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Esperance, Western Australia- How To Explore Cape Le Grand National Park

Let me introduce you to Esperance. Western Australia is huge but you need to make sure to put Esperance into your itinerary.

Why is that? Because Esperance is a true paradise of Western Australia. The place filled with endless turquoise bays, friendly jumping kangaroos, and the most stunning coastal views ever.

If you think you can see Esperance in one day, think twice because you won’t be disappointed if you stay longer. In this article, we will show you why Esperance needs to be on your Australian bucket list.

Many travelers are passing Esperance to get to Lucky bay, but we urge you to stop and enjoy Esperance as well.

And after visiting many places in Western Australia, such as exploring Exmouth, Shark Bay, we were stunned at how beautiful the region of Esperance is.

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girl running on the white sand beach in Lucky bay, Australia, near Esperance in the Cape Le Grand National Park

HOW TO GET TO ESPERANCE?

There are many ways how you can travel to Esperance in Western Australia. Esperance has an airport and there are numerous flights operating to Esperance. 

We would recommend you to rent a car (or better a camper) and do a road trip. If you plan to buy a car then read this post for tips.

How long does it take to get to Esperance from Perth?

Western Australia is huge, and there is a lot of driving ahead of you, from Perth it’s is around 8 hours drive to Esperance. And if you are coming from Albany (Elephant rocks) it’s a 5 hours drive. If you want to just drive from Perth to Esperance without stopping along the way, you are making a big mistake.

We made a fantastic road trip from Perth to Esperance, and Cape Le Grand was definitely one of our highlights. So if you are thinking of getting to Esperance by car or van, make sure to read all the unique places we visited, where to camp, and how many days it took us to see it all.

HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU NEED IN ESPERANCE?

Honestly, speaking?

At least one week.

Esperance is a perfect place where you can spend your holidays. But if you are running short on time, three days in Esperance will do. One day is definitely not enough to explore Esperance and Cape Le Grand National Park.

white car driving on the white sand beach in Lucky bay, Esperance with blue water
Welcome to Esperance, the most beautiful place in Western Australia

BEST THINGS TO DO IN ESPERANCE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Esperance is mainly about exploring beaches which will be to your liking for sure. In fact, we have seen some of the most beautiful beaches in Western Australia right here in Esperance.

READ MORE: 15 MOST ICONIC PLACES IN AUSTRALIA

GREAT OCEAN DRIVE

If you are new to Esperance, the “Great Ocean Drive” is a great introduction to what is awaiting you. This 40 km loop will show you the coastline while you drive.

driving on the coastal road in Esperance, Western Australia
Esperance – Great ocean drive

Start at the waterfront and head southwest along the breathtaking stretch of coast. You will pass by Blue Haven and Salamon Beach, Forth Beach, Twilight Beach, and make sure to check out the Observatory point. 

TWILIGHT BEACH 

For many travelers, Twilight beach is one of the most beautiful beaches around Esperance. Located just 10 km from the town center it is a great place for swimming, paddle boarding, and surfing. It has even outdoor showers and toilets. 

white sand beach, blue water and green hills in Esperance
Twilight beach

BLUE HAVEN BEACH 

Walking down the stairways to heaven …, sorry I meant haven is a dream coming true. I loved this place so much that we came here again for the sunset.

wooden staircase, blue water and white sand beach in Esperance, Western Australia
Staircase to heaven…
girl in a white dress standing on the wooden staircase with a view on the ocean and pinky sky
At Sunset

11 MILE BEACH 

Some of the most popular beaches in Esperance and, as the name says, it is almost 11 miles long.

OBSERVATORY POINT AND THE BEACH

The Great Ocean Drive will end at the Observatory Point. You can see the beautiful coastline from up here. It is a great spot for enjoying a sunset as well. You can walk down the staircase and take a swim at the beach below. Super beautiful! 

woman in brown skirt looking out at the ocean standing on the brown staircase, blue water and green bush in Esperance
Beautiful view point at Esperance

CAPE LE GRAND NATIONAL PARK 

If you are coming to Esperance, you need to visit nearby Cape Le Grand National Park. We don’t want to exaggerate but Cape Le Grand is one of the most beautiful national parks in Western Australia.

Yes, we are that serious. If fact, if I even come back to Western Australia, I want to visit Cape Le Grand again and stay for a week.

As many national parks in Australia are named after French scientists, this one is named after Le Grand one of the officers on L’Espérance, a ship that came by here in 1792 as part of a larger expedition.

