Tour Description

Perth and WA’s Great South-West

Fifteen Days: 31st August – 17th September 2019

Twin Share: $5695 per person. Sole Use: $6995 per person.

Included in the tour:
  • Home pick-ups & set downs (most metro areas – please contact us for details)
  • Picnic-style morning teas & all meals as per the itinerary
  • All accommodation & admissions to all attractions
  • Experienced & informative tour driver/guide.
  • Option to travel on the Indian Pacific from Adelaide to Perth (additional cost)

 

Discover sensational south-west Western Australia, an area of great contrasts and incredible scenery, with spectacular coastline, rich history, natural beauty, gourmet delights and vast open spaces. We explore the historic port of Fremantle and taste produce from the Margaret River region. In the deep south we visit the Valley of the Giants with its incredible tall trees, admire the stunning coastal scenery of Esperance then head inland to experience the character of the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. Coming home we cross the Nullarbor and take in views of the ‘Bight’ and the stunning Bunda Cliffs from various lookouts. This tour offers breath-taking scenery, diverse experiences and memories that will remain with you for years to come.

 

Day One – SATURDAY 31 AUGUST 2019

(includes light lunch and three course dinner)

Today our adventure to Western Australia begins! After being picked up from our homes (limited areas*) we are taken to the Adelaide Airport terminal. On arrival we are met by an Endeavour Tours representative who assists with our group check-in and escorts us to the gate, ready to board our Qantas flight to Perth.

When we arrive in Perth we are met by a guide who offers assistance with our luggage and takes us to meet our Endeavour Tours driver and mini coach, ready to embark on our exciting holiday.

Perth is known for its personal charm and hospitality. The elegant riverside parks, network of freeways and the beauty of the Swan River all combine to give the city grace and distinction. We enjoy a guided tour, the ideal way to get to know the city! Our guide shows us the highlights, telling stories of Perth’s history and development. With the delightful Swan River and a pleasant mix of new and old architecture, it is easy to see why so many people fall in love with this city.

Optional alternative to flight: The Indian Pacific train from Adelaide to Perth.  Travel on part of this transcontinental train journey, along the longest straight stretch of rail in the world. Experience the contrast of the city with the vast expanse of the Nullabor Plain on this two night journey. Departing Adelaide on Thursday 22 August at 9.40pm, you would arrive in Perth at 3.00pm on Saturday 24 August, where an Endeavour Tours representative would meet you to take you to our accommodation to join the rest of the tour.  The Indian Pacific provides an all inclusive journey including off-train experiences and the option of your own private sleeper cabin, with en-suite facilities. Prices are available on request.

Following the tour, we make our way to our accommodation for the next three nights at the Metro Hotel Perth (Ph: 08 9367 6122).  We have time to unpack and settle in, before getting to know our fellow travellers over dinner.

 

Day Two – SUNDAY 1 SEPTEMBER 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

We set out this morning to explore more of this beautiful city. Our touring begins at Kings Park, a popular Perth attraction visited by millions of people each year. Nearly two thirds of the Park is natural bushland, combined with a tranquil parkland and botanic garden. The park offers spectacular views over the city, the river and the South Perth foreshore, and at this time of year, we hope there will be some wildflowers to enjoy. This is a pretty spot to enjoy our morning tea.

Overlooking the Swan River on Riverside Drive is one of Perth’s most unique tourist attractions. The Bell Tower is the home of the Swan Bells, a set of 18 bells including twelve from St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in London. These historic bells were given to the people of Western Australia as part of the national Bicentennial celebrations in 1988 and are the only bells known to have left England. Hanging in a specially built copper and glass tower the bells are recorded as being in existence from before the 14th century. We have a guided tour of this striking tower.

From here we head north towards the coast to Hillarys Boat Harbour, which has been named the best marina in Western Australia. It is here that we stop at the Aquarium of Western Australia or AQWA, as it’s known to the locals. We enjoy lunch before exploring the aquarium which is divided into areas that reflect the unique marine environments and life found in five distinct regions of Western Australia’s coast. As we venture beneath the waters of the Indian Ocean in Australia’s largest walk-through aquarium, we are surrounded by sharks, turtles, stingrays and hundreds of fish. We meet the mystical leafy sea dragons, are captivated by beautiful living coral reefs and even interact with living animals in the touch pool exhibit.

