check out the iconic Diversion Dam or taste the rum at the Hoochery, the original site of the Ord Valley Muster.
Spend some time in Broome on the way, the gateway to this region, and home to its own adventurous spirit. Whether it is enjoying the untamed beauty of the Staircase to the Moon – a natural phenomenon that occurs when the moon rises over exposed tidal flats – or taking a camel safari along Cable Beach, Broome is full of things to do.
It was adventurers that founded this northern town when they dived for pearls in the 19th century having seen the local indigenous people harvest pearl shells from areas like Shark Bay.
Have a food and wine experience in the south west
This is food country, and those with an adventurous palate should head to the south west for one of the many food festivals in this region.
The big one is the Margaret River Gourmet Escape that takes place annually in November and attracts a roster of Australian and international celebrity chefs to the area to sample, cook and talk about some of the freshest produce in the country.
Further south, Taste Great Southern sees foodies descend on the region around Albany and Denmark in March and April to taste wine, lunch with celebrity guests and attend events like the Rockcliffe Night Markets. While in Manjimup’s southern forests winter is celebrated with the Truffle Kerfuffle, a three-day party in honour of this precious foodstuff.
Want to burn off some calories? The south-west has plenty of activities to go with its great events.
The quadbikes of Eco Adventures Margaret River have been designed specifically to tread softly through the Boranup Forest and Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park and to take you to places that many locals have never seen. These bikes are eco-friendly but also adrenaline-inducing as you bounce through these ancient karri trees.
Hamelin Bay is a graveyard of over 20 shipwrecks including the famous SS Georgette and these wrecks also make the area a great spot for dive enthusiasts.
And keen surfers will be desperate to get into those famous Margaret River waves. There is a reason that the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro surfing event is held in the waters off the coast every year.
Take a heart-racing drive in the Kimberley
Consider taking on the grand adventure that is the Gibb River Road if you come to the Kimberley to experience the Ord Valley Muster, a huge celebration of the Kimberley’s unique spirit that runs over 10 days in May. Events include the Argyle Diamond Mine Tour, Kununurra markets and Gibb River Challenge, which sees cyclists take on the famous road on bikes. The Gibb River Road is an epic 660-kilometre 4WD adventure that passes through some of the most amazing natural beauty in the Kimberley – stunning ochre rock formations, the Windjana Gorge National Park and plunging waterfalls.
This is a self-guided drive for the adventurous spirit as most of the roads are dirt and gravel, there are creek crossings and jump ups and as soon as the wet season begins your car will need a snorkel. Safest in the dry season from May to October, the Gibb River road offers extreme adventure from the fossil-encrusted cliffs on Windjana Gorge to the beautiful boab tress that line Bell Creek in the Bell Gorge. Pitch a tent under the brightest stars you will ever see or stay at one of the venerable cattle stations in the area. Digger’s Rest Station is a short detour away and offers remote accommodation on a working cattle farm, Home Valley Station is right on the Gibb River Road near the Pentecost River Crossing and El Questro Station – the biggest and best known of the stays – is 100 kilometres from Kununurra and owned by Voyages.
Visit the exciting south-west region
The south-west of the state might be known for its food and wine trails, providores and cellar doors, but for adrenaline junkies there is plenty in this corner of the state to keep them busy and plenty of events to take part in.
The amazing coastline here has some of the best surf breaks in the country which is why the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro is held each year at the local surf spots Margaret River Mainbreak and the Box. Catch a wave or dive one of the many shipwrecks that line the coast. Fancy a dive? Then head to the calmer waters around Geographe Bay or the Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory
If you like your adventure on more solid ground try the Cape to Cape Track, a multi-day walk from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin that covers 135 kilometres of coastline where you can watch dolphins surfing the waves or whales breaching in the distance when the season is right.
Mountain bikers can take on the two capes via the Cape to Cape MTB, a mountain biking race that sees up to 1400 competitors every year. It is Australasia’s biggest mountain biking multi-stage endurance race and a great time of year to visit the region. For the hardcore walker there is the Bibbulum Track, over 1000 kilometres of walking trails that runs from Perth to Albany. Or you can try your luck at the Augusta Adventure Fest in November, billed as the biggest adventure race in the world with over 1800 competitors.
If you prefer a more leisurely cycle there is the Munda Biddi Trail, a long-distance off-road bike trail that has been built entirely through bushland. You will cycle past towering eucalypts, native scrubland and learn about the indigenous people of the area as you go (Munda Biddi means “path through the forest” in Noongar Aboriginal language).
Swim with an aquatic giant
They may not be actual sharks but the sheer size of these underwater goliaths will be enough to get the adrenaline pumping. Whale sharks are the world’s largest fish, they are filter feeds (that’s why they have such a large mouth) and they can grow up to 12 metres long. Every year from April to July they are passing through Ningaloo Reef near Exmouth and you can get a day tour to go snorkelling with these gentle giants.
Groups are nice and small and you get to test out your snorkelling, or diving, equipment on a short reef dive, then it’s off to find a whale shark to hang out with. Often these will be spotted by plane and your tour operator will drop you right in the path of the giant fish, then you can watch in amazement as it ambles past you mouth agape to suck up as much plankton as possible.
Celebrate the start of the whale shark season by taking part in the Ningaloo Whaleshark Festival that looks at the community’s relationship with the annual migration of this amazing fish. The festival takes place in late May and starts with a gala opening night before winding down with the festival Sundowner, an afternoon of family activities at the Exmouth Yacht Club.
The whale sharks here are totally harmless and they are used to humans appearing in their path, some even seem to enjoy the interaction, so plan a trip to Ningaloo Reef and take a dive with this beautiful creature.
With so much going on in WA, planning a trip can seem a little overwhelming. Luckily, we’ve made things easier by creating a personalised trip planner that uses your unique personality to determine the ideal time for you to visit.
Find the best time to visit at yourwawindow.com