Nestled 700 kilometres from Perth, Esperance is the ultimate “hidden” gem of Western Australia. Its remoteness has kept the landscape pristine and wild, with hundreds of opportunities to enjoy nature.
There are A LOT of things to do in Esperance – snorkelling, surfing, hiking, fishing, culture… you can even get close to kangaroos during your visit to Lucky Bay!
With pods of wild dolphins swimming in the shallow blue waters, you might get a chance to swim with them after jumping off the rocks of Twilight Beach. It happened to us and is one of the top moments of our lives!
The irony is that the pure remoteness of Esperance also adds lots of FOMO (fear of missing out), to your trip. Because, when will you find yourself back in this beautiful part of the world!?
During our visit, we got overwhelmed by all of the incredible things to do. It was hard to choose as we didn’t want to miss anything.
Don’t make our mistakes! Plan your itinerary around the 15 things below to see what makes Esperance so extraordinary.
Table of Contents
1) Explore Cape Le Grand National Park
Cape Le Grand National Park, a mere 45-minute drive east of Esperance, is one of the region’s most awe-inspiring attractions. Known for its incredible scenery, it offers a myriad of landscapes, including:
- Sandy Beaches, Turquoise Waters
- Nature Interactions
With park entrance fees at just $17 per vehicle for each day entering the park, you’ll have access to some of the most beautiful beaches and picturesque spots in the area.
2) Visit the famous kangaroos at Lucky Bay
Nestled within Cape Le Grand National Park, Lucky Bay is famous for being the whitest beach in the country and for its kangaroo residents!
These adorable creatures have become one of the park’s main attractions, often spotted lounging on the pristine white sand or hopping along the shoreline.
Remember that these kangaroos are wild animals, observe them from a safe distance and don’t feed them. The kangaroos at Lucky Bay have been dealing with complex illnesses caused by tourists feeding them.
3) Climb Frenchman’s Peak
Frenchman’s Peak is a 262-metre-tall peak in Cape Le Grand National Park.
But don’t let this size fool you, it’s a challenging hike. It’s almost vertical, so it feels more like a climb than a walk. The breathtaking views from the top are worth every step, though!
Navigating the rocky terrain and ledges of the hike requires appropriate clothing, sturdy footwear, and ample water and planning.
Read more about the Frenchman hike here.
4) Go rock jumping at the famous Twilight Beach
The renowned Twilight Beach is a prime spot in Esperance for rock jumping, swimming, snorkelling, and surfing.
While you’re there, keep an eye out for the playful dolphins! You can sometimes see them frolicking in the waves.
There are also large, smooth rocks you can explore and jump off into the turquoise blue waters. It was here that hundreds of dolphins swam up to us… It was insane!
We went in February, but you’ll likely spot them anywhere between September and May.
5) Visit Wharton Beach – the “Best Beach In Australia”
As rated by us! After travelling Australia for 3 years, Wharton Beach in Esperance tops our list.
The photos speak for themselves, but Wharton Beach is most famous for surfing, white sand beaches, 4wding on the beach, fishing, sunsets and the local caravan park – Duke of Orleans.
Make sure you spend a few days here and drive across (or walk) to the other stunning beach Victoria Harbour. Check out the photos below.
6) Chill out at Hellfire Bay
If relaxation is what you seek, make your way to Hellfire Bay.
Also within Cape Le Grand National Park, this beautiful bay is perfect for picnics, swimming, and snorkelling. There are loads of facilities here so it is popular for families.
During your visit, you can also visit Little Hellfire Bay – a smaller beach that’s a short 15-minute hike away!
7) Drive the Great Ocean Drive’s tourist loop
The scenic 40km Great Ocean Drive loop allows you to experience the stunning Esperance coastline from the comfort of your car.
It takes you to 23 different attractions, but stop at least at:
8) Experience the cultural history of Esperance
To the First Nations people of Australia, the Wudjari name for Esperance is Kepa Kurl, meaning “where the waters lie like a boomerang.”
Esperance has a unique cultural bushtucker tour which you can learn more about here: Dabungool Cultural Experiences
9) Snorkel at Woody Island
For those who really want to go off the beaten path, check out the enchanting Woody Island. This is a small island located in the Recherche Archipelago, just 15km off the coast of Esperance.
It’s a unique destination offering plenty of activities such as snorkelling, swimming, and hiking. It’s perfect to immerse yourself in nature while exploring a hidden gem of Esperance.
There’s only one official tour operator here – Woody Island Eco Tours.
10) Spot the wildflowers in Spring
Visiting Esperance between August and November rewards you with the region’s vibrant wildflowers in full bloom. You’ll see them everywhere in Esperance and the South Coast.
To fully appreciate their beauty, we recommend exploring as much as you can on foot.
There are dozens of walking trails to choose from that will get you up close and personal with the stunning flora. Just remember to bring insect repellant!
11) Go whale-watching off the coast!
Between June and October, the waters of the Esperance coastline become a playground for migrating whales.
Southern right whales and humpback whales can often be spotted breaching in the bays, providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness these majestic creatures up close.
Elevated locations like the Rotary Lookout at West Beach increase your chances of spotting whales. Don’t forget your binoculars and camera – you’ll want to capture them breaching!
12) Check out the Pink Lakes
A visit to Esperance wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the not-so-pink lake.
The once-vibrant Pink Lake has lost its blush due to environmental changes, but it still provides a beautiful and protected area surrounded by wildlife.
A viewpoint on Eleven Mile Beach Rd offers a glimpse of what Pink Lake used to look like, with its fascinating history providing a unique glimpse into the past.
For those seeking a still-pink lake, head to Middle Island in Cape Arid National Park and marvel at the mesmerizing Lake Hillier! Or if you want something closer to Perth, go to Hutt Lagoon instead.
