WA is unique in that the vast majority of it remains in a pristine, natural state. Chartering an aircraft or boat is the perfect way to explore the areas of raw untouched beauty unaccessible by other means of transport.
If you’re serious about exploring even a fraction of the more than 2.5 million sqkm of WA, flying is the most effective way to do it. What’s more, many of WA’s true wonders are only accessible by air, so you really have no excuse…
Both fast and fabulous, a scenic flight or safari gives you a chance to take it all in. Whether you’re soaring above the coastline in a plane, hovering over waterfalls in a helicopter, spotting aquatic life by float plane, or zig-zagging over gorges in a microlight, flying gives you a whole different perspective on the state’s unique colours, landscapes and beauty.
Chartering a private flight means you choose when and where you go, and who your fellow passengers are. You also have a choice of pilot. Whether you’re looking for historical tid bits or an unexpected coral reef, what WA’s pilots all have in common is a passion for the land, and they know it like the back of their hand.
Bespoke air safaris
A step up from chartering, this is about tailor-making a whole safari. Maybe you want to add an extra week, or have exclusive access to your pilot, who knows just where to find those humbling rock-art sites, cascading waterfall locations, or remote mountain peaks where you can be dropped with a flash bottle of wine for sunset.
For sheer dramatic impact and bang for your buck, nothing beats a scenic flight. In a light plane or helicopter, you almost literally disappear, immersed into the landscape with a God’s-eye view… Only from this vantage point can you truly experience natural wonders like the Horizontal Waterfalls and the Bungle Bungles in the Kimberley, the 100-plus islands of Recherche Archipelago near Esperance, or the entire length of the Ningaloo Reef along the Coral Coast.
FIXED-WING OR HELICOPTER?
In general, you can bring more companions and go further and faster on a fixed-wing flight. On the other hand, choppers can hover, stop quickly, and land almost anywhere. Because of this ‘wow’ factor, helicopter flights tend to be more expensive. Helispirit in the Kimberley is a good place to start.
CRUISE BY AIR AND SEA
Sail the Kimberley coast on a luxury yacht with an on-boat helicopter, and switch from submerged relaxation to an on-high view of the sights in an instant. Both True North and The Great Escape Charter Company offer this package.
Like the sound of playing Gilligan for the day? Whether it’s the Abrolhos Islands, Cygnet Bay, or the Buccaneer Archipelago, your privately chartered helicopter or floatplane can drop you at any far-flung island your heart desires. Beware: you may be tempted to make it a one-way flight, or to find yourself ‘stranded’ at extreme low tide.
WINE TOURING BY AIR
Imagine flying down to Margaret River and landing your chopper on the manicured lawns of Voyager Estate for lunch and a sip of chardonnay. Then flit off for dessert (and more wine, of course) at the equally elegant Vasse Felix. Perth-based wine lovers can charter a fixed-wing or helicopter flight from Jandakot Airport. Heliwest offers three-leg tours of Margaret River and its award-winning wineries, including private wine tastings and a three-course lunch.
The Kimberley is home to some of the country’s best barramundi fishing. From September to March, a helifishing tour will raise your chances of landing a monster upwards of 60kg. Your helicopter pilot will fly you to the best remote fishing holes where you can check for barra from the air, before touching down with all the gear you’ll need for an unforgettable day. Best of all? No boat means no seasickness.
Where to fly
North West: Horizontal Waterfalls at Buccaneer Archipelago; Dampier Peninsula.
North East: The Bungle Bungle Range in World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park; the Argyle Diamond Mine; Lake Argyle.
Far North: The majestic multi-tiered Mitchell Falls and Mitchell Plateau; Mt Trafalgar; the 80m-high King George Falls; the whale-breeding sanctuary of the Montgomery Islands and reefs; terraced Kings Cascade; and the iconic red gorges of Berkeley River.
Tip: Book a scenic flight straight after the wet season, when the land is lush, and the rivers, lakes and waterfalls are full and teeming with wildlife.
Must see: Stingrays, dolphins and whales among the reef-rimmed Abrolhos Islands; the seagrass beds of Shark Bay; the 150km-long stretch of limestone Zuytdorp Cliffs, towering 200m above the ocean; the ancient Stromatolites; salty Lake Macleod; Ningaloo Reef; and Mt Augustus, the world’s largest rock.
Perth & Surrounds
Must see: The endless stretch of perfect beaches and sailboats along the Perth coastline; the bays of Rottnest Island; the unique Darling Scarp; the cityscape; the winding Swan River; the patchworked farmland of the Avon Valley; and the forested Perth Hills.
Tip: Thrill-seekers shouldn’t go past visiting Attitude Aerobatics for a ride on ‘The Extra’, a 300- horsepower aircraft that reaches speeds of 400kph over Perth.
East: The craggy peaks of the Stirling Range and Porongurup National Parks; and iconic Wave Rock.
West: The Blackwood River; Margaret River farmland; Geographe Bay; and the lighthouse at Cape Naturaliste.
Far South: The Gap and Nature’s Bridge in Torndirrup National Park near Albany; the stunning boulder-dotted Greens Pool near Denmark; the towering 400-year old tingle tree forests in The Valley of the Giants.
Esperance: The 100 islands of the Recherche Archipelago; the bright Pink Lake; Fitzgerald River National Park; the beautiful white beaches of Cape Le Grand National Park; towering Frenchman’s Peak; Cape Arid National Park; and Mt Ragged.
Tip: In winter, the region is one of just three places in the world where southern right whales calve. In spring, coastal hills, cliffs and river valleys are covered in colourful blooms.
From day trips to Rottnest Island, to custom tailored eco tours, chartering your very own boat is a fantastic way to explore the WA coast.
WA offers a huge range of boats available to charter, offering a variety of catering services that can be tailored to individuals needs. Take a twilight river tour to watch the sunset set over the horizon, a fully catered fishing charter over the weekend to satisfy your wildlife passion or take a group of friends on a hens/bucks night cruise- there really is something for everyone.
Charter a yacht
Outsource the crew duties and make yourself comfortable aboard a luxury yacht, for a twilight sail from Fremantle, around Rottnest, Carnac and Green islands.
Perhaps you want to head up to Shark Bay and Monkey Mia overnight? Yachts are available for exclusive charters to cruise Lake Argyle and the rivers of the Kimberley, take a sea safari to the Buccaneer Archipelago, go barefoot sailing in Geographe Bay, cruise up Ningaloo Reef, and more.