Western Australia dishes out the best wildlife and nature experiences of all states and territories in Australia, with Perth playing a central role in exploring the Southern end of the state. Here is a road trip idea for a weekend getaway, or more if you have the time to spare.
Perth rarely makes national news headlines so for this city to hold an international meeting attended by the heads of the common wealth and the Queen of England made for an amazing time to be living here. They even put up a huge sign on the park lawn so all the state heads would know how to spell "Perth". Eat your heart out Hollywood!
Kalgoorlie is the gold mining town that just won't die. With the Super Pit still operating and a town that comes to life, Kalgoorlie is worth a few days. Granted one of those days will be spent recovering from a massive hangover. Kalgoorlie is more than just brothels, bars and miners. Theree is also American history and British art.
The drive from Perth to Kalgoorlie is a long one, but peppered with photo opportunities for the overly enthusiastic tourist. One such as myself. Check out a few of the sights during a drive from the Wheatbelt to the goldfields.
Fremantle, it's a City of Conviction and I am convinced it is the most interesting suburb a city could have. Freo carries a lot of Australia's history, be it in the Fremantle Prison, Maritime Museum, or every Victorian building along the streets and pedestrian malls.
Fremantle Prison was in use for almost 140 years, considering the inhumane conditions which everyone loiving and working inside had to live with.
The Fremantle Prison is listed on the National Heritage list and is a must for those interested in the convict history of Australia.
Nambung National Park wasted no time becoming the top contender for the Highlight of my Australia Trip Award. The Pinnacles turned out to be incredible, and that is not an understatement.
I still try to analyze why it is that they enchant so effortlessly, but perhaps its best not explained. I was also able to get some great panorama of the Pinnnacles.
The Batavia Coast offers several places to appreciate the wild wild west... coast of Australia. Shipwrecks, wind swept beaches, and wildflowers all vie for your attention as you drive down the coast, from Kalbarri to Cervantes.
This trip is best explored by car, and that's exactly what we did.
Broome is clearly the highlight of northern Western Australia. This out of the way Shire is the launch point for the Kimberly as well as the one time pearling capital of the world.
With so many bars, beaches, festivals and entertainment, there is plenty to do in Broome. They even have Camel rides.
Kununurra is another story. You really only need to go here if you're either heading between Darwin and Broome and even then, you could probably just keep driving. If you really want to see a funny licence plate or Kelly'knob, then by all means, go to Kununurra.
More to come in the WA, including Exmouth, Kalbarri, Geraldton and Perth
Take the Ghan for an experience of Australian train journeys and get view of the landscape that occupies the middle of the country. Such a rewarding experience compared to flying from Adelaide to Darwin.
Darwin is the final stop when taking the Ghan and after 48 hours, it is a welcome relief. In Darwin you're greeted with humidity, beer and amazing tropical sunsets.
There's plenty to do in Darwin without breaking the bank including visiting the NT Museum, East Point Nature Reserve and the Fannie Bay Gaol and Labour Camp.
From Darwin, Litchfield National Park is one great day trip to see crocodiles and waterfalls. Do it on your own or take a day tour to the highlights of Litchfield.
It is an unfortunate state of affairs for Alice Springs. Naturally, we got out of Alice Springs as fast as possible hopping on The Rock Tour, a 3 day adventure through the Outback for $295. Was it worth it? Depends how much you like your creature comforts.
The Northern Territory has a lot to offer.
Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is South Australia's Premier Outback location. I spent over 5 months in the area and found untouched wildlife, incredible people, and views that go for miles.
Attractions include the famed Ridgetop Tour, miles of bushwalking trails and the Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby, if you're patient enough to see one. You can catch a glimpse of that or the other Wild Life Out Back.
You also have plenty of opportunities for photography at Arkaroola. It often seems over every hill is another incredible view. Hard to imagine why mining companies wanted to dig up Arkaroola searching for uranium. Luckily we will have this place for a long time to come.
The other day, I found myself asking Where the Hell is Copley? Actually it's the last place on paved road before Arkaroola and home to the best Quangdong Pie and coffee you will ever have.
A day out in Adelaide is all it takes to realize that Adelaide is the best city thus far. Festivals, live music, a great bar scene and friendly people all combine to make this place a very welcoming place to stay. Now if I could only find the US equivalent of Adelaide...
With the beaches to the west and the Hills to the east, it is easy to explore the surrounding suburbs of Adelaide for a day or two.
A week long visit working with the locals in Jamestown provided the most real experience of country life in rural Australia. That was until Loxton waved its hand in the air and we spent a week picking grapes in the Riverlands.
North from Adelaide we stopped for 2 night in Coober Pedy. It deserves 2 nights with so much to do, as you will soon see. Be sure to go on Tour with Arid Area Tours and check out the underground life in Coober Pedy the locals have dug out for themselves as well as the sights around and above town.
Hobart the largest city in Tasmania, is a laid back place to watch the boats in port. Only an hour or so drive from Hobart is Port Arthur, Australia's Premier Convict Site. This is where the worst prisoners from Britain were held in the mid 1800's. If you dive further into the history of this horrific site you find Port Arthur's Dark Past.
If you're backpacking through Tasmania and need some extra spending money, then try your hand at strawberry picking in Cygnet. Or just panhandle, you would probably make more money that way.
So far we only spent enough time to get a first impression of Melbourne, Victoria, but that will change when we make a triumphant return later in the year.
Spoiler alert: Melbourne is cooler than Sydney.
Prior to that, we arrived in Sydney, like most tourists and Oprah. The first order of Business for any WHV holder is to get your Australian WHV tax number and bank account setup.
After the business end of things comes the sightseeing. Check out how to do Sydney on a Budget. You also have a variety of walks you can do around town and the outlying areas.
The Bondi to Cogee beach walk takes a good few hours, but puts you on several beaches and shows you the rugged coastline of Australia's South East.
Taking the trains only a few hours away we travel to the Blue Mountains and Katoomba. Like the Grand Canyon, only its a rainforest and not a desert. Arriving in Katoomba only takes 2 hours by train from Sydney Central Station. Katoomba is an easily walk-able town. Don't forget to bring your credit card though, even the least expensive hostels charge $70+ AUD per night for a double room.
When back in town don't forget to check out Sydney's Chinese New Year celebration. It includes a parade, dragons and lots of Asian cuisine. At the end of the night you also get a proper fireworks display in Darling Harbor.
That's where things stand for the moment. Check back in the coming weeks and months for more.
Thanks for visiting All Ways Australia. Check back often as the site is always being updated while traveling throughout each state over the whole of 2011.
Hope you like it.
First Impressions of Melbourne