Western Australia

Western Australia is the second-largest country subdivision in the world! With a total land area of 2,529,875 square kilometres and a population of about 2.5 million inhabitants, it is no wonder why people say it has some of the most famous and thrilling four-wheel drive tracks in the world.

The state is defined in nine regions:

Australia’s South-West

92 % of the population lives in the south-west corner of the state. With its mediterranean climate it is most of the year warm and sunny. That’s why the capital city of WA, Perth, is also called ‘sunshine city’. With in average more than 3000 hours of sun per year, it enjoys the best weather of all capital cities in Australia.

Originally, the south-west coastal area is heavily forested. One of the tallest trees in the world, called karri, can be found about 300 km south of Perth. If you pass Pemberton on your road trip it is worth having a stop at one of the climbing trees or to explore the forest on a top tree walk through the Valley of the Giants, located between west of Denmark and east of Walpole.

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Being the agricultural region of Western Australia the south-west is in the top nine terrestrial habitats for terrestrial biodiversity, with a higher proportion of endemic species than most other equivalent regions.

Beautiful beaches and wineries invite for relaxed holidays. Especially in summer time, when it’s too hot to stay in Perth region, people escape down south and enjoy the fresh breeze.

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Central Western Australia

The central two-thirds of the state is arid and lightly inhabited, with the only significant economic activity being mining. With slightly any rain during the year, except of cyclone events in summer months, it is important to prepare well before you start your 4WD trip through the outback.

OutbackLong, red dusty roads are waiting to get discovered. The Great Central Road is the most direct route from Perth to Alice Springs in Northern Territory. The route also passes directly into Aboriginal reserves and it is a legal requirement for travellers to hold a valid transit permit at the time of travel, even when staying on the Great Central Road. Two permits are required and they are available from the West Australian Department of Indigenous Affairs. The permits are free.

Like pretty much everywhere in the Australian outback, there is no mobile phone reception. It is recommended to carry at least an UHF radio combined with one emergency long-distance voice communication device on the road.

Where ever you travel in the Western Australian  outback, bring enough water, food, spare parts and fuel with you. There might be a roadhouse and service station about every 350 km, but you never know what happens. If your car breaks down, it could take a while until you get help. Especially if you are planning a 4WD trip and leave the main roads it is extremely important to prepare well. These 4WD handy hints might help you to prepare your holidays.

If you want to combine your outback adventure with the most amazing beaches and crystal water, I highly recommend to travel along the North West Coastal Highway. The nature in this part of Australia is incredible beautiful. Many people say they prefer to travel the east coast because there is nothing in Western Australia. For me, the road trip from Perth up to Exmouth was the best ever. Amazing national parks like Francois Peron NP, Kalbarri NP or the Cape Range NP at the Ningaloo Reef guarantee great adventures and an unforgettable outback experience.

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 Kimberley Region

The north-tropical region of Western Australia is great to travel from May to October. It is sunny and dry at this time of the year, whereas roads are closed and crocodile danger is given during the wet season.

Broome is a colorful town with golden beaches, red rocks and turquoise water. Some good pubs, horse races and natural wonders make sure you don’t get bored. It is the gate to the Kimberley and a great opportunity to enjoy beach lifestyle and upper class accommodation before you hit the road for a while.

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The Gibb River Road is a 660 km long dirt track which connects Broome/Derby with Kununurra/Wyndham. Travelling through the heart of the Kimberley, you will find real wilderness.

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If you decide to camp a night in Wyndham, don’t miss out to drive on the top of the lookout point before sunset, have a BBQ and stay there late. It is the place where the five rivers meet. A spectacular sunset can be watched from here, which changes the scenery dramatically. And as soon as it is getting dark, there are so many shooting stars, it’s unreal. I was so close to the stars, I thought I could touch them. If there is any place on earth where you could see them all, it must be Wyndham lookout point!

If you don’t have a 4×4 you could still visit some places in the Kimberley which are just off the Great Northern Highway, like Tunnel Creek National Park or Geikie Gorge.

 

Want to learn more about Australia?

Don’t miss out some good Australian entertainment! These are my personal recommendations:

More Aussie Adventures here.

If you want to learn how to become a ‘real’ Australian, this YouTube series is also worth to watch:

Abu Dhabi

Being the capital city of the United Arabic Emirates, Abu Dhabi is growing irresistible. With more than 920,000 people living in the city, it is also the capital of the largest emirate. Normally you wouldn’t expect Abu Dhabi being a typical holiday destination – but, being located only an hour away from Dubai, it is easy to combine both cities during one trip. Etihad Airways is Abu Dhabi’s official airline, and my favourite by the way. It is always worth to take the time for a stop over. Abu Dhabi is just beautiful with an amazing skyline along the river, great shopping malls and mosques to visit.

