Travel & Touring | WA Things To Do

By: Tatum Stafford

Luckily for local travellers, WA is a big place full of vastly different landscapes, attractions and unique experiences.

While popular destinations like Margaret River or Broome are always a winning choice for a WA getaway, it can be extremely rewarding to scope out some of the state’s lesser-known gems (which often host delightfully quirky attractions).

So if you’re hoping to try something a little different during your next WA holiday, here are 15 other places to consider putting on your local holiday list.

1. Wickham, Pilbara region

Located within the City of Karratha, the historic town of Wickham in the North West region boasts fantastic swimming and fishing spots. A prominent mining town, Wickham was established in 1970 as the location for an iron ore processing plant for the ore being mined at nearby Pannawonica. And though the town is still utilised for mining, today it’s home to a shopping centre, picturesque lookouts and a wide range of other amenities. You’ll find Wickham 33-kilometres from Karratha.

The nearby Point Samson Peninsula is a big drawcard for tourists visiting Wickham’s corner of the Pilbara region. Like Wickham, this thriving coastal village is famous for its pristine beaches and great fishing spots – but is also a must-visit destination for fresh seafood, restored heritage buildings and underwater coral gardens. If you’re visiting Point Samson, bring a picnic and enjoy the views at Honeymoon Cove.

2. Green Head, Coral Coast region

The town of Green Head along the Coral Coast is small but mighty. At three hours’ drive from Perth, it’s packed with pristine beaches offering incredible fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities, and is a great stop-off on road trips along that part of the coastline. The town is perhaps best known for the stunning Dynamite Bay, a sheltered spot with still waters that provide the perfect conditions for snorkelling. When you’re underwater, keep an eye out for hard and soft corals, and a diverse range of fish and other marine wildlife.

Just south of Green Head is Fisherman’s Island, an Australian sea lion breeding colony. Access is restricted during mating season in August, but at other times of the year visitors can hop on a sea lion viewing tour from Green Head or Jurien Bay. Another popular attraction in town is the Three Bays Walkway, a series of walking trails and footpaths that take you past the peaceful Anchorage Bay, Dynamite Bay and a few other secluded beaches. The walkway is signposted with interesting information about the region’s Aboriginal and European history.

If you’re eager to go wildflower hunting in spring, head to the nearby Lesueur National Park to view leschenaultia, orchids, pearl flowers and more than 820 native flowering species. The national park is also a prime spot for bird watching, as it is home to more than 100 species, including the rare Carnaby’s black cockatoo.

RELATED: 6 scenic WA wildflower drives » 

3. Bencubbin, Wheatbelt region

The town of Bencubbin is in the heart of the Wheatbelt region and is known for its wide variety of wildflowers, bird life and wheat production. There are a handful of intriguing attractions to visit around town, including Marshall Rock, which provides 360-degree views of the surrounding countryside. Also worth a visit is the Pergandes Sheep Yard and Homestead, which houses a collection of small rock formations have been likened to Stonehenge. In town, take a walk through the Botanical Gardens, which features a large mural painted by WA artist Philippa Gillett that depicts the agricultural history of the district.

Another interesting stop is the Bencubbin Community Centre and Sandalwood Interpretation Centre. Here you’ll find exhibits about the thriving local sandalwood industry), including equipment used by sandalwood producers and pieces of local sandalwood, some of which can be purchased.

4. Beverley, Wheatbelt region

A peaceful one and a half hours’ drive from Perth, the town of Beverley is home to quirky shops, two country pubs and an incredible variety of architecture. Believed to be named after the market town of Beverley in Yorkshire, this quaint WA town has a population of just over 800 people and was founded in 1838 – making it one of the oldest towns in the state.

A stroll down the main street takes you past a cosy cafe, vibrant art galleries and colourful murals painted by artist James Giddy. If you’d rather something more adventurous, there’s a nearby airfield with plane gliding tours, or a motocross track. Wildflowers are also abundant in the area, particularly at Yenyening Lakes and County Peak.

The annual Beverley Agricultural Show is a popular annual event, featuring a grain trail, sheep dog demonstrations, a cattle show, live entertainment and a fireworks display.

5. Popanyinning, Wheatbelt region

Originally named ‘Popaning’, (which means ‘waterhole’ in local Noongar language), the small Wheatbelt town of Popanyinning is located 17 kilometres from Pingelly, and was founded around 1893 during the construction of the Great Southern Railway. During this time, the town was a hub for supplies where settlers from the surrounding farmlands could stock up.

Today, 'Popo’ has a general store and a population of approximately 150 people – and though it’s predominantly used as a rest stop for passing travellers, the town has upheld the fun-filled tradition of monthly dances that are attended by locals and passers-by alike. If you’re passing through, keep an eye out for the many types of orchids that blossom around the town in late winter.

