With Western Australia’s borders still closed, and interstate travel restrictions in place, there is no better time to explore our own backyard. WA is the world’s second largest state, with a terrain that is diverse, rugged and beautiful. From bubblegum pink lakes to white sand, crystal waters and the wild outback, we’re lucky we have it all. Here are 5 must-see outback destinations to visit on your next WA adventure.
The Pinnacles, Mid-West-Gascoyne Region
Driving Time from Perth: 2.5 Hours
The Pinnacles are a series of large, striking limestone rock formations that protrude from a desert backdrop. Located in the Nambung National Park, near Cervantes, it’s less than a 3-hour drive from Perth, making it a spectacular day trip.
The Pinnacles are best viewed at dawn or dusk when the lengthening shadows and the turn of the day bring the rock formations to life. Sacred to the traditional landowners the Nyoongar people, there are fables that the rock formations were once young men who roamed into the desert.
When heading to the Pinnacles from Perth, we recommend making time to stop in Lancelin on the way. Check out the massive white sand dunes for some off-road driving and sand boarding. When venturing out to the dunes, make sure you bring a Bush Winch Kit, as there is a high risk of becoming bogged in the soft sand. A sand anchor will also come in handy as there may not be any trees or structures available for leverage.
Karijini National Park, Pilbara Region
Driving Time from Perth: 15 Hours
Situated in the heart of WA’s Pilbara region, Karijini National Park is best known for its gorges, hidden waterfalls, craggy cliffs and rocky tunnels. The second largest national park in WA, this iconic plateau is accessible from Tom Price, Newman and Karratha.
You could spend days exploring the expanses of gorges that have been carved out over billions of years by the rivers that now traverse the area. Alternatively, you could experience Karijini from the bottom up by paddling through the waterways. Best of all, the majority of its most swimming holes and lookouts are accessible via a 4wd. Check out some great outback accessories that will help you on your Karijini trip here.
For more information on park safety, accessibility and camping sites, visit their page on the Parks and Wildlife Service website.
Cape Range National Park, Gascoyne Region
Driving Time from Perth: 8 hours
This national park is situated on the coast of Western Australia. The park runs the length of Ningaloo Marine Park, which makes it the gateway to the second largest reef in Australia.
In this park, rocky canyons and limestone ranges back straight onto pristine white beaches, offering opportunities for snorkeling and diving with the likes of whale sharks, manta rays, turtles and all kinds of fish. When heading to Cape Range National Park, be sure not to miss Turquoise Bay. This beach is a slice of heaven and is regularly referred to as the best beach in WA.
Mount Augustus, Gascoyne Region
Driving Time from Perth: 14 Hours
Unknown to many, the largest standing rock in the world can be found in Western Australia’s Gascoyne region. It is actually 2.5 times the size of the world-famous Uluru. A testament to nature, this biological wonder is surrounded by vast outback, rolling plains and gorges, all of which are home to flora and fauna unique to Australia.
The actual rock is surrounded by many camping spots and walking trails, as well as ancient rock art. Mount Augustus is great to visit all year round, but the national park is especially beautiful in Spring when the wildflowers are in full bloom. Pack a spare tyre if you are heading out here, as there are many sharp rocks on the road around the park.
Wave Rock, Wheatbelt Region
Driving Time from Perth: 4 Hours
If you’ve had the chance to visit the glittering waters and white sand beaches of WA, you’ve probably seen rolling blue waves, but have you ever seen a wave made from granite?
Wave Rock, located just east of the small country town of Hyden, is a rock frozen in the shape of a breaking ocean wave b. Standing 15 metres high and 110 metres long, it is one of Australia’s most well-known sites. The site has a rich cultural history, bearing strong significance to its native landowners, the Ballardong people. The Ballardong people say the curious shape of the formation was created when the Rainbow Serpent passed through after consuming all the water in the land.
Preparing for Your Adventure
Before departing on your next expedition, make sure you are prepared. The WA outback is vast and unforgiving, so make sure you service your vehicle, pack the correct gear and have access to directions. We recommend always packing a Bush Winch Kit, just in case you get stuck at any point on your journey, especially if you are planning to drive off-road. Lightweight, portable, and for 2WD, 4WD as well as AWD vehicles, the Bush Winch Kit has got your back if you get bogged.
Image credit: Karijiniexperience