Bask in the natural beauty of Western Australia
Don't overlook this region if you're a nature lover
When you think of white sandy beaches, green oceans or towering trees, Western Australia does not immediately come to mind.
It is a less popular and oft-forgotten region of a country that boasts cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.
But during my recent trip to Western Australia, I realised it has a unique charm that lies in its well-maintained and breathtaking nature spots.
There is no better time to visit than this month, as Tourism Western Australia has partnered with online travel agent CheapTickets.sg to offer exclusive discounts. Book your flights from now to June 30 and save at least 25 per cent off destination deals.
For more details, go to www.cheaptickets.sg/australia/western-australia
Here are five locations that gave me a new perspective of Western Australia and an incentive to visit again.
GREENS POOL AT WILLIAM BAY NATIONAL PARK
This was a last-minute addition to our itinerary, but it turned out to be a good move. From the lookout near the carpark, the tranquil turquoise waters are already a sight to behold. The vast expanse of sand stretches far towards Mazzoletti Beach.
Located just 15km west of the small town of Denmark, the pools have calm and gentle waves, and the site is especially popular with families.
The pools are almost completely sheltered from the harsh waves of the Southern Ocean by the rounded boulders, and the pathway from the beach to the sea has a gradual slope, making it rather safe for children to wade in and play.
If you are into snorkelling, this place is perfect for you. The gentle waves make it easier to swim and spot schools of fish - and even stingrays.
If all that still does not interest you, the famous Elephant Rocks - a formation of huge cracked oval boulders shaped like a herd of elephants waddling in shallow waters - is only a 10-minute walk away along the beach.
VALLEY OF THE GIANTS
A 25km drive from Denmark, this tourist spot's towering red tingle trees, coupled with the peacefulness and fresh air, will take away the stress and fatigue of work.
Walking along the boardwalk with the tour guide from the Valley of the Giants, we had fun spotting special veteran tingle trees such as Grandma tingle, which is 12m in circumference and estimated to be more than 400 years old.
If you are lucky, you may even spot some adorable quokkas, a type of marsupial that lives in the forest.
Get a different perspective of the magnificent forest by walking along the Tree Top Walk 40m above ground (right).
Although entry to the Valley of the Giants is free, this will set you back $21 for an adult and $10.50 for a child. However, it is definitely money well spent.
The 600m-long walkway meanders through the interlocking canopies of the immense tingle trees and gives you a stunning view of the trees from up above.
The national park opens at 9am daily, and the woody smell of the trees and cool weather are perfect ingredients for a good morning stroll.
WOW WILDERNESS ECOCRUISE
When it comes to beaches in Western Australia, forget the crowded Cottesloe Beach in Perth and get yourself on this boat tour in the heart of the Walpole Wilderness area to a secluded beach instead.
The daily 21/2 hour guided tour takes you through the Walpole and Nornalup Inlets Marine Park to Western Australia's first designated wilderness zone, the Nuyts Wilderness.
Our guide, Mr Gary Muir, who is also enthusiastic about preserving nature, makes the long boat ride to and fro immensely exciting with his engaging presentation.
We even spotted two pairs of dolphins from afar.
However, the highlight was the secluded beach we ended up at (right).
After a 35-minute ride, we disembarked and trekked uphill towards it. Although the hike up was tough, the splendid view proved to be absolutely worth it.
Pristine soft sand covered the ground as the waves crashed towards the empty beach. As WOW Wilderness EcoCruise was the only cruise that travelled to that island, the whole beach was ours to explore.
GLOUCESTER TREE IN THE GLOUCESTER NATIONAL PARK
If you love exhilarating adventure, climbing the Gloucester Tree in the Gloucester National Park in Pemberton might be up your alley.
The sturdy Karri tree that stands 58m tall is the world's second tallest fire lookout tree. It has since been converted to a tree for climbing pleasure.
But do note that there are no harnesses provided for climbing this tree or safety personnel around to supervise.
Metal bars that are driven into the thick trunk of the tree serve as steps, and a light wire mesh surrounds you as you conquer the dizzying heights.
There are also 400m and 800m walking trails that meander around the Karri forest.
BEACH & FOREST ECO ADVENTURE TOUR BY PEMBERTON DISCOVERY TOURS
If you have time to visit only one place, Pemberton should make it into your itinerary. In four hours, we were wowed by the imposing grandeur of an old Karri forest in a four-wheel drive, took a short walk in the forest, had a homemade picnic lunch before travelling to the Yeagarup Dunes and the Warren River mouth.
Our group walked for about 15 minutes as the refreshing wind blew, and we were pleasantly surprised when it ended at a shallow river with crystal clear water.
Expect the trip to the sand dunes to be bumpy as it is not on paved roads.
The spectacular view that greeted us was incomparable (above) - endless white sand stretched all around us, and about 100m away was the Warren River mouth where the river meets the ocean. The impossibly blue sky also makes for a good Instagram backdrop as you skid down the smooth slopes of the sand dunes.