Welcome to the April edition of This is WA

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April 2020


Travel and Lifestyle News from Western Australia

Hi ,

While we’re unable to travel at the moment, it doesn’t mean we can’t dream about future holiday adventures, and you’ll find plenty in Western Australia (WA).

Australia’s largest state (a third of the whole country), WA is home to countless holiday experiences, including some found nowhere else in the world. Thanks to technology, and the entrepreneurship of the tourism and hospitality industry in WA, there are now many nature, wildlife, food and drink, and cultural experiences that can be sampled from the comfort of your living room.

Some of the State’s best virtual highlights can be found below and, when the time is right to travel again, Western Australia will be ready to welcome visitors with incredible adventures, amazing deals, epic road trips, friendly tour operators and the most welcoming locals on the planet.

Screen sensations

Wake up to WA – everyday at 9AM (WST) until April 28, join Western Australia’s Facebook community for a 360 degree/VR video view of WA – go zooming through the Horizontal Waterfalls in the Kimberley, swimming with whale sharks at Ningaloo and admiring the wildflowers across the outback – each day is different – and – no VR glasses? No worries! The videos still provide a fantastic 360 degree look at the experience. To access simply follow us on Facebook.  WA’s Instagram @westernaustralia is also bursting with awe-inspiring imagery and videos from around WA. Or, if you’re looking for more in-depth stories, check out our You Tube channel – our road trip series features stories from Broome to Margaret River, or check out the ‘videos we love’ playlist.

Above and underwater with the Busselton Jetty – located in the Margaret River region, the Busselton Jetty has taken virtual experiences to new depths, by offering a range of free and paid virtual tours including:

  • Daily at 2pm (excluding public holidays) - $11 - live streams with the jetty’s marine science team, guiding visitors through the different levels of the jetty’s Underwater Observatory, including a Q & A.
  • A series of 11 free online tours and workshops including virtual running, cycling, dancing, yoga and personal training, marine education, jetty history, 360 degree virtual tours, and night tours of the jetty where you’ll hear about what things fish get up to in the dark!

Wildlife encounters – up-close and behind the scenes encounters with wildlife including the entertaining orangutans and numbats at Perth Zoo. At Peel Zoo, Ranger Red is taking followers behind the scenes with daily videos on its Facebook page, and is also running an animal adoption program. Caversham Wildlife Park is featuring a Closure Chronicles series on its Facebook page, with daily updates of the animals ranging from koalas to quokkas.

Watch the whales – WA is well-known for its ‘humpback highway’ and having one of the longest whale watching seasons in the world. Local tour operator Whale Watch WA is bringing the giant and gentle creatures into homes with the launch of virtual tours on its Whale Watch TV channel. Whale lovers can hop onboard a free virtual tour to the Perth Canyon to see a family of blue whales, or spot some friendly humpbacks in Augusta in WA’s Margaret River region, with more videos to come.

Aboriginal culturePostcards from our Backyard is a series of stories about the lifestyle of Aboriginal tour operators from around WA. Developed by the Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council (WAITOC), viewers can learn to make fire with Josh Whiteland from Koomal Dreaming in the Margaret River region, go on an adventure with Darren Capewell from Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Adventures in Shark Bay, and catch bushtucker with Johani Mamid from Mabu Buru Broome Aboriginal Tours in the Kimberley.

Talented artists from the Waringarri Arts Studio in Kununurra in WA’s Kimberley region, continue to produce beautiful works inspired by their country and culture from three outstation communities that have been set up as a precautionary measure to keep artists safe. Shop for artworks, including those created during the On Country program, at waringarriarts.com.au/shop.

Warmun Art Centre, also located in WA’s Kimberley region, and Aboriginal Contemporary are presenting their first virtual exhibition – browse the gallery, and purchase art, all from home. The Badem Mawoondool virtual exhibition can be viewed here.

Catch a live Broome sunset or Staircase to the Moon – local tour operator and social guide So Broome is making it easier for those dreaming about the exotic Kimberley town – where the rugged red outback meets the blue waters and white sand beaches – to experience it via a series of events broadcast on Facebook. Sit back with a cold drink and imagine the tropical surrounds, as you witness a famous sunset over Broome’s Cable Beach, or see the natural phenomenon Staircase to the Moon – which occurs when a full moon rises over the exposed tidal flats of Roebuck Bay. Dates and details on the So Broome Facebook page.

