Whether for missions and volunteer work or just for an adventure, Western Australia is an incredible place! And I have been so blessed by the fact that, in my volunteering and mission work, I find some of the most amazing adventures!
I grew up in a small country town, but have lived in a big city for the last two years! I absolutely love the different adventures that can be found in BOTH the country and the city. They are both beautiful in their own ways and I want to share that with you!
Here is a compilation of some of my favourite outdoorsy places that I’ve been to in Western Aus. This post is for nature lovers and those who dont mind getting some dirt on the tires (and everything else).
So get out your notebooks and schedule your flights, because you’ll want to see these places with your own eyes!
1: Shark Bay
Shark bay is along the coast of WA, about halfway between Perth, where I live, and the Kimberley, where the Aboriginal communities are.
During my Discipleship Training School in 2017, I camped in a tent in this beautiful place for three consecutive weeks, and it is not for the faint of heart! The campsites are on the beach, down a long dirt road (4WD vehicles only!), and there is no running water or facilities. I washed my hair in the ocean and by the end of the three weeks, my skin (and all my belongings) was stained by the red dirt…. and it was amazing.
Crystal blue water, sand that transforms from deep red to white, cliff faces to climb, and some of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen in my life make this place a MUST SEE.
There is also an abundance of wildlife, including wild goats! My team and I hunted and ate one of the wild goats as well as a shovel-nose ray that we caught while spear fishing. We also saw heaps of kangaroos, echidnas, and blue tongue lizards!
One of my favourite moments in Shark Bay was going on a late night hike! My friends and I started on the beach, finding thousands of crabs and other interesting creatures on the sand, and we ended up climbing some of the dark red cliff faces and watching the stars over the ocean!
Another thing I loved about this place is that, down one of the connected dirt roads, there is an outdoor hot tub that is filled by an underground spring!
Pro tips for Shark Bay:
- Bring some eco friendly soap and shampoo if you want to wash up in the ocean. Most camping stores have them.
- Baby wipes. These were life savers for wiping off your feet before getting into a sleeping bag.
- Refillable water jugs can be refilled in a nearby town… and there are rumours that there are public showers somewhere in town as well, but I was never able to see it with my own eyes.
- Don’t use fresh water to do dishes, it takes up your water supply way too fast. We used the sand and the ocean to clean up our dishes… not even soap… that is when you know you are truly roughin it.
- Extra fuel jerry cans– filled with fuel preferably
2: Karijini National Park
This national park is more civilized than Shark Bay… but only by a bit. In the middle of the Australian bush, there is a network of massive, beautiful canyons and gorges, and you can go climb, hike, and swim in them!
Just like in Shark Bay, red dirt is the color theme here too! I camped in this beautiful national park for a week, and everyday was full of new hikes and adventures.
Some of the hikes require that you swim through the cool water in the middle of the canyons in order to keep going! The massive cliffs are great diving boards, and typically the climate in this part of the country is hot with a chance of unrelenting sunshine, so taking a dip mid-hike is pretty refreshing.
There are waterfalls and pools to jump into, and cliffs and trees to climb.
Pro tips for Karijini National Park:
- Bring ear plugs if you want to sleep-in anytime past 5 am. The camping area is full of cockatoos who have no respect for sleeping campers.
- Bring breathable, but solid footwear. I just wore tennis shoes, but some of my friends had Chacos or Tevas and they worked great.
- A water-proof bag makes these hikes alot easier so you dont need to leave behind your shoes and valuables for the next hiker to snatch while you’re swimming through the canyon.
- Water! Hydro Flasks are great water bottles for adventurous lifestyles!
3: Gibb River Road
Gibb river road (or “the Gibb”) is a long stretch of dirt road that cuts through the Kimberley region of Australia. This is truly the outback! Surrounded by Aboriginal history and communities, this road is 4WD access only and has incredible canyons, gorges, and caves to explore.
This road is a bit rough and bumpy, the dirt is so fine that it creates a cloud of dust around everything that moves. We brought a watermelon down this trip and by the time we reached our campsite, it was basically watermelon puree inside from the bumpy road.
Even though its so remote, there are bathrooms and showers at some of the campsites along the Gibb (I stayed at Bells Gorge Wilderness Camp)! Along the road, as well, are amazing scenic stops: I recommend exploring Tunnel Creek, Bells Gorge, and Windjana Gorge. There are many informational signs around these gorges that share interesting history about the area and about Aboriginal culture.
My absolute favourite part of travelling along the Gibb was hiking through Tunnel Creek. This hike was 95% underground! Stalagmites and stalactites surround hikers as they make their way through the cave, with only their flashlights to light the way. Some parts of the hike require you to wade through waist deep-water. (Don’t worry, that picture of me pointing at the crocodiles was taken at Windjana Gorge… you wont be wading through crocodile water in Tunnel Creek.)
As the name suggests, Tunnel Creek is a cave like tunnel through a mountain so you begin your hike on the rocky, red dirt of the outback, and end the hike by emerging into a forest with a creek feeding into the water in the caves.
The Gibb is definitely remote but is quite civilized depending on where you camp. We made the whole road trip with a 4 year old child and he loved it!
Pro Tips for The Gibb:
- Bring a hammock! Its in the bush, there are heaps of trees for you! I actually just slept in a hammock during the whole trip and kept my bags in the car.
- Spare tires are a must.
- If you want to bring your phone for pictures, get a lifeproof case or something similar so the fine dust doesnt get in it and destroy it. Or just unplug and enjoy being phone free, you wont have internet connection anyway.
- GPS/ Satellite phone. I bring one on every trip that I go on, especially into remote place with no service. It is great in case of emergency as well as finding your way through the bush if you get lost.
- Solar panel charger for small devices.
- If you are in a truck, like we were, bring some tarps and rope to cover your supplies in the bed so the dust doesnt cover them.
- You’ll need to really take time to calculate how much fuel you will need. It’s really far off the main road.
Get some dirt on those tires… but bring spares!
Well there you have it. My top favourite spots for roughin’ it in Western Australia! I absolutely love being outside in nature and exploring God’s creation, but I also have so much excitement for all that can be found in the big cities!
Look out for my future post about my favourite spots in Western Australia for the city lovers. I’ll share about how to become a “party magnet” and find amazing free events!