Day 153: 30 October – Esperance finally shows us some warmth

Author: Mrs A

Location: Esperance & Cape Le Grand National Park

Distance driven: 120 km return

Distance hiked: 10 km

Finally the wind dropped this morning, with gusts around 30 km an hour instead of 70! So yes, still ‘breezy’ by usual standards, but not uncomfortably so. We had earmarked today to head to the nearby national park – Cape Le Grand – to do some hiking and so the upturn in the weather was a relief.

Cape Le Grand is named after one of the officers on the ship L’Espérance (after which Esperance is named – French for hope) which sailed here in 1792. There are rugged granite peaks and cliffs, the remains of a huge mountain range which once stretched along the coast here, originally higher than the Himalayas, but now smooth and eroded. The many turquoise bays are what it is mostly famous for, and the flora and fauna which exists here and nowhere else.

Long stretches of deserted beach

We commenced our section of the ‘Le Grand Coastal Track’ at Lucky Bay, following an extremely scenic route along the cliffs to the next bay, Thistle Cove. Lucky Bay has been voted the whitest beach in Australia, with sand so fine is literally squeaks as you walk on it. A beautiful bay which stretches round in a great arc, its coastline stretching out to the archipelago of islands off the coast.

Incredible colours
Soft sand and gentle waves – the water is very cold though!

Everywhere we looked was stunning, and barely anyone else about either, certainly not on our walking track. Birds, kangaroos, wildflowers and lizards often tried to block our view of the great blue, but we managed to dodge past them.

One very chilled out roo on the track
Nobody here but us!
An Ornate Dragon basks on the warm granite rocks

We enjoyed a picnic lunch on the white sand beach at Thistle Cove, before retracing our steps back to Lucky Bay. We called into the serenely named Hellfire Bay on our way back to Esperance…no hell or fire, just more turquoise water and glaringly white sand.

We are moving on from Esperance tomorrow, heading further east. We will be travelling across the Nullabor Desert, so this afternoon popped into the local supermarket to stock up on supplies, mostly fresh fruit and vegetables, as these will be few and far between on our 1,300 km (808 miles) journey.

This evening we treated ourselves to a meal at the local Chinese. Once again, our first and second choices of restaurant were both closed (!), but the Chinese was delicious. No more mention of wine for a while – we have been alcohol-free since dinner on Saturday. We have decided to abstain until we reach South Australia. A dry desert crossing if you like!

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