I'm in the process of returning to Oz in September after doing my first year in 2012.
I'm debating either starting in Perth or Melbourne (Did the Sydney to Cairns route last time)
Was wondering anyone who's done the west coast, what are great attractions, things that I cant miss etc?
thanks in advance
I found Perth itself to be a completely forgettable city. Didn't explore up north much (though the Pinnacles is an absolute must; otherwordly - and I think I've seen people be enthusiastic about Coral Bay?), but really enjoyed the far southwest; Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park is gorgeous; amazing caves. Totally worth exploring in depth. Albany and west of there is pretty cool, too. I met someone there who did the long drive from Melbourne - reportedly an absolutely endless lot of really nothing at all once you get beyond Port Augusta, but all the same, they almost made it sound appealing.
But of course, Melbourne and around is amazing, too. The Great Ocean Road, the Grampians, Melbourne itself, and a recent discovery for me, Port Elliot and the entire Fleurieu Peninsula. Oh, plus Tasmania has absolutely amazing hiking; reminded me thoroughly of the beauty of New Zealand.
[ Edit: Edited on 19-May-2014, at 13:02 by Sander ]
I thought Victoria was a beautiful state; in addition to the places Sander mentioned, Wilson's Prom national park is beautiful and Phillip Island is worth visiting to see the penguins. Tasmania is absolutely beautiful - I spent 2 weeks there and could have spent more. I got a really cheap flight from Melbourne with Jetstar.
I enjoyed Western Australia and again agree with Sander that Perth isn't anything special; worth a couple of days at most. Apart from the Pinnacles (which I did as a day trip from Perth), I only travelled south of Perth, visiting Albany, Port Augusta, Margaret River and Denmark. It's all very pretty but I'd choose Melbourne/Victoria over WA. Other travellers I met raved about Monkey Mia.
Hang on - not everything in Perth is missable! Take a trip out to Rottnest Island, walk around a bit. find a beach to relax on, do a bit of snorkelling but most of all, meet the quokkas.
Also, I really enjoyed the Fremantle prison tour and that's easily accessible from Perth.
I am from Western Australia and believe it is the hidden gem for travellers.
I absolutely agree that going to cities can often be a forgettable experience. But for WA:
Margaret River: Surfing, night life, wineries.
Pemberton: Karri Valley, train tours
Swan Valley (Wine region, Beer region)
Fremantle: Historic - great night life
Rottnest Island: Camp out for a few days - Awesome if you dive
Pinnacles: Yeh they're good but once you see dirt standing up.. they do kinda look the same.
Kalbarri: Nice place... great river for canoeing or hiking
Monkey Mia and Denham: Now here is some great territory. It is like stepping into another world. Catch up and talk some dolphin or maybe a catamaran cruise at sunset.
And wait for it... the jewel of the crown.
Coral Bay: Truly a magnificant place... But don't tell too many people or prices will go up.
Summary: You can easily skip Perth (like any other city really).
But don't right off the treasure of WA until you have done the yards.
Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions on places to see. I shall definitely note these places down....seems like great places been suggested..I didn't know much about the West coast as everyone always "sells" the east.
Great to hear Melbourne/Victoria is good shout to, will have to decide on where I can get a job, then use the other as a road trip.
It only takes a quick browse around Youtube to see what there actually is around Perth and it looks far from being a forgettable city. Some great suggestions above though for where to visit - I'll have to keep myself semi-occupied until I find a job there.