Esperance holiday & travel guide Esperance holiday & travel guide

The ultimate travel guide toEsperance

Untamed and impossibly beautiful, Esperance and its surrounds are a magnet for travellers from near and far. After all, this small, remote coastal town is the gateway to a litany of natural wonders, from the impossibly white sand of neighbouring Lucky Bay, to the fairy floss-pink Lake Hillier, the handful of raw and rugged major national parks that lie just beyond the fringes of town, and the uninhabited wilderness that is the Recherche Archipelago, home to all manner of marine life.

It’s a popular spot for all kinds of outdoorsy types: keen fishermen, 4WD enthusiasts, scuba divers, boaters, campers, canoeists, hikers, surfers, snorkelers. You can even go sandboarding, or marvel at the annual burst of wildflowers in this southeastern corner of WA.

This isn’t the destination for those seeking hatted restaurants or luxury hotels with all the trimmings. But if you’re looking for campgrounds that catch the ocean’s breeze, adventures in the thick of nature, and the freshest local seafood that money can buy, you’ve come to the right place.

Top things to do in Esperance

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Nature & beaches

Fighting it out for the title of Australia’s whitest sand beach is Lucky Bay. Framed by olive green coastal scrub, and Listerine-blue waters, this glorious arc of coastline deserves the headlines. Even the local wildlife likes to stop by and enjoy the scenery here, with kangaroos regularly making an appearance at dawn and dusk. Lucky Bay is situated in ​​Cape Le Grand National Park, just one of five major national parks that lie within easy reach of Esperance.

Gorge on the region’s highlights reel of natural wonders on the scenic Great Ocean Drive. A 40-kilometre-loop, it takes in staggering lookout points, sweeping licks of bone-white sand, small bays, steep rocky cliffs, and vast salt lakes.

Fishing & surfing

Sitting off Lucky Bay’s coast is the Recherche Archipelago, which can be visited by boat on a day tour, or on a diving or fishing charter.

Another popular spot for recreational fishing is Cape Le Grand National Park.

There’s plenty of surfing beaches around these parts, but some feature sharp reefs, and strong rips and currents, so it’s best to ask around for advice. For consistent breaks, surfers should hit West Beach or Second Beach at low tide.

Attractions & activities

Fancy sandboarding? A 4WD beach safari? Or a peep into the local Indigenous culture? Esperance Eco-Discovery Tours can cover all of the above.

If you have little ones in tow there’s also mini golf, a skate park and a miniature railway in town.

Best places to stay in Esperance

Camping & bush retreats

The Esperance camping scene is pretty solid. Firmly ensconce yourself in nature, with a camping trip to Woody Island, a nature reserve that’s located 15 kilometres off the coast of Esperance. Pitch your tent, pack your swag, or book into one of the safari huts or permanent tents.

The highly-rated Lucky Bay campground (in Cape Le Grand National Park) is known for its modern and well-kept facilities, including solar hot showers, a camp kitchen, gas barbecues, and flush toilets, not to mention views over the famous bay. If it’s booked out, then try the equally fantastic Le Grand Beach campground. Those seeking something more off-the-beaten-path, and happy with minimal facilities, should try Quagi Beach campsite, a no-booking site some 80 kilometres west of Esperance.

Lodges & holiday parks

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more charming local stay than at the Esperance Chalet Village. A collection of small, whitewashed A-frame chalets festooned with string lights, it boasts bohemian beach chic in spades, with complimentary bike and canoe hire thrown in for good measure. On a budget? Try Esperance Bay Holiday Park, an immaculately maintained park just a five-kilometre walk from town with a host of facilities. Choose from cabins, chalets, units or campsites.

Esperance restaurants & pubs

There’s no shortage of great coffee in town. Visit Downtown Espresso Bar for your daily fix of ethically sourced caffeine, plus pastries, bagels and jaffles. Or head down to cafe and roastery Cloud Eleven Coffee + Tea.

For a laidback lunch or dinner of thin, wood-fired pizzas and a paddle of local craft beers, try Lucky Bay Brewing. Or for something a little more upscale, eat-in at Fish Face Takeaway and Restaurant. Known for their traditional made to order fish and chips (best eaten with your toes in the sand and a cold beer as the sun sets) this popular local outfit also offers diners more gourmet takes on seafood that comes straight off the boats of local fishermen: past specials include herby marinated octopus, grilled Abrolhos scallops with crispy prosciutto and pickled sardines.

For elevated pub classics (burgers, pasta, slow-cooked roast meat dishes) in a historic waterfront building and plenty of outdoor picnic table seating, visit Taylor St Quarters and watch the world go by.

Getting to Esperance

It’s a one-and-a-half-hour flight or eight-hour drive south-east from Perth to Esperance. Or you can make a road trip out of it and take the long way, throwing in a bit of indulgence in the Margaret River en route.

The closest cities to Esperance are Albany (a five-and-a-half-hour drive south-west) or Kalgoorlie (a four-hour drive north).

Best time to visit Esperance

Esperance has a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers (around 20-25C between October and May, on average) and cool, wet winters. If you’re looking to sidestep the rain then it’s best to avoid July, which is typically the wettest month.

One major annual draw to earmark is wildflower season, which takes place every spring, typically between mid-August and November.

Tours & packages for Esperance

Many visitors come to Esperance on a self-drive holiday. But if you’re flying in, or you’ve driven down in a 2WD or a campervan, then there are plenty of local touring options worth considering. Esperance Eco Discovery Tours offer half-and full-day 4WD tours of the greatest local beaches, as well as the Great Ocean Drive.

Admire the region’s coastal beauty from a whole new vantage point: the seat of a helicopter or small plane. A number of different operators offer flights over the area’s biggest attractions, such as bubblegum pink Lake Hillier.

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