WA’s epic scale means just one thing: more ways to explore. From Perth’s produce-led food scene to the state’s wide open spaces and immersive First Nations cultural experiences, here’s how to get the most out of your stay, based on how long your getaway is.

If you have two days: Perth (Boorloo)

The capital brims with lively neighbourhoods, photogenic beaches and a café culture to rival Melbourne. Base yourself at Wonil Hotel Perth, a breezy new build with 66 elegant terracotta and timber-clad rooms at the southern end of Kings Park, less than 15 minutes’ drive from the CBD.

Gibney restaurant at Cottesloe Beach

To get your bearings, book an experience with Matagarup Zip+Climb, where you’ll scale the curves of Matagarup Bridge to see the Swan River and beyond from a 72-metre-high glass platform. For a thrill, make the descent via a 400-metre zipline back to earth.

After a swim at the city’s most famous beach, Cottesloe, enjoy lunch at Gibney, a fine-dining waterside brasserie where sharply dressed waitstaff toss Caesar salad tableside. Nab a spot on the Terrace Lounge to make the most of views out to Rottnest Island.

For afternoon drinks, head to Northbridge, where “beer yard” Ruinbar serves brews bolstered by slices from nearby Pretty Good Pizza. Or check out Edward & Ida’s, a pub that’s fancy enough to offer Denmark pét nat and Swan Valley chenin.

Come dinnertime, wander the river’s edge at Elizabeth Quay to Lantern on the Quay, where the menu plays to the state’s seafood strengths: local scallops pan-fried with XO and crab baked with ginger and scallion.

If you have a long weekend: Ningaloo Coast

Cape Range National Park on the Ningaloo Coast, Western Australia

Midway between Perth and Broome, the Ningaloo (Nyinggulu) Coast is home to the world’s largest fringing coral reef, where whale sharks and humpbacks regularly romp. Access to this natural playground – just over an hour by car from Exmouth’s Learmonth Airport – is as easy as stepping from sand into water and performing a few leisurely strokes.

Go back to the very beginning and see midden remains from some 65,000 years ago on Baiyungu Dreaming’s Coral Bay Tagalong Tour, the only First Nations-led tour in the area. Guide and Baiyungu woman Hazel Walgar will take you to a sea turtle nursery, demonstrate how to find clean drinking water amid the dunes and share Dreaming stories in a yarning circle.

Stays in the area range from the family-friendly three-bedroom villas at Exmouth Escape Resort, to Sal Salis, where luxurious safari tents dot the white sands of Cape Range National Park. But if you can’t get enough of the Ningaloo blue, sleep on it. Sail Ningaloo’s Shore Thing is a 51-foot live-aboard catamaran that accommodates up to 10 guests and offers an itinerary that explores uncrowded corners of the reef.

If you have a week: Great Southern

Salmon Holes in Torndirrup National Park, near Albany

This region in the far south of the state spans 250 kilometres of rugged coastline bordering the Great Southern Ocean. Thanks to the cool, wet winters down here – a five-hour drive or a short flight from Perth to Albany – the grass really is greener. Other colourful highlights include white-sand beaches, turquoise waters and rainbow sprays of wildflowers.

The Great Southern is also the largest and most isolated wine region on earth. Your visit should include a stop at Alkoomi, a newly refurbished cellar door in Frankland River that’s known for its shiraz and riesling. Order a mezze board or book the four-hour A Place We Chose private tasting that finishes with a picnic among the grass trees. 

Upland Farm

Denmark, on the banks of its namesake river, is alive with working artists’ studios and, in the hills beyond town, cellar doors such as The Lake House and Rockcliffe. For exploring, it’s less than two hours’ drive from the historic townships of Katanning and Albany, a former whaling village that was the site of WA’s first European settlement. To stay centrally, book one of Upland Farm’s two new one-bedroom cabins set on 43 hectares that are home to a small herd of Hereford and Angus cattle.

Don’t fancy driving? The six-hour Great Southern Helicopter Winery Experience with Scenic Helicopters launches from Albany Town Jetty and includes touchdowns for tastings before a long lunch with matching wines.

If you have a little longer: The Kimberley

The Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park, Western Australia

At the top of WA, The Kimberley’s almost 423,000 square kilometres possess some of nature’s most incredible creations, from the tidal phenomenon of Horizontal Falls to the striking Bungle Bungle range. If you have time, this is the terrain to tackle.

In Broome, the region’s western gateway, balmy nights call for fiery food, drinks and dancing – precisely the prescription at Papá Fuego, which serves Argentine-style flame-grilled proteins. For a uniquely local take on beer, First Nations co-owned Spinifex Brewery pours mid-strength craft brews infused with native botanicals, such as Geraldton wax, at Cable Beach.

Wakaj Experience danvers near Broome

Immerse yourself in Karajarri culture by taking part in the Wakaj Experience, a traditional gathering with storytelling, bush foods, song and dance with Mabu Buru Broome Aboriginal Tours.

Then it’s time for adventure. See the outback with a stay at Mount Hart Wilderness Lodge, a former cattle station east of Derby (about 220 kilometres from Broome) that offers deluxe safari tents and family options in the main homestead.

For unrivalled access to the Kimberley coast, consider a small-ship cruise. Ponant’s new Le Jacqes-Cartier offers 11-day expeditions in and around the King George River. Although food onboard has a French flair thanks to restaurant concepts by Alain Ducasse, the scenery outside your window is all WA.

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SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why WA Should Be on Your Radar

Image credits: Paris Hawken/Upland Farm.

Image credits: Paris Hawken, Jillian McHugh, Jarrad Seng

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