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You may be familiar with the vibrant beaches and incredible food scene of Perth, the capital city of Western Australia. Beyond this exciting city lies a land of adventure, ancient rock formations, and jaw-dropping landscapes ripe for exploration.
Whether you are a nature-loving hiker or a beach bum who loves diving in crystal-clear waters, the region offers something for everyone! Not convinced? Check out our selection of the top natural wonders of Western Australia.
About Western Australia
Western Australia is Australia’s largest state famed for its epic landscapes. The state sits on one of the oldest supercontinents on Earth, with evidence of the earliest-known life on land uncovered right here. With such ancient origins, Western Australia’s breathtaking geological natural wonders are not to be missed. From the world’s second-largest crater to the largest rock ever discovered on Earth, Western Australia is the ultimate gateway to landscapes you’ve never seen before.
Top natural wonders of Western Australia
The Bungle Bungles
A bee-utiful natural wonder lies within the Purnululu National Park in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The World Heritage-listed Bungle Bungles is a striking maze of orange and black striped karst sandstone domes. Though formed over 350 million years ago, this spectacle was only discovered in 1983 — a tight-knit secret kept by its Aboriginal custodians.
Exploring the Bungle Bungles is an adventure in itself — soar through the skies on a helicopter to see the beehive-like domes from up above or embark on an educational guided tour through the range for a unique perspective of the reserve. In addition, keep your eyes peeled for over 130 bird species and native animals as you soak in this impressive geological marvel found almost nowhere else in the world.
Address: Purnululu WA 6770, Australia
Wolfe Creek Crater
If you’re a fan of space and extraterrestrial beings, this one’s for you. The Wolfe Creek Crater is the second-largest crater on Earth with a diameter spanning almost a kilometer wide. Scientists believe that the crater was formed by the impact of a 17,000-tonne meteorite with a history dating back to 300,000 years ago, making it one of the largest natural wonders in Western Australia.
The Aboriginal people of the Great Sandy Desert in the Kimberley region were thought to have discovered this otherworldly landscape before modern-day scientists. Believing that the crater was formed when a giant mythological snake raised its head from the ground, the Wolfe Creek Crater is an important symbol in Aboriginal culture. Does this crater hold the answers to mysteries of extraterrestrial life? You’d have to see this phenomenal natural wonder to decide.
Address: Sturt Creek WA 6770, Australia
Horizontal Falls, instead of the typical vertical waterfall, is one of the most bewildering natural wonders in Western Australia . This unusual natural phenomenon is located on the coast of the Kimberley region in Western Australia where the rapid tidal movement between the two narrow gorges of the McLarty Range pushes the water to form waterfalls turned on their side.
As the Horizontal Falls are inaccessible by vehicle, the best way to fully take in this breathtaking natural wonder is from up above. Get a bird’s-eye view of the fall’s tidal movement and unique geological features on a seaplane. If you are looking for a thrilling adventure, hop on a floatplane and land at the Horizontal Falls for a thrilling boat ride. This exhilarating boat cruise takes you through the fall’s raging rapids, giving you unprecedented access to this mighty feat of Mother Nature.
Address: Kimbolton WA 6728, Australia
A whole other world lies deep beneath the Earth’s surface, waiting to be explored! Enter Jewel Cave, the largest show cave in Western Australia, featuring three massive caverns and the longest straw of any tourist cave in the world. At five and a half meters, the longest straw is a fragile stalactite that grows down from the cave’s ceiling, its diameter just the size of a single water droplet.
Jewel Cave is highly accessible, its extensive passageways are clearly demarcated, and its crystal cave ornaments are well lit, adding to the cave’s extravagance. In addition to exploring the cave’s impressive subterranean formations, head to the interpretation center to learn more about the Jewel Cave’s history, including the groundbreaking discovery of an ancient Tasmanian tiger fossil found within the depths of the cave. If you’re hungry, make your way to the Jewel Cave Cafe for a light treat, complete with lush forest views. The Jewel Cave is located 45 kilometers south of Magaret River or nine kilometers north of Augusta.
Located just two hours away from the city of Perth, the Pinnacles at Nambung National Park is one of Western Australia’s most unforgettable attractions. The Pinnacles is a unique landscape featuring thousands of weathered limestone pillars made from seashells, a reminder of the marine life that roamed the area over 25,000 to 35,000 years ago.
Today, over a thousand of these otherworldly formations rise above the yellow sand base stretching as far as the eye can see, some of the highest pinnacles reaching higher than 3.5 meters.
Apart from the Pinnacles, Nambung National Park teems with rich biodiversity, an excellent spot to see wildlife. See wild Western grey kangaroos grazing on the park’s vegetation, go birdwatching for swallows and ospreys at the coast of Kangaroo Point, and catch sight of wild reptiles such as Gould’s monitors and carpet pythons (they are completely harmless) roaming around Hangover Bay.
