A Brief Guide to Western Australia

Western Australia, at 2,529,875 square kilometres, is the largest State in Australia in terms of area.  To give you some perspective on its size, WA is 3.6 times the size of Texas, and is approximately the size of India.  Western Australia occupies the western third of the Australian continent.

The Pinnacles, Nambung National Park

Despite its huge size WA has a population of just 2.26 million, and of that over 1.6 million people live in the capital city Perth.  This means that WA is one of the least densely populated places on Earth, so there is plenty of room here to find your own identity.  The vast distances and low population in regional areas also means that parts of WA are very remote, and that care should be taken when travelling in these areas.  Much of WA is desert, and there are some remote roads that would not see much traffic in days, sometimes weeks.  So, if you are contemplating driving through outback Western Australia make sure that you are prepared for such a journey.

Having said that, the parts of WA which attract the most travellers are usually fairly easy to get to, and have most of the comfortable tourist facilities you would expect – and some even have exceptional facilities.

Western Australia has been my home for about thirty years, and I’ve been fortunate enough to see much of this great State. I love it her simply because WA is unique.  This is an ancient land.  Some of the geological features here can be traced back billions of years.  Human occupation by our indigenous people can be traced back over 40,000 years, and much of the country has remained unchanged for many millennia.  If you are the sort of person who likes to visit pristine places, then Western Australia will not let you down.

We are in the same time zones as China and Singapore and we have a huge coastline that is pounded by the cold currents emanating from Antarctica in the South, to the very warm tropical waters near the Equator in the north.  Western Australia has, literally, hundreds of beaches, some of which are the prettiest you will find anywhere in the world, with the added benefit that when you visit you will, mostly, have them to yourself.  Even our most popular beaches, such as Perth’s Cottesloe and

Nornalup Inlet, near Walpole

Scarborough, and the amazing Cable Beach in far north Broome allow you plenty of room for yourself on the busiest days.  If you are a person who loves aquatic pursuits, then Western Australia should be on your `must visit’ list as we have everything here: superb fishing, some of the world’s best surfing spots, numerous great dive sites, some of the world’s best wind surfing and kite surfing, fantastic rivers and coastal area for kayaking, and great sailing (it was West Australians who first beat the USA to win the America’s Cup after others had tried for 132 years) – and how many other places in the world can you, legally, feed dolphins in their natural habitat and swim with the world’s largest fish, massive whale sharks?

The interior of Western Australia is just as fascinating as the coastal areas, but far less populated.  This is a mineral-rich State and mining is the largest industry in Australia.  Here, just about any mineral or gem is available.  We are a huge producer of gold, diamonds and pearls (although pearls are farmed, not mined), we also have extraordinarily large reserves of iron ore, uranium, coal, nickel, bauxite, mineral sands, natural gas and even salt. It is partly thanks to our huge mineral reserves that China’s economy has been able to flourish as Western Australia supplies much of China’s energy and production needs.  These mineral reserves are usually found in remote or hard-to-get-to locations well away from towns or civilisation.  This has resulted in many West Australians being in the unique position of flying to work.  Perth’s airport is one of Australia’s busiest mainly because of the number of flights taking mine workers to and from work.

From a tourism point of view, Western Australia has several diverse regions. They are: Perth and surrounds, Australia’s South West, the Coral Coast, Australia’s Golden Outback and Australia’s North West, all of which this blog will link to.

Western Australian wildflowers

GETTING TO WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The easiest and most efficient way from anywhere is to fly, particularly if you are coming from overseas.  We do get many cruise liners visit Western Australia, but very few people, other than locals, disembark here.  If you are already in Australia you can get here by rail from Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide, or you can drive yourself.  It uses to be possible to reach Western Australia by long distance coach, but cheap air fares made that form of travel unviable.  Many people buy or hire vehicles to do the grand Australian tour, and these are a great way to see WA but, be warned, the distances you travel here are vast, and you do need a lot of time, and must be prepared to many hours of driving on long, empty roads, to do the trip justice.

Western Australia

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