Lapping languidly on the edge of the Indian Ocean, 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 world's largest fish, the gentle whale shark. Development is low-key, towns few and far between, and seafood and sunsets legendary.
Inland, miners swarm like ants over the high, eroded ranges of the Pilbara, while ore trains snake down to a string of busy ports stretching from Dampier to Port Hedland. But hidden away here are ancient rock-art sites and two beautiful gems – Karijini and Millstream Chichester National Parks, home to spectacular gorges, remote peaks, deep tranquil pools and abundant wildlife.