We visited a grand total of 24 National Parks on this tour and covered 7340 kilometres. The fuel cost for the trip came in at $822 AUD – about £450.
There is just so much to love about Western Australia:
- It has a great climate – although best to avoid it in Summer (Nov/Dec/Jan/Feb/Mar).
- It is clean, tidy and well ordered.
- English Breakfast Tea is available everywhere (take note USA!)
- Parking is free everywhere (outside of Perth).
- They drive on the” right” side of the road (i.e. the left).
- The roads are really quiet – even in Perth.
- The serve great coffee – everywhere
- The public toilets are universally spotlessly clean and well maintained
- The water is safe to drink straight from the tap (except in the National Parks, of course).
- The wine is good – and getting better every day.
- You don’t need any horrid jabs to come here.
- The great Aussie sense of humour helps to ensure that no-one ever makes a drama out of a crisis.
- Best of all – everyone I have met here has been friendly and eager to help you. There is a great community spirit. Help? It’s what Australians do.
Also – you really can’t help but love a country where everyone’s favourite TV programme seems to be Escape to the Country.
The questions I asked myself at the beginning of the trip have largely all been answered now:
- What does a coolibah tree (like the one you go waltzing under the shade of with Maltilda) look like?
- King’s Park Gardens in Perth had one and we stood under the shade of it, singing Waltzing Matilda.
- How true are all the stories of poisonous snakes and spiders, lethal jellyfish and crocodiles and sharks that eat you whole =- is it REALLY that scary a place to hang out?
- It’s definitely all out there, but only scary if you let it be. It’s best to adopt a fatalistic approach and laugh it all off.
- How much of a nuisance are the flies – and does ANYONE actually wear a hat with corks hanging all around it to keep them away these days?
- The flies are a real pain and you do need a fly net in places. The only hats with corks all around them you see are in the souvenir shops. I’m not sure they’d work very well anyway?
- What does Vegemite taste like – is it really that bad?!
- I didn’t like it – Marmite is way better.
- How big is a kangaroo in real life – I’m hoping it isn’t true that the first ‘roo you see is usually the one that comes through your windscreen …
- Grey kangaroos are about man sized – but the red ones are quit a bit bigger than that. You really wouldn’t want to hit one in hour car and the warning about not driving around dusk and dawn definitely need to be heeded. You need to keep your speed down too where the yellow signs are placed – especially if you have bull bars on your car. You could easily write a car off running into a ‘roo and we saw a number of wrecks and roadkill ‘roos along the way to prove it.
- Will I actually be able to see a wallaby, a wombat, a koala, a kookaburra, a quokka, an echidna and a duck billed platypus?
- Wallaby, koala, quokka, echidna – all tick, along with many other creatures that I wasn’t even looking for. We saw dugongs, dolphins, sharks, lizards, galahs, a bustard, a kookaburra, green turtles, rays, a myriad of brightly coloured fish in the coral reefs and a thorny devil. This trip really did manage to deliver something new every day.
- Does the water really go the wrong way down the plug hole (it goes anti-clockwise in the UK – I checked this morning …)?
- Yes – it really does (see photo!).
- What is Aboriginal Dreamtime/Dreaming and Songlines all about?
- Dreaming is the aboriginal mythology/folklore. A Songline is the map/direction-finder. Each ancestor who travelled through the country on walkabout scattered a trail of words and musical notes along the line of the footprints as a way of communicating with far flung tribes. Providing you knew the song, you would always be able to find your way home. Walkabouts were always done along Songlines.
- How are the Aborignes treated these days?
- I saw very few – only in Kalgoorlie and Carnarvon (where they wore no shoes). They seem to be on the margins and largely ignored, as far as I can judge. When I come back to Australia, I really want to find out more about their history, so I’m going to go further up North.
- Last – but not least … Do the crows really fly backwards (to keep the dust from their eyes)?
- I’ve no idea about this one. I think not – as Tim says, they may get dust somewhere else they didn’t want if they flew backwards?
Tips for Future Travellers:
Hindsight is always a wonderful thing and if you are reading this in advance of your trip to WA, then let me give you the benefit. We spent 32 days in WA. There was so much to see and do that I would have allowed an extra five days, if possible, with an extra night in each of Carnarvon, Kalgoorlie, Geraldton, Albany, Coral Bay and Monkey Mia and would have given Mandurah a miss. To save time, you could fly back from Exmouth to Perth and visit everywhere on the trip North, but this would incur additional charges with a one way drop off and may limit your luggage allowance too and the road trips did definitely add something to the overall experience I felt – it is part of what this huge country is all about.
Sundays are quiet days in WA – like the UK 50 years ago. It can be hard to find many places open for dinner and shops/tours often close up too – particularly later in the season towards the Summer.
It is definitely an early to bed, early to rise culture . Most restaurants close at 8 – 8.30 and breakfast starts as early as 6 in many places.
If wildflowers are your main interest, you need to come between mid August and the end of September to see the best show, but it may well be busier then and not as warm. If you want up to date information on where to see wildflowers in Western Australia, checkout:
You may want to consider having a GPS navigation device and satellite phone as reception is poor in many places and you can’t rely on a mobile ‘hone for either navigation or an emergency contact device.
What will I Miss?
Seeing something new every day – this was a really great trip for that.
Tim Tams – especially the mint ones.
Most of all though, I will miss the gorgeous light which gives everything such an intensity here. You can really live life in colour in Australia.
Verdict on Flight Centre/Round the World Experts
The arrangements all went to plan and cost no more than they would if we had booked directly, so my verdict on the Flight Centre is that it made great sense to use them. I did have to do my own research to find out which excursions to do though and to construct the itinerary – but that’s all part of the fun for me. I have booked our next trip through them too now. Thanks to Ant Convey for his help in customising the trip for us.
Souvenir I am glad I bought:
My emu sunglasses case – so cool and so useful. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t fit in the cuddly koala.
Great trips are all about good team work and I am very fortunate in my travel partner. He spotted things I would have missed, sorted out the worn out tyres (Hertz did us no favours at all there) and drove us safely through all those kilometres.
We had such a great time, we are definitely going to come back to Australia, but next time, we are going up onto the far North West and down through the forbidding red centre There is altogether quite another adventure to experience up there – a journey beyond for sure. So it’s Goodbye and See ya Later!
Stay tuned for the next trip – Costa Rica – February 2020 …