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What’s New in Western Australia – August 2019

August 14, 2019 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Direct flights from Melbourne to Kununurra, the Ritz-Carlton’s opening date, WA’s wildflower season, an Art Series hotel for Perth and the latest events calendar – these are just some of the August new product updates for Western Australia.

Opening date set for Ritz-Carlton

One of Australia’s most anticipated new hotels, the Ritz-Carlton, is set to open its doors at Perth’s Elizabeth Quay on November 15. The new luxury hotel will offer 205 rooms, including 18 generously appointed suites and the 277 square metre Ritz-Carlton Suite featuring an outdoor balcony. A rooftop bar will serve up cocktails and small dishes alongside stunning views of the city and Swan River, and the hotel’s restaurant will highlight the flavours, producers and winemakers of WA. The hotel will also offer meeting and events spaces – including the Elizabeth Quay Ballroom – and the Ritz-Carlton Spa, providing guests with four treatment rooms, saunas, fitness centre, a private yoga studio, two outdoor heated vitality pools and a heated outdoor infinity pool.

Perth to host Constellation Cup

Australia’s top female netball team, the Samsung Diamonds, will play to defend its six straight Constellation Cup winning streak at this year’s test, with the side set to take on the New Zealand Silver Ferns at Perth’s RAC Arena on October 27. Perth will host the final showdown of the four-match Constellation Cup, which will be a rematch of the World Cup Final in July, where New Zealand beat Australia by one goal, with two games apiece to be held on each side’s home soil.

WA wildflowers in bloom

There’s never been a better time for travellers to plan a springtime wildflower holiday to WA, with good rainfall in June indicating a bumper wildflower season for parts of the State. WA’s wildflower season is the largest wildflower show on Earth and a true spectacle of colour, with recent reports indicating that the carpets of everlastings have started to bloom in the Coral Coast and Golden Outback regions. With more than 12,000 species, 60 per cent of which are found nowhere else in the world, the flowers will colour the landscapes from coast to forest and city to outback. The WA Wildflower Guide contains information on where to see the best wildflowers and the WA Visitor Centre has also developed an online Wildflower Tracker to provide travellers with one easy to use wildflower information and sightings reference. Updated daily, the interactive map shows exactly where the wildflowers are blooming around the State.

The Adnate comes to Perth

Opening in October 2019, Accor has announced its new Art Series hotel in Perth will be named after one of Australian street art’s most influential big wall painters – Matt Adnate. The Adnate is set to feature one of the world’s tallest murals, and is the first Art Series hotel dedicated to street art.  Renowned for his large scale spray painted portraits portraying Aboriginal people, the hotel’s 27-storey ‘Mega Mural’ will be the largest artwork Matt has painted on a building – and will feature the face of a Noongar man, an Indian woman and a Mediterranean woman. Matt will also be collaborating with a local Indigenous artist on a 50-metre-long exterior laneway mural and, inside the hotel, is contributing a mural above the hotel’s main staircase. Two original canvases and up to 650 reproductions of 30 of Matt’s most recognised works from around the world will adorn the walls and halls of the 250-room hotel. The Adnate heralds the arrival of the Art Series brand in Western Australia. To celebrate the near completion of Matt’s Mega Mural, Art Series has released an opening special rate for The Adnate, which is from $179* per night.

Vanya Cullen named winemaker of the year

Cullen Wines winemaker Vanya Cullen has been named Winemaker of the Year at the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards. As one of Australia’s most recognised wine writers, James Halliday and his tasting panel find the nation’s best wines and winemakers to be featured in the Halliday Wine Companion guide. Vanya Cullen has been wine-making at the family run Cullen Wines estate since 1983. Based in Wilyabrup in the heart of the Margaret River wine region, the winery uses sustainable and biodynamic practices to produce award-winning wines that are chemical free. This is the second year in a row that a Margaret River winemaker has been named winemaker of the year, with Julian Langworthy of Deep Woods Estate taking home last year’s award.