Mid-afternoon, we take a coastal drive south through Sorrento Beach to Mettam’s Pool, a natural rock pool protected by a surrounding reef.

We continue past Scarborough Beach and City Beach to Reabold Hill Lookout. At 85 metres above sea level, this is the highest natural point in the Perth metropolitan area and the views are magnificent. We can see Perth, the Swan River, Rottnest Island, Fremantle and Hillarys Boat Harbour.

Our final stop today is at Cottesloe Beach, one of the most popular of all Western Australia’s city beaches. We’ll stop here to enjoy the surrounds, perhaps even dip our toes in the water or maybe see the sun set, before heading back to our hotel for the evening.

Having appreciated the beauty of this area, we return to our accommodation for another delicious dinner.

 

Day Three – MONDAY 2 SEPTEMBER 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

We join Captain Cook Cruises this morning and journey downstream to the historic port city of Fremantle, Perth’s iconic fishing boat harbour. Fremantle is renowned for its rich maritime history, preserved 19th century landscape and vibrant street culture. While cruising the calm waters of the Swan River, we admire the beautiful scenery that can only be viewed from the river. We enjoy tea or coffee as the captain points out many interesting sights along the way.

On arrival we join a Tram Tour, where we discover there is so much more to Fremantle than just the industrial area around the docks. Aboard a replica tram we are shown Fremantle’s bustling harbours, its beautifully preserved architecture and the significant sites of this historic port city.

Following this unique tour, we are bound for the convict built Fremantle Prison. It is here that we will have lunch before taking the ‘Behind Bars Tour’ with one of the experienced guides. We explore the prison from its convict origins in the 1850s, until its closure as a maximum security gaol in 1991. We can view life as it was for both convicts and prisoners, discover how time was passed in the yards and marvel at prisoners original works of art. We take the opportunity to browse the prison gallery and gift shop before we depart.

Having enjoyed a great day exploring historic Fremantle, we return to our accommodation for our last night here in Perth.

 

Day Four – TUESDAY 3 SEPTEMBER 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

After breakfast we depart Perth to begin our travels through Western Australia. We journey south to the pleasant coastal city of Mandurah, located at the southern end of Perth’s ‘commuter belt’. Once a fishing village, it has now grown to a city of over 80,000 people and we stop here to enjoy our morning tea.

Late morning we continue south to Bunbury, passing through the coastal towns of Falcon and Dawesville. There is no shortage of delightful waterfront settings in Bunbury, as it is surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the calm waters of Koombana Bay and the peaceful Leschenault Inlet. Bunbury is  renowned for over 100 wild but friendly bottlenose dolphins that live in Koombana Bay and to discover more about these wonderful creatures, we visit the popular Dolphin Discovery Centre, a non-profit organisation committed to dolphin research, education, conservation and tourism.

We enjoy lunch at the Dolphin Discovery Centre and have plenty of time to look around, taking in the fascinating displays and information about the dolphins, including finding out what they eat, where they go and what they do. We also learn about other marine life that lives in the south west waters, as the Centre is home to a discovery pool, aquariums, 360 degree digital dolphinarium and much more.

Our journey continues along the coast to Busselton, a favourite holiday destination for Western Australians, and home to an amazing two-kilometre-long jetty. We’ll have time here to stretch our legs before continuing our journey.

Late afternoon, we arrive at beautiful Margaret River. This area is renowned for its wineries, but is much more varied than just vineyards. A relaxed and very pretty region, it is surrounded by several state forests and its beaches are popular with surfers. We have the next two nights to enjoy here, staying at the Comfort Inn Grange on Farrelly (Ph: 08 9757 3177).

 

Day Five – WEDNESDAY 4 SEPTEMBER 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Following breakfast we journey south to Cape Leeuwin, named after the Dutch ship Leeuwin which passed this point in 1622. On the most South Westerly tip of Australia where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet, stands Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse which was built in the late 19th century. The famous maritime landmark stands at thirty-nine metres tall and its piercing beam shines out to sea for 48 kilometres, with the intensity of one million candles.

We take time to look at the views and can walk up to the lighthouse if we wish. While here we enjoy morning tea in the café.

Leaving this scenically spectacular area, we head back north, driving through the beautiful Boranup Forest with its magnificent towering Karri trees. We’ll stop at the Boranup Gallery which houses a stunning collection of quality artworks by renowned Australian Artists.  From paintings to sculpture and furniture to blown glass, there really is an amazing collection of art. They also handcraft custom made furniture on site, from the unique timbers found in the area. We’ll take time to wander through the gallery and enjoy lunch in the nearby café.

