Coasting along nicely in WA this summer

Coasting along nicely in WA this summer

WITH summer less than a month away, trips to the beach are sure to be on the up.

Fortunately for Western Australians, we are not short on spots to visit.

Beside providing a variety of spots to cool off and recreate, the WA coast also has an important economic role, as Tourism Council WA chief executive Evan Hall explains.

“A trip to the beach ranks alongside food and wine experiences, shopping and sightseeing as the most popular activities for visitors to Western Australia,” he said.

“Out of the 835,000 international visitors to WA in 2014-15, more than 550,000 took a trip to our beaches.”

Mr Hall said WA’s coastal attraction went deeper than simple visits to the beach.

Great fishing spots, island getaways and surf spots combine to create an opportunity for a wide range of visitor experiences.

“It also involves on-water experiences such as boating and wildlife cruises and on-shore experiences including restaurants and other leisure activities,” he said.

Interstate visitors to WA declined 2.1 per cent in 2014-15, with visitor expenditure down 21 per cent.

That equated to $324 million in lost tourism dollars.

But intrastate visitor numbers jumped almost 15 per cent and expenditure increasing by 18.1 per cent.

“Western Australians clearly know what a great place this State is for a holiday. The problem is, we’ve stopped spreading that message across the rest of Australia and less interstate travellers are visiting our wonderful State as a result,” Mr Hall said.

Things to do at WA beaches:

Swimming and snorkelling: WA’s clear waters, islands, marine life and shipwrecks make snorkelling a popular activity. From next year, the Tourism Council will trial swimming with humpback whales at Ningaloo Reef.

Kite and wind surfing. WA is one of the most popular kite and wind surfing destinations in the world thanks to its consistent conditions. Leighton Beach and Woodman Point are popular local spots.

Fishing: With more than 12,000kms of coastline, there is no shortage of water for keen fishers to reel in something good. The North Mole in Fremantle, Woodman Point and South Rock Wall in Hillarys are popular metro spots.

Whale watching. Western Australia’s whale watching season runs from May to December, one of the longest seasons in the world. Regular tours leave out of Fremantle and Hillarys.

Sea Kayaking: Sea kayaking is an easy way to get closer to WA’s marine life, visit our World Heritage listed marine parks or go for a leisurely paddle. A sea kayaking tip to Penguin Island, near Rockingham, can bring you face to face with penguins and rare Australian sea lions.

Surfing/ bodyboarding: WA has some of the best surf breaks in the world for professionals and amateurs. While Margaret River is considered our state’s surfing hotspot, Trigg Beach, Scarborough and Cottesloe provide more local options.