Address: Nambung WA 6521, Australia
Ngilgi Cave (pronounced ‘Neel-gee’) is a subterranean labyrinth of spectacular cave formations. Discovered in 1899, Ngligi Cave is one of Western Australia’s oldest and largest tourist caves.
This cave is easily accessible with its extensive boardwalks that take visitors through the cave’s multiple ins and outs, each featuring breathtaking, unspoiled crystal structures. Feast your eyes on half a million-year-old karst crystal stalactites, stalagmites, and helictites lit by dreamy light fixtures that completely transport you into another world. For the adventurous, embark on the off-the-beaten-path cave adventure tour where you’ll veer off the boardwalk to uncover hidden cave secrets.
Ngilgi Cave also sets the scene of a legendary bedtime story of the local Wardandi people, a key part of Australia’s Aboriginal mythology. Legend tells of the good spirit of Ngilgi, who protects the Aboriginal people from the evil spirit of Wolgine. Today, Ngilgi Cave is a crucial part of Wardandi heritage, its people custodians of the caves in the area. Take a peek into Australia’s Aboriginal culture with our Guide to Australian bush tucker: 10 ingredients used in traditional Aboriginal food.
Just three to four hours from Perth lies Wave Rock, a multi-colored granite inselberg shaped like a breaking ocean wave. This geological phenomenon spans 110 meters in height, its impressive shape and structure a result of millions of years of erosion and weathering.
Wave Rock draws massive crowds who come yearly to “surf” this wave — done so by trekking this three-kilometer-long rock formation. Come September yearly, Wave Rock turns into a music lover’s paradise with Wave Rock Weekender, an intimate music festival experience in the outback. Get your boogie on and immerse yourself in this once-in-a-lifetime party destination.
Karijini National Park
Take an exhilarating adventure through Karijini National Park, Western Australia’s second-largest national park nestled in the heart of the Pilbara region. Home to ancient geological formations and awe-inspiring scenery, this national park is every outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Explore meandering gorges and chasms, take a dip under cascading waterfalls, and roam across the park’s epic walking trails.
Your key to a spa experience like no other lies northwest in Karijini National Park at Hamersley Gorge. This natural rock pool features mesmerizing folded bands of colored rock, each swirling into the emerald blue pool beneath. As Hamersley Gorge is located slightly further away from the park’s main gorges, this rock pool is the perfect quiet stopover after a fun-filled day of discovering this sprawling national park.
Don’t let the name fool you. Mount Augustus is not a mountain but the world’s largest rock. Rising 715 meters above the flat plains, Mount Augustus is over 1,650 million years old, much older and twice the size of its more popular counterpart, Uluru (Ayers Rock).
Image by @journey_with_eve via Instagram
Reaching Mount Augustus is an adventure in itself. While it is easy to reach the rock by flight, Mount Augustus is almost impossible to get to using land vehicles as most of the roads are sealed. The best way to fully take in the grandeur of this awe-inspiring formation is from one of the many lookout points along the 49-kilometer loop drive trail located at Mount Augustus National Park.
Address: East Lyons River WA 6705, Australia
Ningaloo Reef is the ultimate all-year-round destination that you have to visit. Home to the world’s largest fringing reef, this World Heritage-listed site is a getaway to an unforgettable underwater world.
Apart from being one of our top picks of natural wonders in Western Australia, Ningaloo Reef is the perfect holiday and adventure getaway. From over 500 species of tropical fish to thousands of humpback whales migrating through the Western Australian coastline, visitors to the reef can catch sight of amazing marine creatures no matter the season! If you’d like to stay dry, hop onto a microlight (a hang-gliding sail equipped with two seats and an engine) and soar over the reef for a panoramic view of the vast blue ocean. You might even be able to see manta rays, turtles, dolphins, and dugongs!
Address: Western Australia 6701, Australia
The Shark Bay World Heritage area’s Shell Beach is unlike any other beach you’ve visited before. Made with billions of white cockle shells, this beach is one of the only two beaches in the world made entirely of shells. This dramatic landscape stretches over 100 kilometers, with deposits reaching 10 meters in depth.
Just like the famed Dead Sea, you’ll be able to leisurely float on the surface of these waters. The Shell Beach’s waters are high in salinity — so high, in fact, that the water here is twice as salty as the sea. With its unique living conditions, the Fragnum cockle, the only species that thrive in these waters, is responsible for the vast depository of white seashells that stretch far and beyond. To get there, take a 45-minute drive from Denham, the coral coast of Australia.
That’s a wrap on our top picks of the most incredible natural wonders of Western Australia! If you’d like to travel within Australia, make sure to refer to our handy article: Is it safe to travel within Australia? COVID-19 protocols to take note of.
Remember to bookmark our handy resource, The Ultimate Guide to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions, to remain up-to-date with regulations around the world.