Day 114 – Esperance - Beach research
Nov 12, 2009
|There is a sign by the side of the road as you drive into Esperance, “Voted Australia’s best beaches”. Now this is a big call considering the competition and my first thought was, who voted? The local tourism industry? Regardless we took up the challenge and did some research.
Cape Le Grand National park is supposedly the home of the best of the best Esperance beaches. But before we ‘researched the beaches we went for a climb up Frenchman Peak. I guess officially it is named after French sailors who first mapped the area in the 1790’s. Part of me can’t help but think, perhaps unkindly, it could also be because from particular angles it looks like a face with a particularly big nose.
We attempted the 3km track to the top, only to discover it is nothing more than a scramble up the rock faces with a few directional signs. These were some pretty steep climbs, particularly for 4 year old legs (and older legs with Aaron in the backpack). I’m sure we would have made it to the top but there is a very real chance we would not have made it down particularly with rain threatening. For once a smart call made by me…err I mean us…..ok you know it was Al. I would have had all of us stranded at the top calling in a chopper for an evacuation.
But back to our research, Lucky Bay is supposedly the best of the best of the beaches and it is very beautiful. There are dramatic rock cliffs, the beautiful azure waters that are a part of all WA beaches and a range or rocky outcrops jutting up out of the ocean directly out from the beach. It was beautiful but “Australia’s best” is a big claim and as it was overcast with occasional rain and the water temperature was about 16 degrees it was hard to fully appreciate them. The boys played and we dug holes so it was still a lot of fun.
On the way back we tried Rossiter bay, Thistle cove and Hellfire bay. The latter two in particular were spectacular but the conditions did not help. I suppose considering they face the Great southern ocean it is not surprising they are cool. If I was looking for a ‘best beach, I might look further north to Exmouth or Broome where the water temp is 5-6 degrees warmer..
At Thistle cove, we came across Merle, Earl, Pearl and Burl, yes a group of four grey nomads, who were wildflower spotting…in the rain…..by trampling around on the undergrowth. Oooooh look Merle, this purple one is different to that one” Not my scene but it was fun to watch them.
Lunch back in town at the van and then a quiet-ish afternoon (apart from Aarons ‘Mother of all tantrums’). We took the great ocean drive, a 36km long drive along the western coastline. Again there was any number of stunning beaches…….but Australia’s best? I beg to differ
Last stop was at a lookout over a lake called “Pink lake” I could go into the whole description of the scientific causes of its pinkness, add a photo showing its pink colour………..But it wasn’t pink so I won’t bother.
Dinner was down by the waterfront in one of them fancy restaurant thingies. Fish, prawns, squid, a local chardonnay, very good btw, and a decent sized bill were served up. We watched a huge thunderstorm pass by but fortunately were under cover for the duration.
Our van park in Esperance set a new record for ‘rules’. When you check in you get two pages of do’s and don’ts, yes 39 individually numbered rules for staying in the park. I didn’t actually read them, I just noted the number before they were put in the bin. I’m sure if we break a rule they will tell us, not directly, but they will put up more signs.