In 2006, my youngest sister and I popped into the pizza shop beside our hostel in Sydney to get a quick take away dinner. A friendly 20-something heard our American accents and quickly struck up a typical traveler’s conversation with us. “What, you’re only here for three weeks?! Man, you gotta make it to WA — it’s the best. THE BEST.”
It took me five years from that meeting in the pizza shop to visit Western Australia. And I agree with John, the friendly traveler who’s been my Facebook friend ever since that chance encounter — WA *is* the best!
After surviving the Nullarbor and camping and showering in Norseman, we headed toward the most southwestern bits of WA. We met many fellow 20 and 30-something travelers in vans, all willing to tell us about their favorite spots and beaches along the coast.
Our first stop was Cape Le Grand National Park. What a beautiful introduction to the WA coast! This is also the national park where we learned that we are “Whizbangers” and experienced our second overnight mouse attack.
Video including the beaches and views above!
Kangaroos on the beach run away as more people gather
If Cape Le Grand wasn’t beautiful enough, we found one beautiful beach after another as we continued driving west.
I loved Ocean Beach and Adam loved Greens Pool
As much as I loved the beaches, I also loved the capital city of Perth. If I knew nothing of Sydney and had experienced Perth first, I would have easily lived there for the live+work portion of my visa.
Quick video of the surf at City Beach
In WA, we continued to camp for free (anywhere from 60-75% of the time). I cannot recommend the Camps Australia Wide book enough if you are road tripping and want to find free or low-cost places to spend the night. I hesitated to buy it at first ($80-ish), but it saved us heaps in the end. And sometimes, when we couldn’t find a listing in the book, we created our own free camping spot. Take, for instance, the evening in Busselton when we parked in the back corner of a parking lot adjacent to a beach. There were no signs prohibiting camping so we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. On the nights we made our own spot, we always woke up early to pack the van and avoid any potential dramas. In Busselton, we were still half asleep when an older gentleman on a bike cycled by, advising us with a smile to pack up ASAP, as the Council would be making their rounds to kick out folks like us. No sooner had we rushed around camp and tossed the last item in Paul Heinz did we see a Council truck swing into the parking lot, both passengers raising their eyebrows at us suspiciously. We smiled politely and waved, hopped into the van, and drove away. Thank you sweet man on the bike!
I’ve written about the Oz road trip — buying Paul Heinz; traveling in Tasmania for two weeks; and exploring Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia — for the last three months. With only one road trip post to go, I’ll finish this series and move to one several people have been waiting for — the stories of what it’s been like to be back in the USA and what in the world I have planned for this next chapter of my life.