Recommended tour: 4WD and scenic flight of Cape Le Grand and Pink Lake
13) Visit the other famous beaches
Thistle Cove, a small beach with several walking trails and the famous Whistling Rock
Eleven Mile Lagoon, excellent for families and snorkellers
14) Visit Esperance’s Stonehenge
Step back in time and explore Esperance Stonehenge, a full-size replica of the original Stonehenge. It’s aligned with the solstices!
This incredible structure is made of local Esperance pink granite. It’s a testament to the skill of local artists and craftsmen who brought this ancient monument to life in the heart of Western Australia.
Wandering through the stones, you’ll notice how the circular shape enhances sound.
15) Spend the day at Blue Haven Beach
Blue Haven Beach, is a dog-friendly hideaway just a 10-minute drive from town. It is one of the most popular beaches for tourists in Esperance due to the striking colour of the water.
The bay is often protected from the wind too, making it ideal for families.
16) Experience the restaurants, bars, markets and cafes
One of the best things about travelling is to immerse yourself in the local culture, and Esperance locals make this extremely easy!
They’re friendly people who want to share the best of what their hometown has to offer. You’ll find great food, drink, and homemade art in these spots:
Lucky Bay Brewery
This popular brewery offers a variety of beers and woodfired pizzas, making it the perfect spot for a laid-back evening with friends and locals alike. On weekends, you can also enjoy live music.
Experience the vibrant local culture of Esperance by visiting the Weekend Markets, held every second Saturday and Sunday of the month at Museum Park.
These markets offer a diverse range of stalls featuring fresh local produce and arts and crafts. It’s the perfect spot to pick up unique souvenirs or simply enjoy the bustling atmosphere.
This is a scenic spot perfect for taking a stroll along the stunning Esperance foreshore.
With various restaurants and takeaway vans nearby, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to dining options.
As the sun begins to set, make your way to the Rotary Lookout at the far end of the Esplanade for panoramic views of the town and the ocean.
17) Explore Stokes National Park
An hour west of Esperance, Stokes National Park is a lesser-known gem teeming with beauty and lots of things to do, such as:
Birdwatching and fishing at Stokes Inlet, the largest estuary around Esperance
Visiting the historical Moir Homestead Ruins
Walk the trails
Camp at Benwenerup campground
18) Enjoy nature at Cape Arid National Park (4WD only)
For a truly immersive nature experience, head to the remote and 4WD-accessible Cape Arid National Park, located 2 hours east of Esperance.
This stunning park offers a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of Esperance’s more isolated areas, including Lake Hillier.
How to get to Esperance?
Esperance is a bit remote, sitting at ~700km from Perth. You can get there by self-driving, through public transport, or by plane.
The quickest way to get to Esperance is by plane. Regional Express Airlines (REX) will get you there in 2 hours. A round-trip can cost between $300-600 (AUD) depending on the season.
The cheapest way to get to Esperance is by public transport. Transwa takes you there in 10-12 hours, at $200-300 (AUD) for a round trip.
But for us, the best way to get to Esperance is by self-driving. The drive can take 8-9 hours and it’s excellent for a road trip! There are dozens of places to visit on a road trip from Perth to Esperance.
Even if you don’t want to drive for that long, you do need a car in Esperance. Some attractions are remote and there’s no public transport to get you there.
We recommend renting your car through RentalCars as they have the cheapest fares!
Where to stay in Esperance?
There are dozens of accommodation options in Esperance, both in the centre of town and in more remote areas. These are our favourites, though:
Esperance Island View Apartments. It’s on the Esplanade, near everything, with options for up to 7 people.
The Duke of Orleans Caravan Park if you want easy access to Wharton Beach
Lucky Bay campground. It’s hard to book a spot here, but if you get one, you can honestly die in peace 😂
All National Parks have entry fees. So, try to do as many activities as possible in each park on the same day to save money.
If you plan on staying in any of the campgrounds, go prepared as some of them are very remote. Fuel up, get some groceries, and download maps on your device to check offline, as reception can be unreliable.
Be mindful of the local wildlife and always adhere to park regulations. It’s on us to protect the delicate ecosystems that make Esperance such a unique and beautiful destination!
Now, if driving all those 700 km from Perth is a “no, thank you” for you, why not visit Esperance with a tour?
This 6-Day Road trip tour from Perth to Esperance starts and ends in Perth, taking you to all the main spots of Margaret River and Esperance! It includes accommodation, transport, and most meals.
Did you know?
The local Noongar people inhabited the Esperance region for over 20,000 years prior to European settlement.
The region’s abundant resources allowed them to flourish, rarely venturing far from the area due to its plentiful food sources.
What are the best months to visit Esperance?
The best months to visit Esperance are from February to April. The weather is excellent as it’s right after summer, perfect for outdoor activities.
How long is the road trip from Perth to Esperance?
The road trip from Perth to Esperance is about 8 hours long, covering a distance of approximately 700 km.
There are dozens of stops on this road trip, but consider visiting the Margaret River region, Denmark and Bremer Bay on your way to Esperance.
We created a guide with the best itinerary for a Perth to Esperance road trip, check it out here.
How many days should I spend in Esperance?
You should spend a minimum of 3 days in Esperance to fully experience the area’s stunning beaches, national parks, and other attractions. But because it is so remote we would recommend 5-10 days if you have the time.
The bottom line
With its incredible beaches, breathtaking national parks, unique attractions and local wildlife, Esperance is a bucket-list destination for all types of travellers.
Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or simply a chance to connect with nature, this remote coastal town in Western Australia promises an unforgettable journey.
So, why wait? Start planning your unforgettable Esperance adventure today!
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