Old jetty, Ken Stepnell / Explore Australia Publishing

Population 9536

Esperance was a sleepy backwater until, in the 1950s, it was found that adding trace elements to the sandy soil made farming feasible. The town became a port and service centre for the agricultural and pastoral hinterland. However, it is the magnificent scenery, the pristine beaches and the proximity of many national parks that draw visitors to this town. Take the Great Ocean Drive, 38 kilometres of postcard-perfect scenery, and you'll understand why Esperance is a popular holiday spot.

Visitor Information

Museum Village, Dempster St; (08) 9083 1555 or 1300 664 455

Nearby national parks

  • Cape Le Grand National Park

    Lying to the east of Esperance on Western Australia’s rugged south coast, Cape Le Grand National Park boasts undulating heathlands,...more

  • Stokes National Park

    This national park, an hour’s drive west of Esperance on Western Australia’s southern coast, protects Stokes Inlet and its...more

  • Cape Arid National Park

    Lying on Western Australia’s rugged south coast, Cape Arid National Park protects a stunning coastline of sweeping beaches rimmed by...more

Nearby towns

  • Ravensthorpe

    Ravensthorpe is encircled by the Ravensthorpe Range. This unspoiled bushland is home to many plants unique to the area such as the Qualup...more

  • Norseman

    Norseman is the last large town on the Eyre Highway for travellers heading east towards South Australia. Gold put Norseman on the map in the...more

  • Lake King

    This small rural town lies on the fringe of sheep- and grain-farming country. With a tavern and several stores, Lake King is a stopping...more

In Town

Municipal Museum Visit one of WA's outstanding regional museums. See exhibits about shipwrecks, including the famous Sanko Harvest, and learn of Australia's only recorded pirate, the bloodthirsty Black Jack Anderson, who roamed the Recherche Archipelago. There is also a comprehensive display about Skylab, which crashed and spread debris through the area in 1979. Open 1.30–4.30pm daily; James St; (08) 9071 1579.

Museum Village: collection of historic buildings housing craft shops, pottery shops, art gallery, cafe and visitor centre; Dempster St.

Cannery Arts Centre: local exhibitions with wind garden and views; Norseman Rd.

Mermaid Leather: unique range of leather products made from fish and shark skins; Wood St.

Aquarium: 14 aquariums and touch pool; The Esplanade.


Great Ocean Drive One of Australia's most spectacular scenic drives, this 38 km loop road passes wind farms, which supply 30% of the town's electricity, and some of the region's best-known natural attractions, including sheltered swimming at Twilight Cove, and Pink Lake, rendered lipstick-colour by algae. There are coastal lookouts, and sightings of southern right whales from June to October. Contact visitor centre for map.

Cape Le Grand National Park This spectacular coastline is lined with pristine beaches, including Hellfire Bay and Thistle Cove. At Lucky Bay, kangaroos can often be spotted lying on the beach. Visit Whistling Rock, which 'whistles' under certain wind conditions, and climb Frenchman's Peak for breathtaking views. There are magnificent displays of wildflowers in spring, and many bushwalks. Camping at Cape Le Grand and Lucky Bay. 56 km E.

Recherche Archipelago The Esperance region is known as the Bay of Isles because of this collection of 110 islands dotted 250 km along the coast that provide a haven for seals and sea lions. Cruises (3 hrs 30 min, subject to numbers and weather) take you around Cull, Button, Charlie, Woody and other islands; landing is permitted only on Woody Island. If you are lucky, you might see fur seals, sea lions, dolphins and, in season, southern right whales. For an extraordinary camping experience, try a safari hut on Woody Island (open Sept–Apr). These canvas huts set high on timber decking overlook an idyllic turquoise bay framed by eucalyptus trees. Woody Island also has an interpretive centre to provide information to visitors.

Rotary Lookout: views of bay, town and archipelago; Wireless Hill; 2 km W.

Pink Lake: a pink saltwater lake; 5 km W.

Twilight Cove: sheltered swimming; 12 km W.

Observatory Point and Lookout: dramatic views of bay and islands; 17 km W.

Monjingup Lake Nature Reserve: walk trails, birdwatching and wildflowers in spring; 20 km W.

Dalyup River Wines: the most isolated winery in WA; open weekends in summer; (08) 9076 5027; 42 km W.

Stokes National Park: beautiful coastal and inlet scenery; 80 km W.

Cape Arid National Park: birdwatching, fishing, camping and 4WD routes; 120 km E.

Whale-watching: southern right whales visit bays and protected waters to calve (June–Oct); along the Great Ocean Drive and at Cape Arid.

Great Country Drive: takes visitors 92 km inland; maps from visitor centre.