Wishing on a star – the Stargazers Club of WA has launched a series of Facebook Live events, teaching followers how to make the most of the evening stars, with a focus on naked eye stargazing. WA is one of the best places in the world to see the night sky, given its isolation and vastness. 

IsoFringe – Perth’s Fringe World festival, which takes over the city every year in January and February (and is the third largest fringe festival in the world), continues to entertain in the online space. Some of Fringe World’s favourite artists have banded together to help shake off the iso-blues, and are running live performances, behind the scenes action, classic fringe ‘best-ofs’, exclusive previews of new shows and much more. IsoFringe kicks off today with Quantum Magic Lab.

Belly laughs – Perth’s Comedy Lounge is usually the source of endless laughs, which is needed now more than ever. To help out its comedians and the lounge bar staff who have lost income, every Saturday there’ll be a new episode of comedy available to watch online for $1 – that’s a really cheap laugh!

See the Kimberley from the airKimberley Air Tours, who run aerial tours to some of WA’s most ancient and unique landscapes in the Kimberley region, has launched a new online air tour - Kimberley Air Tours from the Couch. Owner and chief pilot Leigh Rawlings takes guests on three aerial adventures including Kununurra, Lake Argyle and the Ord River Irrigation Area; the Bungle Bungle Range in World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park and the Arygle Diamond Mine; and the spectacular Mitchell Falls, Kimberley coastline and more.

Shot from the perspective of sitting in a window seat, with commentary, each 20 minute tour is $25 and is accessible for one month, providing a little taste of some of the travel experiences that are available when the time is right to visit the region.

Meanwhile, Kimberley land-based tour operator – Kimberley Wild Expeditions – are giving their Facebook followers an online version of their 13-day Kimberley Explorer tour.

Listen up

Western Australia is home to many of Australia’s finest music exports, as well as great story tellers who can share our stories with the world. From live music sessions to podcasts about wine, here’s how you can hear a piece of WA.

  • Musician John Butler is broadcasting live performances on his Instagram each day, around 6pm WST.
  • WA bands and performers such as Eskimo Joe, Jebediah, Birds of Tokyo, Felicity Groom, Timothy Nelson, San Cisco, and Tame Impala are sharing their latest tunes or memories online to keep their followers happy, but for all the latest WA new music releases follow WAM or check Perth’s legendary community radio station RTRFM, who are running a ‘Live at Home’ series for local muso’s to share their ‘at home’ performances.
  • Margaret River’s ‘Wine Unearthed’ podcast series – explores the people, natural environment and the wineries of WA’s famed Margaret River region. Get inside the mind of a big wave surfer, hear from the family who convinced Sting to sing at their winery, and meet an Aboriginal cultural custodian. Download from Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or at margaretriver.com/wine-unearthed/.
  • The classics – the West Australian Opera, and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra are continuing to entertain their audiences with online performances including Ghost Light Opera and virtual opera singing classes, and the orchestra’s Let the Music Play On series.
  • Love to Read Local ‘Radio’ - Writing WA, in conjunction with Fremantle Press, has curated a special series of podcasts highlighting more than 20 WA authors. The first Love to Read Local podcast is available to download here now and features Susan Midalia, and Laurie Steed author of You Belong Here
  • Bush Yarns – for stories from WA’s Kimberley, have a listen to the Bush Yarns series – by Scotty Connell, owner and operator of Kimberley Spirit Tours. Each episode revolves around life-changing experiences, bush tucker, animal encounters and more. The series can be found here.

Treat yourself

Can’t visit your favourite day spa or beauty salon? Indulge with some West Australian handmade spa and beauty products, coupled with some organic tea or immunity boosting products, and create your own wellness retreat at home. And don’t forget, when searching for the elusive hand sanitiser, buy local!

  • Sodashi – the 100 per cent natural, vegan and cruelty free product are manufactured in Fremantle, and can be found in some of the world’s most luxurious day spas.
  • Vasse Virgin – located in the Margaret River region, locally made liquid soaps, hand soaps, body scrubs and other extra virgin olive oil-based skin care can be delivered to your door.
  • Roogenics – made with native Australian ingredients, Roogenics produces a range of teas and immunity products, which might give you the lift you need.
  • Kimberley Wild Gubinge – Gubinge, sometimes known as Kakadu Plum, is the highest natural source of Vitamin C on Earth. Kimberley Wild Gubinge produces its products direct from gubinge orchards, located on the Dampier Peninsula, around 200 kilometres north of Broome in WA’s Kimberley region.
  • Hand sanitisers – there’s been no shortage of West Australian produced hand santiser, with some of the makers including the Great Southern Distilling Co, The Hoochery, Wise Winery, Harris River Estate, Vasse Virgin, Ferngrove Wine Group and Whipper Snapper Distillery.