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Sightseeing

Abu Dhabi has plenty of attractions to keep visitors busy for a while. Hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses would give you the opportunity to visit following highlights:

Sheikh-Zayed-Moschee: One of the most beautiful mosques in the world. It includes 82 domes in 7 different sizes and can be vidited by more than 40,000 people during Eid.

Abu Dhabi Cornich: Drive along the corniche and enjoy the beautiful views of the Arabian Gulf.

Emirate Palace Hotel: This is one of the most luxury accomodation in the world. During the day it is possible to walk inside the hotel and have a look around. At night the hotel area is turning on its impressive light-system and shines in all colors. Absolutely worth a visit!

Markets: There are a couple of traditional markets. The Persian Market provides antiques or jewellery, whereas the Central Market is one of the oldest sites in the city and offers all kind of traditional and regional products like carpets, clothes, food and much more.

Marina Mall: Geographically located in one of Abu Dhabi’s most prominent areas, the Marina Mall comprises of 122,000 square meter of retail space featuring a unique choice of fashion, leisure and entertainment. In more than 400 shops and the attached food court, which provides local and international food, it is more than easy to spend loads of money.

Herritage Village: Located near the Abu Dhabi Cornich and Marina Mall, it is worth to stop by. The little village would give you a good idea of the arabic history and offers various activities for the day.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi: This is the worlds biggest indoor theme park including 20 attractions all about car racing. The park is located at Yas-Island.

These are just some ideas what to do in Abu Dhabi. Of course there is plenty of more to experience. And a range of day trips are provided. Being in the city for only one day, I found the sightseeing buses quite expensive and hired myself a personal taxi driver for a day. That was more comfortable, flexible, I got local insider tips and safed money.

I met the most amazing, helpful and kindest people in Abu Dhabi. Definetely a great travel experience!

Dubai

Located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf,  Dubai is the most popular city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates. It is one of seven emirates with a multi-cultural population of 2,1 million. More than 50 % of the population is Indian, only 17 % Emirati, and the city was recently voted as one of the  best places to live in the middle east.

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 Accommodation

If you want to travel to Dubai for a holiday, you should have saved enough money for that. Even though cheap flight deals are offered regularly, in 2014, hotel rooms in Dubai were ranked as the second most expensive in the world.

I travelled to Dubai in 2008 and 2009. I remember the lack of hostels and even the one or two I found were very expensive. Lucky I had a friend in Dubai and was invited to stay with him and his butler for a couple of days. So I dived into the fairy tail of 1001 nights.

For me, Dubai was an amazing experience! Travelling together with a friend, we had five days to explore the city as much as we could.

Sightseeing

Dubai offers sightseeing attractions on every corner. It is easy to get around by taxi or one of the sightseeing buses. But taxi drivers like to charge tourists a lot more. It is recommended to ask for the price before you get into the taxi. There are also plenty of VIP services available to bring you around.

I decided myself to use one of the hop-on hop-off buses combined with a dhow cruise, how they call traditional sailing vessels with one or more masts. That was amazing! The views from the Dubai creek onto the huge buildings and skyscrapers, shining in the sun and looking all glamorous. For the bus trip, visitors can decide whether to go on the red route or the blue route. Choosing the red route we experienced the traditional Dubai, visiting places like the gold souk and the spice souk.

This video gives a good introduction what to expect on a day in Dubai. Tickets for Big Bus Tours can be booked online.

Day Trip

The next day we booked a day trip to the Hatta Mountains and the Hatta Heritage Village, followed by a desert 4WD safari and a BBQ in a bedouin camp.

The Hatta Mountains itself are quite unspectacular. It is a beautiful landscape in the desert, but what to say, it is dry. And stoney. There were a couple of little creeks but nothing special. The problem with the stops on this little ‘attractions’ was also that they were full of rubish tourists left behind. People don’t think when they destroy beautiful nature. I liked better the old Hatta heritage village. My highlight of the day was the desert safari. It was incredible beautiful and at sundown the sand changed into the most amazing golden colors. Views as far as you could look. And the flair of the orient. A real true experience calling for more adventure!

And this we should have in the bedouin camp. H huge, colorful camp with shopping stalls, entertainment stage, and plenty of seating areas to enjoy delicious arabic food, in the middle of the desert. All attractions tourists could have in their mind if they visit the orient, they could find there: belly dancers, camel rides, faked handbags and plenty of other things you could find on a black market. Henna painting was offered and women could dress up in arabic costumes, called Burka. All in one it was a night full of entertainment and an amazing location. But if you a looking for a more ‘original’ experience I wouldn’t recommand this trip as it was quite touristy.