ENTRANCE FEE: AU$15

You can have a look at the official website to get more information about all National parks in Western Australia.

BEST THINGS TO DO IN CAPE LE GRAND NATIONAL PARK

We can say that this park belongs to one of the most spectacular of all parks in the southern part of Western Australia. Cape Le Grand is located just 30 mins Esperance. 

And there are so many awesome things that you can do in Cape Le Grand. There are several hiking trails, many bays to pick from, and stunning nature spots. 

But everyone comes here to visit kangaroos and heavenly beautiful Lucky Bay.

LUCKY BAY

Did you know that Lucky bay was voted the “Whitest beach in Australia”?

Aerial view on a long arc of beach with one car driving on it
Lucky Bay Beach

And not just that, you will get the most picturesque photo of all times: a kangaroo selfie with the turquoise water and white sand in the background. This can’t beat anything. Lucky Bay is proudly home to iconic grey kangaroos and one of the most iconic places in Australia.

a woman sitting next to a kangaroo on a beach
Just made the cutest friend in Lucky Bay

This beach is so stunning. White crispy sand, turquoise waters, great for swimming too. You can access the beach with your 4WD as well which is perfect for picture taking. 

PS: Just make sure to follow rules while driving on the beach. Turn your lights on for instance.

A woman in swimwear and a hat walking on the white sand beach in Lucky bay, blue water
Into to the sea

CAMPING ON LUCKY BAY 

If you would like to experience this place to the fullest, we highly suggest to camp nearby Lucky bay.

The best option camping at is Lucky bay Campgrounds. For AU$15 per person, you are very near to the beach and you can meet ‘roos’ in person. They are hopping around the campsites so don’t be surprised to see some around your car. 

a view on several camping vans, green bush and Lucky bay beach
Lucky Bay Camping site

However, you can also stay at Le Grand campsite. At the time of our visit, the beach was full of seagrass but it still looked beautiful. 

WHY IS IT CALLED LUCKY BAY?

Captain Flinders was usually spending the nights on the sea of the northern and southern coast of Australia.

In the area of Lucky Bay, there were many reefs that were dangerous for the ship but he took the risk and came closer to shore as they were in dire need of supplies such as freshwater.

This is when the stumbled upon Lucky bay which was a safe bay and enabled them to come to shore. That’s why he called it Lucky bay as he felt very lucky to find this bay. 

HELLFIRE BAY

Another beautiful beach in Cape La Grand and definitely our favorite. 

The scenery is absolutely incredible. White sand beach surrounded by hills and rocky cliff. Not too mention glowing turquoise waters. 

girl in the swimsuit standing on the rocky ground with blue water at Hellfire Bay, Esperance
Hellfire Bay

WHY IS IT CALLED HELLFIRE BAY? 

Just out of curiosity we wondered why this beautiful place is called Hellfire. To us it should be called HEAVEN BAY but definitely not Hellfire.

The story goes to that Hellfire Bay has been named after St. Elmo’s fire – a bluish, flame-like electrical discharge that sometimes occurs above ship’s masts.

woman in a swimwear running on the rocky ground, turquoise water in Esperance, Western Australia
Incredible sea views on Hellfire Bay

WALK TO LITTLE HELLFIRE 

Make sure to take a walk to Little hellfire. It’s only a 40 minutes return walk.

It’s a great bushwalk where you will see spectacular views on Hellfire bay while admiring many wildflowers in spring-like banksias and lilies.

A view on blue sea, green push and rocky path
A view on Hellfire Bay

Little hellfire really looks like a miniature Hellfire bay and it is mostly without any people. 

FRENCHMEN PEAK 

For hiking lovers, this this 3 km Return track is definitely worth the effort. Allow at least 2 hours and enjoy great views from the rocky “window”. 

CAPE ARID NATIONAL PARK 

Cape Arid is located 120 km east of Esperance. If you like to have bays to yourself then head here. Cape Arid is home to many beautiful bays, hikes, and rocky headlands. Be aware that most of the roads are 4WD only.

CAMPING AT CAPE ARID NATIONAL PARK

There are several campsites with limited facilities. There are toilets at Thomas river campground, Thomas Fishery, and Jordnee Creek and also Mt Ragged. You don’t have to book sites online. 

DUKE OR ORLEANS BAY 

Located between Cape Le Grand and Cape Arid National Park. Most of the roads are 4WD only except for Thomas river road which is doable by all vehicles. 

LAKE HILLER

Lake Hiller on Middle Island is a really pink lake that can be viewed best from a helicopter. Take a scenic flight to admire this pink lake from above. The scenic flight is quite expensive, AU$320 per person.

