Vineyards at Cape Lodge, Margaret River, Western Australia
Television presenter Julia Bradbury loves nothing more than exploring new horizons, both at home and abroad. We asked her to share with us her recommendations from a recent trip to Western Australia.
"Australia is an ambition for nearly everyone who likes to travel; ask the most peripatetic of folk and I'm certain Australia will feature high on their wishlist of destinations if they haven't been there before.
"I'd been to Sydney on a flying visit filming something or other years ago, but I was excited about the prospect of visiting Perth and the western side of Oz."
"The first noise that struck me when I got outside the airport from high up in the trees was the loud vociferating parrots. I wasn't expecting an encounter with wildlife to happen so quickly in a car park!
"Perth is a good-looking city with lots going down and locals tell me that it has changed immeasurably in the past ten years. If you're a foodie, then it's going to blow your mind – every meal we had was stand-out good and some of the restaurants are really pushing boundaries when it comes to culinary experimentation. The emphasis is on local produce and quality ingredients. I didn't have a bad cup of coffee while I was there either.
"I loved Leederville which is full of funky street art and plenty of cafés. There's no shortage of eateries and venues in this big, cosmopolitan city which has an impressive cityscape and an even more impressive 40km of beaches tracing its coastline."
"A real highlight was catching a helicopter over to Rottnest Island (you can get there by ferry too). Rottnest is a protected nature reserve known affectionately as Rotto. It has a permanent population of around only 100 people but it's a popular holiday island with plenty of cute-looking holiday villas for visitors to stay at all year round. Cars aren't allowed – just loads of colourful bicycles everywhere which add to the chilled-out vibe. Strickland Bay is known for its surf breaks and there are gorgeous white sandy beaches and secluded coves dotted all around.
"The most famous thing about Rotto though, isn't the pristine beaches or the bikes: it's the quokkas. These small marsupials are adorable and have seemingly permanent smiles on their brown, furry faces. You mustn't feed the quokkas or touch them (this could pass on horrible human germs that may affect their immune systems), but it's become something of a national pastime to try and get a quokka selfie. I came across two of the friendliest little fellas where we landed and they willingly obliged for a photo shoot as you can see. It's one of my favourite travel photos of all time."
"You can find nature and city experiences in Perth which is a real treat, and just three hours away, you find yourself in the Margaret River region. I could tell you about my favourite wine-tasting escapades but they're all a bit hazy!
"Even though you can't escape the vineyards (and why would you want to?) it's my tree-hugging fest that I won't ever forget. The Boranup Forest is home to some of the largest trees in the world – the magnificent Karri.
"These gigantic beauties stand wide and tall, silhouetted against the bright blue sky. Sunlight ricochets off their enormous trunks and you can't help but feel humble. And when you look down, the forest floor is a carpet of mosses, wild flowers, fungi and orchids. It's a natural paradise. You won't be surprised to hear that there's a Boranup Café nearby that serves delicious homemade burgers, salads and catch-of-the-day fish and chips. After all, all this tree-hugging is hungry work."
Watch Julia explore Perth: nature city
Take a look at what's happening around Australia right now.