Australia is an island, a country and a continent all in one. It is the place to be for those who dream of escape, breathtaking scenery and heavenly beaches. In Australia, what attracts people is mainly the east coast. With Sydney, Byron Bay, Fraser Island, the Whitsunday Islands and the coral reef, it has some convincing arguments. The perfect mix of party and discovery! But far from the Gold Coast and its crowded spots, the Australian West Coast offers a paradise on earth to those who know how to tame it.
After 10 days spent in the humid heat of Malaysia, we are now freshly landed on the west coast of Australia for a 3 weeks trip before flying to the east coast. Australia is very big (on the west coast alone, you could fit 5 times France) and there are a lot of things to do and see. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to do it all, but we were able to get a lot of mileage out of it.
360° Surf: How long did you stay on the West Coast?
Fanny: We stayed 3 weeks in total on the west coast. Time to recover from our overnight flight and enjoy all that Perth and the West Coast had to offer.
What was your route?
Fanny: We started in and around Perth: Scarborough for its beaches, Rottnest Island for its beauty and Fremantle for its offbeat atmosphere. We then hired a car to drive down south for a journey of over 2,500 km. We drove along the Indian Ocean coast passing through Busselton, Dunsborough and Yallingup before spending 2 days in Margaret River. We then headed back to Augusta and its amazing view of the Indian and Southern Oceans. As the sun was not shining (and yes it happens) we drove to Walpole to spend the night in this small village. A very restful night before heading back to Albany for 2 days. On the way we stopped at the Valley of the Giants and Denmark. After 2 days in Albany we headed back to our last stop: Esperance for 3 exceptional days.
What was your favourite place?
Fanny: A complicated question! There are so many beautiful places with a totally different atmosphere that it's hard to choose. I would say that for the party side I loved Margs (Margaret River) and for the relaxing side Rottnest Island. In any case, for ocean lovers and board sports enthusiasts, these two places are top notch.
Laure: Fremantle for its hippie-bohemian side. I discovered this city during a music art festival. The streets have become pedestrianised, animated by a relaxed, friendly and festive atmosphere. All the ingredients for a good time. Otherwise Esperance for its endless beaches. Some of them are classified as "the most beautiful beaches in Australia", I can believe it. Incredible white sand, turquoise water and wild wallabies that let themselves be stroked... And then there are places where you feel alone in the world! A little corner of paradise!
Fanny: My first waves in the Indian Ocean? Even if it wasn't very big, it was really cool not to have to wear a wetsuit in March.
Laure: The atmosphere of the beach. The walks or bike rides, the barbecues at lunchtime and in the evening (10 of them) and the sunsets... worthy of the most beautiful postcards.
Fanny: Driving on the left! Lol
Laure: Bars that close at midnight. Everything starts earlier on the West Coast! Waking up, work, the end of the day and then the aperitif. We start at 5.30 pm with the after work, we have a good time at 9 pm and at midnight everyone goes to bed. And that's hard for Europeans and myself to understand.
What are the 'must-dos' on the West Coast?
Fanny and Laure: our to-do list in Australia:
- See the sunset by 4×4 if possible on the beautiful beaches of Margaret River
- Go for a walk in the Karri Forest in the fresh air
- Prefer surfing at sunrise
- Chiler on Twilight Beach in Esperance
- Petting kangaroos at Lucky Bay in Cape Legrand
- Going to Rottnest Island for the weekend
- Surfing the waves of Rottnest, Margaret River or Yallingup
- Spend the afternoon in Kings Park
Do you have any advice for globetrotters?
Fanny: I haven't been to the east coast yet so I can't compare the two, but if you love nature, wide open spaces, small fishing villages and surfing, the west coast is the place to be.
Laure: Jumping in without thinking! Be curious, talk to people even in broken English! And not to think too big. Transport and distance quickly curb your desires. It's better to do a small region thoroughly than to want to do the whole country in order to say "I've done everything".
If I had to do it again?!
Fanny: I'll do the same thing again, or maybe I'll do it the other way around, starting in Esperance and ending in Margaret River and just sitting on the beach watching the competition?
Laure: With more time, a little tour in the north would have been tempting. But with the time we had, I would have done the same thing: the same cities, the same activities and the same rest time (very important?)
If you dream of postcard landscapes, don't hesitate to head for the West Coast. Next stop... Queensland!
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