Australia is big. Very big. Add the fact it's surrounded by (often cheaper) Asian countries and you can see why so many Aussies flock overseas for holidays rather than exploring their own -- admittedly giant -- backyard.
But with Lonely Planet recently naming Fremantle as one of their top 10 cities of 2015, you have to wonder -- have East Coasters been passing up on some amazing Western Australian adventures in order to sink Bintangs in neighbouring Bali?
Given you literally have to fly over Western Australia to get to Indonesia, the old excuse of "But Western Australia is soooo far away" doesn't really stand up. (Though, let's be real, seeking a cheaper getaway still does.)
However, recent statistics provided to The Huffington Post Australia from Flight Centre indicate travel from the east coast to the west is on the rise, with Broome and Fremantle in particular seeing an increase of visitors.
"Travel to Western Australia destinations including Broome and Fremantle is up for travelers making the journey from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane," Head of Leisure Travel at Flight Centre, Tom Walley, told HuffPost Australia.
"The biggest jump has been in booking to Fremantle which are up as much as 140 percent year on year for travellers from Sydney, up 135 percent for departures from Brisbane and up 75 percent from Melbourne.
"This growth can be attributed to the growth in the cruise industry, with East Coast travellers lured to Fremantle where they can pick up an affordable cruise to Asia or a half circumnavigation of the country following a Top End itinerary or sailing south around Australia."
"Western Australia has a lot of offer visitors and travellers tend to combine a cruise from Fremantle with exploration of Perth or Margaret River before departure.
"Even with the cost of an airfare to Perth, it can be more economical for traveller to depart from Western Australian on a cruise to Asia, with options including cruises to Bali, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong.
"Similarly, Broome is a long standing favourite and has benefited from renewed spotlight in recent years prompting an increase in bookings with the destination popular with families, couples and older travellers. Flight Centre bookings to Broome are up as much as 13 percent for departures from Melbourne."
Tourism Western Australia CEO Stephanie Buckland also encourages potential visitors to check out the state's capital city, currently undergoing a major overhaul.
"Like Fremantle, Perth is undergoing one of the biggest transformations in its history with billions of dollars being invested in major infrastructure projects which will open the Swan River to the city and connect the Northbridge entertainment precinct to the CBD," Buckland told HuffPost Australia.
"Over the next few years more than 2,000 new hotel rooms will open and we will have a new 60,000-seat stadium where AFL fans will be able to come to watch their team get beaten by the Dockers or the Eagles. The city has also seen a surge in the number of new small bars, restaurants and cafes which has added a great vibrancy."
Those wishing to go off the beaten track can explore natural phenomenons including the World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef.
“There are only two horizontal waterfalls in the world and both of them are in our Kimberley region, where you can also see the spectacular Staircase to the Moon, a natural phenomenon which occurs when a full moon rises over the exposed tidal flats of Roebuck Bay, Broom," Buckland said.
“WA’s Ningaloo is regarded as one of the best locations in the world to swim with whale sharks -- because of the clarity of the water, regularity of the sharks and professionalism of the tour operators. Easily accessible from shore, World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef is also home to manta rays, sea turtles and dugongs."
Not into marine life? Buckland encourages tourists to jump on the social media bandwagon and take a "quokka selfie" on Rottnest Island.
“Quokkas are small marsupials found on Rottnest Island, just off the coast of Fremantle and are reportedly second only to cats when it come to the internet's most clickable animal and the hashtag #quokkaselfie is a big hit on Instagram and Twitter," Buckland said.
Foodies and wine-lovers can also get their quaff on in the Margaret River region, which Buckland notes "is one of the only wine regions in the world where you can also experience the beach."
So there you have it. Pristine waters, wine, wildlife and the AFL. Surely worth making a trip for.
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