A bubblegum-pink lake. Vibrant wildflower trails. Kangaroo tracks in glowing white sand. Crystal waters where dolphins play hide and seek. A valley of giants. Yellow limestone formations that stand like weathered spires.
This isn’t the scene of a sci-fi movie – it’s what you’ll find in a spectacular pocket of Western Australia’s south. Esperance is a road-tripper’s paradise; a seemingly untouched corner of the country filled with natural wonders to discover. We’ve planned the perfect journey for you, including where to eat, drive and stay along the way.
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To start your adventure, fuel up at Coffee Cat, a delightful bakery serving up specialty coffee and treats, just a four-minute drive from the Esperance town centre. Located right on the water, it’s an ideal spot to stop in and grab a sweet treat to enjoy while you take in the view. You can also fuel up with a coffee before heading on a gorgeous walk along the water. The selection of treats is constantly changing, and there’s a good offering of vegan and gluten-free options as well. Expect to find baked goods and desserts ranging from the likes of rocky road and escargots to savoury pies. We definitely recommend getting your hands on a blended coffee before a scenic cruise and snorkel.
Your next stop is Esperance Island Cruises, where you’ll embark on a scenic cruise through eight of the 100 islands of the Recherche Archipelago. Expect to spot dolphins frolicking in the turquoise waters, and more shades of blue than you knew existed. Snorkelling equipment is provided for those looking to experience some of the world’s clearest water, and you’ll have time to chill at Blue Haven beach before returning to land past Lovers Cove.
If you’ve built up an appetite, it’s time to make your way to Lucky Bay Brewing, a paddock-to-pint brewery run by Nigel Metz and Robyn Cail, where you can enjoy live music, rustic woodfired pizzas made from locally grown wholemeal wheat flour (and yeast from their beer) and, for the passengers, an extensive brew range including Beaches to Boab (Blonde Ale), Figure of 8 (Island Ale) and Honey Seltzer.
As the day winds down, it’s time to find a cosy place to stay the night. Esperance Chalet Village, a whimsical retreat nestled among nature, is our pick. With its charming chalets and serene surroundings, it’s the perfect nook to unwind and prepare for the following day’s adventures.
If you’re keen to continue exploring, there’s plenty more to see in Esperance. Wharton Beach is a good one to add to your itinerary, featuring more white sands and clear blue water that makes it well worth the drive over. The 40-kilometre Great Ocean Drive from West Beach to 11 Mile Beach is also a must. Take in rugged surf beaches and rock-rimmed swimming lagoons, stop at Twilight Beach for a dip, and return via the stunning salt lakes.
With claims of having the whitest sand in Australia, Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park, is another good one to add to your itinerary. Kangaroos love it there – you’ll find them sunbathing and posing for pics. If you’re in the mood for a hike, you can also check out the Le Grand Coastal Trail towards Thistle Cove. It’s a 2.5-kilometre hike which shouldn’t take more than an hour and features gorgeous views in every direction, including out to the Bay of Isles.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with the new Ford Everest, the perfect partner for exploring Esperance thanks to its 4WD tech capabilities, including its Sand Mode, suited to tackling the area’s amazing beach tracks.