The 2019 Hot List: 7 Amazing Ways to See WA Right Now
A handful of the latest and greatest ways to see WA this year.
What’s on your bucket list this year? Our advice: tear it up and start again! You’re bound to find a new to-do list from this sampling of WA’s latest and greatest adventures. From lazing in the shallows of the breathtaking Rowley Shoals to an epic new road trip to the world’s biggest rock, there’s something for everyone. The only question: which will you do first?
Maybe you’ve been lucky enough to see one of WA’s pink lakes (we’re blessed with a couple of them, after all), but you haven’t seen them like this. At rose-hued Hutt Lagoon near Kalbarri, you can now hop on board a new dune buggy tour to explore the area’s beautiful coastline, before motoring to the area’s sand dunes for an elevated perspective over the pretty pink water. Not sounding high enough? Swap your buggy for a private aerial tour thanks to Kalbarri Scenic Flights, who have just added a brand new Cessna to their fleet. Hot tip: when your camera roll is full, say goodbye to the pink lake and head to Kalbarri’s first microbrewery nearby. Part of beloved local icon Finlays, this new operation serves up live music and three kinds of tap beer alongside the house speciality, locally caught seafood. We hear the Pale Ale especially goes down a treat.
Breathtaking gorges. Emerald-hued pools. Thousands of unnamed islands… The Kimberley is exquisite no matter which way you experience it but in 2019, a handful of new experiences offer new perspectives on the region. In Broome, you can go whale watching with an indigenous guide thanks to Narlijia Cultural Tours, or tackle the incredible Horizontal Waterfalls by fast boat with Go Horizontal Falls Tours. Prefer to stay dry? Choose your own adventure on the Gibb River Road with a custom-built hire camper with RedSands. Built specifically for Australian conditions, they allow you to pack up, pile in and set off on the remote Kimberley road trip of your dreams.
Perhaps you’re familiar with Margaret River’s extraordinary wines but in 2019, the hottest local experiences serve the region’s beautiful vino with a brilliant twist. With Due South Touring, you can hop on a hybrid to explore the vineyards: their new electric bike wine & beer experience cuts a forested trail through the region on two wheels, through wineries, breweries and barrel rooms. You can also head straight to open-air drinks at Willows Estate, where a new open-air wine tasting tour gets you wandering the vines and sipping as you stroll, or make your way to boutique vineyard Glenarty Road. Their progressive tasting tour is making waves for all the right reasons: you’ll wander their 250-tree fruit orchard, macadamia groves, hop garden, vegie patches and vines to gain insight into their ‘Ground to Glass’ philosophy, sampling as you go.
Ever wanted to swim with wild dolphins? We’ll let you in on a little secret: at the pretty bay town of Bunbury (90 minutes from Perth), wild Bottlenose dolphins have a habit of approaching swimmers in the ocean to say hello. They’re so friendly, you can actually swim with them on a multi-award-winning local eco-tour – but the real news is the town’s Dolphin Discovery Centre. Only re-opened in December 2018 after a staggering $20 million renovation, the center is home to modern interpretive spaces, a beautiful new café and a huge 13 different aquariums, all housed in a stunning architectural space flooded with natural light.
Mount Augustus is twice the size of Uluru but incredibly, most of the world has never heard of it. You can see it for yourself on a new road trip, the Road to the Rock, which winds from Perth to Mount Augustus through picturesque towns, historic gold mining sites and the heart of WA’s wildflower country. Unlike Uluru, there are no restrictions on climbing Mount Augustus; the hike takes six to eight hours return and will reward you with 360 degree views of the whole region. Afterwards, cool off with a swim in a beautiful waterhole just next door, or enjoy a champagne picnic as the sun sets over the landscape. Incredibly you can sleep in view of the rock at Mount Augustus Tourist Park, home to the cutest open-air bar this side of the equator.
Don’t be fooled by the retro appearance: Esperance’s newest thrill machines, a fleet of motorcycle sidecars, are thrillingly powerful. Started by motorcycle-mad local Peter Grobler, 4U We Do Sidecar Tours has taken off with wild popularity, thanks to a range of classic joyride experiences on the area’s picturesque roads. We especially like the idea of throttling it out to famous Lucky Bay: hug the curves of the coastline as you cruise into Cape Le Grand National Park, before– wait for it – actually riding onto the sand, to find your own perfect patch of beach. Each bike is equipped with an 80-litre trunk, from which your host will pull out everything you need for a picnic, including folding chairs, nibbles, wine and beers from Lucky Bay Brewery. Now that’s a joyful ride.
Picture three perfect islands, made of pure white sand. Got that? Great. Now surround them by clear aqua shallows. Add in reefs of pristine coral, with an array of exquisitely coloured marine life, and you’re getting close. The Rowley Shoals is a collection of ringed coral atolls found 300 kilometres off the coast of Broome, offering some of the best diving on the planet – and uber-luxury expedition yacht True North has just begun a very special expedition here. Departing the frontier town of Wyndham, you’ll trace the epic Kimberley coastline on board their luxury micro-ship, before heading out to find the shoals’ three uninhabited islands in a blissfully empty paradise.