Australia has a massive and magnificent coastline. Though I’ve seen much of it, one of my dreams, when we can travel again, in 2021, is to drive the length of the West Australian coast. To leisurely take in the splendour of those red earth roads, wild gorges and big blue skies. The last time I was in WA I was only 19! Next year, when state borders re-open, my dream is to head off in our van and discover our homeland wonders from the top to the bottom.
In this post I’m delighted to welcome fellow traveller, wanderluster and gypsy at heart Maria Elena. Some of you may know her already and, if you don’t, you’re in for an absolute treat. Her writing, zest for life and adventurous spirit is infectious and will captivate and transport you.
Living in Spain, but with a part of her heart still in Australia, she offered to write me this guest post on her time in this great land. Enjoy!
Ah, Western Australia, if an adventure was ever called by its purest name, it must be yours! From the endless red outback vistas of the interior to the myriad of untouched beaches you offer, this post is a love letter to a place I was privileged to call my home for more than four years. Join me on a trail of infatuation and discover Western Australia’s top spots not to be missed. Feeling some butterflies yet? Then let´s go:)
A piece of paradise vouched for by kangaroos: Esperance
Can a place conjure up emotions within akin to falling in love? If you are an avid travel-lover, your answer might be a resounding “Of course, silly sheila” (Australian slang for woman, girl). Esperance is without a doubt a place that makes your knees tremble, that makes your heart beat just that promising bit faster, and puts a funny and massive smile aka grin on your face from the moment you first lay your eyes on it.
Don’t fall in love; rise with it. Amit Abraham
An outdoor playground like no other, Esperance is a town of barely 13.000 inhabitants located around 700 km southeast of Perth on Western Australia’s southwestern coast. When I visited Esperance some years back, I simply could not resist its manyfold charms: There was meandering under the gorgeous pine trees that lined the beach promenade across our sweet little Bed and Breakfast. There was also hanging out with pretty darn spoilt kangaroos on famous Lucky Bay beach, Australia’s whitest beach, set against a mesmerising seascape of 110 islands of the Recherche Archipelago.
Picture perfect images of Esperance´s whitewashed beaches and clearer-than-clear waters are still lingering on my mind many years later. It might just be because, just like a long-lost lover you never quite get over, Esperance wows you and stays with you no matter which exotic delights future travels may hold in store for you.
For an ideal taste-tester-day of Esperance, make sure to head to aforementioned Lucky Bay and see if you can spot some leisure loving roos lazing on the squeaky white sand, go for an invigorating swim at beautiful and calm Blue Haven Beach and Twilight Cove, or do as the mermaids and merguys to and explore the universe of stillness under the seas with a bit of snorkeling.
Surf lovers will rejoice at West Beach, Observatory Beach, and Fourth Beach. Also: What about celebrating love and life with a stunning sunset picnic? Western Australian sunsets are truly to die for, and boast an exquisitely sublime array of stunning colors from deep red and delicious hues of purple and pink to rejuvenating rays of orange and yellow. I’d seriously say that WA sunsets are by far the most outstanding sunsets I have ever witnessed on my journeys up to date, so I wholeheartedly recommend taking in some of their extravaganzas while nibbling on your favorite delicious treats or sipping on one of WA´s outstanding wines.
If you wanna get your hands on the best local produce than there’s no better way to do this (if you are not vegetarian or vegan, that is) than to go fishing and just catch your dinner yourself! There are great rock fishing options at Salmon Beach (yep, it’s its real name, wonder where the inspiration for it came from!) For non-food-related adventures, try out the fantastic four-wheel drive beach safari options.
Culture lovers will enjoy the exciting and educational Indigenous cultural tours on offer. Something that is definitely on my list for my next visit to Esperance is a visit to Woody Island, where you can pitch your tent or stay in a safari hut, and enjoy the secludedness of your almost private island paradise.
All in all, Esperance will make you feel like when first falling in love: Sweet love songs will be playing on repeat in the back of your mind when you first set foot here, and radiant light will seem to emit from this Australian beach dream location, just like it irradiates from the object of your heart’s yearning when cupid makes his unexpected appearance in your life.
Keep smiling, keep loving: Be enchanted by Rottnest Island’s unique magic
What better place to indulge in feelings of everlasting honeymoon-vibes than a delightfully car(e)-free island that rocks your world with its pristine beaches, stunning bays, and crystal clear azure-blue waters?
Rottnest Island is the perfect place to slow down, enjoy nature at it’s finest, just be, and hang around the undoubted superstars of this outdoor-playground located a mere thirty minutes by ferry from Perth – the ever-joyous quokkas! If you ever lose your smile, which you probably won’t, being on your crazy-in-love-honeymoon and all, you only gotta lovingly look into the quokka´s adorable furry faces smiling right back at you, and your smile will once again light up the world as only your smile can.
“There are many times when a smile is the beginning of a love story” Unknown
Quokka who, you might ask? Well, you are in good company here – baffled 17th-century Dutch explorers did ask the same question (they told me so themselves 😛) when they set foot on the island for the first time.
They settled on (quokka-mates, cover your ears now!) describing quokkas as cat-sized rats (I beg your pardon! Ever seen a rat gift you with a killer-smile? I sincerely apologize to all quokkas in place of these silly Dutch explorers)
Accordingly, the explorers named the Western Australian island Rottnest Island, which literally means “rat’s nest”! If you wanna see for yourself how these wallaby-sized marsupials couldn’t be less related to un-smiley rats and are way more in line with glamorous and happy-go-lucky superstars, just explore the Rottnest Island nature reserve either by foot or on a bike and you´ll see them all around.
