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Western Australia

Main attractions

Wave Rock, Western Australia
Wave Rock / Jonathan La Rocca, / CC BY 2.0

This giant Australian state is spectacular and very rich with diverse, unusual landmarks. Highlights of Western Australia are:

  • Biodiversity. Most of Western Australia is dry land, but far lands across this desert in the western part of continent serve as refuges of unique fauna and flora.
  • Geology and cliff formations. History of this land is counted in billions of years. Billions of years... Cliff formations in Western Australia often have no analogues. Some of the most amazing ones are Bungle Bungle Range and Wave Rock.
  • Aboriginal art. In Kimberley and other regions are located countless examples of indigenous rock art, often of high artistic quality. Truly unique is Murujuga site in Burrup peninsula - possibly world's largest art gallery with more than one million drawings.

Natural landmarks

Impact craters

  • Veevers crater - Pilbara. One of the best preserved small impact craters, 70 m wide and 7 m deep. Possible less than 4 thousand years old.
  • Wolfe Creek Crater – east Kimberley region. Visually expressive meteorite impact crater, 875 metres in diameter, up to 60 metres deep. Created some 300,000 years ago.
Nature's Window and Murchison Canyon, Western Australia
Nature's Window and Murchison Canyon / Eric Titcombe, / CC BY 2.0

Natural arches and bridges

  • Albany Natural Bridge - Great Southern. Enormous natural bridge from granite, located at the seaside.
  • Nature's Window in Murchison Canyon - Mid West. Natural arch in gorgeous setting, with a view on the deep Murchison Canyon seen through the arch.

Gorges and canyons

There are multiple gorges in Western Australia, especially in the northern part and it is near impossible to single out the "best" ones.

  • Murchison River Gorge - Mid West. Spectacular river gorge, more than 80 km long and up to 129 m deep. Valulable Ordovician fossils. Endemic species of plants.
  • Perth Canyon - in the sea near Perth. Inundated river canyon, which was similar in size to Grand Canyon in Arizona, United States. Up to 1.5 km deep. Contains the largest plunge pool in the world, which once was created by gargantuan waterfall. It is 2 km long, 6 km wide and 300 m deep.
  • Windjana Gorge - Kimberley region. Spectacular gorge of Lennard River, some 100 m wide, with 30 - 10 m tall walls. Freshwater crocodiles.

Cliffs, escarpments

  • Shell House – Kalbarri National Park. Beautiful and impressive coastal cliffs, Ordovician and Triassic sandstone and shale.
  • Zuytdorp Cliffs - Shark Bay. Some 150 km long seaside cliffs, up to 250 m high. Rugged, spectacular area.
Bungle Bungles, Western Australia
Bungle Bungles / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Other cliff formations

  • Balancing rock of Castle Rock - Great Southern. Enormous, some 186 tonnes heavy stone on the mountaintop, resting on its narrow end.
  • Bungle Bungle Range – Purnululu National Park. Incomparable landscape created by highly unusual rock formations. Landscape is marked by up to 250 metres high sandstone pillars and beehive structures of contrasting light orange and dark colors. Deep gorges, labyrinths. Important site for investigation of sandstone carst processes.
  • The Pinnacles - Wheatbelt. Desert, filled with amazing limestone formations - pinnacles.
  • Walga Rock - Mid West. One of largest monoliths in Australia, approximately 1.8 km long. Contains Walga Rock Art.
  • Wave Rock – Shire of Kondinin. Highly unusual cliff formation which resembles enormous petrified wave. Several more such formations in vicinity.

Caves

  • Abracurrie Cave - Nullarbor Plain. Possibly the largest single cave chamber in the souther hemisphere. Contains Aboriginal stencils - deepest native cave art in Australia.
  • Coclebiddy Cave - Nullarbor Plain. 6.5 km long underwater cave.
  • Old Homestead Cave - Nullarbor Plain. 28 km long cave system.
  • Tunnel Creek - Kimberley region. Approximately 750 m long cave - tunnel with a stream running through it. Very old cave system, approximately 20 million years old. Amazing speleothems, aboriginal drawings. Freshwater crocodiles have been seen in the cave.
Mitchell Falls, Western Australia
Mitchell Falls / NeilsPhotography, / CC BY 2.0

Waterfalls

  • King George Falls - Kimberley region. Spectacular, more than 80 m tall falls. Especially impressive after heavy rain.
  • Kings Cascade - Kimberley region. Some 50 m tall waterfall with many steps, falling into gorge of Prince regent River.
  • Mitchell Falls - Kimberley region. Spectacular fall, with 4 steps. Total height - some 60 - 80 m.
  • Solea Falls - Kimberley region. Spectacular, approximately 12 m tall falls on Drysdale River.

Sea tide falls

  • Horizontal Falls - Kimberley region. Sea currents through two narrow chasms (12 and 20 m), caused by tides. Tides here are 10 m high thus several times during the day here is seen impressive sight.
  • Wetspot Charters of Montgomery Reef - Kimberley region. Hundreds of waterfalls form arounf this corall reef when tide is low and huge amount of water flows out of the lagoon. Falls can be up to 4 m tall.
Stromatolites in Hamelin Pool, Shark Bay, Western Australia
Stromatolites in Shark Bay, Hamelin Pool / Mark Ireland, / CC BY 2.0

