Deccan Chronicle

Australia, the perfect summer getaway

Deccan Chronicle.| D. Sampath

Published on: May 20, 2023 | Updated on: May 20, 2023
Pinnacles are a unique natural phenomenon consisting of thousands of limestone pillars rising out of the desert floor. (Image: DC)

Pinnacles are a unique natural phenomenon consisting of thousands of limestone pillars rising out of the desert floor. (Image: DC)

Perth: A trip to the Land Down Under was exciting a full of surprises, starting with its indigenous residents like the kangaroos to enchantingly beautiful landscapes with diverse flora and fauna, especially on the coasts. Western Australia, in particular, is home to several captivating entertaining sites — the Rottenest Island, Pinnacle Desert, King’s Park, Dolphin Discovery Centre, Ngilgi Cave, Busselton Jetty, Whistlers Chocolate company, Optus Stadium — all proving to attract visitors and providing excitement.

Coupled with the pleasant weather from April to September, Western Australia is the perfect destination for a family vacation from the hot and humid Indian peninsula. The Ord River, Swan River and Avon River, among others, give the country a picturesque view.  

Western Australia also has a diverse population and provides a wide range of cuisines, with Italian, Indian and Thai proving to be popular and thus, catering to everyone’s palate. The vineyards which are majorly located in the regions of the Margaret River and the Swan Valley regions produce rich and high-quality spirits. The farmers’ market in Bunbury allows the local farmers to sell their produce at a good price and allows consumers access to fresh and quality goods.  

Visits to tourist spots, undertaken by Tourism Western Australia, are a hands-on experience and provided an opportunity to discover the beauty and significance of these places. Chris and Christina Ing, business partners and tour hosts of Great Western Coach and Tours, effectively took care of our transportation; the husband-and-wife duo was handy in providing visitors with local insights.

Sand Dunes

The tour begins with a 128-km drive from Perth to the Sand Dunes in Lancelin. The Lancelin Sand Dunes are a series of massive white dunes that stretch for over two kilometres along the coastline and are a popular spot for activities such as sandboarding, four-wheel driving, and hiking, considered one of Western Australia's top natural attractions.  

The dunes which were formed around 4,000 years ago not only give a picturesque view but also can be experienced by visitors, who all sprang to run on the dunes. The beauty of the natural scenery and the view of the sea from the top of the dunes is mesmerizing. The middle-aged and old try to find their way to the bottom of the high-raised dunes while the youngsters run towards the peaks for a slide down on their sandboards. Heavy winds make people struggle to reach the top of the dunes and one must ensure to take care by using protective gear to avoid the sand getting into one’s eyes and ears.  

While a lot of people trail the dunes, other enthusiasts try to explore the land, on their own or on hired motor vehicles. Nambung’s National Park, located about 79 kilometres from the Lancelin Sand Dunes, consists of a variety of vegetation, most of which have medicinal properties. Due to its remote location, the Nambung National Park has a wide array of wildlife, including kangaroos.  

Pinnacle Desert

Pinnacles are a unique natural phenomenon consisting of thousands of limestone pillars rising out of the desert floor. The pinnacle desert, a distinctive and fascinating natural wonder, is located within Nambung National Park, and is about a two-hour drive north of Perth, the capital city of Western Australia. The Pinnacles were formed millions of years ago when the area was covered by an ancient sea. Over time, the sea receded and the limestone formations were left behind. The pillars vary in size and shape, with some reaching up to several metres in height, making the experience a visual treat. The area is also home to a variety of wildlife, including kangaroos, emus, and reptiles. Most of the tours in the Pinnacle Desert incorporate the wonderous experience of stargazing and also dinner, which provide visitors with wine tasting of fresh and local produces. The Pinnacles can be seen and explored either on foot or by car.  

There is a four-km scenic drive that takes visitors through the heart of the Pinnacles, as well as several walking trails that provide closer views of the formations. This scenic experience is like none other, as, during the sunrise and sunset, the light accentuates the shapes and the shadows of the pillars and also appears to change the colour of the sand, making it a very popular photography spot. Overall, the Pinnacles are a fascinating natural phenomenon that is worth a visit if one is in Western Australia.  

Dolphin Discovery Centre

The Dolphin Discovery Centre is located in Bunbury, approximately two hours south of Perth. The range of activities here is mainly focused on the local bottlenose dolphins that inhabit the nearby waters. One of the main attractions at the Dolphin Discovery Centre is the Dolphin Eco Cruise, in which there is a guided tour where visitors are taken to the sea to observe dolphins in their natural habitat. This cruise is fun but also informative as it gives an opportunity to not only observe the dolphins graciously swimming and playing in the water, but also allows one to learn about the behaviour and biology of the dolphins.  

The centre has another entertaining activity, wherein visitors can interact with dolphins at the centre’s Interaction Zone, which has trained staff members to facilitate close-up encounters between people and friendly marine mammals.  

Visitors can also indulge in fun water-based activities like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and snorkelling. Apart from dolphins, the centre’s aquarium features a range of local marine life like sharks, fish, octopuses and rays, about which one can learn more through their interactive exhibits. The centre also offers a range of educational programmes and exhibits that teach visitors about marine conservation and the importance of protecting marine ecosystems.

Busselton Jetty

Busselton Jetty is located in Busselton, approximately 220 kilometres south of Perth. The jetty is one of the longest wooden jetties in the world, stretching almost two kilometres. A stroll along the jetty offers stunning and captivating views of the bay and the surrounding coastline.  

Along the way of the jetty, one can notice something interesting —that there are several interpretive displays to provide information about the jetty’s history and the local marine life. On reaching the end of the jetty, visitors can descend into the Underwater Observatory, which is a unique underwater chamber to observe marine life, such as the fish and corals that reside in the jetty’s pylons and the surrounding waters.  

The jetty is also a popular spot for fishing, where one can hire fishing gear from the jetty kiosk and try their luck at catching fishes from a wide range of fish species including salmon, herring, and whiting.  

Caversham Park

Caversham Wildlife Park is located in the suburbs of Whiteman. This wildlife park features over 200 species of Australian animals, including kangaroos, koalas, wombats, and many more. Visitors can also interact with, take pictures and feed the kangaroos as they are friendly and do not shy away from the people, something which is not possible with the same animals in the wild.  

Although the kangaroos are friendly, the joeys are quite shy and hide in their mother’s pouch when approached by visitors. Visitors here are provided with a snacky item to feed the kangaroos.  

In addition to the wildlife, the park also has a range of other attractions, predominantly a farm show, where visitors can learn about farm life in Australia. Here, trained dogs are used to bring the flock of sheep from their enclosures 200 metres away from the show venue, where sheep shearing is performed live by a skilled person with specially designed equipment to remove the entire fleece in one piece. Another interesting part of the show is that visitors are allowed to milk the cows and children can feed the lambs with feeding bottles, which brought much cheer and joy to the children and elders.  

Ngilgi cave

Ngilgi Cave is a huge limestone cave located in the Margaret River region. This underground cave is named after a legendary creature of the local aboriginal people known as the Ngilgi, who was believed to reside in the cave and could control water.  

There are a range of tours that take visitors through various chambers and passageways of the cave. The passageways are quite narrow and one should be mindful of where they step. The cave has impressive limestone formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, and helictites. Aside from viewing the magnificent features of the cave, visitors can also discover more knowledge about the caves as the tours provide information on the geological and cultural history of the cave and the surrounding region.

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