Esperance, small yet beautiful, is known as the 'Bay of Isles'. Wide sandy beaches, scenic coastlines and the panorama of offshore islands of the Recherche Archipelago are all part of its charm. Pink Lake is a dense saltwater lake and really is pink.
Esperance lies along the southern coast of Western Australia, 721km from Perth and is part of Australias Golden Outback. This busy port and tourist town has some of the best coastal scenery in Australia; its snow-white secluded beaches, beautiful National Parks and many islands of the Archipelago of the Recherche provide a myriad of alluring locations to explore.
Esperance retains much of the laid back quality of life that country people enjoyed in the 1950s but Esperance was brought right up to the minute in the 1970s when part of the Space Programme of the United States of America landed in the region. That unique piece of world history is housed alongside old farming implements in the Esperance Museum.
Many of the places and features surrounding Esperance are named after French navigators.
In 1792, D Entrecasteaux used Esperance Bay for shelter during a massive storm, naming the town after his vessel. The first settlers drove stock overland from Northam, northeast of Perth, in 1863. The town grew with the development of the Overland Telegraph in 1876 and boomed as a gateway town for provisions for miners in Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie in the 1890s gold rush. However, it was not until the 1950s that the Esperance Downs Research Station was set up just north of town, that the town really began to progress.
Today, Esperance survives on wheat, sheep and cattle farming and also tourism, fishing and forestry. The port is exceptionally clean, even by Australian standards, and it is possible to stand down wind of a cargo of grain being loaded with no ill effects.
The beaches surrounding Esperance are a brilliant snow white. The waters are a bright aqua blue, changing to deeper, darker marina blue as the coastline drops away into the deep ocean. Blue Have, Twilight Cove, Salmon Bay, Nine Mile Beach, Observatory Point and Lucky Bay are beautiful spots around Esperance.
The Great Ocean Drive is a circular loop that runs 38km from Esperance along the stunning southern coast, showcasing many of Esperances famous attractions. The road leads to the Wind Farms at Salmon Beach and Ten Mile Lagoon that are linked the local power supply. Esperance is the second windiest place in Western Australia and these farms help to offset local fuel prices.
Famous Pink Lake, a massive salt lake that appears a lovely pink at certain times. The dunalella salina algae causes the lake to change colour and, depending what time of day you visit and the current water and salinity levels, the pink has been known to change from brilliant blues to a fairy-tale pink.
Archipelago of the Recherche
The Archipelago of the Recherche, or the Bay of Isles can be seen from vantage points around Esperance. There are over 100 islands covering 4000 square kilometres, all of which are A-class nature reserves.
Only Woody Island is open to the public and can be accessed daily by ferry from Esperance. The Archipelago hosts an abundance of wildlife, including seals, sea lions, dolphins, sea eagles and even whales during their migration to southern breeding waters. Boat cruises to Woody Island are available, as are guided day tours of its nature reserve.
The wildflowers of the region are exceptional.
Cape Le Grand National Park lies 40km east of Esperance and boats a world of rocky granite outcrops, spectacular sweeping beaches, hillside woodlands and paper-bark fringed swamps. Fantastic views of the Archipelago of the Recherche can be seen from many vantage points, the most noteworthy being Frenchmans Peak 262m. There are a number of bushwalking tracks, including the 15km Coastal Trail between Le Grand Beach and Rossiter Bay. The walk takes 6-8 hours to complete and is split into four sections with varying degrees of difficulty.
Fauna is diverse throughout the Esperance region. Many varieties of reptiles, birds and small mammals can be found and the Western Grey Kangaroo is often seen right on the beach at Lucky Bay where they have grown comfortable being approached by humans. Other gorgeous conservation areas close to Esperance are the Cape Arid, Peak Charles and Stokes National Parks.
Esperance Wine Wineries Vineyards
Some forty-odd kms from Esperance is the Dalyup River Estate winery. This makes the Shiraz and cabernet sauvignon wines fermented there some of the most isolated wines grown on some of the most isolated vines in Australia. A small winery, and well worth the journey.
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