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esperance bay, best time to visit western australia

The Best Esperance Beaches, Plus Lucky Bay! (2024)

Last Updated on 4 January 2024 by Ariana Svenson Around the world the Esperance beaches are famous for their pure white sands, azure blue waters and of course the chance to grab a selfie with a kangaroo!  While Lucky Bay should be on everyone’s list of Esperance’s best beaches, it is certainly not the only spot that you can enjoy the incredible beauty of this part of the world.  To get started the beaches in Esperance fall into three distinct areas:

·      The beaches close to Esperance town, including the spectacular Great Ocean Drive.

·      The beaches of Cape Le Grand National Park, including Lucky Bay and Hellfire Bay.  These beaches are about 1 hour drive from Esperance and include the wonderfully situated Lucky Bay campground.

·      Beaches further afield, including the wonderful Duke of Orleans Bay and Cape Arid National Park.

Without a doubt there is a lot more to the Esperance Beaches than simply Lucky Bay.  Sometimes when you are reading about the white sand and turquoise waters it can all become a beautiful blur.  We hope that we have given you more idea about which beach in Esperance you really want to visit!

Disclosure:  Through my site there are links to affiliates, which means that I might receive commission if you buy something after clicking them.  This costs you no more, and you definitely don’t pay extra.  However, I do get a small amount which contributes to the upkeep of this blog.    Thanks so much for all of your support – and we hope you have a ball in Western Australia!

The Best Esperance Beaches, Plus Lucky Bay!, Map of the beaches in Esperance WA

How Long Do I Need to Visit the Esperance Beaches?

Seriously, the answer to this is – how long is a piece of string?  You could visit the beaches around Lucky Bay in a day and get a sense for the specialness of this part of Western Australia.  We personally would recommend spending a couple of days in Esperance town (including an exploration of the beaches around town and along the Great Ocean Road) and then at least a day out at Lucky Bay.

Beach lovers (as we are) will tell you that there is a lot more to a beach than simply visiting and snapping a photo for the ‘gram.  You can walk along the beach, explore rocks, discover the rock pools or admire the changing clouds at sunset.  We’ve generally visited Esperance for a week at a time and the beaches always figure prominently on our itinerary.

Useful posts related to the beaches in Esperance

·      The BEST Things to do in Esperance and Accommodation Ideas

·      An Awesome Perth to Esperance Road Trip via Wave Rock

·      The Spectacular Albany to Esperance Road Trip Guide (2022)

·      The Best Things to do in Bremer Bay WA

Esperance Beaches, Lake Hiller Western Australia

What’s the Best Way to Visit the Esperance Beaches?

By far the easiest way to visit the beaches in Esperance would be by car.  If you don’t have a car then you will need to hire one.

Hire a 2WD

When considering hiring a car, first make sure that you are allowed to take the rental care to Esperance from the location you are renting it.  We have heard that some car companies do not allow their rental cars to be driven to Esperance because of the distance.

Also be aware that you will not want to be driving your rental 2WD car on unsealed roads.  If it is just  a short distance from the main road to a parking area, this would be ok as long as you exercise caution.

Hire a 4WD

If you are a confident 4Wdriver then certainly some of the wild beauty, sheer isolation and power of the south coast and Esperance beaches will be more accessible for you.  Be aware that you have to have good skills soft sand driving, and of how the tides move quickly.  You should not hire a 4WD if you don’t have substantial experience.  There is limited phone reception and rescues can be logistically very difficult.

At Wylie Bay there is a huge rock that you can drive over and enjoy the amazing views from the top.  However, only attempt this is you are competent in doing so.  Once you passed the rock, it is about 20km of beach driving until you get to Cape Le Grand.  You can camp at Cape Le Grand or continue down the beach to Lucky Bay.

There are a range of other 4wd Tracks around Esperance including along Rossiter’s beach, Duke of Orleans or at Cape Arid.

Join a Group Tour

If you don’t have your own wheels or are not confident to do some 4WD driving but want to get off the beaten track, why not join a group tour?  That way you can meet like-minded people.

There are many guided tours to choose from.  Tours to Cape Le Grand, Cape Arid National Park, and the ones that highlight the sites of Esperance.  These can range from small private group tours to large couch groups all with experiences drivers and guides.

Do an Overflight

Seeing Esperance and its surrounding beaches by air is a next-level experience.  While it might be the most expensive of all the options, it is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

A bonus of doing an overflight of Esperance’s beaches is that you will also get to see the world-famous bubble gum pink lake, at Lake Hiller.  Check out Fly Esperance for more information.


Entry Fees to Visit Most Beaches in Esperance

It is highly suggested that you get a Western Australia National Parks Pass.  You will probably visit a lot of National Parks during this trip, so it makes sense to buy a National Parks Pass.

