Australia (South West Tour) Esperance
Trip Start Dec 05, 2005
124Trip End Ongoing
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With only a brief stop at the supermarket and then for diesel before departing,
the 500km journey to Esperance began at 9:30am and saw us arrive at 6:00pm. A long day on the road but Gizmo was up to the task.
We made a couple of scheduled stops enroute to stretch our legs and feed our bellies; Jerramungup and Ravensthorpe, both of which were no more than a road house surrounding by hundreds of kilometres of desert and scrubland.
The journey also provided us with our first encounter with a road train; a much talked about presence on the Western Australian highways. We envisaged them to be ten carriages long and a sight to behold as everyone and all the literature warned to give yourself at least a kilometre to overtake them...as it turned out they were only about 3 carriages long (up to 60 metres) and were overtaking us!!
With hardly any other traffic on the road there was no shortage of dead roos on the roadside as a stark reminder not to drive in the dark. Our only animal casualties were tens of large, colourful, kamikaze dragon flies that were determined to impale and wedge themselves in the grill protecting the windscreen (PIC). Our most being 19 at one time!!
On arrival in Esperance we drove along the esplanade and stopped at the jetty to admire the coastline of the quaint little town (PIC). Our timing couldn't have been better as we were lucky enough to see two little wild sea lions bobbing in the water right next to the jetty and then a large one slumped on the shore vying for attention, scraps of fisherman's daily catch and an approving camera happy audience (PICS). They were surprisingly tame and pretty creatures considering they were wild and have a somewhat fierce reputation.
Driving along the Esperance beachfronts, and admiring the stunning beachside properties, we discovered that every parking bay was a 'camping prohibited' zone so we were forced to check into the areas main campsite for the evening. Dinner and further book reading followed before bedtime.
The main attraction in Esperance is the beautiful unspoilt beaches, with their white sands and crystal waters and very few people on them due to the distance from Esperance to anywhere else. We wanted to see these beaches first hand so decided to take in the scenic drive 'loop' that runs around the coastline of Esperance and out to many of the apparently spectacular beaches.
First we stopped at the jetty again to see if the sea lions were still about. The big fat one (which obviously doesn't even bother venturing into the water) was there and still posing for photos while waiting for some fisherman's scraps to be thrown his way (PICS).
We began the scenic drive and stopped at the first beach we came to - 'Lovers Beach'. We could see from the road that the sea was a colour blue that we had never experienced before - so breathtaking and seemingly unnatural that we had to go down to the water just to check that it was real. The sand was as fine as dust and sumptuously soft underfoot and the water was transparent for the first 20-30 feet at which point it turned into a spotless aquamarine. The photos don't quite do the place justice - we never thought that we would see a beach like this in Australia, as we walked along it it felt as if we were on a deserted island in the middle of the Caribbean (PICS).
Totally dumbfounded by the scenery around us we found it difficult to drag ourselves away, had the breeze been a little less we probably would have jumped into the waters and stayed there all day. Instead we decided to see what other treasures were hidden around the scenic loop - Lovers beach wasn't even supposed to be the best one!
We drove past a few more small, yet similarly picturesque beaches until we got to Twilight Beach - accredited as being the best beach in Australia (PICS). Again the sand was soft, white and untouched and the crystal water shimmered in the midday sunlight. A couple of strange outcrops close to the shore were the main point of interest and gave the location a very unique quality. After grabbing an ice-cream and wandering around the sand for a while we were about to get back on the road when we changed our minds. This was supposedly the best beach in Oz and we were only going to be here once (especially as it is so far from everything else!) so instead of driving away we opted to find a sheltered area out of the sea breeze and relaxed on the beach for a while, enjoying the warm sunshine and the cold, but refreshing water. At one point we were the only people on the entire beach - there aren't many beaches that you can claim that - especially one of the best in the world, on a sunny day. Perfect!
As the sun dropped down below the hills and the breeze picked up we got back into Gizmo and continued around the loop, passing 9 Mile Beach and 10 Mile Lagoon before reaching the Pink Lake (PICS). The lake happened to not be pink on this particular day but you can't have it all, can you.
As we continued the loop Verdi's eyes began to play up. Removing the contact lenses, which usually does the trick, did not have the desired effect and it progressively became more uncomfortable. With the time nearing 6pm we had little option but to wait until morning and see how it was then.
Returning to the centre of Esperance town we once again found that we were limited for places to camp so stuck to what we knew and checked into the Caravan Park for a second night. We needed a good nights sleep as we were planning another heavy day of driving to get up to Kalgoorlie in one day, another 400+ km drive. Hopefully Verdi's eyes would be okay as Andrew didn't fancy doing all the driving himself!