A Backpacker’s Photo Guide To Western Australia

Girl at Canal Rocks Yallingup

Backpacker itineraries for Australia are usually filled with the most iconic destinations and landmarks; New South Wales’ Sydney Opera House, Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. In fact, all of the experiences I was recommended as a first-time backpacker to the country are found on the East Coast. Poor old Western Australia, seen as too remote or not quite spectacular enough to warrant the additional cost of a domestic flight, rarely gets a look in.

It wasn’t until my second trip to Australia that I made it to WA, and I was completely blown away by the sheer beauty of this side of the country. I loved it so much, that it’s become a personal mission to inspire other travellers to venture away from the usual trail of Cairns down to Melbourne, and visit West Australia either instead, or as well.

My number one reason to include Western Australia in your tour of Aus is that so many of the sights and activities are either free or super cheap. As a budget-conscious backpacker, I found Perth to be much more affordable than Sydney or Melbourne, especially if you’re thinking of staying put for a few months (I rented an apartment in the CBD, complete with swimming pool, sauna, gym, and games room in the building, for just $120 per week).

Backpacker's Guide to Western Australia

So, as part of my little ‘everyone should visit Western Australia’ project, I’m sharing a handful of my favourite photos, as quick tips for what to see and do when you backpack this side of the country on a budget.

The ultimate view, 100% free – WA sunsets
Sunset in Bunbury

You can never tire of a beautiful sunset, and WA has the best of them

Meet stingray in Hamelin Bay, another completely free activity
Stingrays on the beach at Hamelin Bay

The world’s friendliest stingray, found in the shallow waters of Hamelin Bay

Take a tour of Fremantle Prison, built in 1850
Fremantle Prison

Fremantle Prison is one of few historic buildings in Australia, once home to English convicts

Enjoy walks along pristinely white beaches, right near Perth city
Scarborough Beach

Scarborough Beach, one of 19 beaches in the Perth metro area alone

Find wild penguins in Shoalwater Marine Park
Penguins of Penguin Island

Just a quick ferry ride journey from Rockingham and you’ll be on Penguin Island

Get a photo at Perth’s blue boathouse on the Swan River
The famous boathouse of Perth

The Swan River runs right through Perth city and is the ideal place to take a morning walk

Take a picnic to Mundaring Weir, in the Perth Hills
Mundaring Weir

This gorgeous view and a local pub nearby makes it the perfect afternoon getaway from the city

If you’re feeling risky, explore Red Hill Quarry
Red Hill Quarry

Just be careful as it’s technically private land and trespassers can be prosecuted!

Make it your mission to see all of the waterfalls in Perth and beyond
Serpentine Falls

Serpentine Falls, which is surrounded by a park perfect for hiking

Grab fish and chips and watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean
Sunset at Cottesloe Beach

The perfect end to a day snorkelling, swimming, or surfing at Cottesloe Beach

Tour natural wildflower collections in regional WA
Wildflowers near Perth

The largest collection on Earth according to Tourism WA!

Find an actual shipwreck at Coogee Beach
Coogee Beach shipwreck

Wrecked on the beach since 1905

Be surprised by colourful art, like this rainbow in Fremantle
Fremantle rainbow containers

Fremantle is WA’s major port and full of heritage buildings, plus a rainbow of shipping containers!

Take scenic drives along WA’sΒ 12,913 miles of coastline
Kalbarri lookout point

You’ll never be short of places to stop with incredible views of the coast

Get your adrenaline fix by going quad-biking in Kalbarri
Quadbiking in Kalbarri

Or if you’re a real daredevil, head to Jurien Bay for the ultimate skydive

Yes, that is a pink lake. The ultimate reason to visit WA in my opinion!
Hutt Lagoon Pink Lake

Stunning pink water at Hutt Lagoon, near Port Gregory

Greet wild dolphins as they swim right up to shore in Monkey Mia
Dolphins at Monkey Mia

Every morning you’re likely to see dolphins greeting guests of the nearest hotel

Add a gnome to the collection of approx. 7000 at Gnomesville
Gnomesville

What started as a couple of gnomes, is now a wonderfully weird sight

Take a hike in Kalbarri National Park, alongside the Murchison River
Murchison River, Kalbarri

WA is full of gorges and hiking trails

Wake up early to watch the sun rise
Monkey Mia sunset

The skies are almost always full of candy floss pink hues

Experience the surreal landscape of The Pinnacles
The Pinnacles

Where nobody quite knows 100% why and how these formations were made

Fuss over native koalas at one of the wildlife parks
Koala and her baby

A mummy and baby koala at Caversham Wildlife Park

Ride a bike from winery to winery in Margaret River
Wineries of Margaret River

Pay for one day’s bike hire, then get as many free wine tasters as you can

Play around at Canal Rocks in Yallingup
Canal Rocks Yallingup

Yep, you guessed it – this one is free too!

Clamber over King Neptune in Perth’s northern suburbs
King Neptune in Two Rocks

Found in an abandoned marine park from the 1980s

Grab a drinks deal at one of the bars at Elizabeth Quay
Sunset over Perth

Hours can be spent in one of the alfresco bar areas overlooking the Swan River

Witness the Indian Ocean meet the Moore River
Moore River

It’s not often you come across a river and ocean just metres apart

Walk through the spooky tunnel at John Forrest National Park
John Forrest National Park Tunnel

Can you make it from one end to the other in the darkness?

Feel like an ant at the Stonehenge replica in Esperance
Replica Stonehenge

A great one for those of us that haven’t seen the real thing yet

Be astounded by just how blue the water is in WA’s south west
Twilight Cove in Esperance

Esperance is full of coves and bays of dreamlike ocean blues

Head inland to explore Wave Rock
Visiting Wave Rock

A natural rock that’s the perfect stop-off in any WA road trip

Grab your climbing shoes and venture to the top of Frenchman’s Peak
Esperance hiking

Not too difficult a hike and amazing views over the countryside

Even in winter, WA has incredible sights to see, like this orchard
Raeburn Orchards

Persimmon trees in full bloom, entry to Raeburn Orchards is just $3!

It wouldn’t be Aus without a BBQ, and all public BBQs are free to use!
Perth city skyline

If you’re lucky, the native black swans may join you too!

Hire a campervan and find deserted places, like Herron Point
Herron Point

The best way to see WA is in a camper van, get one and go explore!

For the record, the above photos only cover as far north as Monkey Mia! Carry on further than this and you’ll reach Exmouth, the Kimberley Region, Broome, and Ningaloo Reef. I’m mega excited to be visiting northern WA as part of an epic four-month road trip around Australia, beginning in October.

No doubt the number of reasons to visit, unbelievable sights to see, and unique things to do will only increase once I make it further north, so if this post hasn’t quite got you convinced enough to jump on a flight yet, sign up to receive notifications when the next batch of recommendations goes live.

Is Western Australia on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments below, and if this post has got you all wanderlusty, share this post and tag your backpacking friends! 😊

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