The Western Australia Bucket List

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

#80 - Spend a day at Whiteman Park

Where is it? Swan Valley, WA

This excellent example of public planning and execution in the Swan Valley is a veritable hub of publicly-accessible entertainment that features a mixture of bushland, historic and natural facilities in a single, spacious location. Set out of a massive 4,000 hectare area, a day out at Whiteman Park can be whatever you wish to make of it, with enough to do to occupy all ages; bushwalking trails, bike paths, playgrounds, sporting equipment - as well as a number of old-world focused attractions - can all be found here, and they're all kept in tip-top condition by local authorities. The park features ample grassed space with a number of shaded areas, as well as picnic and barbecue facilities, but these features are only sideshows to the rest of what makes the park a standout from the majority of its peers.

Visitors to Whiteman Park can explore the heritage options - take a ride around the park on a tram (the only of its kind in Western Australia), cool off in the pool and water playground on hot days, choose one of the available paths and stroll around its perimeter, or enjoy a meal and refreshment at the surprisingly high quality cafe/restaurant are all viable options here. The park is also home to two excellent individual sub-attractions - Caversham Wildlife Park and the Motor Museum of WA - that feature later on this list, as well as several quaint stores featuring a multitude of handcrafted goods to peruse. Add in the fact that it's dog-friendly for those looking to bring pets along for the day, and there's simply a huge range of things to do at Whiteman Park; the majority of which come entirely free of charge. Image credit: WeekendNotes

#79 - Go Surfing at Margaret River

Where is it? Margaret River, WA

Western Australia's immense coastline is dotted with a large number of quality surf breaks for enthusiasts to catch a wave, however a large concentration of some of the best of these can all be found within reach of the greater Margaret River region to the state's south-west. From Cape Naturaliste in the north to Cape Leeuwin in the south, there's roughly 100km worth of coastline to choose from in the region, ranging from reef breaks to beach breaks and even some of Australia's best big-wave locations - many of which are accompanied by stunning beaches with powder-soft sand to go along with it. Hotspots such as Boranup, Yallingup and the aptly-named Surfers Point (home to some truly intimidating big-wave conditions when weather and swell permit, and site of an annual Pro surfing event) all over quality surfing for different ability levels, and the abundance of potential surf spots means that you'll almost always be able to find an enjoyable break to have all to yourself.

Beginners are also catered for here at a number of small-wave sites - including the mouth of Margaret River itself - while those looking to take the first steps towards acquiring this lifetime art can sign up for a class at the Margaret River Surf School. The school operates off Redgate beach and covers all the basics of surfing outlined by professional and confidence-boosting teachers. Outside of the more famous spots, the Margaret River region offers nearly endless potential for discovery - numerous hidden breaks exist and are just begging to be found; all you'll need is a board, a tank of petrol, and an adventurous spirit. Image credit: Margaret River Tourism

#78 - Climb the Gloucester Tree

Where is it? Pemberton, WA

One of Western Australia's true "rites of passage", the Gloucester Tree is a massive, 72 metre tall Karri tree characteristic of the region in WA's Gloucester National Park near Pemberton that was originally constructed for spotting fires, but now serves as one of the state's best risk-vs-reward propositions. Set within a lovely slice of forest, the tree hosts a 61 metre high lookout that requires navigating 153 individual metal pegs to reach; this is an activity largely meant for fitter people, but one which has not stopped over 1 million people from braving the feat since its inception. Hand by hand and foot by foot, ascending the tree is an arduous and sometimes perilous task that only becomes moreso the higher you get - the tree's swaying is not nearly as obvious from below. The sturdiness of the pegs are reassuring however - as is the fact that no one has ever died when climbing the tree.

Once you've completed the climb and pulled yourself up to the viewing platform, the resultant panorama soon washes away those shaking nerves - the vista on offer showcases the rest of the forest from above, which makes for a vast and breathtaking spectacle. Be sure to come equipped with appropriately-grippy footwear if attempting the climb (no thongs, people!) as the tree is truly massive; and the climb may actually be even more chilling on the way back down! Ultimate views and a raw sense of achievement combine to make the Gloucester Tree climb a "bucket list" experience in every sense of the term.Image credit: Kim & Robyn's Road Trip

#77 - Admire St. George's Cathedral

Where is it? Perth, WA

One of Perth's most significant architectural icons, St. George's Cathedral is a reminder that, while Australia may not be an "old" country, there still remains some truly impressive feats of construction within the country's history. Built in traditional Gothic revival style outside and featuring the liberal use of lovely timber inside, the cathedral was constructed entirely from Western Australian materials including hand-made bricks - a rarity in such buildings. Set amongst immaculate grounds with perfectly-manicured lawns in the heart of Perth, St. George's provides an aura of peace and contemplation in the midst of the city that even non-believers will be able to appreciate; there's simply an aura of tranquility here that makes it well worth a visit.

