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Big adventures for small budgets – action-packed Western Australia tours

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Been dreaming of your epic Australian adventure, but think it might break the bank? Think again. With flights to Perth ranking as one of the best value long-distance routes in the world, getting to Western Australia is often a bargain.

More importantly, Western Australia collects all your wishlist items in one region. Bliss out on white sand beaches? Check. Out-of-this-world rock formations and landscapes? Also check. Hanging with locals? You’ll meet whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, kangaroos in Esperance, quokkas on Rottnest Island. Surf, turf and wine? Margaret River has you covered.

Put short, there are enough extraordinary experiences to fill a whole year of travel. But even if your holidays are limited, you don’t have to miss out. The best way to get the most out of each day (and each Australian dollar) is to join a tour. That way, you’ll see hidden gems you would have otherwise missed, and have fellow adventurers to share you experiences with. Plus, you can let the driver watch the road while you keep your eyes glued to the scenery.

We’ve listed some of our favourite Western Australia tours here, which cover everything from short excursions to epic journeys:

The day trip – Perth to Rottnest Island (1 day)

A cheery quokka on Rottnest Island - Western Australia tours
Quokka on Rottnest Island, Perth. Image Copyright: Tourism Western Australia

You don’t have to go far from Perth to experience extraordinary adventures. Case in point – Rottnest Island, home of the social media superstar quokka (a.k.a. “the happiest animal in the world”) is only 30 minutes from Fremantle or 90 minutes from the heart of Perth.

But that’s only part of the picture. Rottnest Island is a wildlife paradise, whose clear turqoise waters are home to around 135 species of tropical fish. Just 10 minutes from town, you’ll find The Basin, a real underwater playground.

The best bit of booking a tour is that your bicycle and snorkelling gear will be waiting for you when you arrive. That way, you can dive right in. Or cycle around around the island to expore its 63 beaches and 20 bays.

The highlights:

  • Take a selfie with cheery quokkas – which are only found in Western Australia
  • Explore tropical fish and coral underwater in The Basin
  • Cycle to – and swim at – Little Parakeet Bay

The essentials – Perth to Albany (3 days)

Greens Pool next to Indean Ocean, Denmark
Greens Pool, Denmark. Image Copyright: Tourism Western Australia

Got a few days to spend on a Western Australia tour from Perth? This one’s like a tasting menu of what the region has to offer. Quite literally, as you’ll be visiting wine heartland Margaret River for wine tastings and tasty morsels.

Of course, first you’ll need to build up an appetite. That’s what the two-hour long, canoe ride on Margaret River is for. Also, a great opportunity for getting to know your tour mates. You can keep up the conversation over a glass of local wine or beer during lunch.

The main course, on the following day, is an excursion down into Ngilgi Cave. There, a local guide can show you how to make a didgeridoo sing, start a fire the old-fashioned way, and introduce you to Aboriginal culture – one of the world’s oldest living cultures. Then, it’s time to climb up the metal rungs to the top the 50m Diamond Tree in William Bay National Park (don’t worry, you can also admire it from the ground floor too).

The sweet finale is getting to swim in Greens Pool in the Denmark Region. Circled by sturdy rocks, it’s like an infinity pool inside the sea – and a must see if you’re planning an Instagram-worthy trip in Western Australia.

The highlights

  • Take a canoe ride – followed by fine food and finer wines – in Margaret River
  • Dive into Wadandi culture and Aboriginal history in the depths of Ngilgi Cave
  • Climb the Diamond Tree to see Western Australia’s eucalypts from above
  • Swim in a (very Instagram-worthy) pool within the ocean at Greens Pool

The coastal exploration – Perth to Exmouth (7 days)

Underwater view of bottlenose dolphin, Monkey Mia
A bottlenose dolphin at Monkey Mia. Image Copyright: Tourism Western Australia

This Western Australia tour shows you all the awe-inspiring forms nature can take along the coast. It also lets you tick off plenty of bucket list items off in one go. Starting from Perth, you’ll head out north toward the Pinnacles. Walking across the moon-like surface of the desert, you’ll feel like an astronaut in comfier clothes. Meanwhile at the Lancelin Sand Dunes, an hour’s drive from The Pinnacles, you can try out sandboarding.

From there, it’s on to Kalbarri National Park, where you can get a taste of the Australian Outback. Don’t forget to take a naturally framed photo of the canyons at Nature’s Window.

For the next phase, you’ll be leaving rocks and deserts behind and heading into the ocean to meet the locals. First there’s the wild dolphins of Monkey Mia. Then you’ll get a whole day to explore Ningaloo Reef, snorkel to your heart’s content, and meet turtles, whale sharks and more. You can even swim with a manta ray.

Finally, you’ll step into the vast world of Cape Range National Park with its imposing limestone canyons, and perfect curves of beach where you can step off the sand and immediately float over pristine reef.

The highlights:

  • Ponder upon the fascinating rock formations of the Pinnacles
  • See how good you are at sandboarding
  • Marvel at the layered cliffs of Murchison Gorge in Kalbarri Park
  • Meet wild dolphins at Monkey Mia
  • Explore Australia’s “other” big reef, Ningaloo Reef, where you can swim with whale sharks, manta rays, turtles and dugongs
  • See red canyons and golden beaches at Cape Range National Park

The south by southwest camp-athon – Perth to Adelaide* (9 days)

Cape Le Grand National Park, near Esperance
Cape Le Grand National Park, near Esperance. Image Copyright: Tourism Western Australia

Want to get away from it all and closer to nature? This camping tour through the south of Western Australia, including the most remote reaches of the Nullarbor, is for travellers looking for a proper outback experience. Those who cherish having the bare essentials – a place to sleep, tasty food and a clear view of the southern skies. And perhaps, some like-minded adventurers.

