Sick of the same old holiday destinations? From little-known micronations to ancient craters and mysterious communities, there are plenty of weird and wonderful sights to see when you visit Western Australia. Pick up a car rental in Perth and explore the best of the west on your own schedule.
The Bungle Bungles
If you venture north towards the Kimberley, a treasure trove of spectacular natural sights awaits you. And just a few kilometres off the Great Northern Highway, you can take a detour to one of the jewels in the region’s crown – the magnificent Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park. These huge beehive-striped, orange and black sandstone domes rise out of the surrounding desert, forming a 350-million-year-old geological wonder that needs to be seen to be believed.
Access to the park is by 4WD only but don’t let that deter you – the best way to see the Bungle Bungles is by air, with helicopter tours taking off highway-side from Warmun.
Principality of Hutt River
This curious anomaly is the oldest micronation in Australia and well worth a stop when travelling WA. Ruled by self-styled monarch, H.R.H. Prince Leonard I of Hutt, the Principality of Hutt River claims to be an independent sovereign state and even has its own flag and official seal. Pop into the capital of Nain to get your passport stamped, pick up some Hutt River Dollars and find out about the history of this intriguing mini country.
Wolfe Creek Crater
Sending a shudder down the spine of any backpacker, Wolfe Creek Crater is thankfully nowhere near as terrifying as the fictional film with which it shares its name. Thought to be around 300,000 years old, the crater is one of the best preserved meteorite crater holes in the world, measuring approximately 875 metres in diameter.
Situated at the mouth of the Hutt River near the quaint fishing town of Port Gregory, Hutt Lagoon is a salt lake with a distinctive pink hue. Separated from the Indian Ocean by a sandbar, the lake measures around 70 square kilometres and changes from pink to red to purple depending on algae concentration and seasonal weather conditions. Hutt Lagoon is situated on the coastal drive 500 kilometres north of Perth and is particularly striking when viewed from above on a scenic flight from Geraldton.
Situated approximately 200 kilometres south of Perth near the city of Bunbury, Gnomesville is a pit stop with a difference. Starting with a solitary gnome left on a roundabout, this is now a thriving community of thousands of gnomes, resulting in a curious fairy-tale village steeped in mystery and not-so-tall tales. Bring your own gnome along to join the locals in one of WA’s more quirky attractions.
If England feels a little far and you prefer dazzling sunshine over grey skies, Esperance Stonehenge is the next best thing to seeing one of the world’s ancient wonders first-hand. As much as there are numerous replica Stonehenges around the world, this life-size replica is one of the most realistic and is built to portray how the famous monument would have looked in its original state.
Tin Horse Highway
Ready to see Australia’s west for yourself? Reserve a car hire at Perth Airport and hit the road as soon as you touch down.