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May 2022


Travel and Lifestyle News from Western Australia

Hi ,

Welcome to the May edition of This is WA, bringing you the latest travel and lifestyle news from across Western Australia.

What's Hot

Ningaloo Eclipse one year countdown

Cape Range National Park near Exmouth. Credit @anton.wilk

The one-year countdown is now on to the 2023 Ningaloo Eclipse. On April 20, visitors to Exmouth in the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo region will have front row seats for one of nature’s most phenomenal occurrences – a total solar eclipse. At around 11:27am those in the region will experience 62 seconds of totality as the sun is completely blocked by the moon. The path of totality will graze the tip of WA in a 40-kilometre wide track near Exmouth, making it the most accessible land-based place on Earth to view the spectacle. Whilst Exmouth is in complete darkness for just over a minute, the rest of WA will experience a partial solar eclipse. Those in Perth will witness a 72 per cent eclipse, Geraldton about 80 per cent, Carnarvon 97 per cent, Karratha 97 per cent, and Coral Bay and Onslow will see a 99 per cent eclipse.  Exmouth in the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo region is an awe-inspiring place, home to Australia’s largest fringing reef and the dramatic gorges of Cape Range National Park. As a bucket list bonus for visitors, the Ningaloo Eclipse will take place during whale shark swimming season. Further information on this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, including details on how to plan your trip to experience the Ningaloo Eclipse, can be found on the website.

Direct flights from Europe to Perth taking off

Visitors to WA can now fly direct from London to Perth, thanks to the return of Qantas’ direct flight service last week. The early return of the London to Perth route (originally scheduled for June) complements the upcoming launch of Qantas’ direct Perth to Rome service, which is due to take off end of June, 2022. The seasonal service will run three times a week until October, with the Perth to London route operating daily.

English Premier League comes to Perth

Perth's Optus Stadium

Perth’s world-class Optus Stadium will host four iconic English Premier League clubs over a blockbuster weekend of sport this July. ICON – Perth’s Festival of International Football will see powerhouse team Manchester United face off against Aston Villa on Saturday July 23, 2022 and Leeds United will take on Crystal Palace on Friday July 22, 2022. Football fans will also have the opportunity to engage with the star players, with More than a Match events taking place at a range of venues across Perth and Fremantle. Tickets for these highly anticipated matches are now on sale, with travel package options including accommodation also available.

Annual whale migration begins

Whale watching tours off the coast of Perth

This month marks the beginning of the annual whale migration in Western Australia, which is one of the longest in the world. From now until December, humpback, southern right and the rare blue whales can be spotted along WA’s coastline. Each year thousands of humpback whales will make their way from the feeding grounds of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, to the South West region of WA, along the Coral Coast and up to the warmer waters of the Kimberley in WA’s North West, where they give birth. The whales will then suckle their calves in the protected waters of Camden Sound Marine Park – located 300 kilometres north-east of Broome – where they build their strength for the return journey along WA’s coastline to Antarctica. Throughout the season, visitors can take a whale watching tour departing from Albany, the Margaret River region (Augusta, Busselton and Dunsborough), Esperance, Perth (Fremantle, Hillarys and Rottnest Island), Kalbarri, Geraldton, Shark Bay and Broome - while in Exmouth and Coral Bay, visitors can experience the magic of swimming with humpback whales. Humpback interaction tours operate from August to October, just off Ningaloo Reef.

Limeburners & Giniversity come to the Swan Valley

Two of WA’s biggest spirit brands are heading to Perth’s Swan Valley region, with the new Limeburners & Giniversity in the Valley opening its doors this June. Award-winning Master Distiller Cameron Syme will be bringing his award-winning whisky and gin experiences to the new venue, along with a contemporary dining offering. While the distilling operations will remain in WA’s Great Southern and Margaret River regions, with Limeburners in Albany and Giniversity in Margaret River, the venue will see the Swan Valley’s first ever whisky on show, joining more than 40 world-class wineries, boutique breweries, cideries and gin distilleries. The new 200-seat venue will combine a restaurant, bar, cellar door and function venue; and will host the popular Giniversity and Limeburners blending experiences.

