Accommodation in Western Australia ranges from remote people-free national park campgrounds to high-end boutique hotels. Interestingly, since the WA boom went off the boil, accommodation prices have dropped: Perth is no longer an absurdly expensive place in which to stay.
- Hotels Perth and Fremantle have some terrific boutique and design hotels.
- Hostels WA's backpacker hostels range from from scuzzy to beachy to downright stylish.
- Camping & Caravan Parks Almost every sizable WA town has a caravan park, usually with cabins or units.
- Pubs Affordable rooms with the bathroom down the hall.
- B&Bs Upmarket bedrooms in historic houses, with breakfast to boot.
Bed and breakfast (B&B) options range from rooms in heritage buildings to a bedroom in a family home. A full cooked breakfast is not the norm; more often these days you'll receive a hamper with basic DIY ingredients (bread, cereals, fruit, coffee, jam, butter etc). Tariffs for couples are typically in the $150-to-$250 range but can be much higher for exclusive properties.
B&B Booking Services
For online information:
Camping & Caravan Parks
For many travellers, touring with a tent or campervan is the consummate WA experience. In the outback and up north you often won't even need a tent as you can use a swag or rent a cabin. Check with visitor centres before heading out to confirm locations of free roadside stops. Many stops have been phased out immediately north of Perth but are more frequent further away from the city.
Designated camp sites in national parks cost $8/3 per adult/child with no or very basic facilities. Sites with showers (including unpowered caravan sites) cost $11/3. You'll also need to pay entrance fees ($13 per car) for many national parks, but only when you enter the park. Some national park camp sites can be booked online – recommended for popular locations like Cape Range National Park from April to October. See https://parkstay.dpaw.wa.gov.au.
At WA's ubiquitous holiday parks, prices are from around $30 to $50 for two people, ranging from unpowered tent sites to powered caravan sites. Many caravan parks are phasing out unpowered sites because they are less profitable. Most holiday parks offer private accommodation, from simple chalets to flasher motel units, and some also offer hostel accommodation with dorm rooms. Check www.caravanwa.com.au for listings.
Commonly found in the outback, especially in mining towns, the donga is basically a prefabricated tin room (usually air-conditioned) with a single bed, TV and small fridge. Roughing-it like a miner! Country pubs sometimes have a few out the back you can sleep in for minimal outlay.
Farmstays & Station Stays
The Gascoyne and Pilbara areas are popular spots for station stays, and at some you may be asked to pitch in and do some farm work. Accommodation is either in the main homestead (B&B style, with dinner on request) or in adjacent self-contained cottages. Other farms provide budget options in outbuildings or former shearers' quarters. Check out www.stayz.com.au/farm-accommodation/wa.
Prices for dorm beds around WA range generally fall into the $25 to $35 category, while private rooms range from $70 to $90, sometimes with a bathroom, sometimes without. Hostel staff can often help with securing seasonal work.
Some hostels – especially in Perth – are the go-to accommodation for short-term 'fly-in, fly-out' (FIFO) workers, which can change the traditional travellers' vibe. Preliminary assessment required.
A Youth Hostel Association (www.yha.com.au) or Hostelling International (www.hihostels.com) annual membership ($15) gives a 10% discount at participating hostels. Sign up online or at the first YHA you stay in – in Perth, Perth City YHA.
VIP Backpackers (www.vipbackpackers.com) also offers discounts in participating WA hostels. For $43 you'll receive a 12-month membership, with discounts on accommodation and some transport, tours and activities. Join online or at VIP hostels – in Perth, Old Swan Barracks, Shiralee Backpackers or Coolibah Lodge.
Hotels & Motels
Full-service hotels are rare outside Perth, and coastal properties tend to be resort-style, with standalone cottages or apartments. Rates vary widely, but there are benefits in booking early directly with the properties, or last minute on accommodation-booking websites. In rural or mining areas book ahead, as motels are often used by government workers and tour groups. Frustratingly, it's hard to find good (or actually, any) handily located motels in Perth.
You can sometimes rent a single room at a country pub for not much more than a hostel dorm, and you can get a pub dinner downstairs. If you're a light sleeper, beware of bands in the bar! Some pubs also have separate motel-style accommodation out the back.
The ubiquitous holiday flat resembles a motel unit but has cooking, and often laundry, facilities – a good option for saving money by not eating out. They're often rented on a weekly basis, and nightly prices are higher for shorter stays. For listings of holiday homes, see www.stayz.com.au.
In cities, a good alternative is an apartment, especially in Perth and around Fremantle. Airbnb, of course, has myriad listings across WA.