Margaret River dominates wine awards

In addition to the Winemaker of the Year award, Margaret River’s Domaine Naturaliste was named the Best Value Winery of the Year at the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards – recognising the wines as both great quality and great value. The awards also saw four additional Margaret River winemakers take home the Best of Varietal Awards, as listed below:

  • Best Cabernet Sauvignon – Deep Woods Estate Reserve Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
  • Best Chardonnay – Moss Wood Wilyabrup Margaret River Chardonnay 2017
  • Best Sauvignon Blanc – Flowstone Wines Queen of the Earth Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc 2017
  • Best Semillon Sauvignon Blanc – Stella Bella Suckfizzle Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2016).

 Settlers Tavern’s wine list winning awards

The iconic Settlers Tavern, located in Margaret River’s town centre, has taken home the Best Wine List WA in the Gourmet Traveller Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards, as well as the Best Listing of WA Wines. Dedicated to supporting the local Margaret River wine region, the tavern’s wine list offers over 600 different wines – which was recognised as a remarkable feat for a regional pub.

Swim with humpbacks in Ningaloo

WA is now one of the premier destinations in the world for swimming with humpback whales, with the fourth year of trials now underway in the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Marine Park in the State’s Coral Coast. Visitors to the region can now experience the breathtaking magic of swimming with one of the world’s biggest mammals, with the season generally commencing in Coral Bay in July and Exmouth in August, running until October 30. With two more trial years approved by the WA Government for 2019 and 2020, improvements in tour delivery over the past three years include locating whales through spotter planes communicating directly to the boats, direct radio contact between the boat’s skipper and in-water guide and on-board drones – all helping to increase the success rate of interactions with the gentle giants for guests.

RAC Karri Valley Resort redevelopment complete

Nestled among the towering Karri trees near Pemberton in WA’s South West – the RAC Karri Valley Resort has recently undergone a $5.7 million redevelopment. Established in 1983 as a shared accommodation lodge, and offering stunning views over Lake Beedelup, the refurbishment has maintained the property’s rich history and unique characteristics. All of the two and three bedroom lake and forest view chalets have been upgraded with new furnishings, appliances and interiors. The resort’s Lakeside Restaurant has also undergone extensive refurbishments, including an extension into a relaxed lounge area, indoor fireplace with stunning views over the lake, and can now accommodate weddings and functions. The menu has also been updated, with a focus on local ingredients and unique flavours.

Ibis Styles East Perth

Perth will be home to the world’s largest high-rise modular hotel when the new Ibis Styles East Perth opens in September. The 18-floor hotel will feature 252 guest rooms, making it the world’s current tallest modular hotel, in terms of room numbers offered. Located within walking distance of Perth’s Optus Stadium, guests can dine at the Eastside Social Bar and Restaurant, and access a 24-hour gym, high-tech urban offices, and a co-working space for both guests and locals.

Captain Cook Cruises new Swan River tours

Sealink’s Captain Cook Cruises has recently introduced a number of new Swan River tours commencing in September for the summer season. On the Perth Microbreweries and Lunch Cruise guests will cruise to three of Perth’s popular breweries – The Old Brewery and Riverside Brewhouse; The Camfield; and Bright Tank Brewery for tastings, with lunch served onboard. On the Summer Lunch Cruise guests will enjoy an all-inclusive buffet lunch, and on the Perth High Tea Cruise, guests will be served sweet and savoury treats with the option for free-flowing champagne – all while cruising along the picturesque Swan River.


New direct flights make exploring the Kimberley easier

One of the world’s last true wilderness areas – the Kimberley region of Western Australia – is now easier to explore thanks to new direct flights between Melbourne and Kununurra, which are now on sale and begin operating in May 2020.

Complementing the existing direct flight services from the east coast of Australia to Broome in the west Kimberley, the new flights direct to Kununurra mean that travellers now have more options as to where they start and end their Kimberley adventure.

Now easily accessible for a long weekend – Kununurra is located in the east Kimberley on the doorstep of bucket list natural wonders such as the Bungle Bungle Range in World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park, the waterways of the mighty Ord River and Lake Argyle (the largest freshwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere), and the waterfalls, gorges and epic landscapes of El Questro.

Known as ‘big water’ in the local Aboriginal language, Kununurra is rich in Aboriginal culture. Visit Waringarri Aboriginal Arts to experience country and culture through local art or take an authentic tour and discover the region through the eyes of an Aboriginal elder. See (or buy) the rare Argyle pink diamond at Kimberley Fine Diamonds from the world-renowned Argyle diamond mine, and watch the master jewellers at work.  Make sure to stop by WA’s oldest continuously operating still, the Hoochery Distillery, or take home a beautifully crafted piece of 600-million-year-old Zebra Rock.