We continue through the forest, heading north to the Margaret River Chocolate Company. Located in a peaceful rural setting, this company has grown to become a popular WA tourist attraction and is an important business in the region, as it supplies chocolate around Australia and even overseas! The visit will provide a fascinating insight into the world of chocolate, with interactive displays, tastings and the opportunity to see chocolate being made through a viewing window. We have time to purchase some goodies while we are here.

A short distance away, we find the Margaret River Dairy Company, where premium dairy products are produced and sold using the freshest ingredients. Here in the unspoilt South West with rich soils and rolling green pastures, the Margaret River Dairy Company has become a success story, despite at one stage being completely destroyed by fire. It began afresh and from the ashes an impressive state-of-the-art facility was built, as well as work on a fresh range of delicious pot set yoghurts and creamy cheeses. We visit the dairy, where friendly staff help us to sample some of the delicious produce.

After a delightful day, we return to our accommodation with time to relax and freshen up before dinner.

 

Day Six – THURSDAY 5 SEPTEMBER 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

We depart this beautiful area after breakfast and begin our journey south-east towards today’s destination of Albany. Much of our travel this morning takes us through state forests and national parks.

The country- side is magnificent and we stop for morning tea in one of the lovely parks in Pemberton.

From here we continue to Walpole, where we will have lunch before visiting one of the most well known attractions of south-west Western Australia, the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. The walk suspended 40 metres high in the forest canopy, provides a birds-eye view of the magnificent Tingle Forest.

Internationally recognised as one of the best nature-based tourism experiences, the walk is the first of its kind providing inspiring views with minimal environmental impact. The walk  is designed with a gentle gradient that takes you down to the forest below, where you can explore the intrigue and grandeur of 400 year old trees on the Ancient Empire Boardwalk.

Following this breathtaking experience we visit the beautiful Wilderness Discovery Centre. Here we can stroll around the unique interpretive displays and learn what makes the wilderness special. There is also a gift shop with forest-themed memorabilia, educational materials and souvenirs.

Late afternoon we continue east through Denmark to Albany, the first settled town in Western Australia, pre-dating both Perth and Fremantle. It is located on the Princess Royal Harbour, providing excellent shelter for boats from the winds and waves of the Southern Ocean.

Our accommodation for tonight is at the Ace Accommodation, Albany (Ph: 08 9841 2911).

 

Day Seven – FRIDAY 6 SEPTEMBER 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

This morning we farewell our hosts in Albany and travel along the South Coast Highway. We drive through farming country to the rural town of Jerramungup where we stop for morning tea. From here we continue to travel east alongside the Fitzgerald River National Park, one of the largest parks in Western Australia.

By lunchtime we arrive in Ravensthorpe, a small sheep and wheat town. Like a number of other rural communities throughout Australia, Ravensthorpe has taken a group of ordinary looking silos and turned them into a giant work of art, displaying wildflowers and wildlife of Western Australia. We’ll take time to look at the painted silos before continuing our journey.

Our afternoon drive takes us further east, through small rural communities such as Munglinup to the stunning coastal town of Esperance. From the shore we can see the Recherche Archipelago, nearly 100 untouched islands off the coast, known to the locals as the Bay of Isles. The islands boast amazing wildlife and wilderness, with some of them being granite outcrops only visible at low tide. However only one of the islands is open to the public.

Our accommodation for the next two nights is at the Best Western Hospitality Inn (Ph: 08 9071 1999).

 

Day Eight – SATURDAY 7 SEPTEMBER 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Following breakfast this morning, we depart on an Esperance Island Cruise. The vessel explores the coves and beaches close to shore before heading out to some of the island of the Recherche Archipelago. Throughout the cruise we listen to a full commentary about Esperance’s history and wildlife and we may be lucky enough to view some of these animals in their natural environment such as  New Zealand Fur Seals, Australian Sea Lions, Common and Bottlenose Dolphin and Cape Barren Geese. We’ll enjoy morning tea in one of the protected bays while on board.

After disembarking, we’ll have lunch in town before visiting the Esperance Information Centre and Museum Village. No ordinary museum—this group of historic buildings has been relocated from around the region and now house a number of local businesses, including the Visitor Information Centre, a lolly shop and local galleries. Each building has its own history, some dating back to the 1800’s and include  the Old Methodist Church, courthouse, hospital and the Salmon Gums School, which began life on the Norseman Goldfields and was then relocated to Esperance to become the Village Sheep Shop!