Taste buds

  • Margaret River wine – the word around the vineyards is that the 2020 Margaret River vintage was a real treat for viticulturists, however, was one of the smaller harvests in recent years. The lower yields resulted in exceptional fruit, and when it’s ready, the 2020 vintage will be a special vintage to look out for. For now though, there’s a bunch of wineries offering great wine deals available to purchase online.
  • Further south in WA’s Great Southern, there’s a range of wineries, distilleries, breweries and cideries that are ready to home deliver – have a browse here.
  • Closer to Perth in the Swan Valley, a range of wineries and restaurants remain open for takeaway sales – best to call ahead, or check with the Swan Valley Visitor Centre, or follow the Swan Valley Winemakers Association.
  • And in the Perth Hills, some wineries are offering drive-thru sales for locals, such as Plume Estate and Tonon Vineyard, while Hidden deTours who usually operate guided tours to the Perth Hills, are starting a virtual ISO Wine Tour series. Kicking off this Saturday April 25 at 1pm WST, the 3.5 hour Facebook Live tour will showcase seven wineries around the Bickley Valley as owner Monique Boucher takes viewers behind the scenes to speak with winemakers, with those watching able to ask questions.
  • #TakeawayforWA – while dining-in a café or restaurant isn’t an option, West Australians are being encouraged to order takeaway direct from local restaurants, with some favourites serving up their signature dishes for delivery. 
  • The Hummus Club – one of Perth’s favourite Middle Eastern restaurants – is now sharing one of its most popular recipes and menu items online following the launch of crowd funding initiative - In Perth We Trust.  Take a virtual Hummus Masterclass with the master of chickpeas Ziad Zammar and Executive Chef Emily Heron and, with the help of their Hummus Kit, make the smoothest hummus utilising fresh Ord River Chickpeas, sourced from the Kimberley region of WA. There’s also the popular spice mixes and tea blend kit for purchase, or the In Hummus We Trust print (a photo of the restaurant’s insta-worthy neon sign) or tshirts. All proceeds go to paying suppliers and staff, and keeping the business alive until the time is right to re-open.

Read and watch

Western Australia has provided inspiration for, and the backdrop to, many books, films and TV shows. Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Kings in Grass Castles by Mary Durack – considered a great of Australian literature and set in WA’s Kimberley, this story is about one of the pioneering families of the region.
  • Tim Winton – the West Australian author has penned many novels where the landscape is often a character – try Breath, Dirt Music, My Island Home, Cloudstreet or Eyrie.
  • Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey, set in the tall-timber forests of WA’s South West.
  • Australia – directed by Baz Luhrmann, and starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, this epic film was shot around Kununurra and the eastern part of WA’s Kimberley.
  • Red Dog – directed by Kriv Stenders, and starring Josh Lucas and Rachael Taylor, Red Dog is based on a true story and was shot around WA’s Pilbara region.
  • Bran Nue Dae – based on the musical by Jimmy Chi and set in Broome, the feel-good film features a bunch of sing-a-long hits and stars Geoffrey Rush, Missy Higgins, Dan Sultan, Jessica Mauboy and Magda Szubanski.
  • Breath – based on Tim Winton’s book of the same name, Breath was directed by Simon Baker and shot in WA’s South West, in and around the beaches of Denmark, and the town of Walpole.
  • MasterChef Australia – season 11 – last year’s season of the popular reality cooking program featured a dedicated WA Week, with episodes filmed around Perth and Margaret River – it’s available to watch online (episodes 50 to 54) if you missed it the first time, or if you want to revisit and be inspired to plan your WA holiday when the time is right. 
  • Mystery Road – season two of this gripping Australian production was filmed in and around Broome and the Dampier Peninsula, in WA’s Kimberley, with season one filmed in the eastern part of the region. It’s airing now on ABC TV and ABC iview, and if you missed it, season one is also available.
  • For a complete list of productions filmed in WA, visit screenwest.com.au.

Follow along

There’s a bunch of West Australians – tour operators, chefs, photographers and videographers, who continue to share their corner of WA online. Here’s just a few, and keep an eye for more, appearing on @westernaustralia.


Media contact:
Jayde Little - PR Manager

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