Kununurra is also the perfect base from which to explore the greater Kimberley region on an epic road trip. The 660-kilometre Gibb River Road – which runs from Derby in the west Kimberley (near Broome) to Kununurra – is one of Australia’s most iconic 4WD trails through ancient gorge and waterfall country, pockets of rainforest and cattle stations. Camp overnight under the stars, stay at one of the region’s unique glamping accommodations or indulge at El Questro Homestead or the Grass Castles at Home Valley Station.

From Derby or Broome take a flight, then jet boat through the unique natural phenomenon of the Horizontal Falls in the Buccaneer Archipelago. The tropical pearling town of Broome – where the outback meets the ocean – is a unique meld of cultures and cuisines. Famous for the white sands and aquamarine waters of Cable Beach, stunning sunsets, red rock cliffs, and dinosaur footprints, there’s also plenty of boutique accommodation for a resort holiday.

Travellers wishing to extend their Kimberley road trip adventure can return to Kununurra from Broome along the Great Northern Highway, or fly direct to Kununurra, or through to WA’s flourishing capital city of Perth.

Broome and Kununurra are also the perfect starting points for a Kimberley cruisingadventure to remote waterfalls and coastal retreats.

The new Melbourne to Kununurra flights will run three days a week – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays – between May and August 2020. Economy tickets on the Melbourne to Kununurra service are priced from as low as $399 one-way all inclusive, with business class seats also available. Tickets are now on sale through the Virgin Australia website, or can be purchased through a travel agent.

Travellers on the eastern seaboard can also access the Kimberley via Broome, with Qantas offering direct seasonal services from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin, or via Perth.

For more inspiration and information to help you plan your epic Kimberley adventure, visit

Top ten things to do in the Kimberley:

  1. Discover the region’s stunning natural beauty and unique attractions such as the unique beehive dome formations of the Bungle Bungle Range in the World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park – believed to be 350 million years in the making, Australia’s only Horizontal Falls at Talbot Bay, and the 1,000 rocky islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago.
  2. Cruise the extraordinary Lake Argyle – the largest freshwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere – and the mighty Ord River; both home to freshwater crocodiles, fish, rock wallabies and over 250 species of birds.
  3. Travel the Kimberley’s iconic Gibb River Road, one of Australia’s classic four-wheel-drive adventures. Spanning 660 kilometres from Kununurra to Derby, the epic drive cuts through some of the most rugged country on earth and provides access to waterfalls, stunning red gorges, as well as El Questro and Home Valley Station.
  4. The Kimberley is one of the best destinations in Australia to have an authentic Aboriginal experience. Visitors can take guided tours and discover ancient rock art, go mud crabbing and spear fishing, try local bush tucker, and hear Dreamtime stories, and visit local art galleries such as the Waringarri Aboriginal Arts centre in Kununurra.
  5. Just a short drive from Kununurra town, explore the ‘mini-Bungles’ of the Mirima National Park, climb Kelly’s Knob lookout for 360 degree views of Kununurra, or visit local attractions such as Ivanhoe Crossing and WA’s oldest continuously operating still, the Hoochery Distillery.
  6. Experience the ultimate fishing adventure along the many lakes, rivers and creeks in the region. Hire a boat, fish from the land or join a tour and attempt to catch a prized Barramundi. Looking for a true adventure experience? Join a heli-fishing tour to access some of the region’s most remote fishing spots.
  7. Visit the tropical pearling town of Broome, where the outback meets the ocean. A unique meld of cultures and cuisines, visitors will find themselves stepping into ‘Broome-time’ – the name locals give to the relaxed and laidback feeling of the town. Famous for its pristine white sands, aquamarine waters and red pindan cliffs, a trip to Broome isn’t complete without a camel ride along the iconic Cable Beach whilst watching an Indian Ocean sunset.
  8. Discover the famous gems of the region, home to the world-renowned Kimberley diamonds – including the rare and sought-after pink diamond – and the Australian South Sea pearl. Visit the pearl showrooms lining the streets of Chinatown in Broome, or learn about the famous pearling industry on a pearl farm tour to Willie Creek or Cygnet Bay. In Kununurra, visitors can step inside Kimberley Fine Diamonds to marvel at the incredible natural gem stones, and the master jewellers at work.
  9. Take in the wonders of the Kimberley coastline on a Kimberley cruising adventure. Visit remote waterfalls and freshwater swimming holes, view Aboriginal rock art, picnic on white sandy beaches, spot giant boab trees and local wildlife, whilst learning about the region’s amazing geology.
  10. To experience the culture of the Kimberley, time your visit with one the region’s annual events such as the multi-award-winning Ord Valley Muster, the Lake Argyle SwimShinju Matsuri FestivalTaste of Broome and the Broome racing season.



