Getting Oriented

Glance at a map of Australia and you’ll see that the state of Western Australia (aka WA) encompasses one-third of the country. It’s a massive slab, all 1 million square miles of it, so it may take longer than you expect to reach your destination. But efforts are rewarded with fewer tourists and unadulterated nature.

The state’s glamour girl is undoubtedly the Margaret River wine region, as rich in native forests and rugged beaches as it is vineyards. The once sleepy capital city of Perth is now a vibrant eating and drinking scene. Fremantle and Rottnest Island are mere day trips away. Journeying up the sparsely populated but beautiful northern coast is made easier with air travel—only tackle the roads if you have ample time.

  • Perth. A population boom has led to a significant urban revitalization in Western Australia’s capital, with the inner-city’s beating heart now matching the wow-factor of its Caribbean-style coastline.
  • Fremantle. The port town has charm in spades, both for its curving, colonial streets and the quirky vibe of its residents.
  • Rottnest Island. The ultimate escape, with no cars—bikes are the dominant mode of transport—no pretension, and no cares in the world. The promise of 63 beaches just 19 km (12 miles) from Perth has people flocking.
  • The South West Wine Region. Towering native trees, epic surf, delightful winery-restaurants, and vineyards comb the coastal countryside. It's no wonder this area is regarded as one of the world's great wine regions.

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