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The 20 Best Places to Visit in Western Australia (According To Locals)

We’ve been living on the road for the past 3 years, and of all the places we’ve explored, nothing compares to the variety of landscapes found in Western Australia.

It’s the biggest state in the country, which is both a blessing and a curse.

There are dozens of things to see and do, but some of them are very remote. So, you have to be mindful of the destinations you choose and the time of year you visit them to have the biggest bang for your buck.

Enter our list of the 20 best places to visit in Western Australia! These are our top destinations after travelling pretty much every corner of WA.

A snorkeler in clear waters off Exmouth, encounters a sea turtle gliding over the sandy ocean floor. It shows the best places to visit in Western Australia.
Have you ever considered snorkeling? It’s one of the incredible adventures waiting for you in Western Australia!

Some are well-known, like Exmouth or Esperance, but others are underrated gems that everyone must see at least once, like Karijini or Gibb River Road.

There are dozens of destinations to visit in this massive area. But the very best places to visit in Western Australia

Whether you like adventure, nature, or learning about Aboriginal culture, Western Australia has something for you. Let’s get started!

Perth Area: Blend Of Nature And City Life

Perth is the capital city of Western Australia, and there are a few tourist attractions here:

1) Perth city

Perth has everything – stunning beaches, massive parks, a vibrant city life, and a rich history with aboriginal ancestry.

It’s also the main port and most likely where you will fly into when visiting! Must-visit spots include:

  • King’s Park

  • Elizabeth Quay

  • Cottesloe and Scarborough beaches

  • The Swan River

  • Perth Hills (especially during wildflower season)

The coastline is beautiful and perfect for surfing and snorkelling. It’s also a short driving distance from famous landmarks like The Pinnacles Desert or Lancelin Sand Dunes.

🤩 This is the PERFECT tour to do on your first day in Perth! It’s jam-packed with the city’s highlights: Very Best of Perth Tour

2) Fremantle

Fremantle (or “Freo” by locals) is a historic port city at a short 30-minute drive from Perth Central Business District (CBD).

It has some of the oldest buildings in Western Australia, like the iconic Fremantle prison or The Roundhouse. Visiting the Fremantle Markets is a must too.

There’s an awesome art scene, microbreweries, and excellent coffee shops, too! Plus, it’s the main gateway to the next place…

3) Rottnest Island (where quokkas live)

This is an iconic island off the coast. There are crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and the cute quokkas who are always up for a selfie.

If you’re into snorkelling or diving, this place is an absolute must! There’s a spot for every type of snorkeller, regardless of age or level.

It’s a car-free zone, too. You can hire a bike, a segway, or hop on the bus to move around.

🤩 Explore the underwater world of Rottnest Island with this snorkelling tour: Rottnest Island Guided Snorkel Boat Experience

Gems at a driving distance from Perth

These gems are at a 3-hour drive from Perth (or less!):

4) Lancelin Sand Dunes (1.5 hour drive north)

Have you ever wanted to go sandboarding? Well, this is your sign!

Lancelin, Western Australia. Picture of the sand dunes
After you’ve had your fill of sandboarding thrills, why not unwind on the nearby beach?

Lancelin has the largest dunes in Western Australia – some are 3 storeys high. They’re like a giant sandbox where you can go sandboarding and quad-biking down the slopes.

It’s family-friendly and you can easily spend 2-3 hours here. Then, continue to the next stop…

🤩 Sandboard down the massive dunes of Lancelin with this tour: Sandboard and Quad Bike Adventure in Lancelin

5) The Pinnacles Desert (2-hour drive north)

Drive a bit further north to visit this sci-fi destination in Nambung National Park.

It’s a massive desert with thousands of limestone spires sticking out of the yellow sand! You can wander around at your own pace, or even take a scenic drive through the desert.

They’re especially magical during sunrise or sunset, when the light plays tricks and the shadows create an epic, moody vibe.

Make sure to stop by the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre first. There, you’ll learn more about this curious feat of nature.

An aerial shot captures three happy people in the midst of the Pinnacles Desert, with the long shadows of the limestone formations stretching across the sandy terrain in the warm light of the setting sun.