 CinefestOz Film Festival

August 28 to September 1 | Busselton | Australia’s South West

A celebration of Australian film, the 12th annual CinefestOZ Film Festival will showcase an extraordinary line-up of new and exciting films, with five in the running for the 2019 $100,000 Film Prize. GO!, H is for Happiness, Hearts and Bones, Judy and Punch and Measure for Measure have been selected to compete for Australia’s biggest film prize, and star well-known Australian actors such as Hugo Weaving, Deborah Mialman, Richard Roxburgh and Frances O’Connor. This year the film prize jury will be chaired by award-winning actress turned director Rachel Ward. 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 over 150 film and event options on offer during the five day festival.

Kimberley Writers Festival

Held in one of Australia’s most naturally breathtaking locations, the Kimberley Writers Festival will return to the Kimberley town of Kununurra from September 6 to 8. This one-of-a-kind readers and writers festival provides guests with the opportunity to hear from some of the country’s most diverse writing talents in a friendly and informal setting.  Now in its 14th year, the 2019 program will include a literary breakfast, readings and discussions, Q&A’s with the writers, an evening of storytelling with Kununurra elders, and the annual Ord River Champagne Brunch Cruise. Special guests include novelist and playwright Steve Hawke, who brought his stage play Jandamarra to Kununurra in 2011; award-winning children’s writer, poet and novelist Meg McKinlay; and long-time Canberra journalist and foreign correspondent turned crime novelist Chris Hammer.

Shinju Matsuri

September 7 to 15 | Broome | Australia’s North West

Masterchef Australia favourites Diana Chan and Brendan Pang will headline this year’s Shinju Matsuri. Japanese for ‘festival of the pearl’ – the event is a vibrant celebration of Broome’s proud multicultural and pearling history. It features a stellar line-up of unique events, such as the iconic Sunset Long Table Dinner at Cable Beach, the popular Willie Creek Pearl Meat Cook-Off and the Floating Lantern Festival, which showcase the art, food and culture of the region. Since the late 1800s, Broome’s prized South Sea pearls have brought together local Aboriginal people with Japanese, Chinese, Malay, Koepanger, Filipino and European workers.

Lake Perkolilli Red Dust Revival

The Lake Perkolilli Red Dust Revival – held from September 12 to 15 – will see the drivers of 100 antique race cars and motorcycles race their vintage vehicles across an isolated clay pan, located near Kalgoorlie in WA’s Golden Outback region. Lake Perkollili is legendary among those who know about the outback origins of Australian motor sport, as the rock hard clay pan was used as a race track to chase Australian speed records from 1914 to 1939. The motor event will resurrect the old natural track, with competitors happy to get their antique vehicles covered in red dust in the spirit of reliving the historic glory days of motor sport.

Kings Park Festival

September 2019 | Perth | Destination Perth

See thousands of extraordinary wildflowers from all across Western Australia blooming in one spot – in the spectacular Kings Park and Botanic Garden, right on the steps of the Perth CBD. Celebrating the greatest wildflower show on Earth, the month long festival will see a number of free events including outdoor exhibitions, guided walks, art displays, family activities and more.



