Ok, so I’m just going to come out and say it … sorry east coast Australia, but when it comes to the best state in the Land Down Under, WA gets my vote every time.
Yes … controversial I know, but Western Australia really is rocking our socks right now!
In fact, from the moment we crossed the border from the Northern Territory into WA over 6 months ago, we’ve just been continually spellbound by this amazingly diverse and different side of the country.
And now, we are finding it hard to leave!
**read more about why in the post What Happened to the Road Trip? **
So if you’re thinking of heading over to Australia and haven’t considered straying away from the east coast, then I’ve got news for you …
I am a genuine believer that West is best my friends and to prove it, here’s my top reasons why …
The National Parks Factor
Ok, so while the Northern Territory may have Uluru and Kakadu and Queensland may have Fraser Island and the Whitsundays, Western Australia’s Karijini, Purnululu and Kalbarri National Parks do take some serious beating!
Yep, all 3 of these beauties, which you probably haven’t even heard of, are on our list of Australia’s most stunning National Parks, as all 3 of them just bowled us away on our budget road trip from Noosa to Perth.
All with stunning inland gorges, the colours Kalbarri, Karijini and Purnululu National Parks showcase, and the visitor experiences they provide, are almost unparalleled, especially during Western Australia’s wildflower season, which runs June-November.
And in addition to these great beauties, Western Australia also boasts Cape Range National Park, Torndirrup National Park, The Pinnacles (Nambung National Park), Ningaloo Reef, Cape le Grand, Shark Bay, Serpentine, West Cape Howe, Windjana Gorge … the list just goes on and on!
I rest my case
The Wildlife Factor
And in addition to all these sensational areas of preserved beauty, there’s some seriously cool wildlife encounters you can enjoy in WA too.
Take my day on Rottnest Island, for example, I mean who isn’t going to fall head over heels with the cuteness of the Quokkas, a tiny marsupial only found in this small isolated pocket of the world.
Then there’s the penguins on Penguin Island, not to mention the seals, the dolphins at Monkey Mia, the orcas at Bremner Bay, the whale sharks of Ningaloo and the general amazingness of dolphins and humpbacks all over the shop.
(We just won’t mention the great whites ok!)
But seriously, Western Australia packs an incredible punch when it comes to seeing some of the world’s most amazing creatures and a lot of it is ridiculously accessible to boot.
From organised tours to spontaneous scrambles up lookouts, we’ve seen a lot of these creatures on an absolute budget and there’s nothing stopping you from doing the same.
Of course, you’ve also got all the other amazing Australian animals in WA too, including koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and bandicoots.
Wildlife wonderment I tell ya!
The Enormity Factor
But just why are there so many freaking cool creatures and beyond-lovely landscapes in Western Australia?
Well I guess if I was a geologist or a botanist or a conservationist I’d have a ton of explanations for this, all of which would no doubt be fascinating in their own right.
However, because I’m only a lowly travel blogger, I’m going to keep this real simple and say the reason there is so much diversity in Western Australia is because this place is HUGE!
Yep, we all know Australia is a MASSIVE country, well the state of WA (let’s start getting familiar with those Aussie abbreviations people!) occupies roughly half of the country.
You can pretty much draw a line down the middle of Australia and everything to the left is in WA.
In fact, the state is a whopping 2.646 million km² (thanks Google), which means it’s just about the size of Germany, France, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Austria combined.
When you get a place this big, you’re bound to get a lot of different terrains and climates, all of which combine to give WA it’s huge diversity.
From the Tanami Desert to the Indian Ocean, the Great Southern Forests to the red, rocky Kimberleys, this state has it all, yet the one thing that remains the same across the board is the dazzling vividness of its colours.
That, my friends, certainly does not differ!
The Remote Factor
Yet despite being so big, WA somehow manages to occupy something of a peripheral position – the kind of elephant in the room of Australia!
In fact, its capital, Perth, is officially the most remote city in the world!
Now, I guess you’d either love this or hate it … but we love it.
