Esperance is one of those places you can never quite get out of your mind. It takes a long time to reach, whichever direction you’re coming from, and it’s considered part of Australia’s Golden Outback.
I’d seen a few of the tourism association photos before I visited, you know the ones with the kangaroo reclining like a sand worshiper on a white beach with nothing but blue sky, sand and sea for company? Maybe you haven’t seen it, but you can imagine it. Surreal, but not really, because it does happen.
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The town itself is unassuming. No imposing buildings. One biggish claim to fairly recent historical fame (pieces of the American space station Skylab fell to earth around Esperance). A few low rise hotels and self catering options along the main drag. Nothing spectacular. It’s low key and laid back.
But the Beaches. Oh Wow. The beaches around Esperance are AMAZING and they are not low key at all.
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18 Amazing Beaches around Esperance
Mesmeric! They’re a dazzling snow white. The sea breaking onto the sand is a bright shade of aqua blue that changes to turquoise and a deeper navy blue as the coastline gives way to deeper ocean.
Once you’ve seen these pristine colours in nature you can never forget them.
Blue Haven, Twilight Cove, Nine Mile Beach, Lucky Bay and Thistle Cove are some of my favourites, and further afield Wharton Beach is a spot that will forever be etched in my memory.
There is a circular loop called “The Great Ocean Drive” which runs 38kms in a circle from Esperance along the southern coast, a great route if you want to stop off at some of the closer beaches. It also goes to the Wind Farms at Salmon Beach and Ten Mile Lagoon where 12 huge windmills help to provide power to the town.
Did you know that Lucky Bay holds the claim to “Whitest beach in Australia”? It could also be the squeakiest beach because the sand shifts and grinds and squeaks beneath your feet like no other sand I’ve encountered. It’s just one of hundreds of beaches around the Esperance area, and if you have time you should explore them, far and wide because they are all different.
Beaches close to Esperance
Esperance Foreshore and Castletown Quays.
Esperance Bay is fringed with Norfolk Bay pines, planted as quick growing trees and once used by seafarers to repair their ships.
The beach in front of the yacht club is a great family beach and there’s a cafe cum restaurant right close by.
West Beach is about 3kms from the town centre and popular with surfers, but it should be approached with caution. There are lagoon pools behind the reef, swimmable when conditions are safe.
Blue Haven is just that, a pristine blue haven, while pictured below is a beach that has been voted as one of Australia’s best.
Twilight Beach is about 7kms from Esperance and has been voted the Most Popular Beach in Western Australia and has crystal clear, turquoise waters and snowy white sand. Swimming, surfing, a huge granite rock and life savers during the summer weekends.
Observatory Beach is good for windsurfing and boogie boarding – about 9 kms from town.
Ten Mile Lagoon is a fantastic swimming beach because a rocky shore acts as a natural breakwater in front of which is a long shallow pool that’s often warmer than the ocean (be warned, Esperance seas are notoriously chilly). A little further down you’ll find a naturalist beach, if you’re that way inclined. Ten Mile Beach and Lagoon is about 14kms from the town.
Salmon Beach – great fishing
Fourth Beach – water sports
Beaches West of Esperance
Quagi Beach – has a popular camping site in a natural bush environment. It’s 80kms west of Esperance
Stokes Inlet – a picturesque estuary where there are long beaches and rocky headlands. Go bird watching, canoeing and walking.
Munglinup Beach has a natural reef where you can swim, snorkel – Fish or canoe on the Oldfield Estuary. Expect a long drive frm Esperance because it’s 110 kms away.
East of Esperance there are some remote and magnificent beaches with 4wd tracks leading to them and humungus rocks that you can drive up.
Wylie Bay is a great spot for a secluded walk or picnic and 4 x 4 enthusiasts can drive to Cape Le Grand across the white sandy beaches, although it’s advisable to check tide and local beach conditions before youventure forth. Wylie Bay is onlyI 10kms from Esperance, and the beach drive to Cape le Grand National Park is 56 kilometres.
Hellfire Bay – It’s 56 kilometres from Esperance and it’s stunning. White sand, a sheltered bay, and plenty of walking trails.
Lucky Bay – Yes it was voted The Whitest Beach in Australia and is located between Thistle Cove and Rossiter Bay in the Cape Le Grand National Park. This is the iconic beach that features kangaroos relaxing on the sand in the advertising brochures. There’s a camping ground here in a bush setting, and the kangaroos may very well visit your camp spot.
Duke of Orleans Bay to Wharton Beach
It’s nestled between Cape le Grand and Cape Arid National Parks about 89 kms from Esperance and it’s beautiful. There’s white sand and clear blue water and four wheel drive vehicles have access to the beach. There’s a camping ground at Duke of Orleans Caravan park.
Alexander Bay – Sheltered bay 108 kms away from Esperance, great for swimming, beach fishing and camping. You can dive, surf, boat, bush walk and 4WD here as well.
Israelite Bay – it’s remote, its beaches are sandy and there are the ruins of Israelite Bay Telegraph Station that operated from 1877 to 1917. The last 100kms to get to Israelite Bay are for 4WD vehicles only, and there are no facilities when you get there, so check road conditions and your fuel and water before you set out. 200kms from Esperance.
As with all Esperance beaches, great care should be taken while swimming, fishing or if you are boating and engaging in any water sports. King Waves, rip tides and strong seas take lives more frequently than you might imagine.
After all that beaching, you’re going to want to eat! So here are …
First up is Ocean Blues at 19 The Esplanade, where we had a lovely evening meal one night. You’ll find the restaurant on the Esplanade with bay views. It’s casual dining, so no need for glad rags, but the food is good and portions are hearty.
To give you an idea: For starters we had rice flavoured salt and pepper squid, sweet potato chips and lime aioli.
As mains we had the grilled fisherman’s plate with Red Spot Emperor, topped with prawns, calamari, scallops and mussels, served with lemon garlic butter, salad and wedges with spicy tomato sauce, and we also had a delicious Queen Snapper.
These restaurants were recommended to us by locals.
Ricardo’s Pizzeria, 51 The Esplanade
Taylor Street Jetty Restaurant, 1 Taylor Street
Seasons at Best Western, The Esplanade, Esperance
Loose Goose Bar and Restaurant, 9A Andrew Street, Esperance
The Taylor Street Cafe Restaurant, 1 Taylor Street, Esperance
Pink Lake Takeaway and Cafe, 81 Pink Lake Road
Golden Orient (Chinese), 41 Dempster Stree
The Condingup Tavern – on the way to Wharton Beach.