The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

19 November, 2013

Esperance & Cape Le Grand NP

Twilight Beach
We arrived in Esperance around mid day on Thursday, quickly set up and had lunch before taking a quick drive to get our bearings.  After travelling a short distance west along the Great Ocean Drive it became quite obvious that the next couple of posts are going to have lots and lots of bay photos.  Esperance is dubbed the 'Bay of Isles' and has it's beaches declared Australia's whitest, which I would have to agree. To the west the bays include Blue Haven Beach, Observatory Point, Ten Mile Lagoon and Twilight Beach which voted the 'Most Popular beach in WA' .

Esperance, looking west from lookout
The town seems like many other beach side towns with a population of around 10,000 people which would flourish during the summer months with the influx of holiday makers for the beaches and surf.  Esperance also has a large rural community and judging by the large number of grain trucks we saw on the road, would be very prosperous in supporting the region.

10 Mile Lagoon Beach - always a wind farm not far away.

On the Friday we completed the Great Ocean Drive (40km scenic ocean road) including a Wind Farm and a pink lake (which was not pink the day we visited - probably too cold so stayed blue!!).  We also checked out the streets of Esperance -  I bought a warmer jacket as the wind has not stopped.  You are probably wondering why no mention of swimming in the beautiful bays -  might look nice but the water is like ice and it is accompanied by a chilling wind!!

Saturday we made our way to Cape Le Grand National Park - we had heard much about the park and in particular Lucky Bay from fellow grey nomads, we had to go see.  After entering the park which is about 56km east of Esperance we drove towards Lucky Bay in anticipation of something special as it was voted 'the whitest beach'.  We came over the hill to view the bay and were absolutely gob smacked -  it was such a picturesque  bay.  To top it off there was even a coffee van on the beach, Hels thought she was in heaven!!!!

Our first site of Lucky Bay - photos just don't do it justice.
Coffee van on the beach .... how "lucky".

Lucky Bay was named by Mathew Flinders who used this bay as a safe anchorage on Saturday 9th January 1802 during his circumnavigation of Australia.

Our camp overlooking the bay

Lucky Bay from the opposite side to the camping area (3km walk)

Arriving  early we were able to get a beach front site, so set up and sat gazing at the sea while having lunch and a coffee (another magnificent front yard view).  On Sunday we had a rare day when the wind stopped and the temperature rose so we made the best of the day and visited some of the other bays in Le Grand NP, I even managed to jump in and have a swim. I didn't stay in long as the water was still on the chilly side, but I can say I've swam in Lucky Bay.  Our first Bay to visit was Thistle Cove not far from Lucky Bay where we had a quick look at Whistling Rock (still not sure if it whistles!) and  just before heading back to the car park I noticed some dolphins in the bay.  There seemed to be a pod of 4 or 5 which were having a real play, we watched for a while before moving quickly around to have a closer view of the bay where we stood in amazement while we watched  the dolphins having a 'whale' of a time in the clear turquoise water.  Even though we had seen dolphins before it was special to watch them at play.  We visited the other bays after but they didn't have the same wow factor.

Thistle Cove, look closely for the dolphins

This may help.
The warm weather and lack of wind didn't last long and we woke on Monday morning to an overcast day, some light showers and with winds from the south east again, so time to pack up and move on.

We heard Munglinup Beach about 110km west of Esperance had a sheltered camping area, so once we had stocked up on essentials in Esperance we headed off.  Munglinup Beach is boarded by a natural reef and if it was not so windy would have been a great place to stay and enjoy for a couple of days. The camp site was positioned behind the sand dune so that in its self made it a good sheltered place to camp for the night.  It was just so cold, particularly from the wind that the jeans came out and an additional couple of layers of clothes went on ....... I think we've come too close to the south pole!!!  The sun made a couple of attempts to come out without any great success so we'll note this beach for when it's warmer and hopefully stay for a few days.

Munglinup Beach, that far south the poler bears want a cuddle to keep warm!!
Travelling further east we headed for Hopetoun, another seaside town on the eastern side of Fitzgerald National Park.  On arrival to Hopetoun we drove straight into the biggest caravan wash bay I have ever seen, and gave the van a quick once over - she was certainly sparkling after.  Without the sun and with a blistering wind we had a coffee at one of the local shops, took in the sights of the town and decided to keep going, finishing up at Ravensthorpe for the night.

Now that's a big wash bay

1 comment:

The Retro Roamers said...

Hey Geoff and Hels.

The area looks very natural (he he!!!)