Each National Park costs $13 for a car, but we can strongly recommend looking at the Holiday passes.  You can check the current pricing here.

  • 5 Day –   Unlimited entry to any WA park for up to 5 (five) days.
  • 14 Day –  Unlimited entry to any WA park for up to 2 (two) weeks.
  • 1 Month – Unlimited entry to any WA park for up to 4 (four) weeks.

The Best Esperance Beaches, Plus Lucky Bay!, Kangaroos on the beach Australia

Cape Le Grand National Park Beaches

It is important to point out that we acknowledge the Wudjari people as the traditional owners and Cape Le Grand National Park.

How Did Cape Le Grand Get its Name?

The name comes from one of the officers on the ship L’Esperance of the 1792 expedition of Bruni d’Entrecasteaux.

Cape Le Grande was not named after the traditional Wudjari people.

Lucky Bay Esperance

Perhaps the most popular of the all the Esperance beaches in Lucky Bay Esperance.  Located in Cape Le Grand National Park, Lucky Bay is often the main reason people visit Esperance.  With stunning white sand beaches, electric blue water, and cute Grey Kangaroos that come onto the beach.

Getting close to kangaroos on the beach is a special experience.  They like to come out of the bush and onto the shoreline in the early morning and late afternoons.  So, if you are wanting to enjoy the roos, make sure to visit during these times.

If you have a 4WD drive, you can drive your vehicle onto the beach.  This is a great way to enjoy a day at Lucky Bay Esperance.

Why is Lucky Bay Called Lucky Bay?

The bay was named by sailor Matthew Flinders.  With nightfall approaching and having sailed into the dangerous Archipelago of the Recherche, he found himself surrounded by rocks and other hazards.

Flinders vessel, the HMS Investigator, landed in the bay and safely took refuge from a storm.  Flinders then named the bay “Lucky Bay”.

Hellfire Bay Esperance, Beaches in Esperance Western Australia

Hellfire Bay, Esperance

Hellfire Bay is located somewhat near Lucky Bay, making it easy to explore both places in the same day.  With the same amazing blue water, Hellfire Bay is usually occupied by less people than Lucky Bay.  This makes if a great choice if you are wanting to relax and enjoy the peaceful surrounds.

There are even facilities at Hellfire Bay which include BBQ’s some picnic benches, and toilets.

Little Hellfire Bay

Just a 10-minute walk through to bush from Hellfire Bay, you will arrive at Little Hellfire Bay.  This is a smaller, lesser-known bay but equally as beautiful as the others.  It is a good way to escape the crowds and take a relaxing dip in the calm waters.

Interestingly Hellfire Bay is believed to be named after St. Elmo’s fire, which is the bluish flame-like electrical discharge that can sometimes be seen above a ship’s masts.

Rossiter Bay

Rossiter Bay is located about a 50-minute drive from downtown Esperance.  It is located close to the Esperance Bay Caravan Park.

With an abundance of Western Australian wildflowers, native wildlife and birds, and iconic white sandy beaches, this is a perfect quiet spot for birdwatching or photography.  Enjoy time at Rossiter Bay bushwalking and afterwards swimming in the gorgeous waters.

If you love wildflowers, check out our post Where to Find the Best Wildflowers in Western Australia.

Thistle Cove Esperance WA, the best beaches Esperance Western Australia

Thistle Cove

Like Lucky Bay, Thistle Cove is also located in Cape Le Grand National Park and has gorgeous white sand beaches with beautiful turquoise water.  However, it is much less crowded than Lucky Bay Esperance.  You may even be lucky and get to enjoy the beach all to yourself.

Very large granite rock boulders shelter Thistle Cove making it extremely picturesque.  Also, make sure to check out “Whistling Rock”, that when windy appears to be whistling.

The Best Beaches in Esperance Western Australia, Le Grand Beach Esperance

Le Grand Beach

Le Grand Beach is another great beach to check out.  It is very close to the campgrounds which make it an excellent spot with facilities.  Activities to enjoy at Le Grand Beach include swimming, snorkeling, surfing, canoeing, and sunbathing.  There are also several walking trails that take you to the of the hill and offer a stunning view out over the bay.

The campground at Le Grand Beach offers visitors a way to stay for a few days and enjoy everything the beaches in Esperance offers.  Choose from powered and unpowered sites that are all very close to the ocean.

Beaches Near Esperance Town, Esperance Western Australia Foreshore

Beaches Near Esperance Town

Wylie Bay

Wylie Bay Esperance is a secluded beach that is reached by traversing big sand dunes.  If you are keen on making the trip, know that this place is stunning.  There is a natural sandbar in front of the beach that makes it look as if there are beaches on each side.  Pristine and secluded, Wylie Bay Esperance is a perfect place to watch the sunset.  We promise and unforgettable experience.

