Western Australia is famous for long days of sunshine and diverse landscapes and climates. Cruise down Perth’s Swan River to Fremantle or the Swan Valley vineyards. Or visit wineries fringed by tall forests and crashing surf in the Margaret River. Dive with the huge whale shark on Ningaloo Reef and feed wild bottlenose dolphins at Monkey Mia. Ride a camel down Broome’s Cable Beach at sunset and four wheel drive along the remote, beautiful Dampier Peninusla. Fly over the Bungle Bungle ranges and boat down huge, man-made Lake Argyle in Kununurra. Get gold rush fever in Kalgoorlie or swim from the snow-white beaches of Esperance. Don’t miss Western Australia’s huge spaces and unique natural beauty.
Cruise the Swan River past parks and skyscrapers to 40 vineyards in the Swan Valley or the Perth Zoo. Visit Rottnest Island, where you can explore history, bike ride to secret beaches and kayak to secluded bays. Feast on seafood and soak up the carnival atmosphere in historic Fremantle. Discover the lookouts, landscaped gardens and Aboriginal heritage of huge Kings Park. Swim, surf, fish, windsurf and sail on clean and uncrowded beaches such as Cottlesloe or Scarborough. Then skip between the sunny boardwalks, beaches and marinas of the Sunset Coast
As the focus of the entire area, the wine region is officially known as "The Margaret River Wine Region". Located about 20km inland. High-quality table wine grapes are grown by a variety of commercial vineyards. Grapes perform very well in the Mediterranean climate of the region. The shift in emphasis to the wine industry in the late 1980s-early 1990s sharply reversed the slow decline in the region's economy, and since 1996 the region has been one of the fastest growing economic areas in Australia. Margaret River wines are now exported to most parts of the world. There are about 40 wineries in the Margaret River region now, focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, as well as Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.
The multi-chambered Mammoth Cave lies 21 kilometres south of the town and contains fossils dating back over 35000 years. The cave was first discovered by European settlers in 1850 and has been open to the public since 1904.
The base material for the limestone came from sea shells which were broken-down into lime-rich sand. This sand was then blown inland by natural wind pattens, forming high sand dunes. Rain caused the lime to seep to the bottom of the dunes, where it stuck together and formed limestone. Small plants began growing on top of the dunes, protecting the dunes from being blown away again by the wind. This also helped to create an acidic layer of soil over the top of the dune, which further contributed to the leaching of the lime from the soil. A layer of calcrete formed over the soft limestone under the dunes. Small cracks in this hard layer allowed plants to send down deeper roots, which had the side-effect of allowing water to flow in also, gradually eroding the soft limestone beneath. This was replaced by quartz sand from the dune above. This continued until only columns of limestone that sat protected from the encroaching water remained. These columns were exposed when the vegetation on top of the dune died, allowing the wind to blow away the dune and sand between from between them.
Linking the two major townships of Broome and Kununurra is the sealed Great Northern Highway and the rugged Gibb River Road. Both of these routes offer adventure, however 4WD vehicles are required on unsealed roads.
The Bungle Bungle
Although the range was extensively used by Aboriginal people during the wet season, when plant and animal life was abundant, few Europeans knew of its existence until the mid 1980s. The area has been a national park since 1987 and its unique appearance has captured the public imagination. The park, which is open only between April and September, offers a remote wilderness experience, with limited facilities and no accommodation.
The West Australian mining boom of the 1960s, as well as the growth of the tourism industry, also helped Broome develop and diversify; Broome is one of the fastest growing parts of Australia. At Gantheaume Point and 30 metres out to sea are dinosaur footprints believed to be from the Cretaceous Age approximately 130 million years ago. The tracks can be seen only during very low tide.