My husband and I have loved travel since our first international trip. When most of my friends where spending their gap years travelling I went straight into working so I caught the bug a little later than most of the people I knew but I feel I made up for it quickly.
Over the years I've been fortunate enough to visit lots of different countries across the globe (with many more still to cover). I've had some amazing trips and experienced places full of culture but I've always felt a little guilty for neglecting my own beautiful country.
This year I set a goal to get to know this beautiful state at my very own doorstep. First on the list was always going to be Esperance. I think everyone has heard about the stunning coastline and bright blue water in the sleepy little town 700km from Perth but I wanted to see it for myself.
There are a few ways you can get to Esperance. REX Airlines offers a 90min flight from Perth for around $130 on way or you can take the Train with TransWA which takes about 10hours from East Perth and costs around $200 for the round trip.
We decided to take the 7+ hour drive and with our Diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee it cost us about $160 in fuel there and back (Roughly 3/4 of Tank each way). It is a long drive and I'll admit I'm not the best on long car trips (Hello car sickness) but if you take the road through Hyden you can stop off at Wave Rock to stretch your legs. You'll also get to tick another of WA's iconic landmarks off your "to do" list.
WHERE TO STAY
There are plenty of beachside apartments, motels and chalets to stay in while in Esperance and the average price is around $140/night (Booking.com has a substantial list).
We stayed at Esperance Chalet Village, about a 10 minute drive from the Esperance town centre. One look at their instagram page and you'll understand why this was my choice. The chalets are incredibly charming, cozy and beautifully styled for all your insta worthy holiday snaps. They are fully contained which I always love because sometimes you just wanna stay in (even on holiday).
If you're looking for things to do the Chalet can also arrange bikes for a leisurely ride, Kayaking or set up a bonfire for a cozy night under the stars (we made good use of the latter). The owner lives on site and was dedicated to making sure we had a comfortable and enjoyable stay.
WHAT TO DO & WHERE TO VISIT
I had heard a lot about the beautiful beaches in Esperance but not much more so we didn't have much of a plan or know what to expect when we got there. If I'm honest we didn't find a whole lot to do there but don't take that to mean it's not worth visiting because it absolutely is. What I mean is don't expect theme parks or a lively restaurant and bar strip, Esperance is all about the laid back. It's the perfect place to relax and the beaches completely live up to the hype, I've never been anywhere quite so beautiful, and yes!... the water really is that blue. You'll be in awe.
So if you prefer a lively holiday full of attractions this might not be for you. I loved swapping my heels and party dresses for activewear and walking shoes, it was a refreshing change. Unfortunately it was too cold for swimming while we were there but honestly it was still lovely to walk the beaches or cozy up somewhere warm at night.
Twilight & Blue Haven Beach
This lovely strip of beaches on Twilight Beach Road is the perfect place to go for a long walk. You can walk about 10kms from Blue Haven Beach to the end of Twilight Beach and back if you want to. If it's not swimming weather it's still a lovely place for a picnic or even a spot of beach fishing.
If you're an active soul there is also a large staircase leading down to Blue Haven Beach that would be perfect for a morning workout, A La Jacob's Ladder style.
Cape Le Grand National Park
This was probably my favourite place in Esperance and if you go I would leave at least an entire day to explore or just hang out. The park is about a half hour drive from Esperance's town centre and costs $13 per car to enter. There are also camping sites available in certain parts if you want to spend a night... or two.
We started with a hike up Frenchman's Peak. The majority of the climb is fairly easy but I wasn't prepared for hiking that day and didn't have appropriate shoes so we weren't able to reach the summit. Make sure you take sneakers with good grip if you're planning to do this. From where we reached you get a great view over the park and imagine it's only better from the top.
The rest of the day we spent exploring the beaches within the park which include the iconic Lucky Bay. Best known for it's inhabitants, the kangaroos who frequent the surrounding scrub and can be found lazing around on the beach. This is one of the spots that offers caravan sites so you can even camp up for the night if you want to. If you have a FWD you can also drive out onto the beach however we walked the 2-3km's to a beautiful rocky bay at the far end.
Hellfire Bay, is located just across from Frenchman's Peak and is a small and secluded bay framed by large smooth rock faces perfect for sun baking (or just keeping warm). There is also a BBQ area at the entrance so it's perfect for a picnic.
One thing we didn't do this trip, and I wish we had was take the 22km beach drive from Cape Le Grand National Park to Wylie Bay near the Esperance town.... One for the next trip.
This microbrewery prides itself on brewing local craft beer and using local produce (Barley) from local farmers. The Brewery has a charming backyard feel where you can enjoy tastings and kick back on the lawn lined by bushland.
Unfortunately food isn't available at the venue (the only downfall in my opinion) and due to licence restrictions they can only serve tasting sizes of 100ml. You can still order a few take home bottles and enjoy them at home over a BBQ or burger though and this is a local gem that's worth visiting.
If you're looking for something to do at night Esperance's local cinema is a nice night out. I wouldn't normally suggest something that you can do easily at home but there isn't much of a night scene in Esperance and who doesn't love a date night at the movies.
WHERE TO EAT
There wasn't a whole lot of choice when it came to dining options in Esperance but we did come across a couple of good spots worth checking out.
Downtown Espresso Bar | @downtownespressobar
You know I just wouldn't survive without finding a good coffee spot and thankfully Esperance has one. With it's trendy concrete and wood decor rivalling most Perth coffee houses and delicious coffee its the perfect morning stop off. Apparently half of Esperance feel the same as it had quite a bit of traffic when we visited... which was every morning ;P
Fish Face | @fishface_esperance
Deep fried goodness at it's best. The perfect place to grab some fish and chips takeaway and settle in for a picnic on the beach to watch the sun go down. Need I say more?
Taylor St Quarters | @taylorstquarters
We discovered this lovely spot on our last night in Esperance. If we had discovered it earlier I probably would have eaten there everyday. located right on the water at the end of the Esperance esplanade it's a beautiful spot to spend the afternoon into the evening with outdoor and indoor dining options.
This space ticked all the boxes for me, the food was delicious, Decor was homely and cozy and the staff incredibly friendly. The spiced pumpkin side is my new favourite thing in this world... if only Uber eats could transport to Perth.