Monday, December 3, 2012


After an 8 hour drive across the Wheatbelt, we arrived at Esperance!  Despite what Apple Maps says, Esperance is a town on the southern coast of Australia and it is indeed accessible by roads.  With a population just over 14,000 strong, Esperance is the largest town for roughly 480 kilometers to the west, 390 kilometers to the north, and a whopping 1,860 kilometers to the east.  Yep.  Not much in between here and Adelaide…

First impressions aren’t always great.  For starters, everything was closed.

A town of 14,000 that tries to be a tourist destination should seriously have more than 3 dinner options.  Also, grocery stores should be open after 5pm and on Sundays.  But I’ll let it slide.

Also, their Water Front Gardens leave a bit to be desired…

As this is a tourist destination, there was bound to be tackiness happening.  The museum in the centre of town highlights Esperance’s 15 minutes of international fame when pieces of Skylab showered the area in 1979.  In actuality, Skylab crashed near Balladonia – over 400 kilometers away.  Despite that, Esperance fined NASA $400 for littering.  NASA said fuck off.  Funds were raised by a radio show in 2009 and the meager fine was paid on behalf of NASA some 20 years later.

To take tacky to new levels, however, was this:

Look closely.  Do you see it?  It’s Stonehenge.  Esperance Stonehenge to be exact.  And it appears to be in someone’s yard.  Now, we saw the sign and Oscar and I made a bee line for it only to find that the entrance fee was $10/person.  We decided to take a pass.

But, after all of the closed signs and tackiness, Esperance was actually quite lovely.  The foreshore is dotted with imported Norfolk Island Pines and makes for a great evening walk:

The Tanker Jetty stretches 840+ meters out into the bay:

The jetty is home to Esperance’s most famous resident, Sammy the Seal:

And we were fortunate enough to catch him lazing around on the beach next to the jetty!

To get the best part of Esperance, you need to venture slightly outside of town to the natural beauty of the region.  Massive sand dunes surround Esperance up and down the coast, and even inland:

But it was the 38 kilometer Great Ocean Drive that wowed us the most.  A wind farm was featured on the drive and dotted the coast slightly inland:

And the views from the coast were absolutely stunning:

The best part:  Twilight Beach!

And yes, I got the new iPhone and discovered the panorama option and made good use of it on the trip.  You can click to enlarge.

Proclaimed as one of Australia’s best beaches by many different sources, Twilight Beach is big, beautiful, and virtually empty.  Woohoo!

The water was freezing.  But it was too good not to get into.  At least half way…

Overall, Esperance was gorgeous.  Quiet, but gorgeous.  Living here would drive me to a boredom-induced insanity like none other, but visiting for a few days or longer is absolutely fantastic.  Yes, there isn’t all that much to keep you entertained at night, but after a full day on the beach, it’s best to get to bed early so you can wake up early and do it all again.  There’s more to follow about Esperance’s nearby national parks and the archipelago in the bay.  Until the next blog, I leave you with a picture of where you will be lounging should you ever choose to check out Esperance.

Just don’t use Apple Maps to try and get you there…

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