Lifestyle & Culture

Ord Valley Muster set to return in 2023

Ord Valley Muster's Corroboree Under the Stars event

The Kimberley town of Kununurra in WA’s North West will welcome the return of the Boab Metals Ord Valley Muster in 2023, with dates locked in for May 19 to 27. The nine-day festival will take over Kununurra and surrounds (Miriwoong Country) with more than 30 events featuring Aboriginal culture and dance, dining under the stars, live music, comedy, wellness sessions, art, family-friendly festivities and a genuine country rodeo. The Muster’s pinnacle event – the Aviair HeliSpirit Kimberley Moon Experience, will return on Saturday, May 20, alongside the black-tie Kimberley Fine Diamonds Dinner. The line-up for this live music event will be announced later in the year, with some of Australia’s biggest names in Australian music headlining previous years, such as Jessica Mauboy, Jimmy Barnes, Amy Shark, Paul Jelly and Guy Sebastian. Travel packages that include flights, tours and tickets to shows will soon be released.

Artists in the Margaret River region open their studios

Artist Fi Wilkie's studio - Margaret River Region Open Studios

A record 167 artists from across the Margaret River region will open their studios to the public for the annual Margaret River Region Open Studios. From September 10 to 25, visitors and art enthusiasts will have the rare opportunity to visit private art studios and meet established and emerging artists for a unique behind-the-scenes insight into their creative process. Visitors will find artists in some of the most unique settings, from family homes, old timber mill cottages, hobby and dairy farm, to straw bale homes, a converted water tank and school bus, hay sheds, shearing sheds, beach shacks and a brewery. Along with painters, sculptors, illustrators, ceramicists, printmakers, photographers and glassmakers, there are also more unusual creators such as milliners, tattoo artists and upcyclers. Renowned local artists participating in this year’s event include Leon Pericles, Christian Fletcher, Fi Wilkie, Ian Mutch, Rebecca Cool, Rachel Coad and Lauren Wilhelm. The event is free to attend and bookings are not required.

Discover WA’s shipwreck history with Shipwreck Hunters Australia

A documentary series featuring incredible shipwreck stories along WA’s coastline will premiere on Disney Plus in the coming months. Shipwreck Hunters Australia is the first Australian documentary commissioned by the international streaming platform Disney Plus - and follows a team of ocean adventurers as they explore WA’s spectacular and rugged coastlines to bring historic lost shipwreck stories to life. WA has more than 1,600 known shipwrecks strewn along its ocean floor, dating back to the 1600s. The six-part series sees a crew of highly skilled divers, underwater filmmakers and expert maritime archaeologists from the WA Maritime Museum helping to bring these long-lost shipwreck secrets and new discoveries to the screen.

Koorlbardi wer Wardong – Australia’s first Noongar Opera tours regional WA

Gina Williams as Ngaank Boodja in Koorlbardi wer Wardong

After a highly successful debut in 2021, Koorlbardi wer Wardong – Australia’s first opera works performed in Noongar language - is set to tour regional WA from June 4 to September 17, 2022. Lead by award-winning Noongar musicians and songwriters Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, the production is set to delight audiences in Albany in the Great Southern region on June 3; then Kalgoorlie on August 13 and Esperance on September 17 in WA’s Golden Outback. Based on Aboriginal stories, and set on Noongar Boodja (the South West corner of WA), the new work journeys back to the Nyittiny, the time of creation, and is based on the traditional story of how the koorlbardi (magpie) and the warding (crow) became the birds we see today.

Strange Festival takes over Perth for the first time

Strange Festival is Perth’s newest arts festival, taking place across the CBD from June 17 to 26, 2022. Strange provides an opportunity to explore the city’s unique and unused spaces through weird, wonderful and wildly strange experiences. More than 20 spaces throughout Perth city will host over 35 artists from around Australia, showcasing visual, aural, experiential, paintings, sculpture, projections, video and performance art. Strange will also host a dedicated performance space at Don Massimo Underground, with new artists performing each evening. The 10-day festival will end with the ceremonious burning of Cor Novis – The Feast, a large-scale sculpture collaboration with artist Hana Priest, taking place in Perth’s Forrest Place on Sunday, June 26. All installations and performances are free to experience, with further details available on the website.

