Bungle Bungle Range Bungle Bungle Range – Image courtesy of Tourism Western Australia

Western Australia – Outback Sights

The vast and ancient land of Western Australia offers rugged outback horizons, World Heritage listed national parks, endless wrap-around panoramas, relaxed coastal towns and a truly spectacular coastline.

Encounter ancient gorges, cool-off in mesmerising freshwater pools under plunging waterfalls and experience the quintessential Australian landscape of blue skies, red earth, gum trees, wallabies and crocodiles.


Purnululu National Park

The Kimberley

Covering nearly 423,000km² (163,000mi²), the Kimberley region offers some of Western Australia’s most unique wilderness, as well as several coastal and outback towns that offer vastly diverse experiences.

This incomparable and ancient region is home to Purnululu National Park and Bungle Bungle Ranges, Mitchell River National Park, Geike Gorge National Park and Kunumurra.

All are easily reached from Broome – considered the gateway to both the Kimberley and Pilbara regions.

Follow ancient cave systems in Tunnel Creek National Park, walk through the spectacular Windjana Gorge, cruise the vast inland sea of Lake Argyle and discover the world’s second largest meteorite crater at Wolfe Creek Crater National Park.

Don't miss the Kimberley's pristine coast where you can discover some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, untouched coral atolls and rugged islands – home to an amazing variety of marine life. At Rowley Shoals Marine Park you can swim with more than 650 species of fish.

More about The Kimberley


Fortescue Falls, Karijini National Park, WA

The Pilbara

Covering more than 500,000km² (195,000mi²) – twice the size of the United Kingdom – the Pilbara region offers some of Western Australia’s most stunning natural landscapes, dating back more than four billion years.

This ancient region is home to the awe inspiring Karijini National Park, Millstream-Chichester National Park and Murujuga National Park. Here you can explore deep rocky canyons that lead to tranquil freshwater plunge pools filled from tumbling waterfalls and experience the quintessential Pilbara landscape of fierce blue skies, red earth, ancient gorges and dry scrub land.

The Burrup Peninsula is the perfect place to discover the unique art, history and culture of the Aboriginal people of the Pilbara. Explore some of the more than 700 historic Indigenous archaeological sites and one million rock engravings (petroglyphs), many dating back 40,000 years.

Offshore, unwind on a choice of dazzling white-sand beaches and swim in untouched coral gardens in the Dampier Archipelago and Mackerel Islands.

More about The Pilbara


Mesa Camp Beach, Cape Range Marine Park

Cape Range National Park

Cape Range National Park offers a spectacular panorama of jagged limestone peaks, heavily incised deep gorges and 50km (30mi) of wind-blown coastal dunes and pristine beaches that give access to the clear turquoise waters of Ningaloo Marine Park.

Located on the west side of the North West Cape, Cape Range National Park covers around 510km² (197mi²) and supports an abundance of wildlife including emus, echidnas, the rare black-flanked rock wallaby, five types of bat and more than 160 species of bird.

Here you can explore gorges and peer inside caves that provide a haven for wildlife as well as rare and unusual flora. There are more than 630 species of flowering plants on the West Cape peninsula and within the Cape Range National Park.

Many species of animals and plants are endemic to the North West Cape of Western Australia, such as the white centred variety of the Sturt's Desert Pea.

Roam the park on foot, quad bike or by 4WD vehicle to explore the rugged ochre-coloured ranges that are home to vertical cliffs, vast canyons and peaceful white-sand beaches.

Cape Range National Park boasts several scenic walking trails, many of which offer spectacular views over the ranges as well as to Ningaloo Reef and the Exmouth Gulf.

Choose from a network of scenic bushwalking trails including the Mandu Mandu Gorge, Yardie Creek and Lightfoot Heritage trails. Another choice is the popular Thomas Carter trail, a 5km (3mi) walk that links the Shothole and Charles Knife canyons.

More about Cape Range National Park


Ningaloo Reef Marine Park

Ningaloo Marine Park

Encompassing an area of 5000km² (1930mi²), the Ningaloo Reef is the largest fringing coral reef in Australia and the only large reef in the world found close to a continental land mass, making it an easy snorkel from shore – in places it's only 100m offshore.

Less developed than the Great Barrier Reef but much closer to the shoreline, the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Marine Park stretches for 300km (186mi) along the coast of Western Australia, from the Muiron Islands in the north and Bundegi on the eastern tip of the North West Cape to Red Bluff on Quobba Station far to the south.

The Ningaloo Marine Park is home to a huge array of marine life including sharks, manta rays, humpback whales, turtles, dugongs, dolphins as well as 500 species of fish and 220 species of corals.

During the winter months, Ningaloo is part of the migratory route for dolphins, dugongs, manta rays, humpback whales and whale sharks, which feed there during April to July.

Beaches along the Ningaloo Coast are an important breeding ground of loggerhead, green and hawksbill turtles that depend on the reef for nesting and food.

The northern area of the Ningaloo Coast is dominated by the rugged Cape Range that extends down the coast and lies adjacent to the sheltered waters of Ningaloo Marine Park.