Mid-afternoon we set off on the Great Ocean Drive. This trail takes in some of the diverse and spectacular coastline of Esperance, as well as a number of highlights throughout the town. As Esperance boasts a string of pristine beaches, including Australia’s whitest beach, we start our drive by following the Esplanade, stopping in at various lookouts and vantage points along the way. We journey past the Ten Mile Lagoon Wind Farm, the first commercial wind farm in Australia that is still in operation, and Pink Lake, although not pink in colour any more!

 

Day Nine – SUNDAY 8 SEPTEMBER 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

We farewell Esperance and begin todays journey towards the mining town of Kalgoorlie. Passing through the small towns of Grass Patch and Salmon Gums, we’ll stop for morning tea along the way.

Back on the road we continue to Norseman, a gold-mining town located at the western end of the Eyre Highway. The town was established and named, when Laurie Sinclair discovered a rich gold reef in the area after his horse ‘Norseman’ pawed at the ground and uncovered a piece of gold-bearing quartz. This started a gold rush in 1894 and since then a rich history of gold mining has developed, with numerous mines operating over the years.

We take time to explore the town, visit the Beacon Hill Lookout, the statue of Norseman and the local ‘camels’. These corrugated iron life-size beasts are a tribute to the camel trains that carried the freight and mail in the early days. They are the reason why Norseman has very wide streets, in order for the camel trains to be able to turn. We’ll enjoy lunch at a local cafe before continuing our journey.

As we travel north this afternoon, you will notice the huge salt lakes that are dotted throughout the area. They are part of the Salt Lake drainage basin which stretches from south of Norseman to the edge of the Little Sandy Desert. As the area is quite flat with no permanent watercourses, when there is rain, it results in short-lived shallow lakes that evaporate quickly. This leaves behind salt that has accumulated over thousands of years to form the salt pans which are visible today.

Continuing towards Kalgoorlie-Boulder, we pass through the town of Kambalda. Once deserted after the closure of the local gold mine in 1908, it was reborn with the discovery of nickel in the 1960’s. Today gold mining has become a major industry for the town once again.

All of these gold-rush towns share a common and colourful past and the most famous is Kalgoorlie-Boulder, now classified as a city. Kalgoorlie was born during the 1880’s gold rush when thousands of prospectors made the 700 kilometre journey east from Perth.  At present it is the largest gold-producing region in Australia, built around the richest square mile of gold-bearing earth in the world.

On arrival, we check into our accommodation for the next two nights at the Best Western Hospitality Inn,  Kalgoorlie (Ph: 08 9021 2888).

 

Day Ten – MONDAY 9 SEPTEMBER 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

This morning we embark on a guided tour of Australia’s largest gold producing mine, the Super Pit. At 320 metres deep, about 3 kilometres long and 1.4 kilometres wide, giant mining trucks with tyres taller than the average person look more like Tonka toys as they make their way to the deep base of the mine. We will be “visitor-inducted” to the KCGM Super Pit and view the mining operations from the safety of the Mine-Spec Tour Coach. The view from Harvey Hut allows us to see the old shafts and miners’ workings alongside the work of the modern trucks, comparing old and new.

After morning tea, we visit the Western Australian Museum of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, where we discover the unique role the town has played in Western Australia’s development, both as a centre of mining and its place at the edge of the Nullarbor Plain. We explore the largest display of the State’s collection of gold bars and nuggets, step back in time to see how prospectors searched for this precious metal and learn about the life and hardships faced by mining families during the early 1900s.

We enjoy lunch in town before being shown the local sights of Kalgoorlie (now known as Kalgoorlie–Boulder after the towns amalgamated in 1989) with the aid of a local guide. The streets still offer an insight into life in the 1890s and we discover the character of the town and its fascinating history.

This afternoon we have some time to relax and refresh before dinner.

 

Day Eleven – TUESDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Today marks the start of our journey home across the Nullarbor Plain. From Kalgoorlie we travel  back to Norseman where we stop for morning tea. From here we turn east and head out across this vast expanse of the Australian landscape.

