With new direct flights from the UK and an improved tourism infrastructure, Australia’s westernmost outpost is an ever-more attractive gateway Down Under and opens up a region the size of Europe with astounding natural attractions.

Wild West Down Under

Including Perth, The Coral Coast, the North West, the South West and the Golden Outback, WA occupies one-third of the country’s total landmass and is, roughly, the size of Western Europe.

Perth is Australia’s sunniest state capital, and even beats the Sunshine Coast when it comes to good weather.

The Golden Outback is home to Mount Augustus, Australia’s biggest rock and double the size of Uluru, and The Coral Coast is where the outback meets the ocean, and a place to see whale sharks.

Clients can also explore World-Heritage listed Purnululu National Park and tap into Aboriginal culture in the North West, while a tour of the South West will take them to Margaret River’s wineries, craft breweries, boutique shops and surf beaches.

Lake Hillier in the Esperance region is one of Western Australia’s famous pink lakes. The pink phenomenon is caused by the high concentration of algae in the water, which adds another striking shade to this multi-coloured landscape.

“One of the key selling points of WA is that it hasn’t been commercialised,” says Glen Chidlow, Chief Executive Officer of Australia’s North West. “There’s no big theme parks. From tree-top canopy walks to Aboriginal experiences, we’ve just made the most of what was already here.”

More ‘out there’ experiences include following in the footsteps of gold prospectors with Gold Nugget Tours or driving a sidecar motorcycle around the coastal town of Esperance with 4U WE DO Sidecar Tours.

For the ultimate outback experience Camping with Custodians in the North West operates outback camping combined with Aboriginal experiences operated by indigenous communities.

A new gateway

One of the world’s most isolated cities, Perth made the news earlier in the year when it welcomed the first non-stop flight between the UK and Australia.The launch of Qantas’ 17-hour flight between Heathrow and Perth has made the state both more accessible and more attractive as a tourist destination.

In addition, there is added capacity with Emirates, which now operates a twice daily service to Perth from Stansted (via Dubai).

Over 30 daily domestic flights also operate out of Perth, making it the ideal gateway to the rest of the country.

Elissa Caldwell, Marketing Manager for Destination Perth, said: “With the new (Qantas) direct flight we are definitely seeing an influx in visitors. Perth used to be considered ‘out of the way’ but it is now a genuine hub and gateway for those travelling to Australia. The city is growing, with new hotels and major tourism development, and within reach of the downtown area is the colonial architecture of Freemantle, the wine regions of Swan Valley and 19 beaches.”

Investment in Perth’s city projects is impressive: Elizabeth Quay is undergoing a $2.62 billion development, with new retail, entertainment and food and drink offerings.

Scarborough, a coastal suburb of Perth, is also reinventing itself with a new beachfront precinct featuring upgraded retail and dining options, a public beach pool and club, while Perth’s central business district will be reconnected with Northbridge (known for its hip boutiques, galleries and Asian-inspired eateries) for the first time in 100 years when the new Perth City Link urban renewal and transportation improvement scheme is completed in 2020.

“Perth is a city that is almost unrecognisable from a few years ago and looks especially fantastic down by Elizabeth Quay,” says Rachel McMurdo, Assistant Product Manager at Oceania, Travel 2.

“Agents selling Western Australia should advise customers to allow plenty of time to explore. A couple hours’ drive south of Perth is the Margaret River region, renowned for its world-class wineries.”

Top destinations

Golden Outback: The outback coast around Esperance has Australia’s whitest beaches, with kangaroos joining you on the beach at Lucky Bay. It also has the Wave Rock at Hayden, a three-billion- year-old rock in the shape of a giant wave.

North West: Experience the Horizontal Falls in Talbot Bay, the result of masses of water being squeezed through a narrow gap in the coastline at high tide, or explore the rugged gorges of Karijini National Park, a geological marvel.

Coral Coast: North of Perth, the Coral Coast is home to the Ningaloo Reef, the world’s largest fringing reef. Depending on the season, clients can swim with whale sharks, humpback whales and manta ray.

South West: Visit the Valley of the Giants and walk 40 metres above the ground among 400-year-old red tingle trees. Many of the species are native to the South West. Then explore the wineries of Margaret River.

Perth: There are plenty of day trip options from Perth. Take a cruise on the Swan River to Fremantle, with its colonial streetscape. Rockingham is an aquatic playground and Rottnest Island is known for its crystal clear bays.

What's new

The luxury 368-room Westin Hotel, overlooking the Swan River opened in April, while the ultra-luxurious Ritz-Carlton at The Towers is due to open in 2019.

Pinky’s Resort in Rottnest will open 86 chic tent-style accommodations by the end of this year. Abbey Beach Resort in the Margaret River region is due to finish a major refurbishment next year.

Where to book it

Travel 2’s 12-day Perth and South West WA tour starts from £1,079pp. The deal includes four days at the three-star Metro Hotel Perth, four days at the four-star Margarets Beach Resort and four days at three-star Ibis Styles Albany. Valid for travel between September 10-24, 2018.

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