Why the Bucket List
Most of my 20s have been spent in Whistler Canada where I snowboarded all winter and hiked mountains all summer. However, to my dismay, in November of last year my work visa ran out, and I had to return to Perth, my hometown, to wait (up to a year) for my permanent residency application to be approved.
Despite being incredibly upset to leave Canada, I was looking forward to reconnecting with my family and with my beautiful home state. So when COVID hit, and the state bounced back quickly, I was thrilled that my WA bucket list travel plan was left unaffected. To put it in perspective, I’d spent the last 10 years avoiding Perth, and now, ironically, was back with plans to travel in one of the very few places you could.
I know it has been a tough year for many, and that travel still feels a lifetime away, but I hope this sparks your curiosity and inspires you to visit WA when the borders eventually open up.
(Image my own - Hiking mountains in Canada, and meeting my niece, Indiana, in Perth and wearing the Luxe Cotton Crew)
Where I’ve been
Although I live 15 minutes away, this beach is my home in summer. Apply sunscreen, read a book for 30, take a dip, repeat. It’s a pretty stress-free life here in WA.
I was itching to get back to this little island and wasted no time! Only a 20-minute ferry ride from the mainland, you are whisked away to a white sand and turquoise water oasis. There are no cars on this island so as soon as your feet leave the ferry and touch down on the dock, a sense of calm washes over you.
My favourite “down south” holiday destination, Dunsborough is only a 3-hour drive from Perth, and neighbours the Margaret River wine region. Best in summer, this year I went in rainy August and enjoyed walks along the beach, whale watching, visiting wineries and exploring caves.
(Image my own - Exploring caves and the inlet behind our villa)
My dad lives in Denmark, so I visited him as soon as our lockdown ended. It was winter-y, but, the South West region of WA is good all year round. With rolling hills, creek beds and streams, tall forests and lush green pastureland, it’s totally idyllic! I plan to visit this summer because I must swim at Greens Pool before I head back to North America.
(Image my own - hiking in Denmark)
Where I am
Currently, I am located in Exmouth, a 2-day drive north of Perth. Exmouth is the northern gateway to the Ningaloo Reef and is the perfect location from which to explore the impressive landscape of the Cape Range National Park, and the underwater wonders of the Ningaloo Marine Park.
A well-kept secret, The Ningaloo Reef is one of the longest near-shore reefs in the world and the world's largest fringing reef system, stretching 300 kilometres. My days off involve driving to the beach, walking a short distance, putting on my fins and snorkel, swimming out a mere 10 meters offshore, and then letting the current float me effortlessly over the reef. You will see coral, tropical fish, turtles, stingrays, octopus and much, much more. Every day, I see something new and yesterday I swam with a dolphin!
Right now is turtle mating season, and I have been lucky enough to see hundreds of turtles, getting their ‘love’ on in the ocean. To get some reprieve you’ll see the females resting on the shoreline, which is an incredible sight. By November, you'll see then come ashore fully to nest, and by January the babies will be hatching (don’t quote me on the dates but it’s the hot goss around town). So I have lot’s to look forward to! I did miss the whale shark season but if I am still here next year then I would love to do that too. This season there was not one day that a whale shark wasn’t seen.
(All the Exmouth underwater images are by my very talented friends Jeff and Maddy Wilson. They are two lovely Texans who ditched their corporate lives to explore Australia in their sprinter van - so cool! You can check out their print store here and follow their adventures on Instagram here.)
Where I’ll go
I have visited Esperance before but it was many years ago. However, it certainly left an impression! I am aching to squish the fine quartz sand between my toes, surf long breaks, and sunbake with kangaroos on Lucky Bay.
(Image by Apertunity Productions)
Karijini National Park
WA’s second largest national park, its wonders are waterways that have carved deep and ancient gorges into an otherwise flat landscape. The thought of being so remote, and walking through twisting gorges that tell a two billion year story of natural history seems like an experience that would leave a mark on your soul.
(Image unknown source)
If you have never visited WA it's probably because it seems too far away, but that's exactly what makes it so beautiful. I hope you do come visit, because when you leave it will forever leave an impression on you, like a summer romance you'll never forget.