Esperance & Cape le Grand National Park

On the beach front I have a high standards so when we saw the local Shire’s tag line: “the best beaches in Australia” I was cynical to say the least.

A great beach means not only gorgeous to look at but also warm enough to swim, somewhat safe, well not immediately life threatening (rips, sharks, crocodiles, stingers). Also not covered with a few thousand people! To be honest the much hyped Queensland beaches have some serious drawbacks (crocodiles, stingers, people, too shallow to swim), but I am starting to get very impressed with the Western Australian entries into the best beach scene!

cape-le-grande-npHowever on arrival at Cape le Grand I was, to be honest, pretty blown away! The sea is a really ridiculous shade of blue and aquamarine which will guarantee that your friends will accuse you of enhancing your photos (no I didn’t)! The sand is so white and fine that the sand literally squeaks when you walk on it. Arriving on a weekday we found the beach deserted except for a single surfer, a seal, with only a handful of campers at the adjacent campsite.

Cape le Grand National Park is an easy 50km drive from Esperance on sealed roads. It’s fair to say though that the port of Esperance, is a long way from anywhere, 750km SE from Perth, 400km south of Kalgoorlie.

Lucky Bay, Cape le Grand NP

Lucky Bay, Cape le Grand NP

The southern ocean only allows year round swimming for the wet suit equipped, but over the summer months its a pleasant temperature and there are some excellent surf breaks, but seek local advice before you venture in.

Cape le Grand has sealed roads to its many beaches and other beauty spots, including Lucky Bay and Frenchman’s Peak’s carpark for the energetic 3hr walk to the top A 4WD will allow you to drive on the beaches, which is permitted in the park. Even the un-sealed roads are well maintained and accessible by 2WD.

Make sure you detour off the Cape le Grand access road to find the unlikely-located lavender farm which includes a local artists’ gallery and excellent cake and coffee!

Standard day entry for a vehicle is $10 to the park plus $7.50 per person if you intend to camp at one of the several campgrounds next to beautiful white sand beaches. More details on WA park passes here.

Esperance

Is a busy port town of about 13,000, which is both a port for a the local grain industry and the mining industry. The port has a queue of container ships lined for loading, but around the next corner there are beaches with surf breaks, and more beaches with sheltered swimming. There appears to be a whole new suburb of new brick 3+2 bungalows going up so presumably it is doing well on the resource boom like the rest of Western Australia.

The centre of town includes the usual tourist amenities, including a museum with bits of Skylab, it fell to earth nearby, Look a little further and you will see lots of businesses supporting the agriculture industry, including engineering, farm machinery and other bits and pieces you didn’t know you needed. That said there is plenty of tourist shopping and some excellent restaurants featuring the local seafood.

Esperance has one of the most temperate climates in WA, it can actually get cold in the winter! The best time to visit: November – March

Come to see: the brave claim “the best beaches in Australia” by Esperance Shire may just be true!

Beach, Cape le Grande

Beach, Cape le Grande

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