Australia working holiday visa: Western Australia

I’m Terri Wright – globetrotter, Marketing Exec for STA Travel Auckland, and Western Australia fanatic, here to tell you a little story about the time I did a working holiday on the west coast.

It was 2012; I had a fresh degree, great mates, a pretty decent wardrobe and job prospects (although I’d take that last one with a pinch of salt), but something wasn’t adding up.

I’m not sure whether I’d been living under a rock or in a uni-shaped bubble, but it was around this time I first heard about this shiny little thing called the Australian Working Holiday Visa, and suddenly I had an answer to the question dreaded by every drifting twenty-something at a family gathering: What are you going to do after you graduate?

Well Aunty Jane, I’m moving Down Under. And no, I don’t have a boyfriend.

West is always best. And not just because of the sunsets.

Now let’s fast forward a few months to when my passport was metaphorically heavier, my bank balance was a little less daunting and my feet were 32,000ft above the ocean. I was on my way to Perth, Western Australia.

Perth is underrated; backpackers rarely bucket list it and east coast-Aussies stick their noses up at it. But don’t take advice from those with zero experience; I’m here to tell you why Australia’s west coast is unequivocally the best coast.

Yep, it’s closer to Singapore than it is to Sydney, and yes, the locals have a higher barefoot ratio than average; but if you’re after a true Aussie experience, then look no further.

Far from its sleepy and isolated reputation, at any one time, Perth is the perfect balance between progressive but laidback and strikingly beautiful yet understated. Spend mornings embracing your inner culture creature whilst moseying Fremantle’s art laden streets, afternoons becoming the sun-kissed beach-bum you’ve always aspired to be and evenings letting your inner wino go wild at one of Northbridge’s many bars. Hike Serpentine Falls, sandboard Lancelin’s dunes or sail to Rottnest Island (‘Rotto’ to the locals), where the crystal waters and paper-white sands will lead you straight into an existential crisis. Embrace it.

And beyond the city, it just gets better.

Perth is the gateway to Australia’s west coast. Donned with red sand and dusty blue skies, the west coast of Australia is, in my very biased opinion, the most magical place on earth (sorry Walt).

My time travelling the length of Western Australia saw me climb Mount Bruce at 2am to get to the top for sunrise, camp on hidden beaches under meteor showers in Coral Bay and watch dolphins in Monkey Mia. I drove 10 hours from civilisation to hike down gorges and up canyons in Karijini National Park, navigated my way down dirt roads to concealed lakes in Kalbarri and partied in Broome. I consumed copious amounts of wine in Margaret River and photographed pink lakes and kangaroos on white sand beaches in Esperance. Most importantly though, I spent many an hour driving through dry dusty bush with great friends and music that will forever take me back to those moments.

Oh and the sunsets aren’t bad either.

The moral of the story: Travel Western Australia to make your life a little wilder, your skin a little dustier and your heart a little fuller. Though I warn you, after experiencing life in Australia’s wild west, you’ll never quite be 100% content living anywhere else again.

Convinced? We’ve got a travel guide detailing all things WA, and if you want to be a little spontaneous (who doesn’t?) then if you book a return flight with your mates now, you could get up to £300 off your flights!