Western Australia

Swan River

Swan River

Broome Sunset

Broome Sunset

Pinnacles

Pinnacles

Bungle Bungles

Bungle Bungles

Western Australia is famous for its long days of sunshine, spotless blue skies and brilliant beaches. Its riches include constant sunshine, great food, a relaxed pace of life, natural beauty and open spaces. Even the dogs have their own beach here.

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Western Australia is a land blessed with spectacular diversity where the deep reds of ancient interior rock formations contrast with the sparkling blue of the Indian and Southern Oceans and the lush greenery of the stunning southern regions.

The big variety of landscapes and climates in Western Australia means there is always plenty of sunshine, making it a perfect year-round destination. Western Australia offers visitors a truly authentic Australian experience. Its sheer size beckons visitors back time and again to explore the huge range of holiday possibilities.

Commonly referred to as WA in Australia, Western Australia is one of the oldest lands on Earth and boasts an Aboriginal history that dates back more than 40,000 years.

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Size

Western Australia is massive. With an area of more than 2.5 million square kilometres a 12,500 kilometres of coastline and spanning 2,400 kilometres from north to south, it covers one third of the Australian mainland. Western Australia is similar in size to mainland Europe, has cattle stations the size of England and is around five times the size of Texas.

Everything about Western Australia is big. If you travel along the main highway for example it is common to see Road Trains transporting goods up and down the state. These Road Trains are trucks with 2 or 3 sometimes 4 full trailers on the back. If you visit one of the open cast mines in the north you will see the world biggest earth moving machines, trucks with houses in them, and trains that are kilometres in length.

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Time zone

The time zone of Western Australia GMT+ 8:00. Daylight saving is being trialed from the last Sunday in October to the last Sunday in March.

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Population

Western Australia’s population exceeded 2 million at 30 June 2005 and has been growing rapidly due to a sunny climate, relaxed lifestyle and economic prosperity. The population of Western Australia is multi-cultural with strong European and Asian influences. Approximately 80% of West Australians live in Perth.

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Perth

Perth is the capital city of Western Australia and Australia’s western gateway. Perth is situated around the Swan River. To the east it stretches towards a gentle backdrop of hills and the vineyards of the Swan Valley. In the city centre, the towers of the central business district dominate St George’s Terrace. North of here, the Hay and Murray Street Malls and arcades are filled with shoppers. The high green expanse of King’s Park overlooks Perth’s western end.

Beyond King’s Park are the Indian Ocean, stylish Subiaco and the popular beachside suburbs of Cottesloe, City Beach and Scarborough. Perth is the most isolated city in the world and is closer to Jakarta, Indonesia, than to Sydney. Perth is Australia’s sunniest city and enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Perth is a clean and modern city with many parks and clean white sandy swimming beaches.

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History

Australian Aboriginals were the original inhabitants of Australia. They survived in harsh climatic and environmental conditions for around 40,000 years in ways that sustained their societies while conserving resources, protecting fragile soils and leaving a light footprint on the environment.

European explorers came much later. It is widely believed that Portuguese sailors visited Western Australian shores as early as the 1500s. The first recorded European visitors were the Dutch in the 1600s.

Captain James Stirling founded the City of Perth in 1829 as part of the Swan River Colony. Although the territory was claimed on behalf of Britain, Unlike many other Australian states, Western Australia was colonised as a free settlement, not a penal colony. This is reflected in the free and spirited nature of its people.

The first major population surge came in the 1890s with the discovery of gold. The goldrush saw a massive influx of people keen to scour the rich gold-bearing soils of the central goldfields. On 1 January 1901, WA joined the other Australian states to form a federation, headed by a federal government and supported by individual State governments.

Western Australia’s location was of vital strategic importance during the two World Wars. Many towns and cities are steeped in wartime history and long abandoned bunkers and dusty airstrips can still be explored today.

Following the war, the north enjoyed enormous growth through a booming cattle trade an emerging pearling industry. The south blossomed with a strong agricultural sector and whaling. Further oil and gas discoveries, as well as the world’s largest iron ore deposits, saw the State’s North West undergo a population explosion throughout the 1970s – which continues to this day.

In more recent times, Western Australia is again enjoying another population boom, as more and more people are attracted to the State for its exceptional climate, buoyant economy and relaxed lifestyle – making Western Australia one of the fastest growing regions in the country.

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Weather and Climate

Western Australia’s climate varies from the tropical north to the temperate south. There are two distinct seasonal variations. The southern half of the State observes four seasons – summer, autumn, winter and spring. In the north there are two seasons – the ‘wet’ and the ‘dry’.

The northern winter, from April to September, is the ‘dry’ season and has long clear sunny days. Temperatures range from 24 degrees Celsius overnight to around 34 degrees Celsius during the day. Coastal temperatures vary little throughout the day, while the interior may top 40 degrees by day and dramatically drop towards zero in the cool of the night.

The northern summer, from October to March, is the ‘wet’ season. Temperatures are in the mid to high 30s and humidity is high. Visitors from cooler climates may find this challenging, however many visitors love the balmy combination of heat, humidity and long days of sunshine.

Tropical rainstorms are an awesome natural wonder. Some northern coastal areas record more than 1.5 metres of rain during the ‘wet’ season.