Kulin Community Bank Bush Races

October 4 to 6 | Kulin | Australia’s Golden Outback

The award-winning Kulin Community Bank Bush Races is more than just a day at the races – with a weekend of art, crafts, novelty events, children’s entertainment, live bands and country style food on offer. Held in the Wheatbelt town of Kulin, known for its quirky Tin Horse Highway, the event also includes the annual Tin Horse Competition, with all tin horse sculpture entries installed along the highway. With camping facilities available for visitors throughout the weekend, the event begins on Friday with live music and entertainment, followed by horse races, barrel racing finals, novelty sheep races, fireworks display and live music with a headlining act on the Saturday. The weekend concludes with a Great Aussie Revival Breakfaston Sunday morning.

Cape to Cape MTB

October 17 to 20 | Margaret River Region | Australia’s South West

Australasia’s largest and longest running mountain biking multi-stage endurance race boasts some of WA’s most spectacular coastal, forest and vineyard backdrops. Starting at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and finishing four days later at the famous Colonial Brewery in the Margaret River region, the course makes its way through a network of trails along the coast, through national parks, forest, farm lands and mountain bike parks. Suitable for riders of all levels, the event is known for its fun, friendly vibe, with the occasional competitor spotted in a winery along the way!

Brew and the Moo

October 25 to 26 | Dampier | Australia’s North West

The turquoise waters of the Pilbara’s Dampier Archipelago provide an ideal backdrop for this celebration of mouth-watering local beef and top beers. Take in the sunset over Dampier’s Hampton Harbour while enjoying music, grazing gourmet food stalls and sampling boutique brews from WA, interstate and international breweries.


 Augusta Adventure Fest

November 2 to 3 | Augusta | Australia’s South West

Recognised as the world’s biggest adventure race, this multi-race, multi-adventure weekend offers something for everyone, taking place amidst the landscapes of the South West region. The event will feature the Augusta Premier Adventure Race, which includes a 12.5 kilometre run starting on the boulders below Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, followed by a two kilometre ocean swim, a 12.5 kilometre ocean paddle, a 28.5 kilometre mountain bike ride, finishing up with a 400 metre run to the finish line. For younger and first time competitors, there’s the Augusta MINI Adventure Race, and for children there’s the Junior Survivor Augusta. After a 14 year history, this year’s Augusta Adventure Fest will be the last ever event.

Western Australia Gourmet Escape

November 8 to 17 | Swan Valley, Perth and Margaret River region | Destination Perth and Australia’s South West

The new Western Australia Gourmet Escape, an expansion of the Margaret River Gourmet Escape, is a ten-day culinary event which will take place in Perth, the Swan Valley and Margaret River.  British chef, restaurateur and television personality Marco Pierre White and David Chang, of New York’s legendary Momofuku restaurant empire, will be among the line-up of global culinary leaders, which also includes Danny Bowien (USA), Amanda Cohen (USA), Pierre Koffmann (UK) and Ivan Brehm (Singapore), Alla Wolf-Tasker (Vic), Jock Zonfrillo (SA), Josh Niland (NSW) and WA local Seth James.

Marco Pierre White will participate in a one-off collaboration dinner at Sittella Winery in the Swan Valley, as well as appearances at the new family-friendly Gourmet Feast in the Valley. To be held on the grounds of Sandalford Winery, Gourmet Feast in the Valley is a food and music event that will see authentic culinary experiences complemented with a live music program, and headlined by Australian alt-rock favourites The Rubens. The Swan Valley will also host the inaugural World Gourmet Symposium – a trade event designed to educate, dissect and debate the future of food, beverage, tourism and hospitality industries.

David Chang will headline the ever-popular Westpac Gourmet Beach BBQ in the Margaret River region, teaming up with his Sydney-based Australian counterpart Paul Carmichael. Other returning event favourites include the Gourmet Village at Leeuwin Estate, Cullen Chardonnay Wine Tasting and Lunch, and Sunset Beats and Bites, with more than 50 events on the program.

Fed Cup by BNP Paribas

November 9 to 10 | Destination Perth

Western Australia will host some of the world’s top female tennis players, with the Fed Cup final between Australia and France set to be held in Perth this November. The International Tennis Federation announced the final would be held in WA after team Australia, captained by WA’s Alicia Molik and led by Australia’s No. 1 tennis player and recent French Open champion Ashleigh Barty, defeated Belarus in the semi-final in April. It will be the first time Perth has staged the final of the world’s largest annual international women’s tennis competition since the 1971 edition. The competition will take place at RAC Arena on November 9 and 10.

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