You can go on a boat tour which is a bit more affordable. but they are running mostly in high season. Middle Island is located 70 nautical miles from the mainland. 

OTHER AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN ESPERANCE

LUCKY BAY BREWERY 

If you would like to do something else then chasing the best beaches of Esperance, then head to Lucky bay brewery.

Opened only from Friday till Sunday, if you would like to taste local beer then make sure to check it out. 

WOODY ISLAND

Woody Island is one of the 105 islands in the Recherche Archipelago just 15 km off the coast of Esperance. Here you can see many kinds of wildlife such as sea lions, fur seals, dolphins, birds including rare sea eagle. You can also stay on Woody island either in tents or wooden huts offered by Woody island eco-tours. 

WILDFLOWERS

If you are traveling to Esperance from July to November you will see many wildflowers, flowering Eucalyptus, Australian Bluebell, Fringe lilies, Agonis, Hakea, and many more. If you walk any trail around Esperance or in nationals parks you will see wildflowers everywhere. 

ISLAND TOURS

If you would like to see some of the islands from Recherche archipelago then you need to do ‘Bay of Isles’ tour. It starts at the Port Authority In Esperance, passing Blue Haven beach and then heading to several islands in Recherche. This is where you can see Australian sea lions, New Zealand fur seals, common or bottlenose dolphins. 

HIKES

If you are into hiking and chasing the most incredible views, Esperance got you covered. 

Here are the most beautiful hikes: 

GREAT OCEAN WALK 

A coastal trail along the entire Great ocean walk all the way to the pink lake lookout. 

ESPERANCE BAY TO TWILIGHT BEACH

This is 12 km track from Esperance bay all the bay to twilight beach. 

LAKE MONJINGUP 

If you have seen all the bays head to Lake Monjubgup, located just 10 km from Esperance. 

LE GRAND TRACK

This 20 km track is the most spectacular coastal tracks in the Esperance area. It starts in Le Grand Beach and finishes at Rossiter Bay. During wildflower season you will many flowers including showy banksia. This trail goes through beautiful Hellfire bay. 

FRENCHMANS PEAK HIKE 

From the peak (262m) you can see bushlands, ocean and also islands that make up the Recherche archipelago. 

If you are visiting Cape Arid National Park the LEN OTTE, MOUNT RAGGED WALK TRAIL, and TAGON COASTAL WALK have to be on your list. 

 TOURS 

If you don’t have your own vehicle you can definitely go for a day trip wandering around Great Ocean Drive, Cape Le Grand National Park Park, Duke of Orleans bay in Cape arid NP including seeing ‘roos in Lucky bay. 

WHEN TO VISIT ESPERANCE?

Depending on your interests every season brings something special. 

For beach lovers, the best time to visit Esperance is definitely in summer which is great for swimming and spending indefinite time on the beach and in the water. 

Just be aware of persistent flies that will molest you like crazy if there is no strong breeze. 

If you are not into baking yourself on the beach, autumn months are perfect for you. Weather should be calm and you will love balmy evenings. Autumn weather is great for hiking lovers. 

In winter time you will definitely spot migrating whales with their baby and you might fly away like a kite since it can get super windy.

In spring the flowers are blooming and making the walks very diverse and magical. 

woman taking a photo in the car of the coastline
Esperance – Great ocean drive

WHERE TO STAY IN ESPERANCE?

CAMPSITES IN ESPERANCE 

There are a couple of campgrounds. We stayed at Pink lakes campsite which was all right. For unpowered we paid AU$30 a night, it has a kitchen, hot showers, and clean bathrooms.

WHERE TO CONTINUE AFTER YOUR TRIP IN ESPERANCE?

If you are cruising around Australia, as we did, you might be heading to South Australia, which is also packed with many beautiful places.

If you are heading to Melbourne, and see the Great Ocean Road, make sure to our full guide on Great Ocean Road, and how you can see it in just 2 days.

Visiting Esperance in Western Australia was one of my favorite highlights of our road trip. Have a great time driving around this beautiful piece of paradise and don’t forget to take photos along the way.

If you would like to read it again later, make sure to PIN IT:)

how you can explore Esperance in Western Australia- best places and beaches
About the author
Since I was little I always wanted to see the world. Travel to new places, get to know new cultures, see how other people live. I love beaches and I love discovering tropical destinations. That is why, together with my partner Nico, we created this blog to share with you the most beautiful beaches and stunning holiday destinations which we visited during our travels.

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