Nothing helps to blow away the cobwebs and energise the soul quite like being aboard a boat, breathing in fresh, salty air and indulging in marine activities.
With over 20,000 kilometres of golden coastline (if you include islands), Western Australia is the perfect place to find your sea legs.
Let’s set sail to 5 of the state’s most beautiful boating spots.
Seven hours drive from Perth on the south coast lie the must-see islands of Esperance, a drawcard for boaters the world over.
The magnificent Recherche Archipelago – known locally as the ‘Bay of Isles’ – is made up of 105 islands, many of them untouched, and all of them breathtaking.
Visit Middle Island (once home to Australian pirate, Black Jack Anderson) to face the granite crest of Flinders Peak, marvel at the neon pink waters of Lake Hillier, and explore the flora and fauna-filled Goose Island.
Or head to Salisbury Island, home to great white sharks, Australian Sea Lions, and the state’s largest long-nosed fur seal colony.
Good to Know: Woody Island is the only island that can accommodate overnight visitors. Head there to hike, swim, snorkel and camp – or stay in a safari hut.
North West of the Kimberley town of Derby, more than 1,000 islands rise from the turquoise ocean, waiting to be explored by modern-day adventurers following in the wake of a 17th-century pirate.
The breath-taking scenery of this rugged, untouched paradise rewards those ready for a longer boating trip, with hidden gems like aboriginal rock art sites.
Anchor next to Turtle Reef in Talbot Bay and hike up to view the stunning and unique natural phenomenon of Horizontal Falls.
Relax on the pristine sand of Silica beach or grab your binoculars to spy the many different species that inhabit the islands, including crocodiles, snakes, exotic birds, and a variety of tropical fish.
Good to know: Buccaneer Archipelago tides are the highest in Australia, with some areas experiencing an 11-metre swell, so take care!
Famously home to the ‘world’s friendliest animal’, the ever-smiling quokka, Rottnest Island is a destination on many a bucket list, and really is a boater’s dream. Here, 63 secluded beaches and 20 beautiful bays invite you to surf, swim, dive, fish, hike and relax.
Visit The Basin to snorkel with sea life (over 450 species of fish call Rottnest home) and head to Fish Hook Bay to spot nesting osprey.
Rottnest is also ideal for bushwalks, and abundant in both indigenous and military history, and features cafes, bars and even an indulgent day spa.
Good to Know: Rottnest Visitors must pre-pay an entry fee and boaters must pre-register with The Rottnest Island Authority. An A-Class reserve, Rottnest has rules for visiting, so do your homework.
Ningaloo Marine Park
Perched at the northern tip of the Coral Coast is an opportunity to explore the unique diversity of Ningaloo Reef – Australia’s largest, most accessible fringing reef.
Launch from Tantabiddi towards the calm, crystal-clear waters of a World Heritage listed marine park – home to 260 kilometres of colourful coral gardens and vibrant sea-life.
Plunge in to snorkel or scuba and you’ll encounter manta rays, dolphins, dugongs, turtles and whales, as well as 500 different species of tropical fish who call the reef home.
Plan your trip between April and July for the chance to swim with majestic whale sharks – gentle giants of the ocean that can grow up to 18 metres long!
Good to know: Don’t get caught out by the weather. Cyclone season runs November to April, with WA’s north west coast experiencing more severe cyclones than any other Australian coastline.
The Abrolhos Islands
If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting the famed Galapagos, the Abrolhos Islands, just 60 kilometres west of Geraldton, are for you.
Considered the jewel of the Indian Ocean, this collection of 122 islands stretches 100 kilometres and boasts more biodiversity than almost anywhere else in Australia.
On top of famous diving, snorkelling, and windsurfing opportunities in the company of sea lions, dolphins and whales, the Abrolhos Islands offers unique experiences, too.
Dive down to the coral gardens, where almost 200 varieties of coral and fish thrive in unusual conditions seen nowhere else.
Or explore the dark history of the “Graveyard of Ships”, where at least 20 shipwrecks, including the fated Dutch vessel Batavia, have been discovered. Legend has it there are others waiting to be found!
Good to Know: This area is popular with anglers, but fishing restrictions, including daily bag limits and minimum legal sizes apply.
With so much to explore by sea, it’s unsurprising that ‘the wildflower state’ has more boat owners than anywhere else in Australia – meaning you’re guaranteed to make new friends while experiencing freedom like never before.
Beyond these 5 must-see places lie thousands more, so grab your crew and weigh anchor!
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