They are very down to earth and will most certainly approach you if you wait around for a bit, so get that selfie-stick ready and prepare to be dazzled 🙂
“Dare, dream, dance, smile, and sing loudly! And have faith that love is an unstoppable force!” Suzanne Brockman
Great spots to spot and befriend a quokka can be found at Thomson Bay, where the ferries arrive; as well as the main settlement area, the green space where the bakery is located, or around the Oceanside Pub. By the way, Quokkas are a truly Western Australian wildlife phenomenon and are an absolute must to tick of your WA-bucket list, as they can only be found on some islands off the Western Australian coast and in the forest and coastal heath in the South- Western part of this vast state that comprises a whopping third of the Australian continent.
Where unparalleled botanical beauty and the rugged spirit of adventure meet: Fitzgerald River National Park
A river runs through it – and some Germans partly run it, lol. I’ll get to explain the second part of that statement later. But before, let me ask you something:
Do you remember the exciting, adrenaline-rush aspect of falling in love, that turns the object of your desire into the predominant thing on your mind and heart? Yes, even more than chocolate and God knows how that is even possible. Little side note: For a fantastic Western Australian chocolate adventure, there is no way around the Margaret River Chocolate Factory. Do try their Rocky Road sweet treat – it will surely melt your heart.
Back to your object of affection: She or he is on your mind all day and all night long, and the sheer thought of them being in your presence makes your heart skip a beat and turns your life into a wild adventure of delicious highs and somber lows. Well, visiting the Fitzgerald River National Park is an adventure akin to feeling these adrenaline-filled yet gorgeously romantic feelings – it is rugged, remote, aka irresistibly unique and adventurous, it’s mind-blowingly and inspiringly beautiful, and it boasts incredible natural beauty.
Being one of the largest and most botanically significant national parks Down Under, this South Western Australian National Park proudly bears the UNESCO title “World Biosphere Reserve”. Over 1500 plant species have been found here so far, such as the Hakea Victoria or the Qualup Bell, which can only be discovered in this location.
There are also a whopping 200 bird species that can be spotted within the confines of the park, including the secretive Western Ground Parrot. Another thing that makes the Fitzriver Gibb National Park so unique is that it´s heavenly beach Point Ann is the perfect spot to watch Southern Right Whales which come to calve closeby during their winter migration.
“First best is falling in love. Second best is being in love. Least best is falling out of love. But any of it is better than never having been in love.” Maya Angelou
I remember vividly how energizing and rejuvenating it was for me to set foot on superb Point Ann beach and some of the other numerous white-sanded beaches, stunning me with the most azure blue waters I had ever seen – everything suddenly felt and seemed light, easy, and joyful. Feeling the fine sand under my toes and the delicious rays of warming sunshine on my skin and deeply inhaling the exquisite salty air swept away anything that kept me from being my purest, most innocent, playful, and joyful self.
We all have that endlessly worthy and endlessly loved and loveable core within ourselves, a core or soul that just waits for us to revel in its timeless delight, a core that receives its nourishment if and when we allow our true selves to shine, and if and when we nourish it with all things uplifting, loving, and kind. The Fitzriver National Park offers countless possibilities to do exactly this.
With landscapes ranging from gorgeous bays and inlands to rugged peaks and headlands or rolling plains, and an array of tantalizing beaches such as Four mile beach, West beach, or Barren’s beach, it was an easy decision to spend a few nights here.
My travel companion and I decided to do as you truly need to do when out an about in the Australian bush, and opted to stay overnight at the Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat, located in the Western part of the National park, close to picturesque Bremer Bay
By the way: If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far on my travels around the globe, it’s that…you are always only a stone throw´s away from an intrepid and wanderlust German! Yes, even in one of the most remote areas of one of the most isolated regions of the planet, “darauf ist Verlass” (you can count on that).
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Andre Gide
So there you go – after we were greeted by the friendly German owners Karin and Carsten, we set up our tent and enjoyed a mesmerizing night under the most clearly visible, star-lit sky I had ever had the privilege to witness.
Another undeniable highlight of our National Park stay was undoubtedly running into a cute kangaroo in the middle of the night… an encounter that certainly sweetened the wee pee-break.
All in all, the Fitzriver Gibb National Park is an absolute secret hidden and wild and lush gem for all intrepid explorers, flower-power-lovers, and all adventure-loving souls keen on venturing out to places where most do not wander. If wild, exotic, and exquisitely secret kinda love is what you are looking for, then Fitzriver is your Sheila or bloke.
Just like great travels, so do great loves mark us in ways that nothing else can. The memories of these blessed experiences are a true treasure chest to draw upon in times of uncertainty. The world within is always just a breath away.
Thank you cara amica for your beautiful writing and stunning photos. Please visit Maria Elena aka A Gypsy at Heart to enjoy more of her adventures.
I can’t wait to rekindle my own love affair and look forward to the day when we can travel again. When borders open and countries begin to open travellers with open arms. When we can explore cultures, enjoy our world and see life and this earth with new eyes and a new appreciation. That day and that freedom will come again.
Stay well, live fully, love deeply and remain centred and at peace in your heart.
Sending love and light.