Explore and appreciate the culture, history, nature and wonder of Western Australia. Often Perceived as the Cinderella of Australia, Western Australia was actually the first part of the continent to appear on maps of the world. Dutch traders of the 1600’s accidentally stumbled upon Terra Australis Incognito – literally, the “Great Unknown Southern Land”. They named the continent “New Holland”.
A newly discovered trade route took the Dutch took from present day Cape Town, through the Indian Ocean, to the Westralia coastline, then north up the coast, shaving months off the traditionally long journey taken up the coast of Africa, around India and into the Malay Peninsula. They spent a century exploring the Western Australian coastline but saw no commercial value in the land. The Dutch proceeded on with their lucrative business in “The Spice Islands”, present day Indonesia. The Western Australian coastline is littered with Dutch names, and shipwrecks.
Meanwhile, Indigenous Australians have been custodians of the lands for tens of thousands of years. For a detailed map of the indigenous groups of Australia, see this map.
French naturalists explored the area in the late 1700’s and were astounded by the biodiversity of the lands and waters. Western Australia has 70% of Australia’s mammal species, more than 400 reptiles, 1,600 fish species and over 12,000 species of wildflowers. English colonist began to “take possession” of the continent in 1700 and by 1829, claimed the whole continent and re-branded it as Australia – “The Great Southern Land”.
Western Australia is one third of the continent and is waiting for you to come and explore and experience all it has to offer.