Western Australia is predominantly made up of the arid Outback, and as such it has several incredible regional and national parks. In the South West, the natural wonders are different from the majority of the state, but just as incredible.
The South West offers something for every nature seeker. Attractive national parks dot the coast, boasting stunning coastlines and dramatic sea cliffs. Breathtaking beaches, captivating caves and more abound in this corner of Australia.
Meelup Regional Park
Meelup Beach is a beautiful white sand beach with gentle waves. The calm waters are popular for swimming, sailing and fishing. The beach also has several barbecues and picnic tables, making it a favorite family destinations. There are also a few easy coastal trails for a bit of bushwalking.
Little Meelup Beach is a smaller white sand beach, but still a great spot for swimming. The beach is by Castle Bay, a popular spot for whale watching. The bay used to be an anchorage spot for whalers.
A whale watching station was built upon Castle Rock, which sits at the southern end of the bay. From the ocean, the rock looks like a castle with turrets and windows. The historic whale lookout still stands on Castle Rock, making it a great vantage point of the coast.
Eagle Bay is a swanky area that is a top luxury escape for the rich and famous. But it is also accessible to the average Joe. There are a number of dining, drinking and shopping options in the town. But the real treasure of Eagle Bay is the bay itself. The white sand beach stretches along the stunning bay’s turquoise water. It is a great spot for swimming and sun bathing.
Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park
The Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park is an expansive park that stretches along the coast of the South West. It has several incredible white sand beaches, interesting caves and iconic coastal trails. The national park is named for the two capes at either end of the park: Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin.
Cape Naturaliste marks the northern end of Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse is a great starting point for a visit to the park. Join a guided tour and climb the 59 steps to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, Cape Naturaliste and Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. The lighthouse is located near the northern end of the Cape to Cape Track.
Nearby Bunker Bay and Shelley Cove are popular spots for fishing, snorkeling and swimming on the northern shores of Cape Naturaliste. Just off Bunker Point surfers can catch a wave on a world class surf break at The Farm.
Sugarloaf Rock is one of the most photographed parts of the coastline in Western Australia. The conical shaped rock formation is a popular location for admiring the power of the ocean, watching the sunset and birdwatching. Sugarloaf Rock is a nature reserve, as it is the most southerly nesting site for the red-tailed tropic bird.
The area near Yallingup has several renowned attractions in the national park. Ngilgi Cave is a cave that was formed beneath the limestone ridge of Cape Naturaliste. It was named after a spirit from Aboriginal legend.
Torpedo Trail is a popular walking trail near Yallingup. The 3 kilometer loop passes through diverse coastal vegetation, traveling inland from Caves Road to Torpedo Rock and along the coast to Yallingup Reef.
Canal Rocks is a granite outcrop with natural canals sculpted by the force of the sea. It is a beautiful spot to admire the power of the ocean as wave after wave crashes against the rocks. A bridge that crosses over the smallest canal is a safe place to view the rocks, but it provides an adrenaline rush as you stand over the ocean and watch the rise and fall of the water cascading over the rocks.
Cape Leeuwin is the most south westerly tip of Australia. The cape is a popular spot for whale watching between May and September. It is where the Indian Ocean and Southern Ocean meet. The cape is home to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia. The lighthouse is located near the southern end of the Cape to Cape Track.
Quarry Bay is located just north of the lighthouse. The bay was named as such because it is where limestone was quarried to build the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. A bit further norther, Skippy Rock provides a good lookout for views of the ocean and the lighthouse.
Jewel Cave is one of the largest show caves in Western Australia. The cave has three chambers and has one of the longest straw stalactites in the world. It’s size is impressive, especially considering it is also one of the youngest caves in the world.
If you’re looking for a bit more cosmopolitan experience in the South West, check out the region’s top urban destinations.
What natural wonder do you find most captivating?