Vast won­ders

Western Aus­tralia of­fers plenty to do, from its beau­ti­ful coasts to its ex­hil­a­rat­ing outback.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Advertorial - One of the ex­hil­a­rat­ing ma­rine ex­pe­ri­ences in Nin­ga­loo Reef is swim­ming with manta rays.

WITH its colos­sal size (the en­tire western third of the coun­try), Western Aus­tralia of­fers a mul­ti­tude of sights and sounds. There’s the beau­ti­ful outback that meets the blue sea. Let’s not for­get about the food. Truf­fles, wines and gas­tro­nom­i­cal events like the an­nual Mar­garet River Gourmet Es­cape are not to be missed.

Na­ture lovers should visit the na­tional parks, state forests and ma­rine parks that pro­vide the op­por­tu­nity to see some of the world’s most di­verse flora and fauna. The ic­ing on the cake is in­ter­act­ing with all the friendly lo­cals.

Tag along as we bring you on a voy­age across this mag­nif­i­cent state.

En­coun­ters of the coastal kind

The wa­ters here are some of the most pris­tine in the world.

Nin­ga­loo Reef, for in­stance, is a great place for ex­hil­a­rat­ing ma­rine ex­pe­ri­ences with whale sharks (March to July) and hump­back whales (Au­gust to Oc­to­ber). Tours from Ex­mouth or Co­ral Bay will take you into the reef ’s turquoise wa­ters for an un­for­get­table en­counter with the gen­tle gi­ants.

If you want to swim with dol­phins in­stead, two day-trip op­tions from Perth – Rock­ing­ham Wild En­coun­ters (45 min­utes by car) and Bun­bury’s Dol­phin Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre (two hours away) – of­fer the chance to swim with wild bot­tlenose dol­phins.

An­other easy day trip is to Pen­guin Is­land, where you can see and learn about Western Aus­tralia’s largest colony of adorable lit­tle pen­guins.

In Esper­ance, on the south­ern coast, Lucky Bay’s lo­cal kan­ga­roos like to sun­bathe on the white sand, while nearby Woody Is­land is a heaven for New Zealand fur seals, Aus­tralian sea li­ons, sea ea­gles and dol­phins.

For surfers, the Mar­garet River re­gion is home to more than 40 surf spots rang­ing from pow­er­ful reef breaks to fun beach surf. If you’re into dif­fer­ent types of boards, an easy 90-minute drive north of Perth takes you to the wind­surf­ing mecca of Lancelin. Other surf­ing hotspots in­clude Esper­ance, Kal­barri and Rot­tnest Is­land.

At Rot­tnest Is­land, you will have the pleas­ant dilemma of choos­ing from 63 beaches and 20 se­cluded bays – or being en­chanted by the is­land’s unique mar­su­pial res­i­dent, the quokka. The car-free is­land is 11km long and 4.5km wide, so it’s easy to explore by bike, Seg­way, bus or on foot.

From March to Novem­ber, when con­di­tions are just right, vis­i­tors to Broome are treated to a breath­tak­ing nat­u­ral spec­ta­cle – the Stair­case to the Moon. The phe­nom­e­non oc­curs around three times a month at ex­tremely low tide when the full moon rises over the ex­posed mud­flats of Roe­buck Bay, cre­at­ing the op­ti­cal il­lu­sion of lu­nar stairs.

Outback ad­ven­ture

Home to Earth’s old­est rocks, Western Aus­tralia is per­fect for see­ing his­toric land­scapes and an­cient cul­tures, and spec­tac­u­lar stargaz­ing in the outback.

The vast ter­rain here makes it an ideal spot for camp­ing and car­a­van­ning all year round. It has over 100 na­tional parks and re­serves, with many camp­sites avail­able for book­ing online.

Camp­ing goes along with stargaz­ing, and this state is a stargazer’s mecca. With lots of space and few peo­ple, very lit­tle ar­ti­fi­cial light in­trudes into the night sky – show­cas­ing the Milky Way in high-def­i­ni­tion clar­ity. Pitch a tent and en­joy me­teor show­ers at Kar­i­jini Na­tional Park in the Pil­bara, or soak up the sight of the stars and sea along Shark Bay coast or the Kim­ber­ley’s Dampier Penin­sula.

For an authentic taste of outback life, stay at some of Western Aus­tralia’s huge sheep and cat­tle sta­tions. Some op­tions in­clude Home Val­ley and El Que­stro in the Kim­ber­ley, to Wooleen Sta­tion in the Murchi­son, and Bullara be­tween Co­ral Bay and Ex­mouth.

The Kim­ber­ley, in the far north, is one of the world’s last true wilder­ness ar­eas. The re­gion is home to the Bun­gle Bun­gle Range’s unique bee­hive for­ma­tions at Pur­nu­l­ulu Na­tional Park and the world’s only hor­i­zon­tal wa­ter­falls at Tal­bot Bay.

Ex­pe­ri­ence the gold rush at Kal­go­or­lie, where you will find charm­ing colo­nial build­ings, fas­ci­nat­ing gold-rush his­tory and the Super Pit look­out over Aus­tralia’s big­gest work­ing open-cut gold mine

If you think all that sparkling beauty is im­pres­sive, wait till you see the col­lec­tion of wild­flow­ers here. Be sur­rounded by stun­ning blan­kets of ev­er­last­ings in early spring in the Golden Outback and Co­ral Coast re­gions. In the north­west, vi­brant flo­ral shades con­trast with the dusty red earth and golden spinifex grass, and the south-west is home to del­i­cate or­chids.

This ar­ti­cle is brought to you by Tourism Aus­tralia, Tourism Western Aus­tralia and Malaysia Air­lines. Malaysia Air­lines flies daily from Kuala Lumpur to Perth.

— Mar­garet River Gourmet Es­cape/Tourism Aus­tralia

Culi­nary stars make a beeline to the state’s south-west in Novem­ber for the an­nual Mar­garet River Gourmet Es­cape.

— Pho­tos: Tourism Aus­tralia

You can find the world’s only hor­i­zon­tal wa­ter­falls at Tal­bot Bay in the Kim­ber­ley re­gion.

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