Natural and manmade wonders in WA that need to be on your WA wander list.
Yes, Western Australia is a winner when it comes to utterly unique experiences from walking where dinosaurs once roamed to finding yourself in a mysterious field of gnomes.
There is so much allure in Western Australia: it’s filled with a myriad of ancient natural wonders and downright Straya’ modern marvels found nowhere else but the on the west side. You could go as far to say local West Aussie pride exceeds the size of the State (a whopping 2.6sq million km2 in fact!) for its extraordinary spectacles.
Explore what makes Western Australia’s backyard extraordinary with this grand list of west coast wonders to suit all curious, adventuresome travellers.
1. Super Pit, Kalgoorlie
Western Australia’s literal treasure trove of gold, Kalgoorlie is home to the mammoth Fimiston Open Pit aka the Super Pit. Australia’s largest open-pit gold mine is next level, the multi-storey Super Pit extends more than 3.5km long, 1.5km wide and 400m deep. The yellow monster trucks that dot the pit’s winding roads look like child’s play from afar but in reality, stand at a gigantic 5m tall and 8m wide.
The Super pit is so big it can even be viewed from space! You can take in this surreal feat of engineering closer from Earth by visiting the Super Pit Lookout or by taking part in a tour.
2. Dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point, Broome
Western Australia is filled with awe-inspiring sights but one that stands the test of time is one that has literally stood over 125 million years: dinosaur footprints.
At Gantheaume Point in Broome, it is possible to stroll the same lands with the previous rulers of the Earth, dinosaurs, by observing fossilised footprints in reef rock. These well-preserved dinosaur tracks are considered to be one of the best paleontological sites in the world.
The footprints are only visible at low tide however it is possible to view plaster casts at the top of the cliff, only a short five-minute drive from Broome. Want to find out more about the area’s prehistoric times? You can see the footprints on a tour with Narlijia Experiences or Dinosaur Adventure Tour’s scenic and prehistoric boat tours. A truly awesome experience.
3. Cape Le Grand National Park
Cape Le Grand National Park is a lucky spot to find yourself if you want to be permanently wowed with nature. Firstly, Esperance’s favourite day-tripper national park has Frenchman Peak – one for the casual adventurers seeking to combat rugged lands and be awarded with sweeping coastal views. (Hot tip: be prepared to get snap-happy with panorama shots!)
Secondly, it is home to Lucky Bay, a place that unites two quintessential Australian icons for one photo-worthy moment. Australia’s whitest beach, Lucky Bay is regularly frequented by our most famous island hopper, kangaroos, making it one exceptional must-do road trip destination. Located in a sheltered bay on the fringes of Cape Le Grand National Park, this heavenly turquoise beach has been voted one of Australia’s best so better hop to it after conquering the peak!
Want someone to guide you the way? Esperance Eco Discovery Tours run half day tours around the park including an epic 4WD adventure ride!
4. Ningaloo Reef
Oh, to view a world of vivid colour! One of the world’s largest fringing reefs, Ningaloo
There are plenty of incredible aquatic moments, including swimming with Australia’s big three of the sea. Have a splash alongside friendly ocean giants, whale sharks or the acrobats of the sea, manta rays. Or choose to feel like a small fish in the world as you swim alongside one of the largest mammals on Earth, humpback whales. Either way, you are guaranteed an otherworldly experience like no other.
5. Valley of the Giants
While we are lucky that Perth and the surrounds are home to so many stunning parks, bushlands and forests, none compare to the South West and the home of their woodland giants.
An easy 20-minute drive east of Walpole is the where the natural towers of the world soar, famously known as the Valley of the Giants. These mesmerizing, ancient towering tingle trees are gigantic. Be prepared to work your neck muscles admiring these rare eucalyptus trees growth over the last few centuries, far-reaching towards the sky.
The Valley is not only legendary for its skyscraper forest but its remarkable 600m Tree Top Walk, zigzagging 40m above the forest floor. It grants those that choose to wander in high places a bird’s eye view into the surrounding Walpole-Nornalup National Park and Walpole Wilderness.
Top tip: check out Walpole’s other behemoth timber titan, the Giant Tingle Tree along Hill Top Scenic Drive.
6. Gnomesville, Ferguson Valley
Don’t underestimate the power of the people, err gnomes.
What started as a light-hearted joke has now spawned the birth of Gnomesville, a grassroots tourist attraction. It is a must-visit pit stop for anyone venturing into the heart of the South West. Since the 90s, a very photogenic gnome-madic community has slowly taken over the Ferguson Road junction with over 10,000 gnomes calling this enchanted bushland setting home. The gnome population continues to grow with locals and tourists alike contributing to the evolution of the region’s modern folklore. Make sure to BYO gnome when visiting!