Passing through the Darling Range, you’ll get to Wave Rock, the jaw-dropping granite formation that looks like an ocean turned to stone. By afternoon, you’ll be in Fitzgerald River National Park, a goody-bag of biological beauty and home to thousands of plants, rare marsupials, green hills, bays and inlets. Oh, and it’s where you’ll be staying overnight.

You can also start looking forward to relaxing on Australia’s whitest sand at Lucky Bay, with your tour companions and beach-loving kangaroos. As you’ll be staying the night, you’ll have plenty of time to swim, chill or bushwalk. Then, it’s time for an epic drive across the stunning limestone landscapes of Nullarbor to leave you in awe, before you get to swim with dolphins and sea lions at Baird Bay.

One of the final campsites is near Australia’s seafood capital, Port Lincoln, and also dotted with Manna gum trees that are home to koalas.

The highlights

  • Sleep under the stars in a swag at Fitzgerald National Park
  • Climb up a quartzite peak at East Mt Barron
  • Sunbathe with kangaroos at Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park
  • Drive across the vast, awe-inspiring limestone flatlands of Nullarbor
  • Swim with adorable bottlenose dolphins and sea lions at Baird Bay
  • See koalas hanging out in Manna gum trees
  • Pretend to “surf” a 50 foot granite wave at Wave Rock, Hyden

*The tour ends in Adelaide – which means you can either book your return to Perth, or keep exploring onward.

Map

The wilder west tour – Perth to Karijini (11 days)

a natural spa in Karijini National Park - The Great South West road trip
Karijini National Park. Image Copyright: Tourism Western Australia

A warning: things are going to get rocky on this camping tour – literally. And it begins with watching the unique formations and sands of the Pinnacles turn to crimson as the sun goes down. Well, if you don’t count the brief encounter with koalas at Yanchep National Park beforehand.

On the way up to the Kalbarri National Park, you’ll have a chance to see the very peculiar sight of trees growing horizontally out of the ground. The oddity oddysey continues when you reach the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. There, you’ll get to see the stromatolites – believed to be some of the first oxygen-producing organisms ever – and a beach made entirely of shells.

The next two days are about marine adventures in Coral Bay and Ningaloo Reef. You’ll have the chance to see dolphins, manta rays, and more in action.

But at the heart of this Western Australia tour is Karijini National Park. It’s here that you’ll journey to the centre of the earth on energetic hikes, be dazzled by the views in Dales Gorge, and swim in the famous, cliff-circled Kermits Pool in Hancock Gorge. As you’ll quickly discover, it’s a naturally formed adventure playground.

The highlights:

  • Say hey to the koalas at Yanchep National Park
  • Experience a glorious sunset on the moon-like landscape of The Pinnacles
  • See stranger things – and some of the oldest living beings on earth – in Hamelin Pool
  • Get close to all the beautiful beings under the sea at Coral Bay and Ningaloo Reef
  • Swim in a pool surrounded by steep, red rock cliffs at Kermits Pool, Karijini National Park
  • Gorge on the beautiful mix of waterfalls, cliffs and pools at Dales Gorge in Karijini National Park

Camping Western Australia, bottom to top – Perth to Darwin* (20 days)

View of the Bungle Bungles, located in the heritage listed Purnululu National Park
View of the Bungle Bungle Range, Purnululu National Park. Image Copyright: Tourism Western Australia

Spanning three weeks, this all-out Western Australia tour is a wilderness experience (plenty of spots on the tour won’t have phone reception) that involves loads of hiking, climbing and swimming. It’s jam-packed too; on the first few days alone cover The Pinnacles, Kalbarri National Park and its famous attractions like the Z-bend. The next few are water-themed, including a visit to the wild dolphins of Monkey Mia, diving in whale shark territory in Exmouth, and relaxing at the appropriately named Turqoise Bay.

Next up are the canyons, waterfalls and stunning rock pools of Karijini National Park. After a brief seaside pause in Broome, the journey ventures into true wilderness, into the Kimberley. A must-see here is Windjana Gorge, whose vertical cliffs sometimes look like they were cut by a knife. The region is also steeped in history. You can see this for yourself in Tunnel Creek, a massive undeground network, and its Aboriginal rock paintings.

Purnululu (a.k.a. the Bungle Bungle Range) is one of the last big highlights on the tour. Everything here is a geological wonder, but particularly the domes. Some say they look like beehives, but it could be argued they look like ornate temple roofs. Guess you’ll just have to see for yourself…

The highlights:

  • Cover Western Australia highlights like The Pinnacles, Kalbarri, Karijini
  • Swim and admire waterfalls at Bell Gorge and Manning Gorge
  • Traverse the stark landscapes of Windjana Gorge
  • Immerse yourself in Aboriginal history in Tunnel Creek
  • See some saltwater crocodiles
  • Marvel at the unusual formations at the Bungle Bungle Range
  • Wave to wallabies on the shores of Lake Argyle
  • Get to bond with equally adventurous travellers

*The tour ends in Darwin – which means you can either book your return to Perth, or keep exploring onward.

Want to explore more Western Australia tours?

In addition to these itineraries, you can find the Western Australia tours that best fit your budget, holiday duration and interests here by getting in touch with the team at Real Aussie Adventures here. They can even tailor private tours in Western Australia if you are looking for something extra special or you are travelling in a group of your own

Looking for more inspiration? You can also further explore Western Australia by checking out these articles: