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.
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
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'
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.
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.
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.