Cafes & restaurants around town

Bonapartes Bar and Restaurant

Considered to be the finest restaurant in Esperance, this understated dining establishment provides swift service. Although the menu is a little dated, dishes are delivered with old-fashioned charm and the portions are... Find out more

Loose Goose

The catchy name suits the vibrant mood at the Loose Goose. The open kitchen opens onto the modern interior manned by enthusiast staff. The menu includes interesting dish combinations like pork mignon with beetroot... Find out more

Ocean Blues Restaurant

Overlooking the big blue sea, the Ocean Blues Restaurant serves simple food that’s enjoyed by a clientele of all ages. The service is as bright as the decor and the restaurant is well situated near the centre of... Find out more

Taylors Beach Bar and Cafe

This beachfront cafe is a year-round favourite as customers cosy up by the open fires in winter and relish the warmth on the terrace or grassed area during summer. The food is consistent and those in the know order... Find out more

The Deck

Situated between Esperance and Albany in a region renowned as the gateway for the Fitzgerald River National Park, within the world-renowned Fitzgerald Biosphere, The Deck is a tourist drop-in centre for information,... Find out more

Campsites around town

Woody Island Eco Stays 17 km

Camping at Woody Island Eco Stays is for tents only in a cleared area in the scrub, with access to a good range of facilities. It is a great base from which to explore the island and its attractions.... Find out more

Le Grand Beach camping area 26 km

Le Grand Beach camping area is in a coastal bush setting close to the water, 56 km south-east of Esperance via Merivale and Cape Le Grand rds. Visitors will find a good range of facilities here while they enjoy such... Find out more

Lucky Bay camping area 34 km

Lucky Bay camping area is 61 km south-east of Esperance via Merivale, Cape Le Grand and Lucky Bay rds; 4WD is recommended. There are 2 camping areas here, for tents (carry-in) and for trailers. You’ll find a good... Find out more

Quagi Beach camping area 53 km

South of the South Coast Hwy via Farrells Rd, 58 km west of Esperance and 48 km east of Munglinup, Quagi Beach camping area is a delightful spot in a bush setting on the beach. Fishing, swimming and snorkelling at the... Find out more

Fanny Cove camping area 64 km

With only 3 sites, Fanny Cove is a very small camping area on the beach off Farrells Rd, reached via the South Coast Hwy west of Esperance. With basic facilities and accessed by 4WD only along a sandy track, it is a... Find out more

Benwenerup camping area 68 km

On Stokes Inlet Rd, 6 km south of the South Coast Hwy and 80 km west of Esperance, Benwenerup camping area is set among the scrub overlooking the inlet. You need to come equipped with a gas/fuel stove and drinking water.... Find out more

Skippy Rock camping area 77 km

Skippy Rock camping area is in a well-protected environment of coastal scrub overlooking the ocean, in an area offering activities such as fishing and swimming. Access is 4 km off Springdale Rd, off the South Coast Hwy... Find out more

Alexander Bay camping area 80 km

Alexander Bay camping area is on Alexander Rd, 85 km east of Esperance. A stunning coastline greets visitors to this shady camping area, which is situated in native bush just off the foreshore. The pristine beach is... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Pink Lake Tourist Park 1 km

This is a quality park at a competitive price. Located just 2 km from the centre of town, the park has a wide range of facilities and amenities including a good camp kitchen. The place is popular with campervans and... Find out more

Esperance Seafront Caravan Park 2 km

This large park is just 2 km from the town centre and across the road from the beach; it is possible to walk to town along the beach. The park has good amenities and a lovely grassy playground that seems to host a... Find out more

Pine Grove Holiday Park 3 km

This is a good park, located 3 km from the centre of town. Its facilities include a well-stocked shop and a recreation room. Bookings are required at Christmas, Easter and long weekends and a minimum-stay period applies.... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Bay of Islands B&B

At the Bay of Islands Bed & Breakfast, every room overlooks the Southern Ocean and the islands of the Recherche Archipelago. There is a private spa area, internet access, barbecue facilities and balconies overlooking... Find out more

Seascape Beach House

Set in lush bush surroundings at West Beach, the Seascape Beach House has rugged sea views and is close to the beach and bike and walking trails. The architecturally designed house is solar powered and sleeps seven, with... Find out more

The Jetty Resort

Located opposite cmTanker Jetty and with views of the Bay of Isle, the Jetty Resort makes for a relaxing seaside holiday. Offering standard hotel rooms, spa suites with kitchenettes and fully-self contained two-bedroom... Find out more

Woody Island Ecostays

Woody Island is one of 100 islands in the Recherche Archipelago, with 240 hectares of nature reserve, 5 hectares of which has been developed for ecotourism. Choose from comfortable safari huts built on raised platforms... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Le Grand Beach Camp Area 26 km

T/O north side of Esperance

Sheltered in scrub on the foreshore 57 kilometres east of Esperance in Cape Le Grande National Park.

Lucky Bay Camp Area 34 km

T/O north side of Esperance

In bush on the foreshore 62 kilometres east of Esperance in Cape Le Grande National Park.


S33 59.500 E122 13.200

Young River rest area 78 km

99km E of Ravensthorpe (L) or 89km W of Esperance (R)

Just off the highway near the tree line.

Munglinup rest area 96 km

At Munglinup

Just off the highway and opposite the roadhouse.

What's on around town

Community Market: Dempster St; Sun mornings.

Growers Market: Duncs IGA carpark; alternate Sun mornings to community market.

Art Market: Taylors Beach Bar & Cafe; Sun mornings.

Wildflower Show: Sept.

Agricultural Show: Oct.

comments powered by Disqus