Yagan Square comes alive with program of events

Perth’s Yagan Square precinct will come alive with activity across the winter months, with the launch of an exciting program of free events. Featuring live music, family activities and cultural events, the program kicks off with Can’t Contain Myself – an interactive exhibition featuring two shipping containers set up as mini selfie-museums. The container themes will be revamped each month by local street artists who will be live painting for passers-by to enjoy. Other pop-up events include Yagan Live weekends, featuring live music, performance art and film; as well as a Kids Sports Day Out, mini flower market showcasing WA suppliers and produce, and the Makuru Festival – a week of celebrating Noongar culture and history with activities, music and learning opportunities. Further details on the events can be found on the website.

Food & Wine

Join the hunt for truffles in WA

Hunting for truffles at Truffle Hill

With black truffles coming into season in the Southern Forests region of WA’s South West, now is the perfect time to join the hunt for the prized delicacy. The truffieres, located near the towns of Manjimup and Pemberton, are among a small handful in the world that allow guests to experience a truffle hunt. During the months of June, July and August, visitors to the region can follow along with highly trained truffle dogs as they sniff their way through the orchards in search of the famous black truffle. The Australian Truffle Traders and Truffle Hill offer exclusive truffle hunts to a limited number of people each year, and are a must do for foodies or those who love farm-to-plate experiences with the growers themselves.

Earn Your Vino is also offering a series of five-day immersive experiences over the month of July. In collaboration with more than a dozen family-run businesses, the all-inclusive five-day gourmet food and wine experience includes accommodation at Stonebarn Lodge, truffle hunts, specially curated wine tastings, hikes through the towering Karri forests to secret picnic spots, and private chef dining experiences showcasing local seasonal produce such as black perigord truffles, trout and marron.

The Southern Forests is the largest producer of black truffles in the Southern Hemisphere – with 70 per cent of Australia’s supply coming from the region.

Scarborough Sunset Markets return to warm up winter

The popular Scarborough Sunset Markets Winter Season will return to Perth’s Scarborough Beach on Saturday evenings (3pm to 8pm) from May 28 until October. More than 50 food vans and market stalls will warm up the winter months with a selection of global cuisines, local treats and handcrafted wares, and custom-made fire pits will be alight with marshmallows ready for roasting. Scarborough Beach, one of Perth’s most well-known coast precincts, is located an easy 20-minute drive from the CBD.

Tours, Attractions & Accommodation

Walk into Luxury in the Kimberley

El Questro in the Kimberley

Visitors to one of the last true wilderness areas on Earth – the Kimberley in WA’s North West – can now experience its magic on a luxury small group walking tour, thanks to the launch of Walk into Luxury’s new Kimberley experience. The signature 4 Day Kimberley Walk – which is available to book for the 2023 season - includes a three-night stay at one of Australia’s Luxury Lodges, El Questro Homestead. Priced from $8,995 per person (twin share), the four day Kimberley Walk includes a scenic flight from Kununurra to Mitchell Plateau, including a heli-hiking experience at Mitchell Falls; guided hikes to Emma Gorge and El Questro Gorge waterfall; exclusive use of Zebedee Springs thermal pools; sunset drinks at a scenic gorge lookout; bird watching experience; plus all meals, drinks and ground transfers. The new signature walk is available from April to September 2023, with regular Saturday departures.

Mabu Buru Tours new corroboree experience

Mabu Buru Tours, a Broome-based Aboriginal cultural tour operator offering on-country experiences on Yawuru Country, has recently launched the North West town’s first and only Aboriginal corroboree experience. Wakaj – meaning ‘the coming together of family’ – is a unique Aboriginal experience provided by Mabu Buru Tours in collaboration with Yatangal. The experience begins with a welcome from tour guide Johani Mamid, who will then introduce Mervyn Mulardy to lead the Pintirri Dancers into a corroboree performance, traditionally known as Maru. The Pintirri Dancers will take guests into the sunset with the sounds of traditional Karajarri songs. Wakaj is a typical gathering of Johani and Mervyn’s family, and the experience will leave guests with a deeper understanding of Yawuru and Karajarri culture, country and history; as well as discovering Bugarrigarra (The Dreaming) through stories, song and dance. The 2.5-hour tour takes place on Thursdays from 3:30pm, and includes damper, tea, coffee and locally made bush honey, enjoyed around a campfire.

