As I already told you, Australians don't bother with the complicated things. After having cut the East in 3 states and one territory, they cut the center in two, and finally left the west as a whole state. So on this big chunk of the continent, I concentrated my travels between the south coast and the north coast.
My vision of the Green South Western Australia is reduced to the triangle formed by Perth, Esperance and Margaret River. As the title suggests, the paddocks are actually green, and not a dry yellow like in South Australia.
Esperance is not a city you pass by or go to by chance. You must really want to go there to see it. There are regular buses from Perth, but not daily, and the plane via Skywest is quite expensive. And as far as I know, it's as far East in WA as you can go if you don't have a car.
Also, if you don't have a car, you can't go to Cape Legrand NP, as it is some 50 kms away from the city, and if the pictures don't lie and the coast is as beautiful as it was near Esperance, it's really worth it, you should really do it. I didn't, because renting a car wasn't on the budget, and I am not fit enough to try to go there by bike. So I just did what was available by foot.
The Pink Lake is about 12 kms from the YHA, and you have to have a clear day to really see it pink, and even then, it depends on the alga's mood at the time whether you will see it at its "pinkest". I didn't.
|you can see the reflection is colored, but it's not as pink as it could be...|
After that, I walked back in the city, and followed one the "10 000 steps" walks that Esperance suggests to its inhabitants to stay fit and be active, which led me to West Beach.
|one of the many perfect beaches in WA|
I didn't stay much in Albany, because the weather wasn't very nice at that time, but compared to Esperance, it is a bit livelier, and the city is proud of its "First Settlement" origins. Also, there is a bit more to see, as the city is caught between the coast and the mountains. Fun fact, from Albany on, I mostly met backpackers at the end of their first WHV, waiting on their second one, as if Western Australia was left for the end of the trip.
The road from Albany to Margaret River (via Bunburry) was beautiful. Once again, Highway 1 didn't disappoint, and you drive along impressive Karri forests. And once in Margaret River, well, you quickly realize there is so much to do here! Surfing (of course), skate boarding, horse riding, rock climbing, abseiling, caving, trekking... And for WHV holders, it is also well organized for work in vineyards.
I personally chose a full day tour with rock climbing and abseiling around the Tourist Drive 250 and the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park. First we went climbing on the Wilyabrup cliffs, right in the middle of the Cape to Cape trail, with a beautiful coastal landscape.
We then had lunch at Cowaramup Bay, in Gracetown, a good spot for surfing - and spotting dolphins very close to the shore!
In the afternoon, we went abseiling in one of the 290 caves in the Leeuwin Naturaliste NP, a cave called Bride Cave only accessible via abseiling, and it was gorgeous, like an untouched patch of Earth full of history... Even though the Fossil Cave in Naracoorte was more glamourous, this experience is one of the best I had of the Green South.
Fremantle is a pretty suburban harbor south of Perth, accessible via TransPerth train (11$ return) or via the river ferry (much more expensive, but apparently worthwhile). The city is charming, but should not take more than a day trip from Perth. The real attraction (to me, anyway) was the Little Creatures brewery, which offers visits of the brewery (at 1, 2 and 3 PM), and a good Beer and Food experience at the edge of the harbor.
I must say that I didn't enjoy Perth as much as I should have.
On my first stop there, I went to an orchestra performed by the Western Australia Orchestra, which was quite good.
On my second stop, one of the friends I made earlier took me to the Hillarys and woodvale, with a great atmosphere.
On my third stop, I decided to try an indoor climbing structure called Hangout in Bayswater, a nice and quiet neighborhood.
Just like Melbourne, I think Perth is a city you really discover when you actually live in it. I only saw a bit of it, but I found it very promising.
Next is: The Red North