Take a Mini Break in Western Australia
Go west for your next mini break experience - all the way to Western Australia. Though this region is vast, it can be tackled in smaller sections, too. Pack your sunhat, cossie and sense of adventure and spend a couple of days at one of these glittering destinations.
Jurien Bay is the largest town along the Central West Coast, located around two hours' north of Perth on the coast Indian Ocean Drive. It's a popular holiday destination for anyone who loves boating and fishing, with the modern inland marina providing mooring and concrete launching ramps for many different types of boats.
Jurien Bay's beach is long, sheltered and its turquoise waters are as perfect for swimming as they are for water skiing. Sit back on the sandy shore and let your kids play on the playground, located right on the beach. The bay's marine park provides excellent snorkelling opportunities, or you could take a charter to get familiar with the region's sea lions.
Drive for 15 minutes north east of Jurien Bay to Lesueur National Park, where you'll find more than 900 species of flora, including some endangered varieties that aren't found anywhere else in the world.. If you're lucky enough to arrive during wildflower season, you'll see glorious blooms covering most of the park. Head to the top of Mount Lesueur for panoramic views across the park and out to Green Head.
Along with the flowers, you'll also find over 100 species of birds in the park, including the rare Carnaby's Black cockatoo.
Exmouth is stunningly beautiful, situated on the tip of Western Australia's North West Cape. It's famous for being one of the only places in Australia that boasts a 'range to reef' experience, home to both the Cape Range National Park and World-Heritage listed Ningaloo Marine Park. The former is abundant in deep gorges, with trail walks taking you to some of Western Australia's best viewing points. If you head to the top of the range near sunset, you'll see the sun go down over the beaches that surround the North West Cape.
As for the Ningaloo Marine Park, the sheer size of this area (it extends 260 kilometres along the Cape's west coast) is perfectly matched by its reef. It's accessible from the shore, and is home to ancient and vibrant coral, dugongs, turtles, manta rays and even dolphins. Swim through the waters during the migration season and you may be able to share this special part of the world with whalesharks.
A visit to Exmouth may provide the perfect chance to get a handle on your health. Head to Ningaloo Health for an Ayurvedic massage, traditional Hawaiian Kuhuna Bodywork massage, or deep tissue sports massage. You may also want to stop for a bite to eat at the Health Cafe, where you can indulge in local Exmouth prawns, organic coffee and probiotic ice cream. Finish the experience by popping into the Health Shop where you can stock up on natural, organic healthcare products including vitamins, minerals, therapeutic teas and homeopathic remedies.
Kalbarri is another picturesque wonderland in Western Australia, blessed with coastal and marine landscapes that locals and tourists have been enjoying for decades.
Located on the Coral Coast, the Kalbarri region has so much natural beauty just waiting to be explored. Head 60 kilometres south to the Pink Lakes, which is a mind-boggling plain of bright pink water.
Don't miss the Kalbarri Golf Club, which has world-class facilities open seven days a week. The course features seven water hazards to spice your game up, spread over 5747 metres of grass. It's par 72 and offers exquisite views across the Indian Ocean thanks to its elevated location.
Green fees are inexpensive and visitors are welcome to enjoy all this stunning course has to offer.
If you're bringing the kids along on your mini break, take them to Kalbarri Family Entertainment Centre. The locals refer to it as The Pirate Park or The Treasure Trove, and it's designed to provide families with a fun, safe entertainment.
Challenge your brood to an 18 hole round of mini putt putt, professionally designed by Masterstroke and tricky enough for the serious golfer to get stuck on a few holes. The course's pirate theme is bound to entice your little ones. There are also six cushioned trampolines at the Centre, set into the grass to provide additional safety. Alternatively, try your hand at The Spider, an 11 metre high tower with overlapping elastic bands that make it feel like you're climbing up through a spider's web. The tower is netted in to make sure it's safe.
Dunsborough is located in the Margaret River region, on the Geographe Bay. It was once the site of a whaling station and a few beach shacks, but is now a popular holiday destination with a relaxed, contemporary vibe.
Snorkel, swim or play watersports at Meelup, Eagle Bay or Blunker Bay beaches, or walk the Cape to Cape Track, starting from Cape Naturaliste. Here you'll find a working lighthouse open to visitors, so it's well worth checking out.
Well-known for its trendy food scene, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to Dunsborough eateries. Check out The Pour House, which offers more than 100 local and international craft beers, along with a well-composed wine list and a mouthwatering food menu. Bite into Moroccan spiced ribs or mini beef sliders as you pour back a beer, followed up by a pizza comprising double smoked ham, gruyere, green olives and artichoke. There's also a very tempting chocolate stout brownie on offer for those who just can't get enough of the brown brew.
There are also a series of awe-inspiring caves to be explored, including Jewel, Lake and Mammoth caves. You can buy a family pass to explore all three of these in-depth.