4-day family adventure in and around Esperance
Support local tourism – and experience some of Western Australia’s best beaches and wildlife while you’re at it – on this family adventure in Esperance and the Recherche Archipelago.
By Emma Pegrum
A four-day tour of the crowning jewels of Western Australia’s coastal outback is long enough to leave you with some priceless family memories and an insatiable desire to return. Pack up the kids, throw down a towel on Esperance’s white sandy shores, head off the mainland to discover the Recherche Archipelago, and interact with the region’s unique and diverse wildlife in this four-day family adventure.
Day 1: Perth to Esperance
- Flight time: 1.5 hours
- Drive time: about 7.5 hours
You can get a jump on your getaway from Perth with a morning flight from Perth Airport to Esperance, or if you have the time, the drive will take you 7.5 hours. On arrival in Esperance, food and coffee cravings can be satisfied at Cloud Eleven Coffee + Tea, a coffee lover’s sanctuary roasting its own beans and blending boutique teas.
Hit the road and cruise along the 38-kilometre (23 miles) Great Ocean Drive for picture-perfect road trip vistas of pristine beaches, glassy bays and rocky headlands. Your first stop along the route: a walk along the blindingly white shores of Twilight Bay, a favourite stretch of beach among locals with walking trails and sandy nooks to boot. Look out for passing dolphins as you wander all the way to Twilight Beach for a dip.Show more
Day 2: Esperance and Woody Island
Wake up with the sun and make yourself an in-room coffee, to be enjoyed while still cocooned in bed awaiting the day’s adventures. Esperance is located on the Recherche Archipelago – known locally as the Bay of Isles – with a cluster of 105 islands at its doorstep and five surrounding national parks.
Get a taste of what the archipelago offers on a day trip to Woody Island, a remote nature reserve located 15 kilometres (nine miles) off the coast. Woody Island Eco Tours is the only operator offering day trips here, so book in advance. The tour starts with an 80-minute boat cruise that passes dolphins, sea lions and seals. On arrival, enjoy morning tea and a guided walking tour of the island, or make a beeline for the water with a snorkel or fishing rod.Show more
Day 3: Esperance to Lucky Bay
- Drive time: about 1 hour
Check out early and grab a coffee to go at Downtown Espresso Bar; today, you’re hitting two of Esperance’s major drawcards. Start with a scenic flight over Lake Hillier, the bubble-gum pink lake made famous by Instagram, situated on Middle Island in Cape Le Grand National Park. Seeing this unbelievable sight from above is breathtaking, but standing at its edge (after cruising to Middle Island) is just as impactful.Show more
Day 4: Lucky Bay to Esperance
Rise early for a camp breakfast and spend your morning completely carefree. Explore the beach and bush walks, and get lost underwater swimming and snorkelling before making your way back to Esperance. Along the way, stop at Hellfire Bay for one last swim, and Esperance Stonehenge, a one-of-a-kind replica that appears just as the original would have circa 1950BC.
Back in town, visit Tide & Co. to pick up some locally made, ocean-inspired souvenirs before one last lunch at Yirri Grove Farm, where you can stock up on preserves, olives, or olive oil made onsite. Delight the kids with a visit to Elto’s Inflatable Water Park on the Esperance foreshore before heading to the airport for your return flight, or drive, to Perth.