6. Mumballup, South West region

Located a 20-minute drive from Collie, the town of Mumballup, or ‘Mumby’ as locals like to call it, is home to scenic walk trails (including one that’s part of the renowned Bibbulmun Track), homely accommodation options and a laidback, dog-friendly winery called Mandalay Road. Visitors to Mandalay can bring a picnic basket to enjoy in the lush estate. Drop into the no-frills Mumby Pub - a popular stop-off for those completing longer stretches of the Bibbulmun Track.

The Glen Mervyn Dam, a great spot for waterskiing, swimming and picnicking, is a short drive from town. Camping is permitted on the western shore of the dam, and there are picnic tables and toilets for public use on the eastern side. For a more comfortable stay, book a room at Mumbles Stays, country spa apartments within the Preston Valley, or the Glen Mervyn Lodge, which sits on a 50-acre block of jarrah bushland and sleeps up to 12 people.

7. Barrabup, South West region

Perhaps best known for its stunning natural pool, the township of Barrabup is located a few minutes’ drive north of Nannup. The Barrabup Pool, located within St Johns Conservation Park, is surrounded by tall native trees and is a shady spot for swimming and canoeing. It also has onsite picnic facilities, a shaded barbeque area and the nearby Barrabup Campground if you’d like to spend the night.

The Workmans Pool Campground, just a short drive away, also sits within St Johns Conservation Park and offers picturesque waterside camping next to St John Brook. Sites at both campgrounds can’t be pre-booked, so it’s first come, first served.

Another popular attraction, the Kondil Wildflower Park, is located between Barrabup and Nannup. Within the park you’ll find the 3.3km Wildflower Wander walk trail, which winds through lush jarrah and marri forest, and has an impressive array of orchids in early spring.

8. Deanmill, South West region

Located a few kilometres west of Manjimup within the South West region, the timber town of Deanmill dates back to 1913 when the town’s mill was used to produce sleepers for the Trans-Australia railway. The town was named after Alfred Dean, the mill’s first long-term manager. Today visitors can still see the old mill houses, the towns well-known sawmill and follow a section of the popular heritage trail.

The Manjimup to Deanmill Heritage Trail is 5.5-kilometres long, and was originally an old rail line that has now been converted into a walking and cycling trail. It’s moderately flat and takes you through bush and farmland and is also part of the Munda Biddi Trail. If you’re planning a visit, try to complete the trail during spring when wildflowers are in abundance.

9. Jerramungup, Great Southern region

The small township of Jerramungup sits on the edge of the Fitzgerald River National Park and offers plenty of natural and historical attractions for visitors to enjoy. Hop on the Jerramungup Heritage Trail to get your bearings – you'll pass the local town hall, the Old Powerhouse, the former war service office and the eclectic community op shop, which first opened in 1988.

It won’t take long to reach the edge of the Fitzgerald River National Park, one of the largest national parks in the country. There are plenty of bushwalking trails, fishing spots, wildflowers and viewing platforms for whale-watching dotted throughout the park. To get a good view of the park’s rugged coastline, head for the Hamersley Scenic Drive. It weaves along the coastline and covers a few park highlights including Barrens Beach, Mylies Beach and Cave Point.

10. Borden, Great Southern region

Situated on the edge of the towering Stirling Range National Park, the town of Borden has a population of less than 20 people and provides services for the surrounding wheat and sheep farming community, mainly through the huge grain handling facility. The town was established as a siding on the railway line between Gnowangerup and Ongerup.

One of the quirkiest attractions within the Borden township is the locally-built ‘magpie flight path’. The trail features several magpie sculptures positioned on poles at the town entrance, with each pole recounting a local story about the area’s history.

The neighbouring Stirling Range National Park is renowned for its stunning bushwalking trails – and in particular, its epic peaks. The park's highest peak is the famous Bluff Knoll, which sits 1,098m above sea level with spectacular views from the top. The difficult trail is 6.8-kilometres return and follows a steep path with steps towards the summit. Other prominent peaks are Mount Talyuberup (a moderate, three-kilometre return trail), Mount Hassell (a hard, four-kilometre return trail) and Mount Toolbrunup (a hard, four-kilometre return trail), which provides sweeping 360-degree views of the park.

RELATED: 9 WA day hikes that are worth the climb »

11. Ongerup, Great Southern region

Founded in 1848, the small town of Ongerup has a rich agricultural history. The town is home to only around 100 people, but in true Aussie style hosts a pub and a general store. There’s also a local caravan park. The closest town to Ongerup is Jerramungup; a 40-kilometre drive away.

