Esperance. A small town in southern Western Australia that is famed for, among other things, its beautiful beaches. With so many beaches in a small area, how do you choose which is your favourite? I visited them all so you don’t have to (although I really recommend you do). Here are the best beaches in Esperance.
What makes a great beach?
For this analysis of the best beaches in Esperance, we’ll look at the following rubric to decide which do and don’t meet the standards set.
- Sand texture & colour
This criteria will guide us to decide which beach in Esperance is the best for comfort and activities. They’ll cover all possibilities from a lazy day of sunbathing to splashing around in the waves.
When should I visit the best beaches in Esperance?
Australia can get very very hot, and Esperance is no exception. If you’d rather not be joined by masses of holiday-goers looking for somewhere to cool off, avoid the peak summer months at weekends.
Likewise, however, areas around the southern coast can get chilly in cooler months. Autumn and winter will certainly be quieter, but you’ll struggle to enjoy the waters!
Spring is an excellent time of year to visit the beaches in Esperance. You get the benefit of a cool breeze and bearable temperatures to accompany swimmable waters (at times) and sunbathing weather.
One thing I’ll say about all the best beaches in Esperance is that they all come with a side dish of annoying buzzy flies in late spring. Between October – December there are likely to be masses of large black flies irritating you at every chance. You’ll be constantly swatting them away, I promise! Don’t let it dampen the beauty of your experiences, however, if flies are really a nuisance to you reconsider visiting in other times of the year.
Best Beaches in Esperance
There are so many beaches in Esperance it’s hard to keep track of them all! We visited 9 beaches during our trip. As they’re all so close to each other it’s easy to beach hop your way along the coastline. This ranking highlights what’s fab and what’s drab about the best beaches in Esperance!
Salmon Beach is a popular spot for swimming and surfing. During our visit, the high winds meant that this small bay was bashed with strong waves which makes it less appealing. The sandy part of the beach feels quite small compared to other beaches in Esperance, and not as soft.
It’s also popular for fishing (hence the name I suppose?!), so if that’s your thing then this is the spot for you!
It has a good car park and has a few steps are required to access the beach. From here you can also enjoy a short walk through the headland to Blue Haven Beach.
Generally, Salmon Beach felt more appropriate for activities rather than general relaxing. The jagged rocks along the shore are also rather unappealing. Considering the other, more idyllic beaches in Esperance this isn’t my preference.
Observatory Beach is expansive and has typically rough Australian waters. The large car park sits high up the bank, making the walk down to the beach itself rather long. We found almost no-one around, which makes it much more appealing to spend some time walking along the soft sands.
Due to the rough and exposed waters, swimming here is out of the question. And, as it’s a large beach the winds are strong to pick up too making it difficult to enjoy sunbathing or sitting here.
I would say it’s worth a visit, if only for a moment of isolation on a large rugged beach where no one goes! The nearby Observatory Lookout is also a great spot to enjoy the coastal views.
Le Grand Beach
The first of our Cape Le Grand National Park beaches, Le Grand Beach has a similarly vast feel to Observatory Beach. A long stretch of sand, you can surf and could swim in some areas of this beach.
Due to the nature of the National Park, 4×4 cars can access the beach. This makes relaxing a little harder due to revving engines, and disruptive movements. Not exactly the calm day out everyone might hope for, but it can be a lot of fun all the same.
The sand and waters here are nice, but there are more pristine and relaxed places in the national park. It’s also one of the busier beaches we visited, with lots of people out for a Sunday beach trip. As it’s also the nearest beach to Esperance in the park, it makes sense that people would stop here rather than delve deeper into Cape Le Grand.
Twilight Cove is one of Esperance’s most popular beaches, and for good reason.
The large beach has plenty of space for everyone to enjoy, so you won’t feel over-crowded. The sand is fine and soft, so perfect for lying out on! And, with interesting rocks just off the beach you have a nice view while you sun yourself.
Better still, is how the water makes for excellent paddling and swimming. It stays at waist height for several metres out, meaning to can get quite far without having to fully submerge right away (perfect for wusses like me). The waves can be fairly strong, but with the shallow waters it really just means you enjoy floating along with them. No sweeping waves to wash you under, yay!
Due to its popularity, you might find it less peaceful than other nearby beaches in Esperance. As it’s so safe there are lots of groups and young families, so if you’re after complete peace and quiet maybe try elsewhere.
Another Cape Le Grand NP beach we enjoyed was Thistle Cove. As with all the national park beaches, Thistle Cove is picture perfect and would make any beach-lover very happy.
An interesting aspect of Thistle Cove is the landscape around the bay itself. It’s famed for unique shaped rocks along the headland, and a “Whistling Rock” named for the distinct noises caused by the wind. The rocks plays an important role in the Walich Dreaming Story as told by the local Nyungar people. It’s said that the whistling sound of the winds on the rocks is that of the indigenous people’s ancestors, crying out for children who were carried away by mother walich the eagle who was angry with them for taking her eggs. The moral of this story; listen to your parents!
The main consideration with Thistle Cove is accessibility. To get onto the beach itself you’ll be clambering over a very big granite rock. It’s no easy task and certainly would be a risk for anyone with mobility issues. I’m unsure if there’s alternative access to reach Thistle Cove, so keep this in mind if you’re visiting. On the other hand, this means the beach itself is very quiet! On busy days in the park it’s nice to find somewhere less crowded, which Thistle Cove can provide.
Once you’ve scaled the granite rock you’ll be met with a creek of fresh water flowing directly into the nearby ocean. It certainly makes for a unique perspective seeing land and ocean work together to shape the sand and bay. Do keep in mind that you’ll likely end up with wet feet from the creek when getting to and from the car park!
