ON a recent day visit to the coastal town of Esperance as part of cruise ship Athena’s ports of call, memories of carefree childhood holidays lazing on the beach and enjoying this relatively untouched aquatic playground came flooding back.
Set about 750 km south of Perth, Esperance has gained the reputation as having some of the most beautiful and untouched coastline in the world.
First priority should be a trip to the visitors centre, where the friendly staff will point you in the right direction.
Most attractions around town are within walking distance, but it’s advisable to take a guided tour or hire a 4WD to get to the more out of the way locations.
If you’re a bit of a history buff, the local museum is well worth a visit.
For space enthusiasts, parts of the old Skylab – which broke up over Esperance in 1979 – are even on display.
I was fortunate enough to be hosted by two local Rotarians who took me on a 4WD tour of Great Ocean Drive and Cape Le Grand National Park.
Starting at the Rotary Lookout with its breathtaking views over the township and bays, we then checked out the best surfing and fishing beaches and the wind farms, supplying some of the town’s electricity on Great Ocean Road.
The road loops back to town past the famous pink lake.
The 50km drive to Cape Le Grand was breathtaking.
We left the sealed road and drove across white sandy beaches and around almost private bays, encountering only a few sand boarders taking advantage of the high sand dunes.
Our destination was the world famous Lucky Bay. It’s here that you can see kangaroos lazing on sand that squeaks when you walk on it and dip your toes into the freezing blue southern ocean.
On the road back from Cape Le Grand, there’s a new and must-see life-sized exact replica of the original 4000 year old Stonehenge.
Lovingly recreated using local pink granite, the structure stands grandiosely atop a hill in the middle of a paddock with spectacular views of the ocean.
Whether it’s just for a quick trip or an extended holiday, Esperance is the perfect place to ‘chillax’ and take in the scenery.
The writer’s experience was courtesy of the Esperance Visitors Centre.