You may have heard of a place in southern Western Australia where kangaroos live on the beach. A magical place, you can’t really believe it exists. Is this the most Australian idea ever? I’m here to tell you, the Lucky Bay kangaroos are REAL and they are as amazing as it sounds. This guide to seeing the Lucky Bay kangaroos will provide all you need to know to enjoy your visit.
What’s so special about Lucky Bay?
As you might have guessed from the title of this post, there are kangaroos that live on and around the beach at Lucky Bay! Not only does this make it the most quintessentially Australian place EVER, but Lucky Bay is also part of the beautiful Cape Le Grand National Park. A park filled with sweeping bush landscapes and a handful of secluded, idyllic beaches sounds like perfection, right? Well, it is!
Lucky Bay got its name when the cartographer Matthew Flinders landed ashore the beach during a rough storm. As he turned to look at the ocean behind him, only then did he realise how many islands and rocks he had narrowly missed on his journey through the Recherche Archipelago. And thus it became Lucky Bay in honour of his seafaring fortune!
Lucky Bay is not only famous for its kangaroo inhabitants. It also holds the title of Whitest Beach In Australia. Yes, you read that right! The blindingly white sand is a result of fine, pure quartz that is so fine it squeaks as you walk across it. Without shells to mix up the materials on the beach, you’re left with such a dazzling white beach that has been proven by science to be the whitest in the country. Wow.
Put the sand and kangaroos together and you’ve got a pretty special place. Add in the unfathomably clear turquoise waters and you’re truly in heaven.
What’s the best time to see the kangaroos?
Your best chance to see the kangaroos are dusk and dawn. Kangaroos are nocturnal animals which means they are most active in the dark and the hours either side of the night.
This means visiting earlier or later in the day. I’d recommend later in the day, as you can enjoy the morning and early afternoon exploring Cape Le Grand National Park. Plus, you never know when they’ll come out to the beach, so they might be there earlier than you think and you can catch some of the beautiful afternoon light.
Don’t expect to see them throughout the day, they’ll avoid the harsh sunlight in favour of a nap, or might just need a nap somewhere in the bush.
Can I touch or feed the kangaroos?
Feeding animals in the wild is ALWAYS a huge no-no. It’s unacceptable behaviour. It can cause an array of problems ranging from human reliance to digestive issues. Just do not do it. If you want to feed kangaroos, you are way better off visiting a sanctuary or zoo which offers this activity.
As for petting, you might be told they are friendly, which is true. However, they are still wild animals. It’s a good personal policy to not touch wild animals, no matter how cute or friendly they look. If anyone tells you you can touch them, seriously question their authority on the subject.
Again, if you’d like to touch, pet, or hold kangaroos please restrain yourself (and your friends/children/partner). Find somewhere appropriate to do this at an organised facility equipped to protect the animals and you.
Why are there kangaroos on the beach at Lucky Bay?
Beats me! Maybe they wanna taste of the beach bum life?!
Seriously though, I tried to research this and didn’t find much. All I can say is that kangaroos are herbivores, so of course they prefer grass to eat like that found on the banks of the beach. Apparently they also prefer coarse foods, of which the seaweed on Lucky Bay certainly is!
Secondly, kangaroos can in fact swim in the ocean! They’re mega strong back legs mean they can fare well in the waters. Not that we saw any doing lengths, mind. But it’s something to consider if they do fancy a swim that the beach is the perfect place to do that.
The last idea I had on this topic is straight from my logic-attempting brain. The ‘roos at Lucky Bay likely spend their daytime in the bushland behind the beach. There’s a big national park right there for them to enjoy after all! However, the one thing that Lucky Bay has, is lots of people. I imagine the ‘roos are used to the presence of humans, and maybe are even aware they can get food from the silly people willing to give it to them. Further to this, the campsite at the bay likely drives the kangaroos away from the busy and dangerous areas with lots of cars and people, and closer to the bbq area and picnic benches.
It’s just a theory, but if I were a kangaroo it’s what I would do…
How do I get to Lucky Bay?
Drive! Lucky Bay is situated in Cape Le Grand National Park, which is just under 1 hour drive from Esperance township.
