Blissfully isolated and wrapped in powder-white beaches that give way to some of the most invitingly turquoise waters in Australia, Esperance is summer holidays made manifest for sun, sea and adventure aficionados.
The 105 pristine islands off the coast that make up the Recherche Archipelago lend the town the nickname Bay of Isles and harbour the bubblegum-pink Lake Hillier. Also in the region you’ll find Lucky Bay, famous for its sunbaking kangaroos.
And while the picturesque town is all about the pursuit of nature and simple pleasures, you’re never far from a good flat white or a local craft beer, either.
Esperance styles itself as part of WA’s secret south. But judging by the number of “No Vacancy” signs that spring up throughout the summer, that secret has started to spread.
How refreshing, then, that even in the busiest holiday periods you can find a long ribbon of white beach to call your own.
Where is it
Famous for its natural beauty and having some of the best beaches in Australia, Esperance is located on WA’s remote south-east coast about 725 kilometres from Perth.
Best month to go
December through March. You get the best of the season’s weather, and you’re treated to the magnificent red flowering gums and Christmas trees.
What to do in Esperance
Fiona Shillington grew up in Esperance and had lived in Sydney for 25 years when she went back to the Western Australian town for a holiday with her husband, Matt, and their four kids and ended up buying a rundown holiday camp of A-frame chalets built in the mid-1980s. Inspired to breathe new life into the original dream, together Fiona and Matt reimagined Esperance Chalet Village and today it makes for a unique and quirky stay steeped in charm, nostalgia and plenty of Instagram moments.
Here, Fiona shares a perfect summer’s day in her hometown.
8am: Pure morning
Wake up at Esperance Chalet Village and roll out of a sumptuous king-size bed, dressed with Western Australian designed linen bedding by Bedtonic. Enjoy Plantmade WA granola by the creek that hugs the boundary of the village.
9am: Bike, beans and brew
Jump on a cruiser bike and trace the coast into town. Stop by Cloud Eleven Coffee + Tea, where the beans are locally roasted and the brews are served in handmade pottery.
10am: Go with the tide
Peruse the wares of local artisans at Museum Village, a collection of historic buildings turned retail stores. Tide & Co is our go-to for funky, curated mementos and is the HQ of the town’s fave monthly read, the Esperance Tide.
11am: Brunch on the bay
Continue a little further down the road to Taylor St Quarters, a must for a long, lazy brunch. Sip on a blackberry bramble on the porch overlooking the bay and fuel up on vibrant, local produce.
12.30pm: Shore thing
Swap the cruiser for an e-bike, available for hire from Watt Lab. Then head up the hill and along Great Ocean Drive, stopping for a dip at some of the most glorious beaches in the country. Your choices are endless but local faves include West Beach, Blue Haven and Twilight Cove, each more spectacular than the last. Keep your eyes peeled for playful pods of dolphins.
2.30pm: Take a break
Go back to ECV for a siesta in a hammock by the creek, or get into a kayak and onto the water.
4pm: Fresh and local
Head to Lucky Bay Brewing for beer that’s not only brewed locally, but made using barley grown just on the edge of town. Then swing by the nearby Bandy Creek Fish Shop to pick up something for dinner. Or catch it yourself off the jetty at Bandy Creek Boat Harbour.
7pm: Starry night
Return to ECV to cook your fish on the open fire, by the creek, under the stars. Pair with crusty Bread Local sourdough and a Great Southern pinot noir.