The Western Australia Bucket List

You haven’t truly “done” Western Australia unless you’ve done these 100 experiences.

#60 - Carnarvon Blowholes

Where is it? Carnarvon, WA

Sometimes simple natural phenomena randomly conspire to form some of the best regional highlights, and that's definitely the case with the blowholes that sit around 75km north of WA's Carnarvon. Created as dominant ocean swells push water through sea caves until it escapes out of narrow holes amongst the rocks, visitors to the site can watch on as fountains of water escape the rocks and burst into the air - some of which can reach up to 20 metres in height at high tide! If you inch closer when the spouts blow, you'll most likely be drenched from head to toe - refreshing on hot days, but not much of a positive in cooler periods! While blowhole activity is present in most sea activity levels, visiting when a decent swell is going will return the best results.

While they require a slight diversion to reach - the blowholes lie roughly half an hour's drive off the main highway - the combination of the impressive sight of the water spouts coupled with the ability to encounter a range of native wildlife at a nearby beach makes for a spot you can spend an extended amount of time enjoying. Snorkelling here is great, it's safe for kids, and you'll have the chance to see numerous colourful fish, beaching turtles, migrating whales (during whale season), bearded dragons and thorny devils.Image credit: Tourism Western Australia

#59 - Indulge at Sandalford Winery

Where is it? Swan Valley, WA


Historic, boasting a range that's comprehensive, and with a winery set amongst immaculate surrounds, there's a reason why the Sandalford brand has become synonymous with high quality Western Australian wine. The label has been in existence in some form for over 160 years, and during this time has become favoured by both locals and overseas visitors alike. Sandalford's main winery sits a way up the Swan River from Perth but is well worth the extra effort to access - all it takes is one look at the gorgeous entrance area which sets the tone for the quality of the experience to come within. Both the food and wine experience on offer here is highly indulgent; think rich cheeses, freshly-shucked oysters, and an incredible selection of beverages to choose from that encompasses not just their famed wines, but beers and other liquors as well.

The winery serves its purpose both as a tasting centre as well as a quality lunch venue (dinner is not an option), with a restaurant that boasts an excellent menu and has rightfully won multiple awards throughout its existence. Of course, the meals are also accompanied with appropriately-paired wines, and staff here are always willing to advise on the best matches to complement the food. Everything at Sandalford is done with an eye towards presentation; the venue is spotless, and there's a lovely incorporation of greenery including manicured plants and a liberal growth of vines which wind their way over its charming courtyard area. Sandalford Winerry can be visited both on the itineraries of standard wine tours, or via a combined winery/cruise option with Captain Cook Cruises. It's a premium experience that will delight even those without the most advanced of palates. Image credit: Tourism Council WA

#58 - Dive the HMAS Swan

Where is it? Dunsborough, WA

Aspiring divers in Western Australia can embark on an excellent wreck dive off the coast of Dunsborough and explore the HMAS Swan, a former Royal Australian Navy River Class Destroyer Escort that was purposefully sunk to serve as an artificial reef. The first purposely-prepared dive wreck of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, this site has flourished over the years to become a diving haven, with hundreds of different fish species both inhabiting and exploring the wreck themselves. The Swan is a great training ground for all diving levels as visibility is consistently good outside of periods of inclement weather.

The wreck itself is 113 metres long, 12.5 metres wide and 23 metres high which ranks it amongst the largest in the entire Southern Hemisphere, providing divers with plenty to explore. Various fish species that are often sighted around the wreck include large schools of Bulls Eye, King George Whiting, Brim, Samson fish and Blue Devil Fish, to name just a few. The site is available to dive all year round, weather permitting, and those looking to dive the wreck can join local operator Cape Dive who conduct regular visits to the site for both beginner and advanced divers. They've got a team of professional divers who know the wreck and its waters well, and are accommodating for those who may not be incredibly confident divers. Image credit: Tourism Western Australia

#57 - Visit Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Where is it? Augusta, WA

Standing as one of the greater Augusta region's guardians of the ocean, this towering and dignified building sits in a picturesque spot on the Cape Leeuwin headland. Unlike most historic lighthouses, the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is still used today for its lifesaving purpose from dusk until dawn, as well as being an interesting architectural highlight for visitors to the region. It's not only scenic, but historic as well, having been in operation since 1895, and is highly explorable for those seeking further background on its construction and operation.

By day the lighthouse provides visitors with the chance to climb to the top and have a peek inside a working lighthouse - a chance not many other lighthouses offer. The view is doubtless the major drawcard for visiting here, however; it's the spot where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet, and from atop the lighthouse, you will be treated with breathtaking views of Geographe Bay, the surrounding ocean and Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. The lighthouse is open to the public from 9am until 5pm with guided tours conducted every half hour for a fee (from $13) and are a great way to learn about the history of the building as well as stories of tragedy and rescue from the unforgiving seas surrounding the area. For the budget-conscious, self-guided tours are also an option at a discounted price (from $5). Image credit: Margaret

#56 - Drive the Central Wheatbelt

Where is it? Approx. 4 hours from Perth, WA

Expansive farmland vistas and a wide array of historic attractions make a drive through the Central Wheatbelt one of Western Australia's more unique roadtrips. With several self-drive routes to choose from in this region that covers 9 individual communities - the main of which is known as Wheatbelt Way - it's a journey stretching anywhere from 800 kilometres to 1000 kilometres in total. The self-driving trail leads travellers through a handful of towns including Beacon, Mukinbudin, Westonia and Dowerin, each with their own friendly inhabitants and individual charm. The scenery on offer his is rolling and picturesque, particularly during wildflower season when the blooms add an additional array of wonderful colour to the proceedings.

While you'll need to set aside a minimum of three days for the drive to experience all that you can along the way, there are plenty of opportunities to stay overnight in a quaint country hotel or B&B - the majority of which are warm and welcoming and famed for their hospitality - to extend the experience. Vistas range from spacious farmlands to bush-encompassed rock formations and an abundance of birds and other native wildlife; following the roads of the Central Wheatbelt are thus a great way to explore a relatively undervisited part of the region that's ideal for getting away from the more bustling tourist hotspots.Image credit: Tourism Western Australia

#55 - Catch a Show at His Majesty's Theatre

Where is it? Perth, WA

Those looking for a drop of culture during their time in Perth will be spoiled for choice, as the city is home to numerous high quality art galleries, museums and theatres. Perhaps the best and most unique of these venues is the city's excellent His Majesty's Theatre, a historic, Edwardian-style throwback to the days of theatre's prominence as society's main form of entertainment. A majestic building in its own right, if there was one word to sum up the experience here it would likely be “elegant” - a sense of class permeates the theatre both in its ambiance and its on-stage productions, as the theatre harks back to the deluge of wealth encountered during Perth's peak Gold Rush period.

“The Maj”, as it's known to Perth locals, dates back to over 110 years ago and yet remains very well maintained considering its age – it's undergone a series of restorations over the years and retains an atmosphere that is reminiscent of 19th century London, providing a theatregoing experience that is truly unique in modern Australia. This is reflected throughout its construction with the sheer quality of materials such as intricately-carved wood, velvet, marble, and a mosaic of rich reds and golds along with other fine craftsmanship that you simply don't see used in modern construction. Seating 1,240 people arranged in a horseshoe shape flanking the stage, audience members are treated to a more intimate performance.Image credit: Tourism Western Australia

#54 - Travel to Penguin Island

Where is it? Penguin Island, Perth, WA


Penguin Island's main appeal is not hard to determine from its name; home to around 1200 penguins, it's the best spot in Western Australia for getting a closehand look at these incredibly cute seabirds. Regular penguin shows are held that include feeding sessions which take place three times a day in the island's Discovery Centre and come with a dose of insightful information to boot. Penguin Island is also a hub for colonies of dolphins and sea lions, making for a great overall nature experience that's easily accessible from the mainland. There are multiple ways to get there; catch the short 45-minute ferry across from Perth, embark on a glass bottom boat cruise, kayak around the bays or even learn to kite board in the process.

For a more comprehensive and professional trip, Rockingham Wild Encounters is the only cruise company licensed to visit the island, and offer regular cruises which depart daily. Given that the island is well worth exploring in its own right - it's beautiful to walk around, for swimming and for relaxation - a tour to Penguin Island makes for a laid-back and enjoyable day trip. Image credit: Rockingham Wild Encounters

#53 - Gawk at The Superpit at Kalgoorlie

Where is it? Boulder, WA

Nature isn't the only thing that can produce unique and impressive spectacles; Kalgoorlie-Boulder's huge, deep-cut mine aptly dubbed the Super Pit is a living, continually active embodiment of this. Australia’s largest open cut gold mine was opened in 1989 to plum the earth for valuable gold reserves, and in many ways is a continuation of the Western Australian Gold Rush that hit in the 1800s - albeit on a more massive, modern scale. While technically it's nothing more than a big hole in the ground, what a hole it is - pictures don't do the pit's size justice; however it makes for an incredibly unique photo opportunity, with its ridged, multi-tiered layout resembling something of an outback version of the tiered gardens of Asia.

