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5 must-see places on the west coast of Australia

Australia’s remote west coast is home to some special destinations worth experiencing on your next holiday.

Beyond WA’s vibrant capital, Perth, the primary gateway to everything the region has to offer, you’ll discover an array of natural and cultural highlights along this remarkable Indian Ocean coastline. Here are five must-see places on the west coast of Australia…


No trip to the state capital is complete without visiting Fremantle, a port city within Perth’s metropolitan area that is best known for its Victorian-era architecture and maritime history. The top attractions include Fremantle Prison, which housed convicts from the 1850s right up until 1991 and now features recreated cellblocks, and the 12-sided Roundhouse – the oldest public building still standing in WA, constructed in the Swan River Colony and opened in 1831 to serve originally as a jail and later as living quarters for Fremantle Port. The city’s High Street appeals as well, with a selection of cafes, gift stores, boutiques and galleries bound to pique your interest on a leisurely stroll.


An enjoyable ferry ride from Perth and Fremantle takes you to the protected nature reserve of Rottnest Island, renowned for its thriving population of quokkas – the adorable little marsupial inexplicably mistaken for rats by Dutch sailor Willem de Vlamingh in 1696. Aside from admiring the quokkas you’ll also relish the island’s history. Don’t miss the museum housed in an 1850s barn and threshing mill, or the many convict-built limestone cottages scattered around the harbour. There are no cars permitted on the island, but getting around is easy – you can take the public bus throughout the day or, for those partial to two-wheeled transport, hire a bicycle or even an electric bike or scooter.


Situated a three-hour drive south of Perth, Margaret River has long attracted locals and surfers. But this lovely seaside town also provides a breath of fresh air for visitors looking to truly unwind. Spend your time between stunning white sand beaches, coastal forest and world-class vineyards, which remarkably produce a fifth of all the premium wines in Australia. Margaret River is also home to a splendid series of limestone caves containing prehistoric fossils and stalactites.


Extending about 250 km around WA’s northernmost point – adjacent to the coastal section of Cape Range National Park – Ningaloo Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with plenty to offer lovers of the sea and its inhabitants. From Exmouth you can take a short boat ride to the reef’s marine park, where humpback whales, manta rays, dugongs, and various species of sea turtle await. The reef is also one of few locations in the world where it’s possible to swim with whale sharks – the world’s largest fish, which can grow up to 13 metres in length. Don’t worry, these slow-moving filter feeders are only interested in plankton, not people.


Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shark Bay comprises two peninsulas at the westernmost point of Australia. The site protects one of the world’s largest beds of seagrass and is home to grass-munching dugongs as well as pillar-like formations known as stromatolites – the oldest known macrofossils formed by the growth of blue-green algae. But most people come here for the chance to experience the wild dolphins of Monkey Mia, which a small number of lucky visitors can hand-feed each morning. Located 25 km northeast of the tiny town of Denham, Monkey Mia is surrounded by the spectacular bay on one side and rusty red sand dunes on the other.