Lapping languidly against Australia's second-largest reef, the shallow, turquoise waters of the Ningaloo Coast nurture a marine paradise. Lonely bays, deserted beaches and crystal-clear lagoons offer superb snorkelling and diving among myriad forms of sea life, including humpback whales, manta rays and loggerhead turtles. World Heritage–listed Ningaloo Reef is one of the very few places where you can swim with the gentle whale shark, as well as humpback whales. Development is low-key, towns few and far between, and seafood and sunsets legendary.
Inland, among the eroded ranges of the Pilbara, giant mining machinery delves into the depths of the earth, while ore trains snake down to a string of busy ports. Hidden away here are ancient Aboriginal rock-art sites and two beautiful national parks, home to spectacular gorges, remote peaks, tranquil pools and abundant wildlife.