Why is this place so amazing? Looking on a map, it appears to be one of the most isolated towns in the country. With only around 12,000 people living here it might not seem worth the 9 hour drive from the capital city, Perth. And that’s the magic of it. Only those with a sense of adventure, wanting escape from the normality and willing to travel large distances will be able to truly appreciate this region. As soon as you step off the plane in Perth, you instantly feel that connection to nature and this strengthens as you leave the city behind and drive to the Southern coastline. After seeing only scrub and farmlands for the duration of the road trip, first seeing that crystal clear water washing up against pure white sand beaches will make your jaw drop. Seeing Chesh’s face as we rolled over the last hill before the coast will always be in my mind. After the initial shock and amazement, you’ll find yourself yahooing and high-fiving. Then comes the confusion – why is there no-one here?! Where are the hotels? Why is the coastline undeveloped? Why are all the shops closed on a Sunday? And this is the real charm of this place. Esperance is modestly beautiful.
The coastline is the major appeal for Esperance. And there is so much of it to explore! We were here for 9 days and still only scratched the surface. Within 5 minutes of the main town you will be sitting on a beach with sand and water that competes with the beaches of Bora Bora. In fact, these beaches actually have some of the whitest sand in the world! And Esperance has the water clarity and colour to match a French Polynesian atoll. Even on a cloudy day the ocean plays a bubblegum hue that is just so pretty to see, but seeing the beaches here on a flawless summer day is crazy. All the most beautiful blue tones entice you into the water and the water clarity is also incredible – it’s like a swimming pool. As you look back to shore you might see sandy cliffs with only a solitary staircase down to the beach or you’ll see untouched sand dunes and a handful of 4WDs spread out along the sand. Like I said, like nothing I have seen before!
ear the town our favourite beaches were West Beach, Twilight Beach and Blue Haven. Even if there’s a wind up (like we had) there’s a beach or a sheltered headland you can find to escape the swell and the breeze. We went in February (at the back end of Australia summer / high season) and we were never within 100m of another soul on the beaches. There is a scenic drive you can take West of the town that meanders along the coast and it’s so special. I challenge you to drive it and not stop at every look out and car park! Whether checking the surf or choosing your beach to explore for the day, this was a highlight I’d recommend.
In keeping with the theme of the region, if you don’t mind a drive then you can find some more magic further again from civilisation. One such favourite was the beaches at Duke of Orleans Bay, specifically Wharton Beach. About an hour and a half from Esperance, here you can park right up on the headland and walk down to the sheltered corner of white sand or you can drive your 4WD onto the sand. Either way, you will have ample room to spread out and enjoy this spot. Chesh and I had a surf here one morning and the water is so clear that you see straight down to sand, and you feel as though you are floating on air as you glide down the line. And taking a look around you will see not one sign of human intrusion to the natural landscape apart from the tyre tracks leading off the beach!