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A paradise that’s a plane ride away

Western Australia is a rich paradise of natural scenery and gorgeous wildlife

Put your mind at ease the next time you travel by getting in touch with nature… and by indulging your senses with visits to gorgeous beaches and glimpses of colourful wildflowers against a lush landscape. Where to find all these, you ask? Hop on a plane and head to Western Australia. Here are some of the highlights you wouldn’t want to miss.

Esperance
Even though it’s an eight- to nine-hour drive south-east from Perth (or an hour by flight, if you so choose), Esperance is worth the trip just for its stunning coastlines, parks and marine attractions. One particular must-see is national park Cape Le Grand, where you can go for an exhilarating walk or set up camp. Up for a drive? The 38-km Great Ocean Drive is perfect for a lazy picnic stopover or surfboarding. Fishing enthusiasts may also head to Tanker Jetty or Bandy Creek Boat Harbour, while avid photographers should take advantage of the pretty town and island views over Rotary Lookout.

Margaret River
A three-hour drive from Perth (there is also a TransWA coach connecting to the Bunbury train line), Margaret River is known for its wine production. But apart from its myriad wineries, attractions like the Chocolate Company, the award-winning pub Settlers Tavern, Margaret River Farmers’ Market, A Maze’n Margaret River park and Lake Cave also beckon.

Monkey Mia
Nestled within Shark Bay, Monkey Mia is accessible from Perth via air, car or coach. It is here that you get a rare encounter with wild animals. In a lovely ritual that has been ongoing for over four decades now, bottleneck dolphins come ashore almost daily, much to the delight of onlookers. They are usually fed a small amount of fish on their first three visits, which generally happen between 8 am till noon.

Kimberley
Spanning over 420,000 sq km, Kimberley is described as one of the last natural wilderness areas on Earth. With its deserts, rainforests and woodlands, the region’s beauty is unparalleled. The coastal waters alone are home to the world’s largest population of 22,000 humpback whales, which arrive there annually to breed. Kimberley also has one of the oldest surviving cultures on earth, as well as the world-famous horizontal waterfalls in Talbot Bay. You may choose to drive in from Broome, which takes longer, but is perfect for enjoying the scenery. From Darwin to the Kimberley town of Kununurra, the drive takes about 10 hours. Flying in from Broome or Darwin is another option.

Broome
At Broome, it’s all about exotic pearls, beautiful beaches and millions-old dinosaur prints. Romance is the order of the day: Go for a leisurely camel ride along Cable Beach; visit Gantheaume Point for 130-million-year-old dinosaur footprints; venture to the Broome Bird Observatory; enjoy a picnic on Town Beach; and catch a movie under the twinkling stars at Broome’s outdoor cinema. History buffs should also check out the Historical Museum and the Japanese cemetery, where over 900 divers were laid to rest. The town is extremely well connected, with flight routes available from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin, Perth and many other cities. You may also opt for a coach service.

Kalgoorlie
With its gold rush history, the town is home to the largest goldfields in all of Western Australia; the active mining town produces almost 800,000 ounces of gold annually. Combined with its old buildings and old gold miners’ towns, Kalgoorlie’s allure is too potent to resist. Travel to Kalgoorlie by plane and bus. There is also a coach service linking Kalgoorlie and Esperance, as well as a six-hour train service from Perth to Kalgoorlie.