The Nullarbor Plain covers an area of 270,000 square kilometres, two thirds being in Western Australia and one third in South Australia. It is the world’s largest ‘karst’ landscape. Karst is a specific kind of landscape formed by the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone and dolomite. Despite the name (Nullarbor meaning “no trees”), the plain is covered with bluebush and saltbush plants that are drought-resistant and salt-tolerant. The spectacular Bunda Cliffs and the Great Australian Bight border the area to the south, whilst the northern border is the Great Victoria Desert.

We continue on the Eyre Highway to Balladonia where we will enjoy lunch. This area has a fascinating history including the crash-landing of the Skylab space station in 1979. The local Dundas Shire Council presented NASA with a littering fine and President Jimmy Carter even rang the Roadhouse to make his apologies!

Soon after, we begin to travel Australia’s longest stretch of straight road, referred to as ‘The 90 Mile Straight’ which in metric terms is 146.6 kilometres. Upon reaching Caiguna we stop for a break and the chance to stretch our legs.

The final section of our day’s journey brings us to the tiny community of Cocklebiddy, well known amongst the caving fraternity for being home to one of the worlds largest cave systems. We check into our accommodation for the night at the Wedgetail Inn (Ph: 08 9039 3462).

 

Day Twelve – WEDNESDAY 11 SEPTEMBER 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

We begin the day’s journey by travelling East to Mundrabilla, a small roadhouse at the base of the Hampton Tablelands, where we pause for morning tea.

A little further on we come to Eucla, the largest settlement on the Nullarbor Plain and situated on the western edge of the Nullarbor National Park. We turn south toward the coast to visit the ever changing landmark of the old Telegraph Station ruins which are slowly being consumed by the shifting sand dunes. The remainder of the original town is now buried under the sand, after a plague of rabbits ate most of the dune vegetation, which then caused large sand drifts to encroach on the town site.

A short distance along the highway we come to the Western Australia/South Australia border, where we will stop for a memorable photograph before continuing our journey! Just inside South Australia is the aptly named Border Village, where we stop for lunch.

This afternoon’s drive takes us relatively close to the coast and we stop at a couple of lookouts along the way to take in the views of the Southern Ocean and the cliffs of the Great Australian Bight.

Near the eastern end of the Nullarbor Plain is the Nullarbor Hotel/Motel (Ph: 8625 6271), our accommodation for the evening, where we can relax and enjoy our three course dinner before retiring.

 

Day Thirteen – THURSDAY 12 SEPTEMBER 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

This morning we drive out to the Head of the Bight, where the white sand-dunes and beaches meet the Bunda cliffs of the Nullarbor. Up to 100 whales including calves, congregate in the seas adjacent to the cliffs between June and October on their annual breeding migration. As we are here towards the end of the migration season there is no guarantee of whale sightings, however you will not be disappointed by the views. From the cliff-top viewing areas in the Nullarbor National Park, we enjoy the spectacular vistas of the towering cliffs dropping sheer into the pounding Southern Ocean. We will have morning tea amongst these stunning surroundings.

From here we travel through Yalata to Penong, a popular rest stop for travellers and the location for our lunch stop today.

We continue east this afternoon, travelling through Ceduna and Minnipa on our way to Wudinna, a friendly rural town situated south of the Gawler Ranges National Park. Our accommodation this evening is at the Gawler Ranges Motel (Ph. 08 8680 2090) where we can relax after our days travels and enjoy our last evening of the tour.

 

Day Fourteen – FRIDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2019

(includes cooked breakfast and two course lunch)

Today is the final leg of our journey home from Western Australia, and what a wonderful trip it has been!

We begin this morning by travelling across the eastern Eyre Peninsula, through Kyancutta to Kimba. We’ll stop here for morning tea and the opportunity to admire more painted silos. These ones are by Melbourne artist Cam Scale who spent weeks doing the artwork on this giant canvas, which is 25 metres tall and 60 metres wide.

Continuing our journey homewards, we drive through the Lake Gilles Conservation Park and see evidence of iron ore mining as we pass Iron Knob, before arriving at our lunch venue today in Port Augusta.

It is a comfortable afternoon drive along the Highway, past Port Pirie, Redhill and Snowtown. Slowly the landscape becomes more familiar as we head towards Adelaide’s northern suburbs and to our meeting place where the courtesy cars take us home to our doors.

From our stay in beautiful Perth, to the journey across the Nullarbor, we have seen and experienced the changing landscape of Western Australia and have special memories of our fantastic holiday in this diverse and beautiful state.