Perth & Fremantle
Relics of the colonial era and early gold rushes abound. Fremantle, in particular, offers frozen-in-time Victorian streetscapes with sea-salty historic ambience. The big drawcard here is convict-built Fremantle Prison, its grim stories brought to life through engaging guided tours.
They may not offer the solitude and pristine natural beauty of WA's more remote beaches, but Perth's sandy shores – the likes of Cottesloe and Scarborough – act as urban retreats where surfers, snorkellers and swimmers can all find a stretch of sand.
Small Bars & Craft Beer
Drinking in Perth is whole lotta fun, especially now the city has fully embraced small-bar culture in its secretive laneways. Big ol' heritage pubs are still here too, but these days they cater to more erudite beer drinkers than in the past: the WA craft-beer scene is booming!
Raggedy Rottnest Island is ringed by gorgeous beaches that are often deserted midweek. Mandurah, Rockingham and Yanchep are suburban beach 'burbs with busy cafes and marinas. Guilderton sits on a sandy estuary, while off Lancelin's sandy shores is windsurfing nirvana.
Whales, dolphins, sea lions, seals, penguins, kangaroos, possums, quokkas, bilbies, boodies, woylies – it's amazing how much native wildlife lives so close to the big smoke.
The photogenic townships in the forests, hills and river valleys surrounding Perth are perfect day-trip terrain. York is a stand-out, with contiguous rows of historic buildings evoking gold-rush atmospheria.
Broome & the Kimberley
Don’t miss the sunset camel trains on Cable Beach and the 'Staircase to the Moon' on nearby Roebuck Bay, where a rising full moon creates the illusion of a golden stairway on the tidal flats. Equally spectacular are the seldom-visited beaches of the Dampier Peninsula.
Learn traditional practices from the Aboriginal communities of the Dampier Peninsula or follow Broome's Lurujarri Dreaming Trail, before exploring the Kimberley's amazing Wandjina and Gwion Gwion images.
Drive the bone-shaking Gibb River Rd, detouring to Mitchell Falls and remote Kalumburu, or zip along on a speedboat to the Horizontal Waterfalls. Negotiating a canoe down the mighty Ord River is also great fun.
Coral Coast & the Pilbara
Superb, isolated beaches lead down to shallow lagoons hemmed by World Heritage–listed Ningaloo Marine Park. Fabulous snorkelling and diving are only a short wade from shore, with camping right behind the dunes.
Karijini National Park is the Pilbara's adventure playground, with deep, narrow gorges inviting exploration, and the state's highest peaks begging to be bagged.
Whale sharks, manta rays, turtles and migrating whales all visit Ningaloo, while inland birds flock to the oasis pools of Millstream Chichester National Park. Pythons and rock wallabies hide in the shadows of Karijini.
Margaret River & the Southwest Coast
Surf & Sand
The sandy beaches of Geographe Bay are perfect for a bucket-and-spade family holiday (do kids still do the bucket-and-spade thing?). The top spots are near Cape Naturaliste. The state's primo surf breaks also roll ashore to the south.
Margaret River Wine Region
Australia's most beautiful wine region also produces some of the country's best wine. The cool-climate vineyards around Pemberton are worth exploring too.
Studded with tuart and karri, WA's tall-tree forests are a truly impressive sight. Some of the larger specimens are rigged with spikes, allowing the fit and fearless to climb up to 68m into the canopy.
Monkey Mia & the Central West
The white-shell beaches of Shark Bay – with the famous Monkey Mia dolphins – are just part of a turquoise coastline stretching from family-focussed Port Denison to the wilds of Gnaraloo Station.
Surfers and windsurfers flock to Geraldton and Gnaraloo for winter swells and summer winds, while fisherfolk and explorers head west to remote Edel Land. Bushwalkers trudge through Kalbarri in winter.
Shipwrecks & Settlements
Historic artefacts, shipwrecks and 19th-century buildings stud this rugged coastline. Highlights include Greenough's pioneer settlement and the 1629 wreck of the Batavia off the Houtman Abrolhos Islands.
Glorious, isolated bays of powdery white sand are spread all along this stretch of coast. On many of them you'll be more likely to spot a whale than another human.
Great Southern Wine Region
The cold-climate wineries of the Great Southern region are growing in stature, producing lovely drops in the clean southern airs. Sip your way from Denmark to Mt Barker and on to Porongurup.
This region's national parks encompass the dramatic Tree Top Walk in Walpole-Nornalup and the silky sands of Cape Arid. Don't miss the rugged Porongurup and the (very) occasionally snow-capped Stirling Range National Parks, or the vast wild heath of Fitzgerald River.