One thing to note is that winds can be strong at Wylie Bay.  Plus, once you have photographed sunset, you can drop into the Lucky Bay Brewing company on the way home.


What is the Great Ocean Drive Esperance, Esperance Beaches WA

What is the Great Ocean Drive Esperance?

If you are visiting Australia, chances are you have heard of the Great Ocean Drive.  Well, the most famous one is the Great Ocean Road that spans 400 kilometers (249 miles) from Torquay in Victoria to the South Australian border.

In Western Australia, we have the Great Ocean Drive Esperance which is a stunning 40-kilometer drive along the coast.  It has been selling itself as ‘Australia’s most beautiful stretch of road’!  I guess you will have to go and see for yourself!

The Great Ocean Drive Esperance only takes an hour or two to complete.  The most famous beaches to explore are Blue Haven Beach, Twilight Cove, Twilight Beach Esperance, and Salmon Beach.

Section 1: Esperance to Fourth Beach

This section covers the beaches at West Beach, Blue Haven Beach, Salmon Beach, and Fourth Beach.  To get a great view you should definitely call in at the Observatory Point.  This windy spot is great for wind and kite surfers and the view from the carpark is special.  Sunset over the Observatory Point is worth planning for.

Blue Haven is a double winner in our books.  It is sheltered, provides safe swimming, and also is pet friendly (that is, dogs are allowed).

Blue Haven Beach, Esperance

Sheltered from the wind with rock faces on each side, this is one of the best beaches in Esperance area.  A winding staircase leads down to Blue Haven Beach.  Here you can swim, sunbathe, and just enjoy all the goodness that Esperance beaches have to offer.

This is a truly gorgeous place to spend time at.  If you are out in the water cooling off, make sure to take in the beauty that surrounds you.  It is a true reminder of just how secluded and hidden these idyllic beaches are.

Twilight Beach Esperance, Gorgeous beaches in Western Australia

Section 2: Fourth Beach to Eleven Mile Beach

There are a number of protected swimming holes along this area.  The locals say that Ten Mile Lagoon is best for snorkeling.  While out with your flippers lookout for the Leafy Sea Dragon which dwells amongst the seaweed on the edge of rocks.  Due to the rocky shore making a protected lagoon this is also a good spot for families with little kids to swim.

Popular spots in this section include Twilight Cove, and Twilight Beach Esperance.

Observatory Point Beaches in Esperance Western Australia

Observatory Point

Located approximately 12km outside of Esperance the detour that leads to Observatory Point Rd.  This is a very steep paved descent that leads you to a large car park.  To the right of the carpark is a wooden staircase that leads to the top of the sand dune.  Here is a small platform with a bench, this is Observatory Point.

Observatory Point offers a great view of the coast towards Esperance, the small islands located in front of the cape, and Observatory Beach.  You may even be lucky enough to spot a whale or two off in the distance.  Observatory Point is a great place for photography and enjoy the beauty the Esperance beaches have to offer.

11 Mile Beach Esperance, The Best Beaches in Esperance

Section 3: Eleven Mile Beach/ 11 Mile Beach

From Eleven Mile beach back to Esperance you are traveling through farmland.  We would recommend making a stop at the Lucky Bay Brewing Co on the way back into town!

South Coast of Western Australia, Great Ocean Drive, Shark Warning System Australia

Coast Risk Warning!

Remember the entire South Coast is powerful and wild.  This is a rugged wilderness area and you should always exercise caution when exploring or swimming.  The perfect selfie is just not worth it!  There are deaths along the entire South Coast each year due to people being swept off rocks, swimming accidents, and shark attacks.  Be careful and sensible.

Cape Arid National Park Beaches

Cape Arid National Park is located 125km east of Esperance.  It is to be noted that most roads and camping areas are only accessible by 4WD vehicles.  However, there are some places around the Thomas River area that are 2WD accessible albeit being unsealed roads.

It is important for us to acknowledge that Ngatjumay and Wudjair people are the traditional owners of Cape Arid National Park.

What is the Difference Between Cape Le Grand and Cape Arid National Parks?

Most people will likely choose Cape Le Grand over Cape Arid National Park, if not for the fact that Cape Le Grand is more accessible especially to those visitors in 2WD vehicles.

Cape Arid National Park is remote and more rugged.  To really enjoy all that Cape Arid has to offer you would need a high clearance 4WD vehicle.  When visiting make sure to fuel up your vehicle as there are limited resources and what is there is expensive.

Cape Arid National Park Beaches, Duke of Orleans Bay Esperance Western Australia Beaches

Duke of Orleans Bay

At just an hour’s drive east from Esperance, Duke of Orleans Bay is situated in the peninsula between Cape Le Grand and Cape Arid National Park.  However, know that most of the bays at Duke of Orleans Bay are only accessible by a 4WD vehicle.