New luxury villa at Bina Maya Yallingup Escape

Luxury Villa Two at Bina Maya Yallingup Escape

Bina Maya Yallingup Escape, offering luxury self-catering accommodation located in the heart of the Margaret River region, has recently welcomed the addition of a new villa. Luxury Villa Two complements the existing Luxury Villa One and The Residence – with signature Scandinavian features, two king bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, an outdoor bath and shower, a fully equipped kitchen and stocked pantry, plus a lounge room with a log fireplace. Bina Maya Yallingup Escape offers self-catering luxury with a difference, with guests able to indulge themselves with in-house massages and facials, personalised yoga sessions, sound bowl massage, private chef degustation and breakfast delivered to the door. With all three properties surrounded by the native Australian bush, guests leave feeling relaxed and reconnected with nature.

Nationwest Aviation welcomes new addition to its fleet

Nationwest Aviation, a premier aviation company operating out of Perth and Kalbarri in WA’s Coral Coast, has recently announced a new addition to its fleet. The Gipps Airvan is a high-wing scenic aircraft that, along with the current fleet of Cessna’s, allows every passenger to have a window seat. Nationwest Aviation offers a range of scenic tours departing from both Perth and Kalbarri, including flights over the Abrolhos Islands, Pink Lake at Hutt Lagoon, the coastal cliffs and river gorges of Kalbarri; as well as day tours to Monkey Mia in Shark Bay, Wave Rock, Kalgoorlie and station stay experiences.

Journey along the award winning Horsepower Highway

The Horsepower Highway - 'Snowy' near Bluff Knoll in the Stirling Range National Park

WA’s unique and quirky Horsepower Highway has recently taken home three awards at the 2021 Australian Street Art Awards, winning gold in the Best Rural Art and Best Sculpture Park or Trail categories, as well as picking up silver in the prestigious Best Street Art Trail award. The Horsepower Highway offers travellers an insight into WA’s agricultural past with a 75 kilometre ever-evolving trail of roadside vintage tractors and other artworks, running along the Broomehill-Gnowangerup Road through to the Stirling Range National Park in WA’s South West region. The trail was created in 2021 to encourage visitors to take the scenic route through stunning farmlands to the popular Stirling Range National Park – home to one of WA’s highest peaks, Bluff Knoll. An interactive map of the trail has also been developed to provide information and history along the way.

New website making it easier to Discover WA’s trails

Visitors and locals will now find it easier to discover the State’s network of over 800 world-class trails thanks to the launch of a new interactive website. The new Trails WA website features downloadable maps that can be accessed offline, offering information on bushwalking, mountain biking, trail running and water trails, through to food and wine trails and accessibility friendly trails. The curated content is also destination focused and designed to help people plan and explore not only the region’s trails, but also the nearby cafes, accommodation, bike shops and transport services. From steep and winding trails and gentle hills, to world-class multi-day hikes incredible gorge walks through National Parks, there’s a trail experience to suit everyone in WA.

PONANT announces new sailing expeditions in the Kimberley

PONANT luxury sailing yacht - Le Ponant

Luxury small ship cruise operator PONANT is set to bring a new level of luxury to the bucket-list Kimberley expedition cruising experience for the 2023 season. The company’s iconic 32-passenger, three-masted sailing yacht Le Ponant will arrive in Australian waters to commence sailing in April 2023. Partnering with Paspaley Group, the new bespoke itinerary will see guests sailing through the ancient wonders of the Kimberley coast on-board the newly refurbished Le Ponant – which offers 16 staterooms for a maximum of 32 guests - as well as shore landings on state-of-the-art Zodiac boats. Adding to the unique experience, an exclusive and private scenic flight on-board one of Paspaley’s vintage Grumman Mallard flying boats will take guests from or to their embarkation point, and guests will also experience private access to Paspaley’s pearl operations in Kuri Bay. The new seven to 14 night itineraries will be available to book this month, along with a selection of pre and post land arrangements at El Questro, Berkley River Lodge and Broome, and will set sail from April to October 2023.


WA Day Festival

June 6 | Burswood Park | Perth

A reimagined WA Day Festival returns in 2022 at Perth’s Burswood Park, with a stacked WA live music line-up, the State’s biggest drone light show, and world-class food and wine to enjoy. Local favourites Birds of Tokyo, Eskimo Joe and Jebidiah will lead an all-star line-up of WA talent. Other activities include a giant silent disco, roaming entertainers, carnival rides and games, over 60 food trucks offering a range of multicultural cuisines, plus over 20 incredible family friendly activations – including Whadjuk Dreaming, an immersive indigenous storytelling celebrating Whadjuk Noongar history.

