Welcome to WA! I had this idea to share the wonderful land that be my homeland: Western Australia. Despite many a man saying that Perth has nothing to offer – today I shall PROVE to you that we are, in fact, the best damn place on the planet. I’m going to do this via a fancy map, tantalising tales of my adventures, and name-dropping books set in my state. FETCH THY TEA AND LET’S GO.
Sorry, You Live Where . . . ?
Western Australia is the . . . Western half of the Australian continent and Perth is its capital city. We’re a pretty quiet state and like to keep all the good things to ourselves. Sure, Sydney is shiny and cool but they’ve got nothing on our half of the country. We just don’t tell them about it.
For the most part we’re quite friendly people, so that’s a bonus. The best part about WA is everything outside of the city. That, and the fact that we have two deserts with the best names: the Great Sandy Desert and the Little Sandy Desert. Originality is our jam.
Perth is quiet, reasonably safe, and expensive. So if you were planning on living here practice your I’m-not-shocked face for when you go to buy a coffee. It hurts, it really does.
What’s Where and Where’s What?
Being a relatively GIGANTIC STATE we have a lot on offer. From poisonous spiders, snakes, jellyfish and frogs – to man-eating sharks, crocodiles and cassowaries we can fulfil your adventurous needs. But let’s break it down into quadrants.
Down south is where you’ll find all things green. Being in relative proximity to Antarctica, cold weather doth find its way there to water the ground. It’s beautiful. Our trees there are taller than the Eiffel Tower, Washington D.C.’s National Monument and the Great Pyramids of Giza put together. True story.
The beautiful place to go is Margaret River wherein you can find an abundance of good chocolate and ice cream and if you know where to look, the best bread making place in THE UNIVERSE. Not that I’m going to divulge that secret. Places such as Eagle Bay, Yallingup, Albany and Esperance will make you want to drop everything and fly right over to this corner of the world.
To the north we find plains of red dirt and tropical paradises. Places such as Broome are legendary for their leisurely holiday opportunities. Coral Bay has the best snorkelling you ever did see and there’s the best sweet bakery there in the world. The north is home to places such as Karijini National Park which is filled with gorges (which are like canyons but more impressive), dangerous brown snakes, dastardly spinifex and the most glorious night sky you’ll ever lay your eyes on. Unless you’ve seen the northern lights, I’ve heard those are pretty good, too.
The north of WA is sort of huge. Exmouth is a popular spot, Shark Bay is also popular, places like Tom Price and Newman redefine whoop-whoop (an Australian term for The Middle of Nowhere). And let’s not forget the excellently named, Meekatharra. Don’t you just love Australia? It’s really quite a cool place, up north there’s also the Hamersley Range (the biggest mountains we’ve got) and I have personally climbed Mount Bruce, the tallest, and all I can say is that it was HARD and I have never had so many scratches on my legs from terrifying Australian brush – specifically spinifex.
West to the Ocean
WE HAVE THE BEST OCEAN IN THE WORLD. That’s a fact. Actually, what is a fact is that WA beaches are among the best in the world for surfing. Look at our gigantic border of water that is entirely our own. Be jealous, good friends, for it is magnificent. From the Fremantle Doctor (a breeze that comes in the afternoon from Fremantle cooling the coast line down) to the ferocious waves of Trigg on a bad day, we’ve got the good life.
The majority of people here live super close to the ocean. I myself am a mere 10 minute drive away. In summer a morning swim and read on the beach at about 7am (because damn it’s too hot after that) is the usual. Afternoon strolls in the sand during cooler weather is a must. We have awesome sea life too and not too many people get eaten or attacked by sharks each year.
East to The Hills
Once you leave the ocean breeze and head inland expect to be sweating and enjoying that red dirt in all your pores. Delicious. Yet, eastwards we go to discover the weirdest but coolest thing ever: the Pinnacles. These are large pointy earth formations that are really quite entertaining to look at. Not many people live inland in WA because it’s too hot and hostile but that doesn’t mean it’s empty.
In fact, there’s this awesome track called the Bibbulmun Track which is a great place to get in some excellent hiking. People might mention their great feat of driving across the Nullaboor. I don’t know too much about what is inland but all I can say is that if you hop on Google maps and click somewhere towards the centre you’ll find something cool. I did just that and clicked on a place called Neale (south/east) and despite its complete remoteness, the pictures were beautiful.
A Map of Books
There are some books that are set in WA and therefore I must stake my claim in their glory and make sure everyone knows how cool a place WA is. Maybe we’re not as popular as Oregon or London when it comes to choosing a setting for your book, but if you see a book set in WA you know it’s going to be interesting.
The Light Between Oceans
by M. L. Stedman
This is a fabulous story following a lighthouse keeper off the coast of WA. It’s a heart-breaking romance and the plight of one man trying to return to society after the horrors of the first world war. I can promise you that it’s a magnificent read and the movie is a fantastic adaption.
by Louis de Bernieres
The story behind the creation of this book is really cool. When the author visited Dampier he found a statue of a red dog and decided to learn more about it. After a lot of research of discovering its story he decided to dedicate an entire book to it. This one has also recently been made into a movie!
by Tim Winton
Whilst I’m not the biggest fan of this story, Cloudstreet is undoubtedly a popular classic. Following the story of one family who are coping with several things including a trauma to one of their sons, it’s a good look into Australian life many years back. Maybe one day I’ll re-read this and discover what it is that everyone so loves about the book.
by Craig Silvey
The premise of this book sounds fascinating. This is set in a small town in WA with Charlie, the main character, learning some terrible truths from Jasper Jones who is part Australian aboriginal and seen as an outcast in society. The plot seems fairly vague on this one but I think it’s a good self-discovery novel and also dealing with issues of racism to the backdrop of the Vietnam war.
The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea
by Randolph Stow
This book is set during the second world war in Geraldton. It’s from the perspective of a 7-year-old boy called Rob and is honestly quite the interesting read. It’s really a story about Rob realising the world isn’t all rainbows and sunshine when his older brother goes off to join the war.
So I hoped you enjoyed my little spiel about WA and maybe you learnt a thing or two about what we have to offer here, if you were not already informed on such matters. I also hope you were impressed by the fact that I procured more than one book set in this corner of the worlds *takes a bow*. Let me know in the comments below what your favourite part of WA is if you’re familiar with it!