Many activities can be enjoyed at Duke of Orleans Bay including fishing, surfing, wakeboarding, water skiing, and much more.  It is a popular playground of people from Esperance and Kalgoorlie who come for family holidays and to enjoy this uncrowded playground.

There is only one overnight option in Duke of Orleans Bay which is a caravan park.  However, you do have a choice of powered and unpowered sites as well as cabins, and park homes.

Link to Duke of Orleans caravan park. (if on bookingcom!!!)

Wharton Beach

Wharton Beach Esperance is likely the most popular beach in the Duke of Orleans area.  The calm clear blue water and stunning white sand beach make it a great for a relaxing day.  It really is a great beach with a laid-back relaxed vibe.

Little Wharton Beach

Located right next to Wharton Beach Esperance, it is a smaller and less crowded.  The perfect place for a quiet picnic and a view of Lorraine Island.  If you are visiting either of these beaches, make sure to stop into Condingup Tavern for a scone or burger.

Alexander Bay, Esperance

Located 100km east of Esperance, Alexander Bay has first come, first serve camping.  However, the camp site is only accessible via 4WD.  Also, you must bring everything needed for you stay including fuel, water, and food.  Mobile reception is spotty at best, so this area is for adventurous souls and those who want to get an off the beaten track Esperance beaches experience.

Dog Friendly Beaches Esperance, Esperance Western Australia Beaches, Esperance Foreshore

Dog Friendly Beaches Esperance

What to do if I am Travelling with My Dog in Esperance?

It’s true that the main attractions around Esperance are the beaches, and that they are all in the national parks.  So, you will want to make a plan if you are taking a dog to Esperance.  Dogs are not allowed at most Esperance beaches. At one stage the Acclaim Holiday Park had plans for a ‘doggy day care’ for those who love to travel with their pooch but can’t leave them in their tent or accommodation.  Ask your accommodation provider for the ideas and options when you are booking, and you might find a win –win solution for you and your dog when visiting Esperance.

With that said, West Beach does allow dogs off leash during certain hours from 5-8am and then again from 4-8pm.  Dogs must be on-leash outside of the hours.  There are also similar leash rules at other beaches in town.  Make sure to check for signs posted with rules and regulations.

There are other dog friendly beaches Esperance on the western side of town along the Great Ocean Drive.  These beaches include Eleven Mile Beach, Salmon Beach, Blue Have, Fourth Beach, and Ten Mile Lagoon.

Dog-Friendly Walks in Esperance

While it is true you cannot take your doggo into the national parks, there are plenty of dog-friendly walks in Esperance.

Take a stroll along the Esperance foreshore as there is 5km of walkway for you and your pooch.  Additionally, there is a shared cycle-pedestrian pathway that spans the Great Ocean Drive section from downtown Esperance all the way to Twilight Beach.  With many car parks along the way, you can easily do a small section.

Pet Friendly Accommodations Esperance

There are two caravan parks that are considered Esperance dog friendly accommodations.  These are RAC Esperance Holiday Park and Esperance Bay Holiday Park. Both of these pet friendly accommodation Esperance are worth a look.

Rac Esperance Holiday Park is located on the north side of town directly across from Esperance Bay.  The offer many different Esperance dog friendly accommodation options.  These range from powered tent sites to two-bed pet-friendly park cabins.  Check here for more information and current rates for Rac Esperance Holiday Park.

The Esperance Bay Holiday Park is another pet friendly accommodation Esperance option.  Located just a short distance from the town centre and Taylor Street Jetty.  Check here for more information for the Esperance Bay Holiday Park.


What About the Recherche Archipelago?

The Bay of Isles, also known as Recherche Archipelago, is a made up of a group of 105 islands off the southern coast of Esperance.  These Western Australian island group spans a whopping 230 kilometers from east to west and lie about 50 kilometers offshore.

Explorer Mathew Flinders was the first explorer to chart the islands of the Recherche Archipelago in 1802.  Recherche Archipelago was named after one of Flinders ships, “Research” and the town of Esperance was named after his other ship, “Esperance”.

Amazing Western Australia Glamping Ideas to Inspire (2023) offers more information about glamping on Woody Island in the archipelago.

places to visit in Western Australia Esperance, Lucky Bay Esperance, Kangaroos on the Beach

The Verdict – The Best Esperance Beaches

Whether you plan to spend a day in Esperance – or a week – you are going to want to know which beaches suit your needs best. We hope that this thorough review of the Esperance beaches, their pros and cons, gives you a good idea of what to expect and how best to plan your time in Esperance.   Have we missed something? Do you think that there are Beaches in Esperance that should get a better review – please let us know by dropping a comment below!

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The Best Esperance Beaches, Plus Lucky Bay!

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