From the East Coast exploring the West

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From the East Coast exploring the West

I decided to make the hop from sunny North Queensland to the West Coast three years ago, my decision was based on progressing my career, but I also saw it as an invaluable opportunity to explore some of Australia’s more remote locations whilst having an income.

During my time in Western Australia I have travelled the Mid-West, Gascoyne, Turquoise Coast and South West regions somewhat extensively. These destinations are both remote and costly to visit from the Eastern States of Australia, however, with time to travel, a good 4WD and some camping gear, Western Australia presents an amazing opportunity to explore some of the country’s most remote desert to pristine reef destinations.

Below are the top 5 destinations, that make Western Australia my favourite state on this continent:

1. Gnaraloo

This is one of Western Australia’s best kept locals secret. Unless you’re a keen surfer, who’s read up on the prime breaks in WA, chances are you’ve never heard of this place.

Off a dirt road, 100km’s North West of Carnarvon in WA’s Gascoyne region, you’ll find the infamous ‘King Waves Kill’ sign, hook a right and further 70km’s North, along a 4WD only track you’ll find Gnaraloo Station, a privately owned camping ground in the heart of Western Australia’s pristine Ningaloo Reef.

Having lived most of my life on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef, I thought I was privileged, unaware I was, that this treasure existed almost diagonally opposite from where I grew up.

Gnaraloo is a perfect spot for the family, adventurist, avid surfer, nomads – anyone who appreciates the outdoors & loves the ocean will adore this destination. From it’s turquoise lagoons to pumping reef breaks, Gnaraloo is the perfect spot to adventure, relax and unwind all in the same location.

You must take everything you require for the trip in with you, a spare jerry can of fuel, fly nets for your face, enough food and water for a few days, and a decent battery powered esky are my must haves! It’s remote, but it’s more than worth it!

2. Geraldton

This little beach side town, doesn’t have the best reputation in Western Australia, but this has been my base camp for three years, and it’s got plenty to offer.

The largest town North of Perth, Geraldton is situated right on the coast and knocks on the doorstep of Western Australia’s Abrolhos Reef.

Both just north & south of the town are surf breaks where you can surf usually with a maximum of 10 other people. The town itself is a mecca for wind & water sports, being one of WA’s windiest neighbourhoods.

The Geraldton community is truly an interesting mixed bag, more sports clubs per capita than you could kick a footy at, an ever emerging arts & culture scene with a number of local boutique festivals and events, a strong multicultural scene with Aboriginal tourism on the forefront & a thriving hospitality and restaurant scene with numerous new additions popping up regularly.

It’s a fantastic spot to spend a holiday, or why not set yourself up here & stay a while?

3. Kalbarri

Where red dirt cliffs hit the deepest blue oceans, the first time I laid my eyes on Kalbarri, I wasn’t sure if it was reality or a heavily photo-shopped postcard.

This quaint little town lies on a river mouth about an hour and a half drive North of Geraldton (great spot to visit on the way to Gnaraloo!).

Kalbarri is a perfect weekend destination spot and has activities for the whole family. Hire canoes and little dinghies for a day of fun in the river mouth, or catch some of WA’s hollowest barrels at Jakes Point, a heavy reef break just south of the town centre.

Avid hikers rejoice, a few minutes drive from the town centre you can visit the Kalbarri National Park, home to the stunning ‘Natures Window’ which overlooks a massive gorge. Full day, overnight and 4 hours hikes all start from this point. The four hour hike is perfect for someone with a moderate fitness level who enjoys a great view and some climbing.

Pack your swimmers, surfboard and a good pair of runners and enjoy an adventurous weekend!

4. Namburg National Park – Pinnacles Desert

Situated along the scenic Indian Ocean drive, halfway from Geraldton to Perth in the Wheatbelt region, the Namburg National Park is an absolute natural treasure, totally underrated by locals and 100% worth pulling off the highway for.

Pinnacles Desert was the real draw card for me in Namburg National Park, which huge limestone pillars towering well overhead, scattered throughout a desert of the yellowest soil.

Drive your 4WD around the desert and simply marvel in the natural beauty of it, or jump out of the car and wander around. This sport is best visited on sunset, as the lighting illuminates the yellow sand amazingly.

Spot by Jurien Bay whilst you’re in the Park, another one of WA’s gorgeous little seaside towns with clear turquoise water and the occasional friendly sea lion taking a dip also!

5. Margaret River Wine Region

Commonly Margaret River is at the top of travellers list whilst visiting WA and rightfully so, this spot has plenty going on and has some truly breathtaking landscapes. Coming from Queensland, lush green rolling hills and heavy rainfall was nothing new to me, this is Margaret River is in my top five, but not top of the list!

Margs as it affectionately known to local Western Australian’s is the Byron Bay of Western Australia. The region is known for its laid back ‘trendy’ surf culture, beautiful wineries and scarcely populated beaches.

Margaret River is best visited in the summer months when it has low rainfall, hot days and cooler temperatures at night, making it quite possibly the ultimate climate. However with good weather comes bigger crowds!

Enjoy an early morning surf a one of Margs numerous world class surf breaks, or simply enjoy a coffee from the carpark and watch the surfers slide into barrels so regularly you’ll think you’d died and gone to surf heaven.

Jump on a wine tour and explore some of the best local drops in town before heading back into the town centre at night to dine at one or Margs amazing local restaurants or take in some live music at Settlers Tavern.

Margaret River is truly an amazing place to unwind, its lush bushland surroundings give you the feeling your miles away from everything, it’s such a peaceful equivalent to the bustling East Coast surf spots.

Note for travellers:

Visitor Centres & local Government Websites are usually very handy to find out what’s going on in each region as local government is generally involved in numerous events.

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