Like the other beaches in this area, it’s absolutely stunning. I honestly can’t think of a bad thing to say about the aesthetics of this beach. From the reddish rocks flanking the white sand and the sapphire waters, it’s all magical!
I would say that as the bays around this part are all bloomin’ gorgeous, it’s hard to single Thistle Cove out for this alone. I would say its access issues and similarity to Hellfire Bay places it lower in the best beaches in Esperance ranks. The surrounding rocks are definitely worth a visit, though!
West Beach is one of the main beaches along Twilight Beach Road. It’s a walkable distance from the southern end of Esperance (30 mins). Even better is that the area called West Beach was where we stayed at the most fantastic Airbnb! Staying within a stones throw to this great beach was fantastic. I’d highly recommend finding an Airbnb or house let rather than one of the hotels in town. You’ll benefit from being a little further away with lower prices and a more chilled vibe, perfect for a beach break!
West Beach is a popular surfing spot, so it can get fairly busy at times. There are also some rip tides in the waters, making a few areas unsafe for swimming. If you acknowledge the clear signs about where you can swim, you can enjoy the beautiful waters in the same way as the neighbouring Twilight Cove.
We found the sand at West Beach exceptionally soft. Great for lying out comfortably, but in strong winds you’ll end up with sand literally everywhere. Just something to keep in mind!
The iconic Lucky Bay is one of Australia’s most famous beaches for 2 reasons:
- Lucky Bay is home to some adorable kangaroos! It’s truly one of the best places to see kangaroos in Australia. And they’re just there, hanging out on the beach, I mean what?!
- It hold the title of the whitest sand in Australia thanks to the pure quartz beneath your feet. It truly sparkles as you walk along it!
Naturally, due to these factors it can be a busy place. It’s likely the main destination for tourists entering the park, and a lot of locals enjoy it too. Not only that, but the campsite at the bay means there are even more visitors spending time at the beach.
Like Le Grand beach, 4×4 vehicles can actually drive onto the sands and park up. This is great if you have a 4WD car, but not so much fun for those of us who have to listen to your music or dodge around your picnic… Be mindful of other guests enjoying the space alongside you!
Lastly, there is a small coffee van that parks on Lucky Bay. It’s perfect to enjoy a refreshing ice cream or perk yourself up with a coffee, but this comes with yet more people of course.
So, what’s so great about Lucky Bay?!
Well besides the ‘roos and the perfect sand, it’s also a beauty. You can swim and surf here just like other beaches. There is also a small walking track to take you to a lookout for sweeping views across the bay.
AND thanks to the campsite you are well-equipped for your visit with a BBQ hut, toilets, and picnic benches. Ideal for a full day of beachin’.
When you arrive you might wonder what the fuss is about due to the comparatively high volume of visitors and a beach that’s just as beautiful as those around it. Once you embrace Lucky Bay for its novelty and charm, you’ll soon fall in love.
Despite the crowd, many would argue Lucky Bay to be the best beach in Esperance, if not Australia.
Blue Haven Beach
I mean the clue is in the name.
Blue Haven Beach could well be my favourite beach in Esperance… Just maybe. Or at least, my favourite in the township and excluding Cape Le Grand National Park beaches!
On arrival, there’s ample parking at Blue Haven and you’re greeted with an incredible view of paradise stretching before you. I will warn you that there are a lot of steps to reach Blue Haven Beach, but I promise it’s worth it.
Once you’re down on the beach you’ll notice what sets this apart from the other beaches in Esperance. The mix of soft sand and jagged rocks might seem unappealing, but I would say this only adds to its beauty.
The sloping granite cliffs to the side of the beach make the perfect spot to lay your beach towel out, so no more sandy bums, no sir! I loved that from this perspective you can enjoy views of the whole bay from an elevated position. It’s still a reasonably large beach, mind. Although most visitors will stick to the staircase end. Despite its size, the beach feels intimate, calm. The still waters certainly help, as I believe the bay is uniquely nestled between the others that the heads of land help to avoid dramatic winds and waves like the others!
The only downside of Blue Haven in my opinion is the rocky waters. This makes swimming a lot harder, although you can still easily paddle and swim carefully in the shallows if you want to cool off.
What could possibly top this?!
For me, Hellfire Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park takes the top spot as Best Beach in Esperance. It has everything that makes the other beaches so great, all in one!
Like Blue Haven there are large rocks to lie out and enjoy the sun without bothering with a sandy mess. From these rocks you can even go fishing, if it takes your fancy! If you’re more of a voyeur, from the smooth rocks you can watch the fish dart through the glassy shimmering waters. Incredible.
Down on the beach itself, the sand is soft enough to lie out, and rivals Lucky Bay for its dazzling whiteness. In fact, I believe it’s equal to its neighbour as proven by science. HA. Take that, kangaroos!
My favourite part of Hellfire Bay is how nice it is to swim here. The waves can be strong, so you have to be careful but that’s true of all these beaches (and the ocean in general). The waves are fun to jump through and float on, and you can just as easily walk along the very edge enjoy a light splash and paddle.
Although it still has some of the popularity of Lucky Bay with a BBQ gazebo and toilets to accommodate, the crowds come and go and you can oftentimes be left with just a handful of fellow beach-lovers.
To me, Hellfire Bay is perfect.
(except the flies)
Besides being a beautiful beach town on the southern coast of Western Australia, Esperance has plenty to offer in terms of history too. If lazing around on the sands isn’t going to fill your time, check out these other great things to do in Esperance such as the Stonehenge replica, the museum, and visiting the cute cafes around town.
What qualities do you look for in a beach? Which of the above looks like the best beach in Esperance? Happy beaching!
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