The interior of the church is particularly impressive, with its high, vaulted ceilings and beautiful stained glass windows that tell a story, along with elegant wooden pews and memorials to ANZAC soldiers in the rear. The church's organ is a standout element, with its robust sound enhanced further by the building's inherent acoustics; musical performances and choir concerts are regularly held here that are wonderful to behold. St. George's Cathedral was recently renovated to bring it up to date as part of the new "Cathedral Square" district in the middle of Perth, and this central location thus makes it easy to access from anywhere else in the city via public transport. Image credit: Tourism Western Australia

#76 - Motor Museum of Western Australia

Where is it? Swan Valley, WA

Located within Whiteman Park (see #80), the Motor Museum of Western Australia is a veritable shrine of tribute for automotive enthusiasts, featuring over 130 individual vehicles dating back to the end of the 1800's to the modern era. There's a wide array of automobiles on both 2 and 4 wheels covering a range of eras - cars, motorbikes, trucks, buses and even a few bicycles are covered. and there are some truly weird and wonderful vehicles from the past to be seen among them. All of the machines have been lovingly restored and meticulously refined back to prime condition by the museum's passionate volunteers, with a number of distinctive standouts such as a 1920's Cadillac, Packards and even an Aussie P76.

The museum is well laid out, with plenty of general historic information on past eras in general rather than just cars themselves; as a result it's an ideal venue for older generations wanting to take a walk down memory lane. Kids can also find entertainment at the museum, with interactive areas including cars they can climb into for extra immersion. Add to this a staggering amount of historical car memorabilia - and model cars in particular - and very few facets of the automotive spectrum go uncovered here. It's a quality attraction with a very reasonable entry price, and while car buffs are the obvious target market, those with even a passing interest in history will no doubt enjoy a visit here. Image credit: Whiteman Park

#75 - Go hands-on at Peel Zoo

Where is it? Pinjarra, WA

This private zoo located round 20 minutes from Mandurah is smallish on size but big on character, with a relaxed and uncommercialised environment and a comprehensive array of Aussie wildlife. As an attraction that attempts to convey an open and familial environment, the zoo places an emphasis on interactivity and hands-on opportunities, and thus there are a number of delightful chances to get up close and personal with a number of different creatures. With a visit to Peel Zoo you can feed kangaroos and alpacas, hold snakes, pet foxes and ferrets, and hand-feed a large number of colourful tropical birds fruit in a large walk-in aviary - with many of the birds tame enough to land on your shoulder!

Purchasing a bag of animal food is thus the gateway to numerous memorable encounters, and feeding its many friendly creatures will prove especially delightful for smaller children in particular. Staff at Peel Zoo are friendly and communicative, and when visiting you're never made to feel rushed in terms of spending time with each of the animal species. In addition, the zoo never feels overcrowded, even in peak periods, so competing with fellow visitors for the attention of the various cute critters is likewise not a negative factor. Clean, well laid out and enjoyable for all ages, if you're after an animal experience that truly allows for hands-on encounters then Peel Zoo will not disappoint. Image credit: Peel Zoo

#74 - Army Museum of Western Australia

Where is it? Fremantle, WA

This comprehensive tribute to Western Australia's involvement in over a century worth of conflicts is one of Fremantle's best overall attractions, with its high degree of authenticity a major reason why. From being staffed by war veterans to showcasing unaltered tanks and trucks to providing some often-somber insight into the tribulations of those involved in the wars, the scope covered in the Army Museum of Western Australia is staggering. Located within a former artillery barracks, the old, red-brick facade with its number of large guns and tank outside make for a great indication of what you'll encounter within - there are an incredible array of artefacts including weapons, maps, medals, uniforms, and other military documents covering the period from pre-World War 1 up to modern conflicts.