Read more: Full guide of The Pinnacles (and things to do there)

🤩 This is the best full-day tour from Perth! It starts in Lancelin and ends with a sunset in The Pinnacles (barbecue dinner and stargazing included!): Pinnacles Desert Sunset Stargazing Tour

6) Busselton (2.5 hour drive south)

Busselton is a charming coastal town and the gateway to the beautiful South West region of Western Australia.

An aerial view of Busselton Jetty extending into the cobalt blue waters, with a single boat floating nearby.

The main attraction here is the Busselton Jetty, the longest timber-piled jetty in the southern hemisphere, stretching out a whopping 1.8 kilometres into the ocean.

You can take a leisurely stroll down it… Or snorkel it! The underwater scene there is truly unique and totally worth checking out.

🤩 Snorkel the Busselton Jetty and check out its underwater sculptures with this tour: Busselton Jetty and Underwater Sculptures Snorkel Boat Tour

South West Region: Waves and Wine

The southwest is a popular destination in Western Australia for a few reasons:

  • The landscapes are extremely varied – lush forests, natural pools, ancient caves, and pristine beaches.

  • The surfing is top-notch.

  • It’s the wine region, with world-class wineries.

That’s why it’s best explored with a road trip!

That said, here are the very best places to visit in Western Australia’s southwest:

7) Esperance

The remote town of Esperance is like a postcard come to life, with its pristine, sandy beaches and the bluest water you’ve ever seen.

Enjoy the white sand beach and catch a whale of a performance off the coast of Esperance!

It has some of the best beaches in Australia, like the iconic Lucky Bay and its resident kangaroos. Or Wharton Beach, our favourite beach in the entire country:

But the beaches are just the beginning. Esperance is also the gateway to the incredible Cape Le Grand National Park, where you can hike, camp, and get your fill of breathtaking coastal scenery.

Keep reading: Things to do in Esperance that should be on every itinerary.

🤩 Want to explore the Southwest but don’t want to plan anything (much less drive)? This 6-day tour is exactly what you’re looking for: 6-Day Esperance & Margaret River Adventure Tour

8) Margaret River

Margaret River is in the heart of the southwest, and it’s one of Australia’s most famous wine regions.

With over 200 wineries, you can spend your days sipping on world-class Chardonnays and Cabernets, while indulging in gourmet meals made of the best local produce.

Plus, the surf breaks are incredible and there are several caves nearby (like Mammoth Cave), as well as many scenic walking trails.

Chris of Salt and Charcoal watching Margaret River's Underground Cave stalactites and stalagmites in Western Australia

🤩 Enjoy the very best of Margaret River – wine, chocolate, farm-to-plate meals, and more – with this full-day tour: Margaret River Full-Day Wine, Scones, Local Produce and Nature Tour

9) Augusta

This is a quaint and charming little town, where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet. Imagine the kind of stunning coastal scenery you’re in for!

It’s quieter than some of its neighbouring towns, which makes it the perfect escape if you’re looking to relax and soak in the natural beauty without the crowds.

There are a few must-see attractions here as well, like the historic Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse or the amazing Jewel Cave. And if you’re visiting between June and August, you might even see the whales migrating along the coast!

🤩 Check out the ancient Jewel Cave and its impressive crystal formations with this tour: Jewel Cave Fully-guided Tour

10) Denmark

In Denmark, you can start your day enjoying the turquoise waters of the Southern Ocean and finish it with a Tree Top Walk, 40 metres above the ground!

Check out beaches like Greens Pool and Ocean Beach, where the water is so clear it’s like looking through glass. Make sure to visit Elephant Rocks, too.

couple walking to the beach in Elephant Rocks Denmark Western Australia

But it’s not all about nature. There’s also a bunch of great wineries around where you can sip on some top-notch wine!

🤩 Calling all the foodies out there, this full-day tasting tour will have you trying all kinds of local delicacies! Tasting Delicious Denmark WA

11) Albany

This beautiful coastal town has a unique mix of history and nature.

For the history buffs, Albany was the first European settlement in WA, even predating Perth by a few years. There are several well-preserved colonial buildings, giving it a really old-town feel.

Nature lovers won’t be disappointed, either. Torndirrup National Park is just on the outskirts of town, with a rugged coastline and jaw-dropping cliffs. There are other natural wonders like The Gap and Natural Bridge.

