Top Trail: Great Ocean Way, Esperance
The Great Ocean Way meanders around the spectacular coastline of Esperance on the south coast of Western Australia, with its dazzling white beaches and unbelievable aqua water. Hire a bike and head out around the bay to the beach for the day.
About the Trail
Running 12 kilometres from Esperance Bay to Twilight Beach, the bitumen track, used by walkers, runners, cyclists and prams, follows the bay through town, passing cafes, the fishing jetty and the wharf.
The transition from the bay to the ocean side requires a climb up the hill to Twilight Beach Road. From here the trail follows the road but is removed from it as the coastal bush insulates the bike trail until arriving at the car park of one of the many beautiful beaches.
Highlights include Blue Haven where granite outcrops jut out into the azure sea to create the lovely bays, Tanker jetty where anglers fish and Sammy the Seal looks for fish heads and the Taylor Street Café housed in the old hospital building. Whale watching season runs from June to November.
The trail can be accessed from a number of carparks along its length to provide a variety of sceneries and distance options. Spend anywhere from a few hours to a full day depending on how long you like to stop and take in the atmosphere!
Need to Know
A beach and nature-lover's dream, Esperance is blessed with squeaky-clean beaches, turquoise waters, untouched islands and colour-filled wildflower country. Among its most famous beauty spots is Australia's whitest beach, Lucky Bay - set against a stunning seascape of 110 islands of the Recherche Archipelago, even the kangaroos can't resist lounging here. It's a one-and-a-half-hour flight or an eight-hour drive south-east from Perth, making Esperance an ideal get-away-from-it-all holiday. Many attractions are easily accessible, with plenty of guided tour options, but a four wheel drive is a must if you want to venture off the beaten track. The calm, clear waters of Blue Haven Beach and Twilight Cove, just a short drive from town, are idyllic spots for swimming and snorkelling. Locals say the lagoon just east of West Beach is worth a snorkel too. If you're seeking waves, hit the surf at West Beach, Fourth Beach or Observatory Beach. To hook dinner, throw in a line at Tanker Jetty and keep a keen eye out for cheeky local, Sammy the seal. Back in town, the adventure continues with four wheel drive beach safaris, Indigenous cultural tours, coach tours, island cruises, diving and fishing charters, abseiling, sand boarding, canoeing, mini golf and steam train rides. Check out the arts centre and galleries, making time to drop into the museum to view what's left of the NASA Skylab after it slammed back down to Earth near Balladonia. On the way to Cape Le Grand, you'll even find a slice of ancient druid history with a full-size replica of Stonehenge. A good choice of hotels, motels, apartments, bed and breakfasts, chalets and backpackers is available in Esperance. For something a little nearer to nature, hop on a ferry to Woody Island and pitch your tent or stay in a safari hut. There's also the chance to bunk down under the stars beside the beach at Lucky Bay. The campsite has solar hot showers, camp kitchens and barbecues, and bush walking trails and spectacular coastal views are just a few steps away.
Esperance Visitor Centre
Museum Village Corner of Dempster Street and Kemp Street, Esperance Western Australia 6450, Australia
Phone: (08) 9083 1555 | www.visitesperance.com
The Esperance Visitor Centre is the first stop for travellers wanting helpful and accurate information about the Esperance region and the state of Western Australia. Their helpful and friendly staff will share their extensive local knowledge of the area giving advice and booking tours, accommodation and bus travel to make your Esperance experience memorable. The Visitor Centre also features a local product display, a large range of souvenirs and the Esperance souvenir gold coins. The Esperance Visitor Centre is located within the Museum Village, which has a café for a relaxing lunch or coffee break.