Perched on the edge of Australia, Esperance walks to its own beat, as former resident and long-time visitor Fleur Bainger can attest. Find out the striking qualities of Esperance that landed it at no.13 on your list of Top 50 Aussie towns.
Find the complete list of the Top 50 Aussie Towns here.
What brings you to Esperance?
When I moved to Western Australia nearly two decades ago, Esperance was my first stop. I still wonder if I should’ve stayed there. I spent six weeks working at the local ABC, and with every dawn drive past tourmaline-blue ocean polka-dotted with islands, I fell a little more in love.
Watching giant waves thunder to shore at North Point. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
A painting I bought capturing the transfixing coastline and its long row of Norfolk pines still hangs on my wall, reminding me every day of this isolated town clutching on tight to the far southern rim of Western Australia.
Astonishing white beaches and glass-clear waters
It’s close to nothing, and yet I’ve returned many times. Each visit, I’m drawn to the Great Ocean Drive, a 34-kilometre strip of bitumen that goes past so many flour-white beaches that it aches to keep on driving. I resist flicking the indicator until I reach Blue Haven, a cove of flat, glass-clear water that nibbles at rounded granite borders.
Esperance has breathtaking white sand beaches. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Luckily, the water temperature is so bracing, an up-to-the-knees frolic suffices, leaving me enough time for nearby Twilight Beach. Here, my camera focuses on a sculpted rock islet, which rises from the water with a circular scoop taken from its face. The erosion transforms it into a sentient being; it feels like a protective presence watching over the handful of swimmers before it.
An illusive and undefined beauty like no other
I could go on forever about Esperance’s singular beauty – and I haven’t even mentioned Lucky Bay and those sunbathing roos – but it’s actually the locals that make the town special.
Overwhelmingly friendly, they bear a perceptible zest for life – perhaps a result of being so far-flung – leading them to go all-in on quirky ideas and fun activities. Their spirit is seen in shop windows, with colourful displays gracing the bike shop and the general store.
A booming industry for entrepreneurs
It extends to activities: a flying-pub crawl from beach to bush, run by Fly Esperance, is typical. It means that big ideas, like Lucky Bay Brewery, which brews beers with locally grown barley, rainwater and zero preservatives, come to fruition.
Enjoy a few amber ales at Lucky Bay Brewing. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
There’s enthusiasm for garage entrepreneurs, like Bread Local, which opens only on Friday afternoons. There’s a celebration of personable characters, like Fiona Shillington, who runs Esperance Chalet Village, a curated collection of white-on-white A-frames strung with fairy lights.
From your unique A-frame accommodation at Esperance Chalet Village. (Image: Marnie Hawson)
Perhaps most of all, they welcome out-of-towners, embracing the 24-year-old interstate reporter as warmly then as they do when she returns, at 43.