It's finally arrived. The sun is shining, people are flocking to the beaches and the days feel longer, brighter and that much better. Let's face it - summer living in Western Australia has some serious perks. And we're lucky to have a ridiculously amazing coastline and little pockets of untouched wilderness to explore once the warmer weather settles in.
For Aussies, and those visiting Western Australia, the season comes with multiple summer activities to enjoy and holiday spots just begging to be discovered. Whether you're escaping the cooler climate or you just want to feel the sand under your toes without fighting the crowds, WA has a slice of paradise for everyone to enjoy. No spot is created equal either. Some are family-friendly, others are low on action and big on relaxation, or find a place where you can party into the night, immerse yourself in nature or indulge in way too much food. Craving a summer getaway? Here are a few ideas to get your season started:
1. The Pilbara
Western Australians will travel all over the globe in search of vibrant landscapes and experiences. But both are available – to these worldwide standards – in our own backyard. The Pilbara is the ultimate region for caravanning, camping, walking trails and swimming in secluded waterholes. Starting from Exmouth and trekking along the coast past Port Hedland in WA's North West, there's a whopping 400,000 sq km of coastal plains, mountain ranges, ancient landscapes, gorges and adventure activities to explore.
The Pilbara has enough incredible sights to last a lifetime. Some of them so stunning, you probably had no idea were in WA. Top attractions to do include snorkelling Ningaloo Reef, swimming in the freshwater pools at Fortescue Falls and bushwalking or kayaking along Yardie Creek. Hire a 4WD for some self-drive exploration or book a guided Pilbara tour to get the best of the best. This one is a must to add to the bucket list, with an opportunity to swim with the Whale Sharks and Humpback Whales too, pure bliss! You can also camp by the Hamersley Gorges or take in all the prettiness at the Mackerel Islands.
The southern coast of WA is home to some of the world's best beaches. You can road trip along the coast from Perth to Esperance, stopping off at wineries, contrasted coastlines, historical attractions and beautiful landscapes. Once you hit Esperance (about a 7.5-hour drive from Perth, but well worth it), there are multiple summer attractions to sink your feet into.
The Pink Lake gets its very fitting name from its strawberry milkshake-flavoured colour. A bubbly, foaming, salt-rich lake! Its vibrant tint comes from the bacterial (Dunaliella salina) build-up in the salt granules, occasionally turning a shade of purple too, depending on the weather. The lake can be found on Middle Island, a 10-minute drive from Esperance's city centre, where you can also explore Lake Hillier by boat, another pinkly-tinted spot. Whilst you're in the area, head to Woody Island too. You can set up in an elevated safari hut, trek the native bushlands or experience a range of water activities.
3. Honeymoon Pool, Worlsey | Black Diamond Lake, Collie
Nestled along the banks of Collie River in Worsley (45-minute drive from Bunbury) lies a little pool of paradise goodness. Honeymoon Pool's water edge is surrounded by lush bushlands, making it truly spectacular and secluded swimming experience. You can camp out at the nearby grounds and spend a few days of swimming, relaxing, kayaking and bushwalking.
20 minutes inland of Honeymoon Pool (2 hours from Perth) is another waterhole wonder to explore. Black Diamond Lake, on a perfect day, radiates a magnificent blue colour, making it feel like you're floating in blue lagoon somewhere more exotic than your 'backyard'. The former coal mine is the ultimate location to soak up the natural surroundings of jarrah forests and ultra-pretty landscapes. Whilst you can't camp there, it's well worth it for a day trip. For camping opportunities and more nature-based attractions, head to Potters Gorge nearby.
You don't need to journey too far out of Perth to get a taste of WA's beauty. The natural extravaganzas of Perth's hills have a lot to offer for scenic drives, bush walks and picnic spots. This time of year brings more than sunshine too. Wildflowers are bursting with colour and variety, making an attractive backdrop of more than 12,000 species to soak up. Whilst you can experience the wildflower season in multiple places, Araluen Botanic Park is arguably one of the prettiest.
5. Perth's Ice Bar Experience
Summer in Western Australia is fantastic, but there's always going to be days when the humidity and heat get the better of us. If you need an escape from the 40 degree days, don't miss Perth's pop-up ice bar experience. For five days in January (yes, you better get in quick), the city's temperature will drop to minus five degrees in our very own ice bar. If you've been missing some of the coolest ice bars overseas, this summer is your chance to get a small dose of it locally. Ice bars and novelty ice sculptures will make the experience a chilly one, with cocktails served in hollowed-out ice cubes.