Western Australia Educational 2014 – Sally Yendley, Sales Consultant, Carrier

My Western Australia educational began in the dazzling city of Perth. The great thing about this capital is you can choose to either explore a world-class wine region, picnic in one of Australia’s oldest conservation areas or watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean, all within 30 minutes from the city.

We stayed at the Crown Metropol located on the banks of the world-famous Swan River. A high profile hotel frequented by celebrities, it is modern and contemporary in style and is just a 5 – 10 minute shuttle bus or taxi ride into central Perth.

It is definitely worth upgrading to the Luxe View rooms here for the exceptional views overlooking the city skyline. With access to world-class restaurants, (I had the best chocolate soufflé I have ever tasted at Guillaume Brahmini’s French bistro) an ISIKA spa, casino and theatre, there is certainly plenty to do for those guests wanting to make full use of the hotel.

Having said that, with more hours of sunshine than any other capital city in Australia, Perth’s pleasures extend beyond its city limits to encompass dozens of golden beaches. An excursion to Rottnest Island is a must.

Here the tempo slows, the crowds thin and as I stepped off from the ferry, I found myself slipping into island mode. With a ban on cars, the only way to get around this little island is by bicycle or segway. We took a tour exploring the most hidden corners to discover a rich history and its pristine natural environment. Look out for the indigenous quokkas if you opt for a picnic in a shaded area!

South of Perth, the vibrant port of Freemantle, locally referred to as Freo, combines its maritime heritage with bustling street markets, fashionable restaurants and microbreweries. I highly recommend having a local guide to show you around so that you do not miss out on the historical gems that explain how Freo came to be and why it has its distinctive feel.

Next, we journeyed north on a short two and a half hour flight to Broome – the pearling capital of Australia and the gateway to the Kimberley coast. Surrounded by the striking rust-red sand, I felt like I had stepped into traditional Aussie outback territory. We stayed at Kimberley Sands Resort & Spa, Broome’s new boutique-style hotel. General Manager, Matthew Clowes, is a passionate host with fascinating insights into the wildlife that can be witnessed in the area.

We enjoyed the famous white sands and ocean sunsets of Cable Beach with an evening camel trek. At certain dates in the year, you can witness the Staircase to the Moon – where the full moon lines up perfectly with the low tide to create this spectacular natural phenomenon. I would also recommend having cocktails at Cable Beach Club – the only resort directly overlooking the beach and perfectly situated to witness the breathtaking sunsets – ‘Post Cards from Broome’ is delicious and one of my favourites.

Home of South Sea pearls – the largest and most coveted cultured pearls in the world – a tour of the pearling museum to learn about the impact the industry has had on this part of Australia is not to be missed. Meeting the Beagle Bay and Lombadina Aboriginal communities was also one of my highlights. Visiting their villages, churches and schools gave an enchanting insight into their way of life.

My western discovery came to the perfect end aboard Intombi – one of only a handful of authentic wooden luggers still afloat today – cruising the pristine waters and capturing the romance of bygone pearling days.