Ongerup has an interesting attraction for bird enthusists with its Yongergnow Malleefowl Centre; an aviary, sanctuary and information centre devoted to the conservation of the endangered malleefowl. At the centre, you’ll see malleefowl in their natural environment. You can also take a walk on one of surrounding trails, and you might even see newly born malleefowl chicks if you visit during breeding season.

Another attraction within the town is the Ongerup and Needilup District Museum. This folky museum displays local memorabilia, farming equipment that showcase the natural history of the area. It’s renowned for its annual wildflower display; an event the museum has held annually since 1978. Between late September to early October, visitors can view up to 400 species of labelled wildflowers within the grounds of the museum.

12. Broomehill, Great Southern region

Nestled between Katanning and Albany, the town of Broomehill owes its creation to the Great Southern Railway, which was completed in 1889. The town’s main industries were originally wheat and sheep farming, but today, there are charming museums, gardens and bushwalking trails.

One of Broomehill’s key attractions is the Holland Track. This four-wheel drive trail stretches for 600 kilometres from Broomehill to Coolgardie, and was originally established to transport gold from Coolgardie to Albany. Before setting off, download a map, carry enough fuel and water supplies, and plan ahead to ensure local service stations are open when you pass through.

RELATED: Holland Track road trip »

The town is also home to a number of historic buildings that visitors can tour or explore today. Stop by the Broomehill Post Office, the Broomehill Museum, St Elizabeth Church or the Henry Jones Building for a dose of local history and nostalgia. The Henry Jones Building, in particular, is a great starting point. It was once was a general store selling everything from flour to ammunition, but has now been converted into a winery, café, restaurant, bed and breakfast and art gallery.

13. Menzies, Goldfields-Esperance region

The gold mining town of Menzies is perhaps best known for its close proximity to the Lake Ballard Sculptures – the largest outdoor gallery on Earth, displaying 51 sculptures created by artist Antony Gormley. With a population of around 100, the town is located 133 kilometres from Kalgoorlie, and has numerous historic buildings that are a drawcard for tourists travelling through the Golden Outback region.

In its heyday, the town of Menzies boasted an array of thriving hotels, breweries and a 40-bed hospital. Today, you can view and walk around heritage buildings built from local sandstone, including the nursing post and railway station.

If you’re up for a day trip from the Menzies township, the Niagara Dam Nature Reserve is a 40-minute drive away, and is a great spot for picnicking, swimming or even waterside camping. From the dam, travel to Kookynie; one of the most prolific ‘ghost towns’ along the Golden Quest Discovery Trail. The township was once home to 3,500 residents, a public swimming bath, a town hall for Saturday night dances and multiple restaurants, soft drink factories and a brewery. Today, it’s home to 10 people and one hotel where you can grab a drink and spend the night.

RELATED: 10 of the best public artworks in WA »

14. Kambalda, Goldfields-Esperance region

The small mining town of Kambalda was established during a huge mining boom, its first modern settlement located at the base of nearby Red Hill in 1897. The town is 60 kilometres from Kalgoorlie, and is split into two townsites: Kambalda East and Kambalda West.

One of the most popular attractions within Kambalda is the Red Hill Lookout, which is best reached by the easy Red Hill Walking Trail. Once you reach the top of the vantage point, you’ll be treated to a bird’s-eye-view of the 510 square-kilometre salt lake, Lake Lefroy. The lake is one of the world’s best locations for land sailing, and has been the location of many Australian speed record attempts due to its sheer size.

The Kambalda Memorial Garden in the town centre pays tribute to the town’s gold and nickel miners. If you’re a floral enthusiast, stop in at the Kambalda Herbarium to view the Goldfields’ largest collection of regional flora. If you’re staying overnight take your pick from a number of camping areas in local reserves and conservation parks.

15. Cocklebiddy, Goldfields-Esperance region

Commonly used as a stop-off for those crossing the Nullabor Plain, the town of Cocklebiddy is world-renowned for cave-diving, being home to one of the world’s most extensive water-filled cave systems. Cocklebiddy Cave itself is located 12km from the Cocklebiddy Roadhouse but is closed to the public. Entry to other caves in the region is restricted to those with permits.

Another notable attraction in the area is the Eyre Bird Observatory, an hour’s drive from the Cocklebiddy Roadhouse. The observatory offers a range of interactive workshops including a bird photography course and bird-watching techniques. If you’re just keen to visit the observatory, day passes are $10 – just remember to bring food and water with you. The observatory is only accessible by four-wheel drive, though transport into the sanctuary can be arranged if you’re in a two-wheel drive.

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Last updated: October 2021