In Western Australia, there is something for everybody, especially if you opt to take a self-drive through the regions spanning the biggest state down under. Here you can find moving sand-dunes, white sand beaches, some 100,000-year-old sandstone formations, massive gorges, mountain ranges, vineyards, historical towns, indigenous communities and everything else you can think about. One thing for sure, the roads and highways are really great and you’re going to have the best time of your life driving.
But hey, wait, what about those who aren’t driving, and wanted to travel across Western Australia, the country’s biggest and the least populated state, using public transport? Is it even possible for someone to travel here if they decided not to drive? Well, I’d give it a Yes and a No.
If you’re going to and from the main cities, like Perth or Albany or Broome, you should be fine, though the frequency of buses and train connecting different cities will always remain poor. Moreover, the cost of transportation is so heavily overrated that you are anyway not going to be very happy. On the east coast of Australia, buses and trains are the cheapest options. On the west coast, the case is rather the contrary. Here buses are surprisingly expensive, due to limited competition, and there are not many people moving up and down the coast. At times, you may feel that it’s easier and cheaper to fly out in Western Australia than travel by land unless you’re driving. For example, a 250km ride between Perth and Margaret River, which takes less than 4 hours can cost a whopping 77 dollars if you aren’t eligible for a student or a senior citizen discount — which, as a traveler, will most likely be your case. So what are your chances?
Tips On Travelling Through Western Australia If You Aren’t Driving
Use Facebook Rideshare Groups
One of the quickest, convenient and cheapest way to travel in Australia is ride sharing. Find someone who is going to the same direction and chip in some fuel money. Moreover, in a country where people are always struggling to travel, ride sharing is more active.
Facebook groups can be a great way to find people to travel with. For example, I used Margaret River Ride Share Facebook group to find someone to ride with and travelled from Margaret River to Perth in under 3 hours (the guy drove pretty fast) for only 20 dollars. A bus would have cost 77 dollars. Pretty sweet deal, right? Search similar Facebook groups, targeting the city you are going to or leaving from, and you never know if you may go lucky just like I did.
Find Someone In Your Hostel
If you just happen to check the notice board of your hostel, chances are you may find a sticky note humbly asking you to share a ride. If not, why not stick a note for yourself, or ask at the reception of your hostel, and moreover of a few motels nearby you. Forget sharing fuel cost, some kind people sometimes even drop travellers for free.
From Bunbury to Margaret River in the south, I found a humble lady in my hostel who was driving to Margaret River. Not did she drop me right in front of my hotel doorstep in Margaret River, but also quickly toured me around the city and took me to the beach to grab a quick sunset. Here’s a Facebook post I did on my page, thanking her.
Use Transwa, They Have The Widest Network In Western Australia
Though you may find a few other bus companies operating in different part of WA, for example, Southwest Coachlines in the Southwest region and Integrity Coachlines in the Northwest, among others, Transwa has the most widespread network of national and regional buses and trains, particularly in and around Perth. They’re moreover slightly cheaper than others, so if nothing works out, give their website a visit and see if have a service where you’re going.
What About Hitchhiking?
Honestly speaking, I never tried hitchhiking in Australia. Though the idea struck me a few times, other people always discouraged the idea by saying it’s not safe anymore. Speaking of legal matters, to the best of my knowledge it’s not actually illegal to hitchhike in Australia, although some states (particularly Victoria and Queensland) make you believe it is. In Western Australia, on the contrary, this is definitely not the case and is comparatively okay to hitchhike. On highways, it will most certainly be illegal to do so as people are not allowed to walk on them, so be careful. Moreover, since obstructing traffic is an offence throughout Australia you need to have your wits about where and how you’re doing it.
All in all, hitchhiking never felt like a good idea to me, not because it felt unsafe, but because road laws in developed countries have always been too complicated for me to handle.
That’s all I’ve to share. But is there anything you’d like to add? Any suggestions, spill in comments below.
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