|The Great Mid West (Perth to Monkey Mia)|
Western Australia’s Mid-West region is a beautiful and ecologically diverse region stretching north as far as Shark Bay. Cliffs and ancient gorges, clear blue seas and abundant wildlife are among the natural features and the spring blooming is regarded as the finest explosion of wildflower colour in the world.
From Perth travel north on the Great Northern Highway through the wine-growing region of the Swan Valley then continue on the Brand Highway towards the town of Cervantes. Take in the amazing sites of the Pinnacles - natural sand formations in the heart of Nambung National Park.
Continue north past Geraldton (stop here on the way back) to the popular seaside town of Kalbarri and the famous Murchison River Gorges. Just south of Kalbarri on Red Bluff Road, is Rainbow Jungle, a rainforest bird park. Inside its stone walls you will find several species of endangered parrot. There’s fantastic fishing on offer at the famous Blue Holes, Chinaman’s Rock, Red Bluff, Frustration Rock, Oyster Reef and Waikarri Beach.
Then travel to Shark Bay for the ultimate Monkey Mia experience. Monkey Mia was a sleepy little town until the early 1960s when a small group of 5 adult female and 2 young male dolphins came to meet swimmers in the shallow waters near the shore and allowed themselves to be touched and hand-fed. Now Monkey Mia attracts tourists and marine biologists from all over the world to interact with the dolphins. A dolphin information centre has been opened and feeding is controlled to prevent the dolphins becoming dependent.
Another must see in the region is Eagle Bluff, where a substantial population of dugong lives. They can be seen in summer when they come close to the shore to feed on the seagrass. Shark Bay has the reputation of being home to the world’s largest population of these harmless marine mammals.
Heading south towards Perth, Geraldton is a great place to break the trip, enriched in seaside culture and a thriving fishing industry. Spend the day exploring the Batavia Coastline named after an early Dutch shipwreck, visit the Maritime Museum, sample the Western Australian crayfish fresh off the trawler or try your hand at windsurfing. But don’t miss the St Francis Xavier Cathedral; it is widely regarded as the architectural masterpiece of priest-architect Monsignor John Hawes and the most original and unusual cathedral in Australia. Built in the early 1900s it is an eclectic Byzantine-style building.
From here continue through the historic National trust town of Greenough and arrive in Perth late afternoon.
Where to Stay
Time required: 5 - 6 days recommended.