Since its inception, the "Golden Mile" on which the pit is located is believed to have produced more than 58 million ounces of gold. Those looking for tidbits such as this as well as further detail can take part in tours with Kalgoorlie Tours & Charters which are conducted to the site to put the size of the mine in true perspective for visitors. Its scale is similar to that of Uluru/Ayers Rock; it is as deep as the rock is high and is around the same circumference! The uniqueness of its Grand-Canyon-like landscape makes the Superpit a must-see when in the greater Kalgoorlie area.

#52 - Entertainment at Crown Perth

Where is it? Burnswood, WA

A hybrid, multi-faceted entertainment complex, Crown Perth is one of the top choices for enjoyable evening pastimes in the city. Situated in a picturesque location alongside the Swan River, the Crown offers a mixture of accommodation, dining and punting, as well as live entertainment that showcases a range of performances and concerts, with previous shows that have included world-renowned musicals Cats and Les Misérables. Restaurants at the complex range of higher-end dining to more casual bars, where sport fans can enjoy watching matches on some of Australia’s biggest sports bar screens. Service and cleanliness of the Crown complex are hard to fault; regardless of your opinions of the Packer-led ownership, it's clear that they understand entertainment.

The casino itself is also another leisure option on offer for those looking for some all-hours entertainment; open 24/7, the floor has a variety of electronic and table games to choose from and all the glitz that one would expect of such a venue. While your perception of a night of dining, stage performance and gambling will likely affect your level of enjoyment when visiting here, however the fact that there's truly "something for everyone" as far as entertainment goes makes it an easy to recommend option for those times in Perth when other ideas may be lacking. Image credit: Tourism Western Australia

#51 - Sun & Fun at Cottesloe Beach

Where is it? Perth, WA

Perth's most popular beach for a reason, Cottesloe Beach is widely regarded by locals as the best suburban beach in all of Western Australia; while regional residents may disagree, there's no denying Cottesloe's combination of convenience and inherent beauty. Sitting closer to the centre of Perth than most of the region's other top beaches, the beach brings with it wonderfully clear waters as well as being very clean both on its sands and the adjacent promenade and parking areas. Cottlesloe offers safe, patrolled waters yet still provides enough waves to keep things fun, with a smaller section close to a rock wall that's more sheltered and thus ideal for kids as well.

The area around the beach conveys a distinct upmarket vibe, and facilities are plentiful - numerous garbage bins keep trash to a minimum, there are plenty of benches for relaxing and admiring the view, an abundance of shower facilities to go round even during busy periods, and a range of lovely cafes nearby at which to enjoy a quality bite to eat, including the popular Cottesloe Beach Hotel. As with other beaches in the area, Cottesloe also is host to some truly spectacular sunsets, which can be best enjoyed while eating fresh fish and chips nearby - it's a cheap yet enjoyable experience that locals have been taking part in for decades. Perhaps the only downside of visiting Cottlesloe is its popularity; parking can become an issue on weekends so visiting via public transport (just a quick train ride on the Fremantle line) comes advised. Image credit: Tourism Western Australia

Western Australia MapWestern Australia is not merely Australia’s largest state; its size leads to some of the greatest variety in both experiences and landscapes of any of the country’s territories. As a result, a trip across the massive state can encompass a drastically broad range of tableaus and vistas, people, foods and wines, and amazing landscapes and geographical features.

The northern and southern ends of Western Australia are thus drastically different; one is a ruggedly beautiful land of vivid reds, where ochre rocks clash with vivid blue waters, vast deserted beaches make for incredible escapes, and some unique natural phenomena unlike anything else in the country can be found. In this portion of the state, you’re as likely to enjoy a camel ride on the beach alongside a blazing sunset as you are to venture into the heart of one of Australia’s most intriguing National Parks.

Head south, and an intermingled land of beautiful beach-pocketed coastline, verdant wine producing regions and Australia’s sunniest capital city await. Perth serves as a laid-back, picturesque and enjoyable springboard for exploring many of the states adventures – it’s entirely up to you whether you choose to venture north, south, or even east where a taste of the Australian Outback awaits. Do epic marine adventures swimming alongside the world’s largest fish entice you? Exmouth and the Ningaloo Marine Park await. Are you wanting a picturesque island escape a mere ferry ride away from the capital? Look towards the beach-and-wildlife-rich Rottnest Island. Looking to sample some of the country’s best up-and coming wines and other fresh produce? Margaret River is only a couple of hours drive away.

From Broome to Albany and everywhere around and in-between, it’s this diversity that makes Western Australia such a vastly different experience for each and every traveller – one where each is free to craft their own amazing travel story. On this Western Australia bucket list, we hand-pick the 100 experiences that we feel best sum up the state’s many wonderful offerings.

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