🤩 This half-day tour takes you to the highlights of Torndirrup National Park, including The Gap and Natural Bridge: The Gap and Natural Wonders

12) Yallingup

This serene coastal town is known for its stunning beaches, laid-back lifestyle, and awesome surf spots (attracting surfers from all over the world).

Yallingup is also home to the Insta-famous Injidup Natural Spa, a natural pool where the incoming swell creates a waterfall.

There are also stunning snorkelling spots, an ancient cave (the Ngilgi Cave), and awesome hikes, like the scenic Cape to Cape Track.

Keep reading: Top things to do in Yallingup

🤩 Visit the incredible Ngilgi Cave and learn all about it with this family-friendly tour: Self-Guided Ngilgi Cave Ancient Lands Experience

13) Bremer Bay

Bremer Bay is a hidden gem surrounded by incredible biodiversity, like the Fitzgerald River National Park – a UNESCO-listed biosphere, and a must-visit during wildflower season.

A cheerful couple embraces in front of Salt and Charcoal camper van parked on the sandy shore, with clear blue waters and a sunny sky in the background, evoking a sense of joy and adventure in Bremer Bay beach Western Australia
Laughing in the embrace of sun, sand, and good company at Bremer Bay.

It also has the largest congregation of orcas in the Southern Hemisphere! So, if you visit anywhere between January and April, you have to go orca-watching (sorry, we don’t make the rules).

🤩 Go on a full-day expedition to meet the orcas at Bremer Bay! You may see whales, dolphins and other marine animals, too: Bremer Canyon Killer Whale Expedition

Coral Coast – Snorkelling and megafauna

We’ve just explored the region south of Perth, let’s talk about the best places to visit in the north, i.e the Coral Coast.

This is a unique, 1100km stretch along the west coast, going from Cervantes (a town 2 hours north of Perth) all the way north to Exmouth.

It’s famous for its diverse marine life and incredible natural landscapes, including the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef (the world’s largest fringing reef).

Road-tripping the Coral Coast is a Western Australia bucket list item! Here are the best places to visit along the way:

🤩 Explore the entire Coral Coast without the hassle with this 6-week tour from Perth: 7-Day Explorer Tour to Exmouth

13) Exmouth

The beaches of this quaint town share waters with the impressive Ningaloo Reef. Here, you can literally snorkel or dive right off the beach (unlike the Great Barrier Reef).

And if you’ve ever wanted to swim alongside whale sharks or humpback whales, this is your chance. Exmouth is the prime spot for this, with several 5-star tours to choose from.

But if you don’t visit during whale season, don’t worry – manta rays are permanent residents, and turtles come to nest every year.

There’s the Cape Range National Park, with its rugged limestone ranges and breathtaking canyons! Exmouth has everything, making it one of the best places to visit in Western Australia.

How long to spend in Exmouth? A week is good enough, here’s a full itinerary!

🤩 This is the best tour for your first day in Exmouth! Meet the local marine life right away with this half-day snorkel experience: 2.5hr Snorkel Turtle Tour on the Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth

14) Coral Bay

Coral Bay is a 1.5-hour drive from Exmouth, and it’s another slice of paradise, albeit smaller. It’s another entry point for the Ningaloo Reef, too, meaning you can snorkel right off the shore!

An aerial view of two people paddleboarding over the stunning coral formations in the shallow turquoise waters of Coral Bay

When it comes to marine life, Coral Bay is famous for its resident manta rays. If you’ve always wanted to swim with them, this is the place to be.

It’s a very touristy spot, though – book accommodation and tours ahead of time.

Keep reading: The best things to do in Coral Bay

🤩 This full-day, all-included snorkelling tour will take you through the best spots of the Ningaloo Reef from Coral Bay: Marine Eco Safari – Swim with Manta Rays

15) Kalbarri

This is the place for those who want the perfect blend of adventure and natural beauty.

Kalbarri is a coastal town at the mouth of the Murchison River, where it meets the Indian Ocean. It also has a series of rock formations and dramatic sea cliffs that will blow your mind.

It also has the Kalbarri National Park, with its rugged gorges and colourful wildflower displays in spring.

A woman in a red dress and straw hat walks through a vibrant field of yellow wildflowers in Kalbarri
Wandering through a sea of gold in Kalbarri’s wildflower wonderland.