Many of its displays are quite moving, and even graphic in some instances, but this is necessary to convey the harrowing nature of war and to educate visitors on its horrors - hopefully with the goal of avoiding it at all costs in future. Exhibits are laid out in chronological order and cover both live combat situations as well as Prisoner of War living conditions, with an emphasis put on storytelling on each. Visitors can experience what it's like to be inside a bunker - popular with older children - and those wanting further insight can join a guided tour for some great detail and firsthand information from one of the museum's highly knowledgeable guides who are as much of an attraction as the exhibits themselves. With limited operating hours, bookings a day or so prior are a must - but well worth the effort.Image credit:

#73 - Visit Kalgoorlie/Boulder & the Pure Gold Visitor Centre

Where is it? Kalgoorlie, WA

Part visitor's centre, part civic building, and all gateway to the interesting sights to behold in the Western Australian outback region of Kalgoorlie and twin city of Boulder, the Kalgoorlie Boulder Pure Gold Visitor Centre should be the first port of all to anyone looking to explore this rugged and interesting portion of the state. As the initial gateway to many of the must-see spots in the mining-oriented and history-rich part of Australia that is Kalgoorlie - including one in particular listed later on this list - the Visitors Centre is both a wealth of information and an attraction in its own right, being based in the city's historic Town Hall that boasts impressive architecture both inside and without.

Kept in the state it was in during the early 1900's, the building contains an immense amount of detail about the history of the town all within a relatively small space, including a Sporting Hall of Fame, a well-preserved theatre with a wonderful sense of ambiance, and an in-depth look at the gold discovery of the past on which much of the region's early development was based. All of the characteristic qualities of high-vintage quality construction are present in the building, reflected in the decor, woodwork and furnishings, and free guided tours are available for those wanting further analysis. The Kalgoorlie region's uniqueness make it a bucket list item as a whole, and there are no better places to start than this informative and pleasantly-staffed hybrid attraction. Image credit: Kalgoorlie Tourism

#72 - Pearling History at Willie Creek Pearl Farm

Where is it? Broome, WA


It's interesting the impact that a single mineral can have in altering the fortunes of an entire region, but Broome's abundance of these beautiful oyster-produced gems have been one of the main lifebloods of the town's economy for over a century. The award-winning Willie Creek Pearl Farm, located in a beautiful spot on the coastline roughly 38 kilometres to the north of Broome makes what might sound like the relatively boring process of pearl production and history into a highly entertaining attraction with plenty of insight and attractive visuals to make it an essential part of a visit to Broome.

Location plays a large role in the attraction's appeal; situated on a wonderful tidal estuary that makes for a natural showcase in and of itself, the experienced starts with a meet and greet from the Pearl Farm's friendly hosts followed by an outdoor presentation in a shaded lecture area in which a range of examples of oysters are showcased. Throughout the process of touring the farm, you'll also be able to view all the different stages of how the pearls are cultured, outlined by Willie Creek Pearl Farm's staff in a way that is made entertaining. And, of course, a chronicle of the pearl farm wouldn't be complete without a mention of its impressive showroom where you can view the pearls in the “final product” form should you wish to purchase some or some pearl-based jewellery for yourself. Image credit: Hello Perth

#71 - Attend an event at Perth Arena

Where is it? Perth, WA

This modern and recently constructed venue is as striking both for its distinctive design as it is for the array of world-class entertainment that it has attracted since its inception in late 2012. As one of the first parts of a major urban renewal project, the arena has proved a large drawcard for international talent and concert-goers alike, being host to a number of renowned live music performances from big names such as Beyonce, Queen, The Rolling Stones and numerous others, as well as a regular base for sporting events and other showcases of talent. With modern design considerations taken into account, the arena is both easy to navigate entry-and-exit wise, has ultra-clean facilities and well-planned parking, and has received much praise from performers for the quality of its acoustics.

Food bars and outlets at Perth Arena are plentiful which helps to reduce queue times, and its relatively compact size both helps alleviate these kinds of concerns while also conveying something of a more intimate atmosphere than a number of other capitals' concert and sporting venues. In addition, the layout of the venue has been designed to maximise viewing opportunities from all angles; even in the relative "nosebleed" seats up high, visibility is good and very little is lost in terms of viewing experiences in the cheaper seats. If you're wanting to see a live event in Perth, Perth Arena now serves as a worthy flagship and offers plenty of variety in performance types; and it's become something of a Mecca for local basketball fans in particular.

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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The Western Australia Bucket List Map

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