7 Reasons Western Australia Easily Rivals The East Coast
Western Australia is massively underrated. Often, backpackers coming from overseas sacrifice a visit to WA in place of the trendy East Coast hotspots of Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast. Of course, it’s easy to understand why that happens. Reaching the state from the east requires an additional (and often expensive) flight or a well-planned overland trip in a rented or bought vehicle of some sort.
For those low in budget or time, it becomes a case of Eastern Australia versus Western Australia; one or the other. I’m also guilty of favouring the ease of East Coast travel and the globally advertised tourist sights. Back in 2012, I spent three months making my way from Cairns down to the Great Ocean Road, and though I had some time that could have been spent hopping on a flight across to Perth, my understanding of the city at that time was that it was ordinary, and remote from any other sights worth seeing – how wrong I was!
In the six months that I have been living in Perth and touring Western Australia, I have grown to not only appreciate the unique beauty of a less-travelled, calmer section of the country, but to have the opinion that actually, WA easily rivals the East Coast on so many levels, and here’s why…
Why you should visit Western Australia
1. Cosmopolitan without the crowds
Perth may not have the superclubs and ‘always on’ nightlife of Sydney and Melbourne, but when you know where to go, it definitely has enough bars, restaurants, and clubs for an easy cosmopolitan lifestyle. From party central Northbridge and stylish cocktail joints in the lanes of the CBD to Sunday sessions at riverside bars on Elizabeth Quay, there are plenty of venues to keep all ages and nationalities occupied.
2. Beach after beach after beach
Within a 20-minute drive of my apartment in the centre of Perth, I can count five large and gorgeous beaches. All have smooth white sand with very few pebbles or stones (ahem, St Kilda in Melbourne). What makes them even more gorgeous though, is the fact that you can actually get a spot on the sand without any hassle at all.
3. Country exploration right on your doorstep
There are so many places to explore within driving distance of Perth, I’ve barely had time to cross any of them off of my list yet. Head a few hours south and you’re in Margaret River region; wine tours galore, century-old caves, hiking trails and stingrays. Keep going inland and you’ll find a pink lake and kangaroos lazing on beaches. Take a road trip north, and you’ll be greeted by bottlenose dolphins at the shoreline of Monkey Mia, and national parks with more wildlife than you can shake a stick at.
4. Heat without the humidity
Even on rainy days, WA usually delivers at least an hour of sunshine. Though the temperature still drops in the winter, the long summers more than make up for it, and thanks to the dry climate humidity is simply not an issue. Say goodbye to frizzy hair ladies.
5. Ningaloo Reef
Before I arrived in WA, I’d never even heard of Ningaloo Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is heralded as Australia’s most beautiful underwater place to visit, but if I’m honest (please don’t hate me Aussies) I found it a little overrated. Ningaloo Reef though is kind of the WA equivalent, but with fewer boats and complete with ginormous whale sharks.
6. Quicker flights to Asia
If somehow you actually manage to explore all the wonderful places in Western Australia, or you just fancy a change of culture, a quick trip to Asia is both easy and cheap. Plus, Perth Airport is just a 20-minute bus ride from the city centre. An impromptu trip to Vietnam, anyone?
7. The most beautiful sunsets you ever did see
Okay, the East Coast obviously has pretty awesome sunsets, but it wasn’t until I saw my first WA sunset, in Bunbury, that I gave a mental ‘winner of best sunsets’ award to the state. In all my years of travelling the world, I have never seen such deeply breathtaking colours. The picture below doesn’t do it justice. Pretty much every day, on a journey around the city at dusk, I’m astounded by consistently pink and orange skies.
So fellow traveller, if you’ve been debating whether to visit Western Australia as well as the East Coast, I urge you to set aside some time and budget to make sure you do. You won’t regret it!
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