List Words : Hazel Plush | 10 September

7 unmissable Western Australia experiences

Dreaming of visiting Western Australia? Don't miss these wild, wonderful spots

1. The Kimberley

The Kimberley has been whipped and washed by monsoons for millennia – so its landscape is savagely beautiful.

Eagle Falls, Kimberley (Shutterstock)

Visit this northernmost corner of WA between April and October (outside monsoon season) to scramble through steep-sided gorges, swim in crystal-clear sea, and gawp at endless horizons from the top of whopping weather-hewn rock formations.

2. Kalgoorlie

The wild, far-flung city of Kalgoorlie is built on gold – well, not literally, but it is one of Australia's most important gold mining cities. It was founded in 1893, after three prospectors stopped in the area to repair their horse's shoe.

Super Pit, Kalgoorlie (Shutterstock)

They noticed gold flecks in the soil and paused to investigate – and then the gold rush began. Visit a prospector's campsite, soak up the stories in the city's oldest buildings, and sink a pint of Hannan beer – named in honour of the first man to strike gold.

3. Karijini National Park

Wallow in waterfall pools, picnic among wildflowers, or abseil down steep sided chasms: Karijini is a playground for all-things outdoorsy, and you could easily fill a week rambling its myriad hiking trails and seeking out freshwater swimming spots.

Hamersley Gorge, Karijini NP (Shutterstock)

When night falls, the sky sparkles with endless stars: there's no light pollution out here, making it a spectacular place to unroll your bivvy bag.

4. Ningaloo Marine Park

Meet the whale sharks, manta rays and sea turtles of Ningaloo in scuba, snorkelling and glass-bottom boat trips – just three of the 500 species of fish and mammals that thrive in this protected patch of ocean.

Whale Shark (Shutterstock)

There are lots of local tour operators that offer marine wildlife encounters, and on dry land you'll find plenty of places to camp, spy sea birds, and hike along ancient ocean-facing plateaus. Try the Mandu Mandu Gorge route for superlative ocean views.

5. Monkey Mia

Bottlenose dolphins have come to Monkey Mia's bays for decades, swimming into the shallows to dine on bucketfuls of fish from rangers and visitors. It's a relationship based on mutual trust and respect, and the dolphins aren't the only curious creatures: you'll likely spy whales, turtles and dugongs in the water too.

Monkey Mia (Shutterstock)

The 'resident' dolphins are wild, and the amount of fish is limited to ensure that they continue to hunt for food. The researchers at Monkey Mia make a vital contribution to the marine conservation world, and you can lend a hand by volunteering in the reserve too.

6. Pink lakes

Nobody really knows why Lake Hillier is pink. Could it be from natural dye produced by a microorganism in the water? Or perhaps a red bacteria that is found in its salt crusts? The jury's out, but one thing's for certain: this bubblegum-coloured lake should be on your WA must-see list.

Pink Lake, Western Australia (Shutterstock)

Lake Hillier is on Middle Island, the largest isle in the Recherche Archipelago – a short hop from the south coast of the state. Take a scenic flight from the mainland to spy the rosy lake from above, or visit by boat to experience the islands' tempting clusters of deserted white-sand beaches. You'll have the place pretty much to yourself.

7. Margaret River

Over 120 wine producers are squeezed into this glorious coastal area – not that you'd know it. The rolling emerald vineyards cover almost every inch of the area, but there's a real sense of serenity. You're only a few hours from Perth, but Margaret River feels wild and wonderful – as will you after a few glasses of its celebrated tipples.

Margaret River (Shutterstock)

Sign up for a vineyard tour or wobble your own way around by bike – you can choose the wineries according to their specialities, and most places boast lovely restaurants too. Work it all off with a surfing lesson – the coast attracts surfers from all over the world.

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Main image: Gantheaume Point, Broome, Western Australia (Shutterstock)