Swim with whale sharks, the biggest fish in the sea, when they visit the Ningaloo Coast between March and July. Witness humpback whales breach, blow and slap as they make their annual migration up and down the coast between August and December. See colourful carpets of wildflowers between June and November in landscapes that may appear almost barren for the rest of the year. Western Australia has some awesome wildlife experiences. Many are seasonal so you must visit at the right time of the year, especially if your visit is once in a lifetime.
Weather and climate
Western Australia covers a massive land area and has major variations in climate from north to south and season to season. Each region has its own best times to visit so there is no single best time to visit.
All parks across the state, for at least part of the year, can be hot and very dry. Water and shade can be scarce. You should always carry enough water for your own needs and protect yourself from the sun, especially during the hottest parts of the day.
You should always check the weather forecast for your travels and park visits. Make sure you check both daily minimum and maximum temperatures and that you have adequate protection from the cold. The difference in temperature between day and night can be high, particularly away from the coast. It can be surprisingly cold, sometimes below freezing point, and not just at altitude or in the state's southernmost areas. The Bureau of Meteorology publishes detailed climate and weather information including forecasts and warnings to help planning.
In some parts of Western Australia there are periods when extreme conditions mean that extra planning and preparation are essential before you visit. You may also need to assess whether your own capabilities are sufficient.
The risk of fire in hot, dry and windy conditions can be severe. Seasonal or year-round bans on open fires and other activities which may start a fire are enforced as preventative measures. Camp fires and some types of cooking equipment can’t be used during a fire ban.
A program of strategically planned fires called ‘prescribed burning’ is operated in cooler times of the year to help reduce the risk and severity of bushfires.
Alerts for fires, smoke and prescribed burning in parks are available at Emergency WA and general information on fire management is available from the Parks and Wildlife Service website.
Most parks are open throughout the year but it is sometimes necessary to close facilities or entire parks to visitors for safety or conservation reasons. Closures for programmed conservation, maintenance and development work are scheduled to minimise impact on visitors as far as possible. When closures are unplanned, they will re-open at the earliest opportunity. Notice of park closures can be found at Park alerts.
Parks can be very busy on public holidays and during Western Australia’s school holidays. If you are travelling during these periods you should book accommodation and tours early or try to arrive early if booking is not available.