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State Makers Festival

June 16 to 26 | State Buildings | Perth

State Makers Festival will return to Perth’s iconic State Buildings for a celebration of WA food, wine and art. Experience an eleven-day celebration of food, wine, conversation, and the arts with a dynamic program of wine, cuisine and cultural events. Highlight include the Three Hats of Wildflower – a gastronomic journey showcasing the culinary visions of three of Wildflower’s most celebrated current and former chefs, Jed Gerrard, Matthew Sartori and Michael D’Adamo. Internationally renowned Thai food legend David Thompson will also be in Perth to deliver an epic shared Thai feast as part of the festival of activity.

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Manjimup Truffle and Wine Festival

June 24 to 26 | Manjimup & Pemberton | WA’s South West

The inaugural Manjimup Truffle and Wine Festival celebrates the start of the region’s truffle season with an array of truffle-themed experiences. The three-day festival brings together the region’s truffle producers, winemakers, growers and chefs for a series of satellite events held across multiple locations. Experience truffle tours, gourmet degustation dinners, truffle hunts, farm visits, entertainment, wine tastings and wine masterclasses.

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Ampol State of Origin

June 26 | Optus Stadium | Perth

One of the nation’s greatest sporting rivalries, the Ampol State of Origin will return to Perth in 2022. Game II of the three-game series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at Perth’s world-class Optus Stadium, a multi-purpose venue with a ‘fans first’ approach. Tickets are now on sale for this highly anticipated clash, with premium hospitality packages also available.

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Wallabies v England

July 2 | Optus Stadium | Perth

The England Rugby team will return to Perth for the first time in 12 years to take on the Australian Wallabies at Perth’s world-class Optus Stadium. This will be the first test match of the three-game England tour, the first time England has played at Optus Stadium and only the second time they have played the Wallabies in Perth. Tickets for this international rugby match are now on sale.

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Cabin Fever

July 15 to 24 | Margaret River region | WA’s South West

Cabin Fever will take over the Margaret River region from July 15 to 24, showcasing the region’s wineries, breweries, seasonal produce and restaurants across the cosy winter months. The 10-day festival will offer visitors to the region plenty of fire, food and fine tunes, with more than 40 experiences – including some exciting new events - at a range of different venues from Busselton through to Margaret River. Guests can expect collaboration dinners with local and Perth-based chefs, long table lunches and winter wine walks.

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Broome International Airport Marathon

August 7 | Broome | WA’s North West

Held on Broome’s iconic Cable Beach, the Broome International Airport Broome Marathon sees participants running along one of the most picturesque beaches in Australia. The event includes a variety of distances including the 10.5 kilometre Matso's Dash, the 21.1 kilometre Broome Half Marathon and the 42.2 kilometres Broome International Airport Marathon. Broome’s epic low tides ensure hard packed sand for this iconic beach running event.

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CinefestOz Film Festival

August 24 to 28 | Busselton | Australia’s South West

A celebration of Australian film, the 15th annual CinefestOZ Film Festival will showcase an extraordinary line-up of new and exciting films. Set against the stunning backdrop of WA’s South West, the film festival premieres feature films and events in the region’s cinemas, wineries, boutique breweries, small bars and galleries. Cinema stars, top screen industry professionals and thousands of film lovers will enjoy a range of different film and event options on offer during the five-day festival.

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Shinju Matsuri

August 20 to September 4 | Broome | WA’s North West

Tickets are now on sale for the annual Shinju Matsuri (festival of the pearl), set to be held in Broome – the pearling capital of Australia. This year’s program features more than 50 events and activities, including the iconic Sunset Long Table Dinner at Cable Beach, the H.F.S.A Jetty Gala on Town Beach Jetty, the Floating Lantern Matsuri, Chinatown Feast, the Pearl Meat Cook-Off, and a ‘festival hub’ at Town Beach. The annual Shinju Matsuri event is a celebration of the diverse cultures that have come together in Broome over the past century for pearls, including Japanese, Malaysian, Chinese and Aboriginal.

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Media contact:
Tiana Anderson

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