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Western Australia gives you the Australia of your dreams: long, white-sand beaches; unique wildlife; Aboriginal adventures in the outback; and the best wine and food the country has to offer

Enjoy the fourishing food and arts scene in Perth, then get up close to the playful seals and grinning marsupials of Rottnest Island; next, relax with a glass of cool white in the abundant vineyards of Margaret River, before exploring the vast outback of the Fitzroy River Valley and King Leopold Ranges

@clarwood

Bell Gorge lies more than 100 miles on mostly dirt roads from the nearest town of any size, in the remote region known as the Kimberley
PHOTOGRAPHS CATHERINE SUTHERLAND

Plan your trip

1 The isolated state capital of Perth is forging its own identity, with a wave of cutting-edge bars and experimental street art (p50).

2 Head for the Rottnest Island nature reserve and meet sailing seals, rare rock parrots and smiling quokkas (p52).

3 Explore fertile Margaret River, where kangaroos bounce through plentiful vineyards and orchards (p54).

4 Sample bush tucker and learn Indigenous creation stories in the deep outback of Fitzroy River Valley (p56).

5 Crocodiles glide through deep gorges in the King Leopold Ranges, a vast land of ancient mountains (p58).

MAP ILLUSTRATION: ALEX VERHILLLE. PHOTOGRAPHS: CATHERINE SUTHERLAND, © MICHAEL WILLIS/ALAMY

HOW TO GET THERE

Perth is the best international access point for travels in Western Australia, with flights from London Heathrow with Etihad via Abu Dhabi, Malaysia Airlines via Kuala Lumpur, Qantas via Dubai and Singapore Airlines via Singapore (from £525; etihad.com).

HOW TO GET AROUND

Western Australia is very large – more than a million square miles – so long distances are inevitable when exploring the state. For covering large areas, domestic flights are best: for instance, to fly from Perth to Broome allows visitors to cover the 1,390-mile journey in just 2.5 hours (from £225; virginaustralia.com). For shorter distances, rent a car. Be aware that while a regular car is fine for destinations in the state’s south, such as Perth and Margaret River (from £15 per day), a hardy four-wheel-drive vehicle is required for remote areas such as the Kimberley (from £25 per day; budget.co.uk). Before setting off into the outback, make sure you are well prepared with satellite phone, spare tyre and jack kit, and plenty of emergency water and fuel: see broomehirecentre.com.au for details.

HOW LONG TO SPEND

Given how large and diverse Western Australia is, it’s best to devote as much time as possible to enjoy it. The itinerary outlined in this Great Escape would take a minimum of 12 days, including some domestic flights; a trip of two weeks or longer would allow for an easier pace.

WHAT TO BUDGET

There’s no getting around it: Western Australia is not cheap. Australian dollar exchange rates are increasingly favourable to British visitors, but still expect to pay at least £85 for simple accommodation, with high-end boutique hotel options from £200 plus. Standard dishes at a budget restaurant can cost from around £12; beer and wine from £6.

WHEN TO GO

Weather around Perth is famously beautiful most of the year, with the warmest months from September– May. Even during the winter months (June–August), there is often plenty of sunshine and daily temperatures of at least 15°C. The north of the state, from Broome to the Kimberley, has a tropical climate with a good dry season running from May–October. The period from November–April is the monsoon season, when the region is subject to heavy rains, flooding and possible cyclones, so should be avoided. This is particularly the case for the King Leopold Ranges, which are routinely cut off by flooding during this time.

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