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  Feature Stories >> The wildlife of WA

Explore Western Australia

Natarsha Brown finds unique wildlife, natural beauty and fun galore on a holiday in Western Australia.

With its endless desert backdrop, unspoilt beaches and turquoise waters teeming with corals and marine life, the coastline between Perth and Broome is a hidden gem for families wanting a beach holiday away from the hustle-and-bustle of the East Coast. It will be easy peasy to keep the kids outdoors and away from the TV screeen with Western Australia’s dramatic landscapes and unique wildlife encounters on a family-friendly adventure to our very own Wild West.

Shark Bay
Only a 10-hour drive north of Perth is the World Heritage Site of Shark Bay, an area renowned for its rugged beauty. In such a fascinatedly remote environment it’s easy to feel as though you and your family are alone with nature.

Its major drawcard is the bottlenose dolphins at Monkey Mia that swim to the shore to be fed and petted by humans every morning. Getting up close and personal with these mammals is a unique experience your family will not forget any time soon, with travellers coming from all over the world to see these charming dolphins in their natural habitat. It is possible to volunteer to work full time with the dolphins for four to 14 days, however, doing so is very popular so it is advisable to apply in advance if you want to secure a spot. After a morning spent with the dolphins, the interactive guided tour at the Ocean Park Aquarium
gives the kids another opportunity to see and touch the local marine life, with daily turtle and shark feeding.

Exploring Shark Bay with the local experts at Wula Guda Nyinda Eco Adventures
is a must, with a range of tours from 4WD adventures through Francois Peron National Park to a day spent kayaking the bay. It’s unique evening tours involve a night spent under the stars learning about the Dreamtime, listening to the sounds of the didgeridoo and enjoying seafood cooked over the campfire.

Breathe in the fresh salty air as you step aboard Perfect Nature Cruises'
catamaran Aristocat 2 for the Monkey Mia Marine Life Cruise. Mum and dad can kick back with a refreshing drink while the kids keep their eyes peeled for wildlife.



Exmouth
Further north, and the halfway point between Perth and Broome, is the lazy seaside town of Exmouth. Popular for its warm weather, national parks and accessibility to the Ningaloo Reef, the town has become a hotspot for families searching for warmer temperatures in winter.

If your family tires of the incredible snorkelling, take a tour on a glass-bottom boat over the reef with family-owned and operated Ningaloo Ecology Cruises.

Every year from April to July visitors flock to Exmouth to see the enigmatic whale sharks – the world’s biggest fish – as they congregate along the reef. Exmouth is one of the most popular and reliable destinations in the world to snorkel with these gentle giants with tours boasting a success rate of 95 per cent. Day tours with Three Islands Whale Shark Dive
are open to swimmers of all ages, with a guide present in the water at all times. And the fun doesn’t end there! The journey back to shore gives you the opportunity to see manta rays, dugongs and mighty humpback whales.

Sea turtles can be encountered year round at Exmouth and hatchling sightings are especially popular with the littlies. Exmouth’s Jurabi Turtle Centre
is an interpretive educational facility which allows for an ecologically sound way to view the turtles during nesting season.

Just 40 kilometres south of Exmouth you will discover the otherworldly canyons and limestone gorges of Cape Range National Park. The best way to see the park is from the comfort of a boat cruise down Yardie Creek or from behind the goggles of your snorkel at the popular Turquoise Beach.

Looking for somewhere to sleep? Treat yourself to five-star serenity at Novotel Ningaloo Resort Exmouth, with the Indian Ocean and all its fascinating critters on your doorstep. The resort is the ‘perfect bait for all the family’, with great fishing nearby for mum and dad; adults’ and kids’ pools; and free brekafast for children under 16 every morning of their stay.


Broome
Multicultural, remote and set between the red earth of the Kimberley and the idyllic beaches of the Indian Ocean, Broome is considered Western Australia's 'pearl' for more reasons than its heritage as a pearling centre.

The 22-kilometre Cable Beach has been seducing tourists since the '90s with a combination of camels, sunsets and surf. Red Sun Camels offers 30-minute rides that are not-too-long and not-too-short so kiddiecameleers don't get restless.

For beachfront accommodation right on the shores of Cable Beach, it's hard to look past the award-winning Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa. The 10 hectares of lush gardens, charming bungalows and kids' activity area - with a mini-golf course, water playground and swimming pool - caters for families looking for some R&R with their adventures.




***WESTERN AUSTRALIA REPORT CARD***


Information
www.westernaustralia.com
www.sharkbay.org.au

Getting there
Qantas operates daily flights from Perth to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
www.qantas.com

Stay
RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort
RAC Exmouth Cape Holiday Park
www.racparksandresorts.com.au
Novotel Ningaloo Resort Exmouth
www.novotelningaloo.com.au
Ningaloo Reef Resort
www.ningalooreefresort.com.au
Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa
www.cablebeachclub.com

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