With a love of getting off the beaten track in Australia, WA is perfectly suited to our travel, and life, styles.
In one way it feels like the Australia we know and in many others, it feels wildly different. You’re kind of part of the country here and kind of not, all at the same time.
I guess that’s what happens when you have your own timezone.
The Timezone Factor
Yes WA has its own timezone.
It also runs very much on its own timeframe, with the WA acronym assigned to the state, also been used to signify the relaxed cultural attitude of its population with the motto “Wait Awhile!”
The remote northwestern town of Broome for example – even has it’s own Broome time, which is roughly about 3 days behind everyone else!
While the Australians in general are well known for being a relaxed people, the West Australians take this to the next level.
Here we are 2-3 hours behind the eastern states (depending on the time of year) and 2-3 years behind in terms of generally giving a cr*p about much!
In WA, you get the distinct feeling that the rest of Australia, possibly even the rest of the planet, might well slip off the edge of its tectonic plate and it would take anyone here a good while to even notice, let alone be that bothered by it!
The Trendy Factor
But don’t let that fool you into presuming that WA is somehow a bit slow off the mark or a bit behind in its thinking.
In many ways, I’ve actually found it to be the most progressive state in the country so far.
Ok, well maybe that’s an opinion mostly formulated by my experiences of living in Fremantle – a pretty bohemian, left-of-centre suburb south of the river in Perth – and our short time in the wonderful upcoming town of Geraldton – but whatever the basis, my opinion persists.
It’s almost as if, because everything is so far away in time and space from WA, the state has to create its own brand of cool, which it does with a feisty aplomb.
And with this kind of independence of spirit being exactly what I’m all about, I really can’t respect it enough!
The Festival Factor
And with this kind of spirit and sense that ‘you’ve gotta make your own fun’, can I just say I’ve never experienced as many great festivals as I have in WA.
From the Fremantle Street Art Festival, to the Perth Fringe, to food festivals, pearl festivals, surf festivals, garden festivals, music festivals and indigenous cultural festivals, there’s literally been something happening every weekend we’ve been here.
And, so many of these have free or cheap activities that they really are a delight for the budget traveller.
The Food Factor
But of course, one of the biggest areas of delight for many is the proliferation of sensational food producers in WA.
Artisanal food production has taken off in a big way here (hoorah!) and with everyone from tiny truffle farmers, to boutique brewers, cheese crafters, plum producers and olive owners contributing to the growing market, there is literally more deliciousness here than you could ever even hope to indulge in on a trip!
And that’s not to mention the many famous vineyards.
Much of this small-scale food and wine production is centred around the southwest area of the state where a Mediterranean climate, perfect for growing grapes predominates.
As such, this corner of WA at least, really is a feast for the senses. I don’t think I’ve ever spent as much in farmers markets in my life!
The Ocean Factor
But it’s not all been about spending money, nope WA offers the visitor a ton of free stuff to enjoy too and top of my list – the delightful Indian Ocean.
Seriously, her crystal clear waters, which gently lap against silica white sands, are a photographer’s dream.
And even if you’re not a photographer, you’ll still find them totally captivating.
In fact, I dare you not to be spellbound too.
Cape Leveque and Coral Bay provide some of the most amazing ocean scenery in WA, but even down in Exmouth and Geraldton, she put on a such a show we could rarely resist her.
They also love a floating pontoon in WA and this makes swimming in the ocean very fun indeed!
The Sunset Factor
And finally, if the ocean wasn’t enough, then mother nature, just ups the anti that touch further in WA by providing some of the most insanely beautiful sunsets ever.
Even for an early bird that catches the worm like me, the WA sunsets far outstrip the east coast sunrises with their nightly catalogue of majestic pinks, purple, oranges, blues and reds that dance together, serenading the sun to sleep, over the rippling ocean waters.
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So have I convinced you yet?
Are you ready to believe me that west really is best?
Or perhaps you’re already in the know about WA being Australia’s best-kept secret?
And if so, what’s your favourite bit of this incredible state and why? … I’d love to share the passion 🙂