Things to Do in Esperance, Western Australia – The Great Ocean Drive.

Not to be confused with the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, the Great Ocean Drive is a forty kilometre drive through Esperance showcasing some of its most beautiful scenery, including stunning beaches, large granite headlands and its very own pink lake.

You could probably jump in car, have a quick look at everything, and do this drive in an hour if you are short on time. It took us a full day, because we got out and spent time at each of the locations and explored a few for quite some time. Honestly, by the time we got the end of the beaches, the sea breeze had come in and we were getting tired, but we still stopped and took a look.

Jetty Headland

A gorgeous starting point for us on this drive, Marcus had a play in the nature playground and we wandered the walkways and admired the amazing colour of the water. There are BBQ’s here and toilets and showers, so a great place to hang out with the kids. Plus there is also a coffee van here in the mornings. 

James Street Precinct

Come and see the fantastic Whale Tail Sculpture created by local artists Jason Wooldridge and Cindy Poole. There is a playground here which caters for all abilities, and also a swimming pontoon. We were lucky enough to take a photo with one of Helispirits helicopters who runs transfers to Woody Island, and scenic flights over Esperance and out to the famed Pink lake of Middle Island, Lake Hillier.

Taylor Street Jetty

Another great spot overlooking the port. There is a restaurant/cafe here, which we never went to because simply had an offputting experience (which I will share that with you all at the end of this blog post). There is a cute little garden here that you can take a wander through, there is a nice sheltered area where you can take a swim, or check out the boats in the Yacht Club Marina.

Rotary Lookout and Walk Trails

The rotary lookout sits high on the hill providing you with 360 degree views of Esperance and the archipelago and it is absolutely amazing. The best thing for us was although you are up high, the actual lookout itself isn’t high at all, so I didn’t experience any vertigo (for a nice change). There are also a few great walk trails leading down to the beaches from here, but we didn’t get around to exploring these. 

West Beach

This was our first experience of an Esperance Beach on the Great Ocean Drive and its s white sand and turquoise water set against rocky headlands didn’t disappoint. We spent quite some time here taking photos and just playing on the beach.

Chapman Point

You can see some amazing views across West Beach from Chapman Point, and then you can wander down onto the rocks for a closer view. Be careful, you will notice a memorial site for a young man washed off the rocks here as you head down, so make sure to always be safe.

Fourth Beach

We loved wandering along this beach to the end to find the rock pools to explore. With only footprints in the sand to indicate anyone else had been here before us, we loved having this beach all to ourselves.

Twilight Cove

One of Esperance’s most famous beaches, and popular with families due to it being the safest swimming and surfing beach in Esperance, and the beach being patrolled over summer on Sundays.

Observatory Point & Beach

There was a long staircase heading down to Observatory Beach, which Marcus and I both decided against because we knew we would need to climb back up! So we ventured up to the lookout, which although very windy, had amazing views across the coastline.

Nine Mile Beach

We stopped off at the nine-mile beach and walked down the stairs straight onto rocks, and climbed across these towards the most beautiful rock pools (so make sure you have your inner mountain goat on). This was possibly our favourite beach on the Great Ocean Drive. There is also the ten-mile beach and lagoon and eleven-mile beach and lagoon, which we were advised was the safest place to swim if you are concerned about sharks. We noticed a lot of shark alarms on most of the beaches in Esperance, which is a sign of how prevalent these beautiful creatures are in this area. I think its important to be safe and be smart when swimming in waters like these and understand you are in the shark’s territory.

Ten Mile Wind Farm

There is something about wind farms that I find really interesting. I can’t quite pinpoint what it is. Marcus was exceptionally bored, and probably more so terrified the rotor would fall off as we walked underneath this one turbine. This wind farm provides Esperance with about 20% of its electricity.

Pink Lake Lookout

By the time we got to this lookout, it was about 5 pm in the afternoon. It had been a long day, and Marcus just wanted to go and have some dinner, and I wanted a glass of wine. The pink lake here in Esperance in fact wasn’t pink at all, due to the fact that more than a century of salt extraction from the lake has removed its beautiful pink hue. There seem to be some plans in motion to put the salt back into the lake to bring it back to its former glory.

Overall, we really enjoyed our day out seeing Esperance’s beautiful and rugged coastline along the Great Ocean Drive and we have to agree that Esperance has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

PS – this was our not so great experience with Taylor Street Cafe – I decided when we arrived in Esperance that I would like to have lunch at this cafe after our four and a bit hour drive from Kalgoorlie. We arrived at about 1.30 pm in the afternoon on a Friday and the cafe was fairly busy. Anyway, I’m a fairly relaxed person, I know places are busy, and we didn’t have a booking, but I don’t see the issue in asking for a table, and if they have nothing then so be it. I’m definitely not offended. Anyway, so we walked in, and as I was looking for someone to ask if they had a table available, this woman charged up to us, hand out in front telling us to stop, yelling that they were fully booked, and the kitchen was an hour behind. I was so taken aback by the abrupt rudeness of the encounter, we decided that we wouldn’t bother visiting here again. We ended up eating at the Pier Hotel, where the hospitality and service were amazing, and a great pub meal. And we had great meals and service at every other place we visited in Esperance.

You might also like:  Snorkelling the Omeo Shipwreck

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