Thinking about a trip to Western Australia but not quite sure what to see and do? The answer, as it turns out, is ‘plenty and varied’!
With Australia exclusively ours for the time being, a small group of Travel Associates advisors recently took a trip to WA to sample some of the state’s hotels, tours, wineries and other activities. As the country’s most experienced travel advisors, keeping current with what’s on offer is a must for the Travel Associates team, so here’s our pick of the Best of the West.
When arriving in Perth, we thoroughly recommend familiarising yourself with the city with a two hour city tour with Two Feet & a Heartbeat Tours, a Perth-based experiential tourism business. This easy and enjoyable tour takes you through the streets and alleyways of the city to the most stunning buildings, cultural attractions and hidden gems. Hearing about Perth’s history from incredibly knowledgeable guides, and the famous speakeasy bars and scenes was another highlight and a great way to make a note of the places you want to come back to explore on your own. Just as the name suggests, this walking tour is done at a very easy pace and is appropriate for all ages and fitness levels.
Where to Stay
Doubletree by Hilton, Perth
One of Perth’s newest hotels, Doubletree by Hilton boasts an enviable position overlooking the Swan River. While not located right ‘in’ the city’s centre, it’s a mere 5-10 minute walk from the hotel and well worth it, according to our advisors who loved the huge picture window in the restaurant for its magnificent views, and food! The rooms themselves are also spacious and stylish.
COMO The Treasury
Possibly our very favourite Perth hotel, Como The Treasury has to be seen to be appreciated in all its glory. This multi-award-winning hotel boasts numerous quality dining options for guests to enjoy with fantastic service to match the food and is located in the heart of the city yet manages to to feel serene and spacious at all times. The large rooms and suites showcase modern luxury at it’s best and with only 48 in total, this boutique hotel offers absolute luxury with a high level of appointment and attention to detail, while still retaining the important heritage of the old Treasury building.
The Adnate Perth Art Series
This chic city hotel is right in the heart of Perth and exudes the kind of hip vibe you’d expect from an artistic crowd. Located close to an absolute abundance of restaurants, cafes and bars, the Adnate is the kind of cool, urban sanctuary that you’ll long to return to after a day of wandering the city. Aside from the obvious appeal of the art adorning the walls, according to some of our advisors, it also boasts the best beds in the city!
The Ritz-Carlton Perth
If there’s one word that sums up the new Ritz-Carlton in Perth, it’s sophisticated. With spacious rooms and suites and stunning views to Elizabeth Quay and the City Skyline, this hotel appeals equally to the young and young at heart with it’s excellent restaurants and bars. Dramatic and grand, this hotel’s design reflects the state’s natural beauty and we loved the use of WA’s signature Jarrah timber in the suites.
Perth’s famous Margaret River wine region is on everyone’s list when travelling west. Not only are some of the country’s finest wines produced there but Margaret River also boasts spectacular scenery, surf beaches, incredible produce, fantastic walks, verdant national parks and a very laid back vibe. It’s also home to migrating whales at certain times of the year.
Getting to Margaret River has also never been more enjoyable, thanks to the excellent McLeods Tours. Our No #1 pick for Margaret River region tours, the McLeod family has a century-long history in the region and their passion for the area makes the trip from Perth informative and quick! Our chariot for the journey was a comfortable mini-bus which made our detour to the Busselton Jetty and a spectacular lunch at Shelter Brewing Co. a breeze. The beautiful coastal Busselton is famous for the longest timber jetty in the southern hemisphere, spanning 1.8km and accessible via a miniature train which conveniently takes you to the end of the jetty and the Underwater Observatory beneath it, which is a great way to see the local fish and coral.
Where to stay in Margaret River
Pullman Bunker Bay Resort & Spa
We loved the large, well-equipped villas at the Pullman Bunker Bay Resort and Spa. The beds are very comfortable, the bathrooms are enormous and the kitchenette facilities are incredibly handy, especially when travelling with a family. Where the Pullman Bunker Bay really shines however is the location - the incredible beach is a very short walk over the sand dunes. The service was also great and The Spa is an added treat if you’ve got some spare time on your hands.
Smiths Beach Resort
This spectacular 5-star property in Yallingup has a relaxed beachside feel, with its contemporary 1,2,3 and 4 bedroom villas. Architecturally-designed and award-winning, this resort has been designed for minimal impact on the environment. The blissfully quiet ambiance really makes you feel a million miles away and dinner, at nearby Lamonts, is another bonus of this gorgeous property.
