In Search of the Sun
After a week of rainy weather here in the South West, I don’t know about you, but I am hanging out for some sunshine and warm weather.
I know many people would “pop’ up to Bali for some tropical heat. But not this year. We are so lucky in Western Australia that our state is so big, we have something for everyone and every season. Our biggest tip for catching some warmth in the Perth Winter is:
GET ABOVE THE 26TH PARRALEL. Although an imaginary latitude line on a map, many of us travellers see this as the start of endless sunny warm winter days.
Some tips from seeking some sun in WA are the following places:
Shark Bay which is a World Heritage listed region sits right on the 26th Parallel. There is even a sign as you drive past it. It is rare that a cold front in the south will reach here so in general its sunny and warm. The water temperature stays above 20 degrees all year round. The beaches are white (or uniquely made of tiny white shells) and the water is clear.
Monkey Mia is famous for the friendly wild dolphins and the bays are teaming with dugongs.
It is also just above the 26th parallel and known for winter sun. Things to do in Carnarvon are the Fruit Loop Drive Trail. This is home to the best Australian bananas and mangoes and fresh vegetables. Instagrammers may know of the #carnarvoncactusgarden.
The Gascoyne River is usually underground for most of the year (unless a cyclone has been through recently) so it is a sea of sand. The town sits near the mouth of the river and the Fascine is very pleasant for a picnic and walk.
Exmouth and Ningaloo:
Ningaloo Coast is another World Heritage site and that is partly because of the largest fringing reef in the world. The coral reef is right on the beach. You can just walk in with your snorkel and mask. Best snorkels are Turquoise Bay drift snorkel and Mandu Mandu where you can just sit next to a bombie and watch the tiny reef fish go about their daily business.
Karijini National Park
Our favourite spot in WA probably but we do love lots of others as well. The deep narrow gorges weave their way through the red landscape. Swimming holes like Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool are magnificent. The water at Kermit’s Pool and Handrail Gorge is cold because it rarely sees the sun.
The 42 islands that make up Dampier Archipelago lie just off the coast near the ports of Dampier and Karratha in the Pilbara. While Dampier and Karratha are relatively new towns built in the 1960s, Roebourne and Cossack are much older and are worth exploring. They date back from the 1860s.
Island hopping here is a delight with the clear blue water and red rocks. For the best beaches on the mainland head to Point Samson. All the towns are in spitting distance of each other.
Broome of course is our most iconic sunseeker location with wide long beaches with camel trains at sunset.
Broome is the gateway to the Kimberley so next, jump over to the other side for the special infinity pool at Lake Argyle Resort near Kununurra. There’s nothing like sitting in the pool gazing at the ruggedly spectacular landscape with views of Lake Argyle. The lake is so big it can be seen from space and is 18 times the size of Sydney Harbour.
And one out of the box:
This is the largest rock in the world (Monocline that is) and is twice the size of Uluru. This outback icon is situated in the Gascoyne Region inland from Carnarvon.
There are several excellent hiking trails on and around the big rock. There is also Goolinee, a trail that takes in a billabong lined with river gum trees reflecting in the water. The billabong is an offshoot the Lyons River. The Mount Augustus Cattle Station owners run the Outback Tourist Park for campers and caravanners. The bar is a great spot to enjoy a cold beer and chat with fellow travellers. The drive in is a corrugated unsealed road, so 4WD is recommended.