7. Horizontal Falls, Broome
Do go chasing Horizontal Falls in the Kimberley as they are a natural phenomenon that needs to be seen to be believed. Even living human treasure and natural historian Sir David Attenborough has referred Australia’s only horizontal falls as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.” And yes, we would have to agree with the all-time great modern-day adventurer on this one.
To understand why is easy. In the azure waters of the Buccaneer Archipelago’s Talbot Bay, tidal currents make their way through two narrow gorges within the McLarty Range. The water is propelled into rapid-like formations that hurriedly move through twin gaps, producing horizontal waterfalls. More astonishing is that the water flows in two different directions each day due to the powerful tides in the Kimberley, making this appear to be the world’s most surreal natural washing machine (almost!).
To grab the best view of the falls, catch a scenic flight from Broome or Derby with Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures. It is also possible to get close to all the action on an extended cruise or hop on a floatplane then boat to ride the rapids!
8. Wave Rock
Not all of Australia’s best waves are found along the coast. Head east from the ocean to the Wheatbelt town of Hyden to see a wave that genuinely rocks.
Wave Rock is a place where surf’s up permanently – well, kind of. This 110m inland wave has been over 2,700 million years in the making, with the multi-hued granite cliff rising over 15m across the outback scenescape. Never fear a wipeout as you can follow walking trails both above and at the base to ride the secluded desert wave at your own leisurely pace.
9. Mount Augustus
To keep up with Western Australia’s renowned rock star status, we have to talk about the biggest one of them all: Mount Augustus.
The Gascoyne-Murchison region’s eye-catching landmark is the world’s largest monolith, nearly three times as big as Uluru. It is possible to conquer the 750m high climb or admire it from its 49km hiking trail. Just like traditional rock stars changing up appearances, so does Mount Augustus with both sunrise and sunset giving the rock ‘no filter required’ colourful transformations. Don’t want to climb? It is possible to take photos from Emu Point.
In springtime, carpets of wildflowers bloom around the rock, making it one vivid and Instagrammable sight!
It’s not just impressive on the outside as ancient rock art of the Wadjari Aboriginal people can be spotted at Mundee, Ooramboo and Beedoboondu visitor sites.
10. Kalbarri Skywalk and Nature’s Window
Kalbarri is a place of unity. It is where the Murchison River meets the Indian Ocean. Its towering red-jagged cliffs that embrace the coast appeal to the many but inland almost mirrors its gorgeousness.
Cue Kalbarri National Park. The burnt red and white Murchison River gorges stretch for 80km and can be explored in the depths and at height. The vantage point? Up to you. But of course, we will make some suggestions.
The Park’s iconic lure is Nature’s Window. Have a real-life natural art gallery experience with capturing a view of Murchison River snaking the 400 million-year-old jagged gorges.
The other way to soak in the spectacular vistas is by taking a sky-high strut along Kalbarri’s impressive new twin skywalks. The Kalbarri Skywalk allows you to feel airborne, jutting over the burnt-red gorge and sitting 100m above the Murchison River. Rest assured, whichever vista you decide, it will be gorgeous.
11. Pink Lakes – Hutt Lagoon and Lake Hillier
It’s almost as if Mother Nature had a bit of fun when putting the natural jigsaw pieces of Western Australia together with the presence of pink lakes. Over the last few years, the State’s Pink Lakes has become an Instagram favourite for their unusual bubblegum hue.
Hutt Lagoon is the most accessible out of the two, located along the drive between Port Gregory and Kalbarri. There are many pit stops to soak in the pretty pink hues along Port Gregory Road, or you can choose to take in the lake from the air on a charter flight. Top tip: make sure you visit on a clear day, around mid-morning or sunset.
Western Australia’s other colourful lake, Lake Hillier is located in the south in the Recherche Archipelago. Hop on a scenic flight with Goldfields Air Services to treat yourself to some natural eye candy. Think of it like as a 2D colourful Cadbury crème egg with layers of deep blue ocean, pristine white shoreline, green wilderness and a delectable pastel pink waterbody its core. Be warned: It is a pleasurable experience for the eyes only!
The reason why the lakes bestow such a colourful hue is due to their extremely high level of salinity with its vibrancy changing with the time of day.
We’re free to Wander Out Yonder – explore more of WA by visiting westernaustralia.com.
All images featured courtesy Tourism Western Australia
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