There are plenty of hikes and trails that take you through diverse landscapes and attractions, like Nature’s Window, the Z Bend, or the Kalbarri Skywalk.

Kalbarri is an excellent destination for a quick road trip from Perth, check our guide with a 5-day itinerary to help you plan for it!

🤩 Hop on this sunset cruise to have an exclusive view of the coastal cliffs of Kalbarri: Kalbarri Sunset Cruise along the Coastal Cliffs

16) Shark Bay and Monkey Mia

Shark Bay is a World Heritage-listed area, as it has a few spectacular and ecologically significant landscapes in the world. Like the ancient stromatolites at Hamelin Pool, or a beach that has shells instead of sand – Shell Beach.

Monkey Mia is part of Shark Bay, famous for its friendly dolphins that visit the shore almost daily. The area is also a haven for dugongs, turtles, and an array of birdlife.

It’s also the entry point of Francois Peron National Park, a 4WD adventure with rugged red cliffs against the blue Indian Ocean.

🤩 Explore Monkey Mia and other famous attractions (like Kalbarri and The Pinnacles) with this 4-day tour: From Perth: 4-Day Coastal Loop to Monkey Mia

The Northwest (The Pilbara and The Kimberley)

Do you want a true outback experience? Then, visit the Northwest. This massive stretch of land is comprised of two regions, The Pilbara and The Kimberley.

The Pilbara is a vast, arid region renowned for its rich red earth, ancient rock formations, and strong Aboriginal heritage. It’s home to some of the oldest rocks on the planet, some of them being over 3.6 billion years old.

A woman in swimwear and a hat stands against the richly layered red rock formations in Pilbara, extending an arm to touch the ancient, curved sedimentary walls.

The Kimberley is an adjacent area to the northwest, known for its dramatic landscapes, rugged ranges, spectacular gorges, and thundering waterfalls. It has some of the largest tidal movements in the world, so strong they create a horizontal waterfall!

Here are the best places to visit in this ancient area:

17) Karijini

This is one of the very best places to visit in Western Australia for those who love the great outdoors.

Karijini is in the heart of the Pilbara region and it’s home to several breathtaking gorges, crystal-clear rock pools, and cascading waterfalls, all set amongst the backdrop of the region’s iconic red-earth landscapes.

It’s best visited with a 4WD though, to be able to explore everything this wild area has to offer.

Keep reading: Full Travel Guide To Karijini

🤩 Explore some of the most remote places in WA – Karijini, Exmouth and Cape Range National Park – with this 10-day tour: Western Australia’s Karijini & Ningaloo Reef Tour

18) Broome

Broome is a beautiful town in the Kimberley region, with a unique mix of history, culture, and natural beauty.

Here’s Cable Beach, where you ride camels on the beach during sunrise or sunset. You can also visit Coconut Wells, a rockpool area that only shows during low tide, among other incredible natural attractions.

Silhouettes of a camel train and their riders cast long shadows on the sand of Cable Beach at sunset, with the golden sun dipping towards the horizon in Western Australia.

Broome is also the gateway to the wider Kimberley wilderness, with day trips to awesome places like the rugged Dampier Peninsula and the famous Horizontal Waterfalls!

Keep reading: Ultimate Guide To Broome, WA

🤩 Experience Broome in the most iconic way possible – riding a camel on Cable Beach in the sunset! Broome Sunset Camel Tour

19) Gibb River Road

The Gibb River Road is a 660 km-long, 4WD-only journey that crosses The Kimberley’s most rugged and breathtaking landscapes. It’s the epitome of adventure!

best camping spots on the Gibb River Road, Western Australia. Paid and Free
Found our little slice of paradise on Gibb River Road. Nothing beats the good ol’ campfire stories and starry skies for company. 🏕️✨

This legendary track winds through the heart of the region, along its most remote, wild, and pristine areas. Here you’ll find majestic gorges, cascading waterfalls, tranquil rock pools, and rugged ranges.

Learn more: The only travel guide you’ll need for the Gibb River Road

🤩 Explore the Gibb River Road with this 4WD, all-included tour from Darwin to Broome: Darwin to Broome 4WD Adventure

20) Purnululu National Park and Bungle Bungle Range

Purnululu National Park is a spectacular wilderness area in the Kimberley region. It’s absolutely massive, covering an area of nearly 240,000 hectares.