South of the Tropic of Capricorn the weather is less dramatic. The southern coastal areas of the South West region average a maximum of around 32 degrees in summer (December to February) and 14 degrees in the winter (June to August).

Perth has a long and hot summer where little rain falls and the temperature can stay up around 30°C, especially in January and February. Winds off the sea, known as the ‘Fremantle Doctor’ help cool the city. Winter brings coolish weather and rain, with an average temperature of 18°C.

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Culture

The dominant culture in Perth is an outdoors one: it seems most Perthites are devoted to some kind of outdoor activity, whether it’s swimming, surfing, fishing, yachting, windsurfing, snorkelling or sunbathing.

The city also has a strong artistic community, as is evidenced from its Cultural Centre, with its fabulous museum, galleries and library all in the one place, and its many festivals and events devoted to the arts and the city’s rich cultural heritage. It also has some great bookshops.

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Geography

The top one third of Western Australia lies in the tropical zone. There are tropical rainforests fringing the northern coastlines. Below that you will find vast areas of savannah grasslands which look like the game reserves you find in Africa.

The exception is the huge ant hills dotting the landscape with kangaroos hoping around. Further south from here are the deserts that Australia is famous for. Australian deserts are the biggest in the world outside of the Sahara. The main deserts here are the Simpson Desert, The Great Sandy Desert, The Great Victoria Desert, and the Nullabor Plain. These deserts come to life each Spring with the most spectacular and colourful show of wild flowers on earth.

North West Cape is the westerly most point of the Australian continent, and it is here that you will find the Ningaloo Reef which is just as spectacular as the Great Barrier Reef in eastern Australia, although not as extensive. The Reef may be smaller but there are also less people and the reef is easily accessible from the coast. i.e., no boat needed. There are many isolated beaches here too.

Another area of interest on the west coast is a place called Shark Bay. This World Heritage area is very scenic, but most come here to swim with the Dolphins.

Western Australia has some of the weirdest looking landscape on earth. One such area, the Purnululu National Park is home to the Bungle Bungles a vast area of dome shaped mountains of stone which are orange in colour and lined with black stripes, which is caused by a type of lichen that grows on certain layers of rock. It is quite incredible to note that the area was discovered in the 1980s and stands as a testimony to the vast unexplored areas that still exist in this state.

The Cervantes National Park or the Pinnacles as they are more commonly known, is another strange work of nature. In prehistoric times this area was once covered in forest but as Australia moved north due to continental drift this forest moved into the arid zone and the forest died. The dead trees were replaced by sand as they wasted away and today you can see the hundreds of stone pinnacles that replaced the trees to become a petrified forest.

Following the main highway north will lead you to the Northern Territory. The southwest of this state is bordered by South Australia. Beyond the western shoreline is the Indian Ocean and to the south of the state lies the Great Southern Ocean. The nearest landmass to the south is the Antarctica.

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Regions of Western Australia

Head to the South West for world class wineries, luxury accommodation and forests of tall trees. These taper off to a ribbon of coastal hinterlands of sheltered bays and rivers, often lined with massive granite boulders and stunning outlooks. Here, life is simple and genuine, offering a taste of rural Australian living along with relaxing country retreats and secluded chalets.

The Golden Outback’s spectacular outback and goldfields are the place for historic townships, brilliant, starry night skies, and wide open spaces with spinifex and red earth as far as the eye can see. Here too, are the beaches of the Southern Ocean. These seas can be wild one day and brilliant blue calm the next – they’re also home to humpback whales and their calves.

If it’s an Aussie frontier adventure you’re after head further north to the North West. Here you’ll find rugged ancient landforms, remnant rainforest, deep red gorges, vast cattle.

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Major attractions

Margaret River – Experience locally produced Sauvignon Blanc in this hugely popular wine region, with its sophisticated restaurants and internationally acclaimed vineyards. There’s also some of the best surfing in Australia and wild coastal caves.

Valley of the Giants – Reach amazing heights on the breathtaking Tree Top Walk in this small region of southwest WA, where tingle tingle trees, unique to the area, live for up to 400 years and can grow to 60m. South West Australia also contains areas of Karri Forest where some of the tallest trees in the world grow.

Ningaloo Marine Park – Swim with the mighty whale sharks or just float over the magnificent coral reefs and extraordinary fish in this stunning marine park, possibly the state’s most precious natural resource. Ningaloo reef, one of the world’s largest coral reefs.

The Kimberley – Explore the ancient and awesome landscape of one of Australia’s last great adventure-travel frontiers, a lightly travelled and remote area with fantastic rivers, thunderous waterfalls, deep chasms and bulging boab trees. The Southern Outback – Discover gold-mining history, ghost towns, wildlife and remote, dry landscapes in the area north and east of Kalgoorlie-Boulder – the outback Australia that many travellers come to see.

Broome – Watch a flaming red sunset as you finish a camel ride along the white sandy stretch of Cable Beach, one of Australia’s finest beaches. Much of this coastline is pure white sand with sparkling clear and warm inviting water.

Western Australia’s diverse landscape and climate has evolved an amazing range of natural attractions across the State. We invite you to experience Western Australia in style at our own pace. With so much to see and do, the possibilities are limitless. Contact Us to find out more about creating your own tailor made West Australian luxury holiday.