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West Australia
Introduction

State Identity

1. Perth

Western Australia,
the Wildflower State.

Western Australia covers a third of Australia and is the largest State in Australia. It is bounded by the Timor Sea to the north, the Indian Ocean to the west, the Southern Ocean to the south and South Australia and the Northern Territory to the east. Separated from the eastern states by vast stretches of scrub and desert, Western Australia has a distinctive individuality that sets it apart from the other States. It may be the largest State in area, but it only has a population of just over 1.8 million, with the majority on the south-west coast.

Whilst it is largely red dust and desert, which contains most of the country's mineral wealth of uranium, coloured diamonds and pearls, the coastline provides surfing beaches, with lush forests and limestone caves in the south. The north provides unspoiled beaches and coral reefs.

The State can be divided into regions.

Boab Prison Tree

The Kimberley region, where the appeal of the wilderness is found. Renowned for its spectacular outback, the contrast of the red earth, deep gorges and waterfalls, to the white sandy beaches of the coast. See the Boab Prison Tree on the outskirts of the town of Derby (used as a lockup in the 1800s). Visit the tropical resort of Broome, once the pearling capital of the world. Nearby pristine Cable Beach, 22km of white sand and clear tropical water. See crocodiles at Geikie Gorge.

Further south, the Pilbara, with the Hamersley Ranges stretching for more than 400km. Visit Karijini National Park with many well known gorges.

The Gascoyne region, with its Shark Bay World Heritage area and the Ningaloo Marine Park, where the whalesharks visit on an annual basis. Go snorkelling and see the Ningaloo Reef. Feed the dolphins at Monkey Mia.

The Mid-West region, Western Australian wildflower region. The best time to see the wildflowers is from August to November.

The Goldfields, with gold mining and early settlements.

Perth Skyline

Perth, continuing south, and on the coast, is the capital city of Perth, located on the Swan River, with a population of over 1.3 million. A city with more than just modern skyscrapers. There is a pleasant mixture of colonial and modern architecture; see the famous Kings Park, five square kilometres of parklands, the botanic gardens, native bushland and picnic areas. With white sandy beaches and Rottnest Island nearby.

A short drive south of Perth is the Peel region with its sporting facilities, from golf to white-water rafting, fishing and surfing.

Wave Rock

To the east are the Golden Heartlands, with its famous Pinnacles and Wave Rock.

The South-West, with the famous Margaret River wine region, as well as rugged coastline and vast forests.

The Great-Southern region, with the Stirling Range National Park, or whale watching on the coast.

Esperance, in the Bay of Isles in the south, with its beaches, islands and national parks.

CLIMATE
Because of its size there are several climatic regions.

In the tropical north the "Wet" season, which is monsoonal in character, is from December to March.
The southern half of the State has a Mediterranean climate with warm dry summers and cool and wet winters.

The capital of Perth has dry summers and wet winters with maximum average summer temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius and winter maximum average temperatures of 18 degrees Celsius. The west coast is mostly arid and comfortable even at high temperatures. South of Perth tends to be cooler and greener.

The average annual summer temperatures for the State range from 15 degrees to 31 degrees Celsius.
The average annual winter temperatures range between 9 to 18 degrees Celsius.

DRIVING
Western Australia is connected by a network of modern and efficient highways without the volume of traffic experienced in the eastern states.
Because of its sheer size, touring the State by car is only for those properly equipped.
The distances are long and sometimes difficult. If exploring national parks in the south west or travelling north of Perth a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.

ACCOMMODATION
Whilst there is a full range of accommodation available, you might like to consider farm bed and breakfasts for part of your stay and enjoy unique Australian country lifestyle, with its wildlife, colourful birds, spectacular wildflowers and wonderful scenery, and much more.

    ...for more information visit the West Australian Tourism Commission website.



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Lonely Planet Western Australia (2nd Ed)