The drive is a pretty simple route and along the way you’ll pass Esperance Stonehenge and beautiful farmland, which makes for a scenic drive.
Once you enter the National Park you will have to pay $15 entry fee per vehicle (unless camping). They take card and cash, but cash is generally easier if you have it on you.
Once you’re in, it’s 16km to Lucky Bay. Simply follow the signage and follow the roads!
Take care while driving through the National Park – animals have right of way! Don’t swerve to avoid them, simply slow down and let them pass if you come across any critters or larger furry friends. The roads are proper tarmac, however, there will likely be some loose stones around from the sides of the road. Be careful not to drive too fast or you might end up with a chipped windscreen!
And lastly, I know the views are outstanding, but don’t just stop wherever you feel like it. Be mindful of other drivers by choosing to stop at lookouts and designated car parks. If you really must stop, be sure not to do so on a bend or crest of a hill.
I heard you can drive your car onto Lucky Bay?
An interesting thing about Lucky Bay is that you can drive 4×4 vehicles onto the beach itself. Personally, I don’t love this in small secluded spots but I totally get the appeal. It’s a more common sight in Australia, and there are some beaches that are literally used as roads so it’s not that unusual and can offer a unique way to visit the beach.
TIP: If you’re hiring a car, do not drive it on the beach. There are clauses in the T&Cs that say DON’T DO THIS. Your best bet would be finding a friend who already has a 4×4 and is willing to roadie with you.
During our visit, we did see one visitor anchor up their boat and drive it off the beach! I wouldn’t say it’s especially common due to the dangers of the Recherche Archipelago, so I imagine this is something that only a local would do. If this is your goal then do some thorough research and reach out to local businesses who offer this service. They’ll know the waters and should be able to help you out.
Can I stay at Lucky Bay?
Yes! There is a campsite at the bay, but it does book out in advance so look online to reserve a space. It’s a popular spot for obvious reasons!
Camping with a tent, campervan, or caravan costs $15 per adult, $9 for concessions and $3 for children. If you ask me, it sounds like a bargain for a really spectacular place to stay!
Remember that no pets can be brought into the park, and no fires or solid fuel appliances can be allowed. There are facilities at the campsite for BBQs, and liquid/gas heaters and stoves are allowed.
General tips for seeing the Lucky Bay Kangaroos
- Be responsible. It’s worth noting that the Lucky Bay kangaroos are such a popular attraction that there have been cases of bad tourist behaviour around them such as feeding the ‘roos and forgetting that they are real creatures that are NOT there for your enjoyment. I cannot and would not condone any activity that harms the animals – I want to make it clear that observing the kangaroos means you are in THEIR space, it’s not about you. They don’t owe you anything.
- Be patient. people flock to them but will soon get bored and move on. the ‘roos won’t though, so if you wait you’ll get uninterrupted time to photograph them and watch them go about their business.
- Don’t litter. They will eat anything but if often food we eat isn’t good for them. Not to mention littering is damaging to this gorgeous natural beauty.
- Head up to the lookout for a view of the bay and you might see them from afar.
- Linger near the seaweed. They prefer nuzzling around seaweed, so hang around the areas that are more covered in dry seaweed than the sandy spots.
- Keep your eyes peeled! You might see them around the campsites first, they aren’t exclusively on the beach, remember!
- Respect their space. They might be friendly and curious at times, but they are still wild animals. Leave a good distance between you and them and only let them come to you for a sniff, not the other way around.
- Remember they are social and move together in mobs. When you see one you will likely see more so don’t flock to the first one you see. I know it’s exciting but it probably won’t be the only one around, so you might as well see who else turns up.
- Enjoy yourself! It goes without saying that seeing the kangaroos at Lucky Bay is a real treat to behold. As a self-confessed animal lover, I cannot imagine a better place to be than seeing this iconic national symbol up close and in the wild. Take lots of photos, live in the moment, and be blessed by Matthew Flinders’ luck with you throughout your visit.
Got any questions about seeing the kangaroos at Lucky Bay? Would you like to see these furry friends for yourselves? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this spot of Aussie paradise!
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