The state of Western Australia is one of the best kept secrets on the Aussie traveller trail, and we believe it’s got just as much to offer as those big East Coast hitters Sydney and Queensland. So much so, that it was only a couple of months ago we gave Western Australia a massive High 5.
Don’t believe us? Then meet David Heath, a 24 year old bookseller, who is currently living the dream and travelling through Asia and Australia. Well-travelled David is adamant that one of the best experiences he’s had in his entire life, came courtesy of some rather large creatures just off the coast of Exmouth; a few hours north of Perth.
When David met Skippy
He’s here to share the experience with you, and in his own words below, tell you why he believes that any trip Down Under just isn’t complete without a visit to Western Australia.
David shares his most awesome experience is Western Australia
I’ve wanted to go travelling around the world since my second year of university, I saved up as much as I could and then left blighty for Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. Then, after a while, I decided to head out to Perth, Western Australia. I decided on Perth partially due to its proximity to Asia and partially as I know a few family friends in the state.
When I learned to dive in Koh Tao, my instructor told me about the whale sharks and Ningaloo Reef up in Exmouth, and how it was a once in a lifetime experience that can only be done in Australia and one other place in the Philippines. From that moment on I was set on an extended stay in WA.
David was captivated by the beauty of Western Australia
I arrived at the end of the Perth summer in outrageous baggy trousers and a slight smell of Beer Lao about my person, it took a few days to reintegrate myself back into western society!
During my first few weeks in Perth, I went on a cruise down the Donnelly River to places that can’t be accessed by any vehicces aside from boats. Dotted along the river-banks were homes that were hand-built by their owners, and that due to the national park status cannot be sold, rented or demolished.
The best house was one that was occupied by a lone gentleman for over 15 years, and he bestowed upon it the rather glorious name of Lakkanooki (say it aloud). We went out to the ocean mouth and gaped at the encompassing, untouched coastline fading way beyond the horizon in either direction. I returned to Perth and booked myself straight onto a road trip all the way up the west coast, stopping at The Pinnacles, Monkey Mia, Coral Bay and Exmouth, among others.
Getting in some beach time with fellow travellers on one of Perth's many amazing beaches
The Pinnacles are unique to WA and stand like large stalagmites, but in a sandy desert rather than in a cave. The main reason for going to Monkey Mia is the chance to see wild dolphins swim 3 feet away from you. They cannot be touched and are not a guaranteed sighting but it is very likely – and it’s always nice to see dolphins, isn’t it?!
It forms part of Shark Bay, a World Heritage area with a high concentration of sharks, although not dangerous ones. Also in Shark Bay is Shell Beach, a beautiful beach formed solely from tiny white shells. Continuing another 400 miles north, I arrived in Coral Bay.
Spot wild dolphins in Monkey Mia. Awwww!
It’s basically a stretch of road turned into a resort with amazing aquamarine waters adjacent to the Ningaloo Reef. Whereas the Barrier Reef is 3 hours away from the coast, the Ningaloo is a 2 minute swim from some really amazing coral formations. I did a couple of dives on the Ningaloo and got to see some humpback whales doing their thing as an added bonus. Coral Bay was a beautiful place and I imagine a pretty amazing place to work in hotels or pubs during the summer.
Then it was onto the biggy – both metaphorically and figuratively.
I got to Exmouth and was picked up by the tour company and taken to the dock. With a group of about 20 others on the one boat in all ages and sizes we were taken out past the inner reef and waited anxiously on the boat for the circling spotter planes to do their thing (yeh, the Whale Sharks really are that big).
There was a buzz on the radio and the boat started speeding in the direction of a shark. Once in the proximity, a staff member jumped in and swam alongside the shark behind the boat with a hand raised in the air. The woman on the boat shouted “GO GO GO GO!” and half of us jumped in with our snorkels (sadly you can’t dive with them) from that moment on it was a mad swim in the deep blue waters with nothing to see but streaks of light piercing the surface in front of the cobalt expanse in front of me.
I was constantly straining my neck looking ahead for the shark and then all of a sudden it just appeared, fading in to view from the blue. A 4-metre whale shark, spotted, incredibly serene and seemingly oblivious to the rabble of tourists flanking it. This little dance continued for 90 minutes and we managed to get the full time with a 3-metre and 4-metre shark.
A girl I talked to that went with another company swam with a 9-metre monster, which blew my mind, as I thought my ones were big enough! We went for a snorkel after our time was up as a bit of cool down, and the next thing I knew I was at the lighthouse on the peninsula, watching the sunset over the ocean with my friends.
It was an amazing, a truly unique experience that will not easily usurped as one of the best things I’ve done on my adventures.