The birds and the seas

Eighty five per cent of all West Australians live within 50km of the coast.

And why wouldn’t we, with all our golden beaches set against the azure sea. The WA coast is amazing.

We celebrate the coast in this special feature — but then go one step beyond.

Or, perhaps we should say, one boat trip beyond, as we hand-pick our favourite islands off the WA coast, from Esperance to Rottnest and up the Mid West and north coast to the Kimberley.

But there are two vexed questions to tackle before we begin.

It depends on when you measure it, the height of the tide and so on, and can vary considerably. So I’ll turn to the Australian Government’s Geoscience Australia (Australia’s pre-eminent public sector geoscience organisation and the nation’s trusted adviser on geology and geography) and say the WA mainland coast is 12,895km. Its island coastlines are another 7894km, giving a total of 20,788km.

Geoscience Australia says there are 3747 around the coast of WA. Mind you, that number ranges from the biggest, Dirk Hartog Island, off the Gascoyne coast, which is 80km long and 14km wide, to “small rocks which are not covered by water at high tide”. There are 1000 islands in the Buccaneer Archipelago off the Kimberley.

For most of us, the south west coast is between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin — that wriggling, beachy, big-cove coast past Yallingup and Gracetown, Margaret River, Redgate and down to Hamelin Bay. Favourite beaches include Gnarabup and Kilcarnup, and what better than just hanging around Canal Rocks, watching the surge in the channel.

Just inland on Caves Road, and benefiting from coastal weather and clean air, are wineries like Cullen, Vasse Felix and Amelia Park.

For more, read the full article here.


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