Western Australia is open for business – your business!
For the first time in a long time we’ve got the State all to ourselves (and can’t really go anywhere else), so it’s time to cross a few items off the old WA-based bucket list.
One area of the state with almost limitless potential is our North West – covered in ranges, gorges and beautiful coastline billions of years in the making.
We’ll help you get the boulder rolling with 10 Bucket List-worthy experiences below, and you can head to the Australia’s North West Website to start planning these trips and a whole lot more, today.
1. See The Horizontal Waterfalls at Talbot Bay
Father Nature himself, David Attenborough has described Talbot Bay’s horizontal waterfalls as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world”, so you know why we’re starting here.
The fast-moving tidal currents in Talbot Bay squeeze through a couple of narrow gorges that make up the McLarty Range, creating rapid-like formations that in turn produces sideways waterfalls.
Located in the Buccaneer Archipelago this unique waterfall is not accessible by vehicle, as such we recommend heading here to find your preferred tour operator that’ll help you feel the full impact of the falls.
Photo via @australia
2. Tackle The Gibb River Road
One of the North West region’s most iconic roads, this 660km of unsealed road is one of the country’s great 4WD adventures.
Pristine waterfalls and gorges along with historic stations are found throughout, with plenty of options for swimming and canoeing.
We’ve done the hard yards for you and listed all the fantastic gorges and waterfalls you have to stop at here, ending up at one of the North West’s most magical bucket list locations – El Questro, which will be re-open in 2021.
Photo by @cjmaddock
3. Meander Around Millstream-Chichester National Park
When we think of North West WA we think Karijini (which we’ll get to), but it’s just one of many spectacular national parks in the region.
One that gets a little less fanfare but is no less spectacular is Millstream-Chichester National Park, home to stunning pools, gorges, scenic drives and walking trails.
There’s seasonal Python Pool’s waterfalls and deep pool; the Mount Herbert summit trail which has a cliff top walk, taking in the Fortescue River and Hamersley Ranges; and Deep Reach – a pool on the Fortescue, sacred to the Yinjibarndi people.
Head here for an in-depth rundown of what to do in Millstream-Chichester.
4. Conquer Karijini National Park
The ultimate adventure-lover’s paradise, Karijini is home to some challenging hikes that offer unparalleled views of billion-year-old gorges, waterfalls and swimming holes.
From Hancock Gorge’s steep ladders, to Weano Gorge’s water walks and the breathtaking crystal clear waters of Fern and Circular Pools in Dales Gorge, it’s an experience unmatched by anything in the world.
To really immerse yourself (and take your time to explore), you can camp at Dale’s Campground or Karijini Eco Retreat, the latter of which also has glamping options.
Head here for all you need to know about Karijini National Park experiences and tours.
Photo by @cjmaddock
5. Walk With Dinosaurs At Cable Beach’s Gantheaume Point
Broome has been a tourism hotspot for a long time now, but as we said now’s your best chance to get it all to yourself (and quite a few other West Aussies, we imagine).
Cable Beach is Broome’s crown jewel, but make sure you head to Gantheaume Point at the southern end, where red cliffs clash with brilliant blue ocean waters, and 130million-year-old dinosaur footprints can be stepped in.
Don’t forget to look up at night, where incredibly clear skies will open up a whole universe of stars, along with the special ‘Staircase To The Moon’ from March to October.
There’s remote breweries, a rich pearling history and of course its world famous sunset camel rides – just try not to get spit on!
To checkout some of the best things to see and do in Broome – head here.
Photo by @yane.photography
And Explore Cape Leveque – Where Red Cliffs Meet The Sea
200km north of Broome runs the Dampier Peninsula and Cape Leveque – filled with incredible vistas thanks to a striking contrast between pindan cliffs, long, white sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters.
An area with some fantastic drives, including Manari Road, Pender Bay and Cape Leveque itself, it’s also an area steeped in Aboriginal history.
Here Aboriginal experiences and tourism go hand-in-hand, with the local Bardi and Nyul Nuyl people hosting a variety of tours learn their country.
From learning ancient hunting techniques, fishing and mud crabbing to bush foods, Beagle Bay* and the historic Lombadina* bush timber church, the best kinds of adventure always involve some learning along the way.
Follow this link to find out all you can do on the Dampier Peninsula and surrounds.
Photo via @australia
6. Get In Touch With Some Aboriginal History
In line with the abovementioned tours, the North West region has an abundance of opportunities to help you learn about Australia’s first peoples.
Around Broome you’ll find a variety of experiences via Narlijia Cultural Tours, hosted by Yawuru man Bart Pigram sharing an Indigenous, multicultural perspective.
If the Pilbara is on your itinerary, Ngurrangga Tours will take you deeper into the history of the land’s gorges, while the Wijingarra Tours offer some of the remote tour experiences for those cruising the Kimberley Coast.
With other tour options including art sites, eco cultural tours and cave explorations, there’s no excuse not to learn the lay of the land from an Aboriginal perspective.
Head here to start planning your Aboriginal North West experience today.
7. Barrel Through The Bungle Bungle
About 250km south of Kununurra you’ll find the epic Purnululu National Park AKA The Bungle Bungle, known for its incredible striped sandstone domes, gorges and chasms.
Access to the park is 4WD only, but the stops along the way are breathtaking must-dos; from the ranges themselves, to Echidna Chasm, and Piccaninny, Mini Palms and Cathedral gorges.
If time and finances allow it, the best way to get a true sense of the vast scale of the park is a scenic flight, which runs daily during the dry season from an airstrip within the park, or from Kununurra, Warmun and Lake Argyle for those who don’t have 4WD access to the park.
For how to get there and where to stay click here.
Photo by @cjmaddock
8. Dive Into The Dampier Archipelago
A chain of 42 islands make up the Dampier Archipelago that is located about 45 kilometres from the town of Dampier.
With stunning coral reefs and some of the richest marine biodiversity in Western Australia, the archipelago is great for fishing, snorkelling and diving.
Camping is available on some of the islands within 100 metres of the high-water mark (with the exception of some designated special conservation zone areas) including Eaglehawk and Dolphin Island.
The islands can be accessed via boat ramps at Dampier, Karratha Back Beach, Johns Creek, Point Samson and Cossack.
Head here to plan your Dampier Archipelago adventure.
Photo via @WesternAustralia
9. Marvel At Murujuga National Park’s Massive Outdoor Art Gallery
Murujuga National Park on the Burrup Peninsula is home to the highest concentration of rock art engravings in the world and has been described as “the largest outdoor art gallery on the planet”.
These petroglyphs are estimated to be about 40,000 years old and there are more than one million of them in the region.
The engravings depict both humans and animals and efforts are being made to have this site UNESCO world heritage listed.
Follow this link for more info the Burrup Peninsula.
Photo by @karrathaiscalling
10. Laze Around Lake Argyle Resort’s Infinity Pool
You’ve just tackled some of the most incredible landscapes on planet Earth, and at some point we reckon you deserve a little treat!
Lark Argyle Resort has an infinity pool with quite possibly the best views in the Kimberley, if not all of Australia.
You can access the pool for a small $10 fee even if you’re not staying at the caravan park, and with a view like this it’s well worth it.
For more info on one of the biggest man-made lakes in the southern hemisphere head here.
Photo by @chris.whitey
*Please be aware that many Aboriginal communities (including Beagle Bay and Lombadina) are closed to public access due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Cover photo by @cjmaddock