Ecosystems

  • Barrow Island Caves - Barrow Island. Group of partly inundated caves with unique cave fauna. Here live endemic species of fish (Milyeringa veritas), unusual shizomid Draculoides bramstokeri and possibly the only cave dwelling reptile - small, thin snake Ramphotyphlops longissimus.
  • Hamelin Pool and L’haridon Bight – Shark Bay. Hypersaline shallows with unique biotope – active growth of stromatolites – oldest known form of life on Earth. Also other unique forms of life.
  • Lake Clifton thrombolites - Yalgorup National Park. Colony of thrombolites in shallow areas of the lake. These colonies of microbial mats resemble round, white stones.
  • Lake Thetis - Wheatbelt. Lake with living marine stromatolites, which here have near unique columnar branching.
  • Ludlow Tuart Forest - South West. Largest remaining tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala) forest in the world, consisting of giant trees of this rare species. Largest trees are up to 33 m tall, with 10 m circumference.
  • Mont Lesueur - Wheatbelt and Mid West. Flat topped hills - mesas, rising above the surrounding plains. Area contains very high number of endemic and very rare species of plants.
  • Tree heath south of Freycinet Estuary – Shark Bay. Unique biotope with at least 51 endemic species.
  • Wooramel Seagrass Bank – Shark Bay. Largest seagrass growth in the world, covers 1,030 square kilometres.
The Boab Prison Tree, Western Australia
The Boab Prison Tree, Derby. Girth 14.64 m / , Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Trees

  • Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree - South West. Giant karri tree (Eucalyptus diversicolor) with a lookout platform at 75 m height.
  • Giant Tingle Tree ("Hollow trunk") - South West. Stoutest red tingle (Eucalyptus jacksonii), girth 22.3 m, 30 m high.
  • Gloucester Tree - South West. 72 m tall karri tree (Eucalyptus diversicolor), second tallest fire lookout in the world, where visitors can climb up to 61 m high outlook cabin. Girth - 7.8 m.
  • The Boab Prison Tree, Derby - Kimberley region, Derby. Unusual boab (Adansonia gregorii), circumference 14.64 m, height just 9.5 m. Used to lock up indigenous Australians in the 1860s on their way to sentencing.
  • The Boab Prison Tree, Windham - Kimberley region, Windham. Enormous boab (Adansonia gregorii), which has been used as a prison.

Rare natural materials, gemstones

  • Eranondoo Hill in Jack Hills - Mid West. Location where is found the oldest existing material of terrestrial origin - some 4.4 billion years old crystals of zircon. Analysis of these crystals shows that there was water on Earth in those times.
  • Mooka Station - Gascoyne. Find of mookaite - colourful jasper in warm red, yellow and brown colors.
  • Mount Weld (Central Lanthanide Deposit) - Goldfields-Esperance. Unique find of rare earth oxides, one of largest in the world. Formed in carbonatites, here are found also rich ores of Nb, Ta, Zr, Ti.
Lake Hillier, Western Australia
Lake Hillier / Sam Abell, / ©

Other natural landmarks

  • Field of Pink Lakes - Goldfields - Esperance. Large group (hundreds) of small lakes with pink water. Each lake is in a different shade of pink.
  • Lake Hillier - Recherche Archipelago. Highly unusual lake in flamboyant rose color. Cause of color is not entirely clear, could be explained by the presence of microorganisms.
  • Strelley Pool - Pilbara. Here have been found some of the oldest evidence of life on Earth - 3.4 billion years old fossils of sulphur-processing bacteria.

Man made landmarks

Wandjina paintings in Mitchell Plateau, Western Australia
The mysterious Wandjina paintings in Mitchell Plateau / Claire Taylor, / CC BY-SA 2.0

Sites of rock art, archaeology

  • Depuch Island rock art - Pilbara. Rocks and boulders on this small island are covered with rock art by Ngaluma people to whom it is important site of legends.
  • Devil's Lair - South West. Cave - grottoe with a 6.6 m thick layer of sediments. Archaeological research in the cave has provided valuable knowledge about the past of Australia. Human occupation in the cave started around 48,000 years ago.
  • Kalumburu Gwion Gwion – northern tip of Western Australia. Excellent samples of Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) style – sophisticated silhouettes of humans and other beings, often mythical ones. At least 17,000 years old.
  • Mulka's Cave – Shire of Kondinin. Cave - grottoe under giant granite monolith. Contains Aboriginal art from around 1000 BC.
  • Murujuga cliff art and Murujuga stone arrangements – Burrup peninsula in Pilbara. Over one million diverse petroglyphs, often showing also extinct animals such as the Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus). Largest collection of cliff art in Australia. Huge number of standing stones, including tall menhirs, circular stone settings.
  • Walga Rock art – south-west from Cue. Cave with extensive cliff art galleries, including a drawing of an European sailing ship (contact art), most likely from the late 19th century. Such contact art is met in several locations of Australia.
  • Wary Bay rock art - Kimberley, Bigge Island. Indigenous rock art with first contact art and Wandjina figures.
  • Wonalirri Wandjina paintings (Wanalirri) – Mid west. Rock shelter with very interesting Wandjina paintings of high artistic value.
Perth Town Hall, Western Australia
Perth Town Hall / JJ Harrison, / CC BY-SA 3.0

Architecture

  • Old Mill - Perth. Historical windmill, built in 1835.
  • Old Perth Boys School - Perth. Example of colonial architecture, constructed in Neo-Gothic style in 1852.
  • Perth Town Hall - Perth. Magnificent building in Victorian Free Gothic style, built in 1867 - 1870. Much of it was built by convicts.
  • Round House - Fremantle. Oldest existing building in western Australia, constructed in 1830 - 1831. Built as a prison.
  • Swan Bells - Perth. Unusual monument - 82.5 m tall tower of unusual architecture, with 18 bells.
  • Tranby House - suburb of Perth. Farmers cottage, one of oldest buildings in the Western Australia. Constructed in 1839. Preserved authentic interiors and furniture.

List of described attractions

ArrowGiant Tingle Tree ("Hollow trunk")Trees
ArrowVeevers craterImpact crater
ArrowWolfe Creek craterImpact crater

Map of Western Australia

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