Population: Over 2 million
Size: 2,529,875 sq km
State Capital: Perth
The first thing to know about Western Australia is that it is enormous – twice the size of Western Europe. As might be expected, this huge area contains a huge variety of attractions and landscapes – from the eerie twisted sandstone pillars of the Pinnacles in Nambung National Park to the rolling vineyards in the south of the state. The coastline of Western Australia is particularly spectacular and the turquoise waters are teeming with life – Ningaloo Marine Park, for example, is home to a huge array of wildlife, including whale sharks, rays, bottlenose dolphins, sea snakes and loggerhead turtles.
The majority of the state’s two million inhabitants live in Perth, the nearby port of Fremantle, and other towns along the coast. Perth might be the world’s most remote city, but it’s a friendly, bustling, exciting place with plenty of great nightlife, restaurants and activities.
It is also the fastest-growing city in Australia, thanks to the state’s ongoing economic boom. The boom is being driven by the mining industry – Western Australia has always been an exporter of minerals and natural resources, but high demand from overseas in recent years has resulted in a long spell of economic growth and Perth is now an established hub of the international oil, mineral and gas industries.
The mining boom has also led to rapid growth in other areas, notably property and building. Perth has traditionally been seen as a cheaper place to live than the east coast of Australia, but over the past few years demand for housing has been so high that property in Perth has become the second most valuable in the country, second only to Sydney.
Western Australia’s size and its isolation from the rest of Australia means it has a laid-back, outdoorsy character all its own, which has traditionally proved popular with people from the UK and Ireland. There’s a large ex-pat community here, which has only grown in recent years as more and more people are attracted by the lure of economic prosperity and low unemployment rates. The state has a relaxed, safe atmosphere and the great climate encourages a healthy, outdoor lifestyle.