Here, the crystal clear waters are perfect for a variety of marine based activities including swimming, snorkelling, fishing and watching marine life, including whale sharks, manta rays, turtles and fish. 

Scuba dive the outer reef to see dugongs, mantas, huge cod, dolphins, giant whale sharks and humpback whales in season.

More about Ningaloo Reef Marine Park


Cape Peron, Francois Peron National Park

Shark Bay Marine Park

Discover 'living fossils' at Hamelin Pool, meet bottlenose dolphins at Monkey Mia and explore Dirk Hartog Island for the day. Or join a guided 4WD tour or cruise to Francois Peron National Park to learn more about this ancient region.

Shark Bay is located on the westernmost point of the Australian continent, around 800km (500mi) north of Perth, in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia.

Declared a World Heritage Site in 1991 – the first Australian site to be so classified – Shark Bay covers an area of 23,000km² (8,900mi²) of which about 70 per cent are marine waters.

The many bays, inlets and islands in the Shark Bay Marine Park support a profusion of turtles, prawns, scallops, sea snakes and sharks, as well as sponge gardens and other invertebrates, together with a unique mix of tropical and temperate fish species.

The heritge area includes Shark Bay Marine Park, Francois Peron National Park, Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve, Zuytdorp Nature Reserve and numerous protected islands. The settlements of Denham and Useless Loop both fall within the boundary of the site, but are specifically excluded from it.

Shark Bay is most renowned for its stromatolites – colonies of microbial mats that form hard, dome-shaped deposits which are said to be the oldest life forms on earth.

Shark Bay Marine Park also boosts the world’s largest meadows of seagrass, a population of more than 10,000 dugongs, as well as humpback whales and the famous bottlenose dolphins of Monkey Mia.

The shoreline of Shark Bay has a ‘W’ shape formed by the Edel Land peninsula and Dirk Hartog Island to the west, Peron Peninsula in the centre, and the eastern coastal strip.

More about Shark Bay Marine Park


Natures Window, Kalbarri Nature Park, WA

Kalbarri National Park

As one of Western Australia’s best known parks, Kalbarri National Park is known for its dazzling wildflowers, soaring coastal cliffs and dramatic gorges of red and white-banded sandstone.

Kalbarri National Park covers an area of 1860km² (718mi²), with easy access to 14 different coastal and inland sites.

Northeast of Kalbarri sit inland river gorges with rock formations 400 million-years-old, while to the south of town lie cliffs that tower over secluded beaches and the Indian Ocean.

Located at the point where the Murchison River meets the Indian Ocean, Kalbarri offers soaring river and coastal gorges, superb walking trails, protected swimming bays and more than 1000 species of wildflowers.

Here you can go bush-walking, kayaking and drive to the park's many lookouts for some must-see vistas, including the famous Nature's Window, The Loop, Z Bend, Hawks Head and Ross Graham, Red Bluff and Pot Alley.

Look out for wildlife – some of the most common animals you’ll encounter in Kalbarri National Park are kangaroos, emus, echidnas, thorny devil lizards. If you're really fortunate you may glimpse a black-flanked rock-wallaby (photo).

Kalbarri National Park is also home to abundant birdlife with as many as 170 species, including osprey, pelicans and sand pipers. Look out for wedge-tailed eagles and kestrels in the skies above, and fairy martins and swallows nesting in the cliff faces.

Kalbarri township is located around 155km (96mi) north of Geraldton and around 590km (366mi) north of Perth, a seven-hour drive or a 45-minute flight to Geraldton airport, and a 90-minute drive to Kalbarri.

More about Kalbarri National Park


Pinnacles Desert Lookout and Drive, WA

Pinnacles Desert & Nambung National Park

Discover one of Australia’s most intriguing landscapes: the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park.

These amazing natural limestone structures, some standing as high as 3.5 metres, were formed approximately 25,000 to 30,000 years ago, after the sea receded and left deposits of sea shells.

Over time, coastal winds removed the surrounding sand, leaving the pillars exposed to the elements.

In addition to the amazing Pinnacles Desert, Nambung National Park is also known for its beautiful coastal dune systems, low heathland rich in flowering plants, and white-sand beaches at Kangaroo Point and Hangover Bay.

At the northern end of the park near the town of Cervantes, there is a loop trail and boardwalk at Lake Thetis where you can see fascinating rock-like structures called stromatolites, created by micro-organisms too small for the human eye to see.

Nambung National Park covers an area of 174km² (67mi²), providing natural habitat for an extensive array of native animals and bird life.

Look out for kangaroos and emus, particularly in the early-morning and in late-afternoon.

From August to October, the native vegetation bursts into flower creating a memorable spectacle for visitors.

Wildflowers commonly found during late winter and spring include wattles, quandong, yellowtail flower, thick-leaved fan flower, white clematis, cockies tongues, parrot bush and banksia species. 

Just offshore lies a stunning reef system protected within the Jurien Bay Marine Park – the perfect spot to watch sea lions.

The Pinnacles Desert and Nambung National Park are located near the coastal town of Cervantes around 200km (124mi) north of Perth – a two-hour drive.

More about Nambung National Park


Latest update: Western Australia Sights & Attractions: 25 January, 2021


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