Separated from the rest of the country by expanses of treeless plain and desert, Western Australia boasts a cornucopia of native flora and fauna that evolved in isolation making it a great place for bushwalking. Many species are unique to the state and some unique to pockets of it. The wildflower extravaganza that rolls south down Australia’s largest state from June to November attracts Australian and international travellers like bees to pollen and bushwalking Western Australia is a delight.
Some 13,000km of curlicue coastline and 2200km of dead-straight land border frame a remarkable diversity of environments and habitats. With wild shores and forests of majestic tingle and kauri trees in the temperate south, time-worn red-rock mountains and gorges in the tropical north, and swathes of unforgiving dune desert inland, bushwalking here is never boring.
The southwest is the state’s hiking heartland and the Bibbulmun Track, running 963km from the Perth hills to Albany, on the Southern Ocean Coast, is the backbone of the trail network. There is no better day walk on the long-distance track than the Sullivan Rock to Monadnocks loop.
For a week-long natural high tread the Cape to Cape Track, on the Indian Ocean shore, between the lighthouses warning of the dangers of capes Leeuwin and Naturaliste. Or tackle the track in smaller bites, including the delicious first day (coming north) from Cape Leeuwin to Cosy Corner Road.
The Stirling Ranges, a wildflower hot spot, are four hours’ drive east of Cape Leeuwin, and a sweeping view of uplifted rock, patchwork surrounding plains and ocean unfurls around you on the four-hour-return Bluff Knoll climb.
Another five hours east – yes, WA’s that big – Cape Le Grand National Park’s string of granite domes and exquisite bays is best viewed on foot from the 15km Coastal Trail.
Journeying north from Perth reveals a very different Western Australia on show in Kalbarri National Park, another wildflower showcase, where you can follow the spectacular serpentine Murchison River gorge on The Loop track.
Even more remarkable geology awaits you further north, and inland, as you journey to the centre of the Earth, or at least explore the planet’s crust, on short adventures into sinuous Weano & Hancock gorges in Karijini National Park. But beware: having this much fun involves getting wet, how wet depending on recent rains.
Now burrow through Tunnel Creek, in WA’s far-north Kimberley region, wading back in geological and human history in the footsteps of a famous Aboriginal rebel and the shadows of bats.
Then push east to finish with Western Australia in Purnululu National Park, whose 52km 4WD-only “driveway” is the stuff of legend. There are several easy but spectacular walks into the famous Bungle Bungle Range at this park’s heart but the pick is the Cathedral Cave loop.
Check out my other state-by-state itineraries and lots of specific walks:
For a general introduction to bushwalking Down Under, please see my ‘Bushwalking in Australia: everything you need to know.’