Continuing on from our Australia Essentials we now look at the Northern Territory and Western Australia. If you missed the first part of this blog referring to Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Southern Australia please click here
Edith falls – Situated on the borders of the Kakadu National Park about 30 mile north of Katherine, is a beautiful set of waterfalls and pools that come as a light relief from the soaring temperatures of the Northern territory. The natural cascading pools are simply divine in both beauty and serenity.
Kakadu National park – Speaking of Kakadu, it holds its own as one of the essential places to visit in the Northern territory – Probably honestly my favourite places in the North. Just an hour or so out of Darwin Kakadu is one of our surprise Australian highlights. The immense national park houses a diverse variety of landscapes and natural beauty, from towering waterfalls & dense forests to sandy desert & barren rock formations. The park is simply awe-inspiring with such eclectic experiences including a vast aboriginal history and heritage. As with much in the Northern Territory the weather is a resounding factor in the park, with the wet season making a lot of routes impassable by road, whilst the dry season removes the majority of water and dims the green leaves throughout the forests. The park is also home to a mass of wildlife including a number of Australia’s most iconic animals, Emus, Crocs, Snakes, Spiders and even bearded lizards
Uluru – I felt slightly torn about including Uluru in this list, as it is such a tourist trap. However sometimes it is the tourist destinations that hold something special. Uluru or Ayres Rock as it is also known is one of those places. Culturally very significant to the Aboriginal people of Australia, the rock formation stands alone out of the harsh red desert. It is a wonder to see and explore, however is daily desecrated by tourist climbing it against the aboriginal people’s wishes – which I personally abstained from. Interestingly the rock formation is also home to a number of fresh water pools, which are not visible from afar, making it a popular watering hole for the local wildlife. We took the opportunity to watch the sunrise over Uluru in the very early morning and it was worth every moment – A true Wandering Memory captured by camera.
Broome – A very remote little village that lies on the northern west coast of Australia has held my heart for a long time. The village itself is nothing special, however the remote feel and under commercialised beauty of Broome is what I fell in love with. Its crowning glory is the beautiful Cable Beach which stretches 22km. At that point in my life I had never seen a beach that even came close to this incredible white sand and remote beauty. It is simply sublime! Venturing further north along dirt roads you can also find even more remote beauty, with crystal sand not walked on for days and ever enticing turquoise warm seas. Broome also has a sense of tranquillity surrounding it, it feels almost spiritual.
The village also provides access to the Kimberley – a region we have yet to explore but one very high on our list.
The Kimberley – As detailed above we have yet to visit this remote, untamed & sparsely populated wilderness, however it is a top of our list of future adventures in Australia. The Kimberley is a vast section of land that resides in-between Broome and Darwin. It is vast and extremely remote, yet houses some of the country’s natural and lesser explored gems such as a meteorite crater of Wolf Creek, the Windjana National park and a number of dramatic landscapes. It is not for the faint hearted but would be an extremely memorable adventure.
Karajini – Boasting the second largest area of all of Australia’s national parks, Karajini is another lesser known gem. The Karajini is located in a remote part of the country that experiences extreme weather ranging from 50 degree heat to monsoon rainstorms. The Karijini has at least five gorgeous that flow into the park, housing an incredible variety of canyons, waterfalls and sublime watering holes. It is a true wilderness that is simply a photographers dream.
photo credit: fcmarriott Karijini – 130_1_2_3_4 via photopin (license)photo credit: Jussarian Handrail Pool, Weano Gorge via photopin (license) photo credit: Jussarian Karijini NP via photopin (license)
Cape Range – A real rival to the crown that Broome held, Cape Range National park is simply sublime. Sat adjacent to the incredible Ningaloo reef, Cape Range offers an explorer a wide variety of natural wonder. Its crowning glory is its coast line that glistens turquoise green for as far as the eye can see with beaches that can eclipse even the pacific islands. One such beach is known as turquoise bat which allows visitors the pleasure and safety of a bay packed with sea life and crystal clear waters. Cape Range is not all about the beaches however it also offers many inland experiences from hiking to rock climbing. The paved road also only stretches so far, with a huge range of the park only accessible by 4×4. There are rivers and canyons to be explored as well as a host of wildlife simply roaming free and undisturbed. It is true paradise on earth!
Coral Bay – An Western Australian favourite, Coral Bay gets excessively busy during the summer months as it offers beautiful crystal clear shallow water, and a white sandy beach to match. Coral Bay is also perfectly situated to be able to witness the sunset into the warm Indian Ocean. It is a very ‘cool’ town with a number of bakeries, camp sites and expensive hotels; however it does seem to keep its commercialism to a minimum. The real gem of Coral Bay is its expansive access to the sublime Ningaloo reef – that honestly blows the Great Barrier Reef out of the water in beauty.
Kalbarri – Further south and nearer to civilisation is the Kalbarri, which we were very surprised by. The Kalbarri is not just a national park but also a beautiful coastal town that borders it. The town was what we were mostly surprised about, as it is beautiful. Set on the coastline and river inlet, it has a very relaxed atmosphere and a range of wonderful restaurants and eateries. Even though it is a coastal town, it doesn’t have the same sense of much of the east coast as is far more relaxed. The National park is very pretty but not one of our favourites, however the iconic Natures Window which is well worth seeing. The Kalbarri offers a little more safety to hikers than its northern cousin the Karijini and is a great place to explore.
Busselton – Situated in the south east corner of the country, Busselton maybe a little bit of a surprise to many. Although referred to as a city, it is really a quintessential coastal town, with a long stretch of natural and somewhat underused beach and one of the world’s longest piers. Again it is relaxed and very well spirited, with a number of independent restaurants and bars. It really is an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of Perth and just relax and enjoy the scenery.
Hamelin Bay – A very small area situated between the towns of Augusta and Margaret River in the South West. This somewhat ordinary beach, that many just drive by, houses a hidden secret out in its crystal waters. That secret is that it is home to a large population of wild stingrays. These majestic creatures are so comfortable with their surroundings they hold little or no fear of us, meaning that they will often swim up and down the coastline in plain sight. Quite a scare if you are unaware that they are there, as these creatures can range in size, some in excess of 6ft! However don’t fear as they are docile, friendly and somewhat inquisitive creatures and will happily come up for food or a stroke if they feel that way inclined. This is an experience like no other and highly recommended, even if it’s just feeding fish scraps.
Denmark – We recently ventured further than previously to the town of Denmark on the southern coast to discover another lesser known gem. Denmark is another quaint town situated on an inlet with a number of local farm shops and restaurants. It has a number of small inlet beaches and a lot of terrain to explore; however its claim to fame is just outside in William Bay National Park. The Bay is home to a stunning set of coastal scenery known as Green Pools. These waters seem similar in beauty to what you see in the north however much colder in temperatures. The cold doesn’t put people off though as they are so inviting! The coastal scenery here is inspiring, with one bay housing a number of huge smooth boulders that make ideal platforms for scenic shots or the occasional diving platform.
We hope you have enjoyed and taken in some of our recommendations for locations to visit in Australia – of course we haven’t covered everything and have purposely stayed away from the big cities previously covered here.
Please see the Essential Australian series on A Wandering Memory below:
- Essential Australia – Fraser Island
- Essential Australia – Broome
- Essential Australia – Uluru
- Essential Australia – Cape Range
- Essential Australia – The Great Ocean Road
- Essential Australia – Kalbarri
There are of course other hidden gems that we have yet to explore and find – however we are always open to your suggestions for our next trip…