Beck of Salt and Charcoal in a sunhat and light clothing explores Echidna Chasm in Purnululu National Park, navigating through the narrow, towering walls of the deep red rock gorge.
Squeezing through Echidna Chasm’s narrow embrace in Purnululu.

It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to its outstanding natural beauty and the significance of its indigenous rock art and cultural heritage.

The most famous feature of the park is the Bungle Bungle Range, a landscape of dome-shaped sandstone towers striped with alternating orange and grey bands.

Purnululu also has grasslands, forests, and palm-filled gorges as well, with dozens of walking trails you can hike to further explore the area!

🤩 See the Bungle Bunge Range in the best way possible – from the sky and through a hike – with this full-day tour: Bungle Bungle Explorer

What is the best time of year to visit Western Australia?

Western Australia is massive, so the best time to visit will depend on the areas you want to visit and the activities you want to do.

a happy couple in their swimming attire enjoying a sunny day at the beach in Elephant Rocks Denmark Western Australia
Here we are basking in the sun in Elephant Rocks Denmark during summer!

Weather-wise, the northwest is best visited between April and October, while the south is best visited around November and May.

But we recommend using the activities you want to do as a guide, for example:

  • Wildflower season is between late July to October

  • Whale-watching season is usually around winter, from June to October

  • Surfing season is usually between February to May

  • Turtle season in Exmouth is around November-December up to February-March

  • Gibb River Road is closed during the wet season, from December to April

Top Tips

If you’re planning on road-tripping, be prepared for long drives. Ensure your vehicle is well-maintained, and carry extra fuel, water, and supplies (more so if you want to go off the beaten path).

You’ll likely encounter a lot of wildlife. And as used to humans as they may be, they’re still wildlife – remember to keep a safe distance, especially from marine animals and reptiles, and never feed them.

Also, prepare for remote areas. Mobile reception can be patchy, so consider renting a satellite phone for emergencies.

Finally, remember that many sites in WA are significant to the Traditional Owners. Always show respect, and if you’re unsure about protocol, ask for advice or seek a local guide.

🤩 Whenever we need to rent a car, we do so with RentalCars because they find the very best deals, regardless of where we are. Check them out here!

Did you know?

Western Australia is considered the second-largest state in the world, famous for its varied landscapes. It also has one of the most significant displays of wildflowers on the planet, with 12,000 species blossoming in spring.

It’s also home to diverse Aboriginal cultures, with over 200 different languages spoken across the state. The Kimberley region, in particular, has a rich indigenous history.

FAQs

How many days do you need to see Western Australia?

If you spend only one night in the main places, it’ll take you around 3 weeks to visit most of Western Australia.

We don’t recommend doing this, though – you won’t spend nearly enough time in each spot to truly enjoy it, and it will be extremely rushed.

Ideally, we recommend spending around 2 months, organised something like this:

-7 days in Perth and surrounding areas
-14 days in the Southwest
-10-14 days in the Coral Coast
-14-20 days in the Northwest

These are estimates though, the actual duration will depend on your travel pace and the activities you want to do.

Do you need a 4×4 to travel Western Australia?

No, you don’t need a 4×4 to travel Western Australia. Most attractions have well-kept bitumen roads. But if you want to go off the beaten path (which is 100% worth it in WA), a 4×4 is a must.

What is Western Australia popular for?

Western Australia has the world’s largest expanse of outback, the whitest beaches, the oldest living cultures, lots of UNESCO World Heritage sites, great surfing, and premium wines. No wonder why so many visitors return!

The bottom line

From the sun-kissed beaches of the Coral Coast, to the gourmet experiences and towering forests of the Margaret River Region, to the rugged wilderness of the Northwest… Each spot shared holds a special place in our nomadic hearts.

Hopefully, some of them make their way into your Western Australia bucket list!

This is just the tip of the iceberg, though – there’s so much more waiting for you to explore. Whether you’re planning a short getaway or a long-haul adventure, Western Australia has something for you.

A group of friends in swimwear enjoys the sunny coast of Western Australia, posing on a wooden overlook against a backdrop of vibrant blue sea.

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