We loved the space and tranquility of this classic, boutique Luxury Lodge of Australia, located in Yallingup. Without a doubt, The Residence is the most sought after place to stay here. This 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, free standing house sits on its own private 3 acres of land and includes a golf hole and its own lake. Also highly noteworthy are the stunning gardens and the fantastic location of Cape Lodge for guests wanting a classic lodge-style stay.
Cape to Cape Walk into Luxury
In our opinion, Walk into Luxury’s Cape to Cape Walk is a must-do. With incredible views and fantastic guides, we loved our 2-hour taste of traversing this rugged terrain. We enjoyed a beautiful champagne celebration and nibbles at the end of our walk.
The signature walk combines 4 days of guided walking on the best sections of the Cape to Cape Track with luxury accommodation and exclusive Margaret River food and wine experiences. One of the Great Walks of Australia, this is a small group experience with only 12 guests. Staying in luxury private pool villa accommodation overlooking the National Park and Indian Ocean, there’s also an award-winning on-site spa. Topped off with Margaret River winery lunches with matched wines, private chef dinners showcasing local produce, and complimentary in-villa bars stocked with Margaret River wine and cheese. Return transfers from Perth are included.
VASSE FELIX Long Lunch
Another highlight had to be the wine tasting and long lunch at Vasse Felix. Established in 1967 by regional pioneer Dr Tom Cullity, Vasse Felix is Margaret River’s founding wine estate. Not only is the winery itself absolutely stunning, our three-course lunch was arguably the best food we experienced while travelling around the south west and that’s no mean feat! The facilities also feature a tasting room, wine lounge, art gallery and wine museum.
Olio Bello Olive Oil
Located on a spectacular 320 acre, certified organic Olive Farm in Cowaramup, minutes from the pristine beaches of Gracetown, Olio Bello is one of the most awarded producers of organic extra virgin olive oil in Australia. Complete with brand new Glamping Tents (with personal hammocks) situated right on the river, Olio Bello Olive Oil Farm is a great alternative to a wine tasting, offering a myriad of olive varieties, relishes and other gourmet beauty and wellness delights from it’s boutique tasting room and gourmet farm shop.
Another fantastic local business is Gabriel Chocolates. Importing the finest raw cacao beans from around the world, this Yallingup factory creates chocolates with a range of flavours, from a range of geographical locations which highlight the diversity of the world. So, if chocolate is your achilles heel then Gabriel Chocolate is a must do in Margaret River.
Matagarup Bridge Zip and Climb
At the top of Perth’s Matagarup Bridge is a 400 metre zip-line across the Swan River, which travels at up to 75km/h! With the help of the fantastic staff at the Matagarup Bridge Zip and Climb, you are literally required to climb, shimmy, slide and squeeze through tight spaces to reach the SkyView – an open-air viewing platform 72 metres above the river. A great fun experience for adventure seekers!
Sitting just offshore from Perth, Rottnest Island is best known for its population of quokkas, a small native marsupial found in very few other places. The island is also home to colonies of Australian sea lions and southern fur seals, however it is the beautiful island atmosphere, white-sand beaches and secluded coves which make Rottnest Island the perfect spot for a short break. From camping, glamping to 5 star luxury, there are accommodation options for all budgets. You can also take your own personal bike or hire an electric bike.
Where to stay
Discovery Rottnest Island
As the first low impact glamping experience on Rottnest Island, Discovery Rottnest Island is all about enrichment, connection and minimal impact. With 83 eco-tents, the resort appeals to experience-seekers who appreciate being close to nature, but with all the creature comforts of a hotel or resort. The premium tents feature spacious ensuites, pillow-topped beds and outdoor entertaining areas– the perfect place to daydream and soak up the pristine sanctuary of Rottnest Island. Central to the property is Pinky’s Beach Club. The best place on the Island to watch the sunset, the Beach Club serves locally inspired dishes and cocktails.
Samphire Rottnest is a stunning new beachfront property that’s all about maximising it’s spectacular views. Without doubt, the most premium accommodation option on Rottnest Island, this resort encourages you to go barefoot and really feel the sand between your toes and discover the unique native beauty of the island.
Our advice when planning your trip to WA - Stay longer than you think you’ll need. There’s so much to see and do in Perth and the Margaret River Region and we’ll definitely be going back there soon!