It’s that time of year again where I beg you to indulge me in harping on about my birthday tradition. It’s clear and simple: Every February, visit a new place in Australia. The distance traveled and the time spent away bare no guideline but the motivation behind it stemmed from years of meeting people worldwide who had seen more of Australia than I had and I’ll admit, it kinda put me to shame.
So far the tradition has taken me (and Moo) to Alice Springs, Perth to Margaret River to Denmark, Port Douglas, Tasmania and this year back to Western Australia to witness the raw beauty that is Esperance. It’s believed that the French were the first European explorers to find this scenic haven and who promptly named it Esperance, literally translating to ‘Hope’. Not overly keen on the eight hour drive from Perth (each way) we were able to acquire some rad flights with REX and before we knew it, there we were: Paradise.
Hire car – check, camping gear – check (Thank you Danny and Co!!), food for three days – check. Off we went. We drove from town out to Lucky Bay within Cape Le Grand National Park, which took about forty five minutes. It was here where we camped for three nights. I’m going to just say it straight out. It was the best trip I’ve ever had. Those three days without any phone reception, no supermarkets, no distractions, nada, zip! Thrust back into the simple life we surfed, kite surfed, trekked, walked, explored, read our books and completely switched off. Naval gazing was never really on the agenda because we kept pretty active throughout those three blissful days.
But fear not, we still had more days up our sleeve post #vanlife to balance out the messy hair and salty skin, so we thought we’d give chalet life a go too, we stayed at Esperance Chalet Village for four nights and I truly never wanted to leave.
Read on for my top 5 things to do in Esperance:
Cape Le Grand National Park
You actually couldn’t come to Esperance and not visit the National Park, whether you’re traveling from the Nullabor or from Albany or like us blow in’s, it’s well worth spending a few nights in the NP. The beaches we frequented were: Rossiter Bay, Lucky Bay, Thistle Cove, Hellfire Bay and Cape Le Grand Beach each with their unique surroundings. We also hiked Frenchman Peak, all 262m of it, which was way more challenging than it sounds. If you’ve ever seen the ubiquitous image of Lucky Bay with the kangaroo on the beach, that isn’t just an advertising gimmick, that is everyday life. Seeing wallabies daily is as common as sunrise and sunset.
If you’re not a caffeine addict you may not appreciate this tip, I was delighted by the selection both in town and in the NP. My top recommendations in town are: Downtown (although I really feel like they need to ditch those ‘we only serve’ non-recyclable coffee cups, not cool), Coffee Cat the street van was delicious with sprightly staff and Taylor St Quarters who also have quite the delicious beer and wine menu FYI. There’s even a cafe in the NP, the Lucky Bean Café (van on Lucky Bay serving toasties and Kanga-chino’s) run by friendly locals who were always happy for a chat.
Beaches and beaches and more beaches! I’ll never tire of the sight of them. My top recommendation for swimming is: Blue Haven, an absolute oasis, even when it’s a howling southerly wind.
For surfing: Chapman’s Point, Twilight Beach or Forth Beach.
If you’re into kite surfing, Moo had a whale of a time at Wylie Bay and Cape Le Grand Beach, unfortunately more famous for it’s toothy, finned residents, this is a hidden gem for kiting thrill seekers.
Lastly, for exploring/with children: the rock pools of Nine Mile Beach were a delight.
Pleasantly surprised were we! Esperance is still quite an industrial town so keep your expectations as is. Mind, I do have quite the penchant for small country towns keeping up with the modern world (and thriving!) and this one was no exception! Fish Face was a standout restaurant for relaxed daily catches and uber friendly staff. Taylor St Quarters gets another mention for their contemporary, yummy, albeit pricey menu.
We ventured on an island tour of Woody Island to snorkel and explore. Little did we know you can also camp over here! Feeding the local skinks (lizards) grated carrot to lure them to come out and say hi to us tourists isn’t exactly what I would call ‘eco’ but on the whole we had a good experience. Great for all ages!
For Moo and I it was a 5/5 holiday, definitely one for the bucket list! Hope you’ve enjoyed the read, and the pictures! For now, we’re off again and this time to New Zealand for a quick getaway. See you soon!