WA Coast

The West coast of Australia is one huge stretch of white sandy beach and turquoise water. You can follow it the whole way from Exmouth in the north to Augusta in the south at the end of the Indian Ocean. Vastly different to the east coast.
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Page Updated: 23 Jan 2011

Go to top Description

The West Australian Coast was first sighted by the Dutch in the early 1600's. Many expeditions were led in an effort to find spices and metals but many ships were wrecked on unexpected reefs, or came to disaster in heavy seas or surf. The Dutch and French had been ordered to take possession of parts of Western Australia but no Europeans tried to settle here. Little did they realise the wealth of West Australia's underground, with minerals, diamonds, gold and an enormous artesian basin that today adequately supplies the entire state with fresh water.

It wasn't until 1827 that Captain James Stirling, captain of His Majesty's Royal Navy selected the Swan River as the site of a port and naval station on the western side of the huge Australian continent. He discovered everything he wanted to find; the tranquil, meandering Swan River was beautiful, the earth was rich and believed to grow almost anything and he discovered three safe anchorages for ships. The Swan River area was reported to be the finest place on the West Australian coast.

It was two years later, on 2 May 1829 that Charles Fremantle claimed 2.5 million square km for Britain. The name Fremantle was given to the colony's port but the site for the capital Perth was chosen a little way up the Swan. It was to be a free colony with Britain offering generous land offers for first-comers. However, the new colony suffered, with only pockets of good land, disease and suffering. The south-west corner of Australia was an isolated triangle. Ocean surrounded two sides, desert the third. 10 years after the first settlers had arrived in Australia, only 2032 Europeans were occupying this western third of the continent. By the 1890's gold discoveries had changed Australia and our multicultural society began. The concept of Federation was being debated and men were rushing to the most productive goldfield in the country, at Kalgoorlie.

Today, Western Australia is still seen as remote and relatively cut off from the rest of Australia. The deserts and wild tropics cut off sections of the state each year. The majority of people live around Perth where the major industries are mining and exploration. It is one of the prettiest of Australian cities with little pollution and a Mediterranean feel that reflects the climate, heritage and lifestyle of the people.

West Australia is lightly referred to as "sand groper country" in jest of the sandy soils. But for beach lovers, fishing, boating, swimming, diving and windsurfing enthusiasts WA is the ideal country. Land prices are significantly cheaper than in the Eastern states of Australia and the West Australian way of life is somewhat more relaxed.

For locals and tourists the West Australian coast has much to offer. Just 2 -3 hrs south is the lush vineyards of Margaret River, and further South grow magnificent giant trees that cannot be seen anywhere else on this continent.

Just off the Perth coast is Rottnest Island, where locals take their boats for mooring in the calm, protected bays while they swim, dive, snorkel or walk around the island. Further south Bunbury is the only large township set on the magnificent Geographe Bay, as are the other smaller towns of Dunsborough and Busselton. Cape Naturalist at Busselton to Cape Leewin at Augusta is a pleasant day's drive although the wineries, limestone caves and spectacular coastline here is best savoured over time.

The coastline to the North of Perth is the ideal getaway for fisherpeople and great chains of crayfishing fleets take year-round advantage of this abundant crustacean that delights the plates of West Australian's. The only other large town on the coast is Geraldton, with Lancelin, Cervantes, Jurien, Leeman, Kalbari, Coral Bay and Exmouth remaining idyllic, peaceful and spectacularly beautiful secrets.

To the far North West of the state is the Pilbara and Kimberley region that is subject to the monsoonal wet seasons. It remains an important area to Aboriginals and due to its inhospitable terrain and inadequacy for farming is sparsely populated, yet is the perfect place for 4WD adventurers.

Go to top Treks

Minilya Exmouth RoadMinilya Exmouth Road
This sealed road trek is suited for vehicles towing caravans and camper trailers heading to Exmouth from Coral Bay. The Minilya Exmouth Road heads north of Coral Bay for over 150kms passing the massive Learmonth RAAF Base & Airport and Kailis Fisheries.
Ningaloo Reef AdventureNingaloo Reef Adventure
Just about every West Australian has heard of Ningaloo, but surprisingly, its an oddity to most other Australians. Located between Exmouth and Coral Bay about 1200km north of Perth, Ningaloo is about 300 km long and is the largest fringing coral reef in Australia. Camping is permitted in the Cape Range National Park (basic facilities) and within station properties (BYO eco-toilets).
Perth to Coral BayPerth to Coral Bay
This highway based trek note follows Route No. One up the WA coast to the tourist Mecca of Coral Bay. Take in the coastal towns of the Batavia Coast, including Dongara and Geraldton - maybe staying overnight or two before reaching the southern gateway to the Ningaloo Reef.
Powerline TrekPowerline Trek
This is a popular 4WD day-trek close to Perth. Previously full of exciting challengings in muddy winter conditions, the track has been repaired to ensure your chances of getting bogged are removed. It still provides steep rocky inclines and good scenery.
Quobba CoastQuobba Coast
Quobba Coast is a spectacular and rugged stretch of coastline in the Gascoyne region of WA. Red Bluff - located on Quobba Station tames the ruggedness, with its sheltered bay - ideal for camping, swimming, snorkelling, fishing and surfing.
Shark Bay and Monkey MiaShark Bay and Monkey Mia
This arid coastal area has extraordinary appeal.The World Heritage listed Shark Bay area is home to more than a few unique natural wonders including living stromatolites, dugongs and dolphins.[Feature Story]
Steep PointSteep Point
This trek heads towards Steep Point - the most westerly point of the Australian mainland. Vehicle access is by 4WD only. After returning to the main junction (approx 8kms south of Cloughs Bar), the second part of the trek heads towards Crayfish Bay.
Stockyard GullyStockyard Gully
These caves are located some 250 km north of Perth. It's an easy 1 day trek from Perth with only a short section of sandy, limestone outcropped track to reach the caves.
Wedge Island Beach RunWedge Island Beach Run
Access within the Defence Area is now closed, however beach run ok with extreme caution as you will need to travel on soft sand below the high water mark.
Popular with locals, this track is one of the rare locations near metro Perth where you can legally drive amongst the sand dunes and get onto the beach line. This trek is suitable for most levels of experience.

Go to top WA Coast Weather & Climate

Closest Weather Station

Perth at 22/08:30pm WST
Distance from Perth 3.67km N
TemperatureFeels LikeRel. HumidityDew PointPressureRainfallWind DirectionWind SpeedGusts

Closest Climatic Station

Perth Metro
Distance from Perth 3.67km N
Mean Max. °C31.131.629.725.822.519.318.418.920.223.226.429.0
Mean Min. °C18.118.316.613.610.
Mean Rain mm16.08.521.336.287.6129.5146.8121.487.539.724.510.8


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