Western Australia – Touring the beaches and peaks of Esperance
Beautiful white sand beaches, exhilarating blow holes, steep peaks and windy walks, rocks that look like elephants and incredibly tall trees.
Welcome to Western Australia.
Michelle and I enjoyed an ‘Esperance Tour’ around the region back in the summer of 2008.
This is our photographic tour of the region…
The Esperance region has plenty in the way of white sand beaches, and Thistle Cove and Lucky Bay are among the most beautiful.
Lucky Bay was the inlet that saved one English explorer whose ship was caught in a storm.
Turning the corner he found the bay and quickly pulled in to save his ship, crew and himself.
It is also the start of a 2km trek to Thistle Cove.
The short jump of three hundred kilometres on from Thistle Cove is the town of Albany.
The drive takes travellers through Fitzgerald National Park, a biodiversity park.
Along the road Bluffs Creek offers fantastic views, while the Stirling Ranges and the Perongerups are equally picturesque.
Albany itself is a port city, founded in December 1826 as a military outpost of New South Wales – part of a plan to forestall French ambitions in the country.
As such it is perhaps no surprise to find Frenchman’s Bay nearby.
This area used to be central in the state’s whaling industry. Whaling was eventually banned in 1988 – a worldwide ban which put hundreds of Western Australians on the dole.
The rugged beauty of Frenchman’s Peak is a short walk away.
Along the coast is also an area where the sea – and the breeze it brings with it – passes into an underground cave and then buffets its way out through a ‘blowhole’. Sitting on the edge of this hole for the first few waves, I was beginning to think the experience was fairly mild.
The wind from the next wave nearly blew me off the ledge – it was like sitting in the path of a giant hairdryer unaware of when it was about to be switched to full power.
Nearby Elephant Cove consists of a number of noble looking rocks that resemble the mouse fearing creatures themselves – probably the only place in the Aussie wild where elephants can be found, even bearing in mind the diversity of the country’s wildlife.
Trees Tops, Western Australia
One of the highlights of Western Australia is the mass of Tingle Trees that make up the Valley of the Giants.
Hundreds of years old and growing to massive heights, these trees reproduce through fire, which they ward off via a resistant layer of bark on their outside. The fire is then funnelled up through their hollow trunks to the top, where it forces the seeds to expand and explode, scattering out below it. New trees then race up, eager to be the first to reach the light.
This massive underground expanse is full of the usual staligmites and ‘tites that can be found in most caves.
It also contains the fossils of Megafauna, giant ancient Australian creatures that roamed the earth thousands of years ago. These included a giant kangaroo.
The Megafauna was eventually killed off by the arrival of Aboriginal man, who hunted them and ate the plant life they had fed on, thus depriving the huge creatures of a food source.
Close by is Surfers Point, which has been a venue for the World Surfing Championships.
Margaret River is famous for its wine production. So much so that Aussie producers sent some of their ‘sparkling wine’ to a French Champagne tasting competition.
They took all the labels of the bottom and the French, unaware that the product had come from Margaret River, placed it second. They were so furious when they discovered the deception that they banned the Aussies from calling their product Champagne.
Cheese factories, chocolate producers and wineries can all be found in the Margaret River area.
And just down the road is Busselton Beach, where you can find white sands, clear sea and the longest jetty in Australia.
Busselton is another town formed during the whaling boom. And these days it is a haven to the longest living people in Australia. Locals nearly all make it to 80plus – mainly thanks to the laid back lifestyle and Omega 3 based fish diets.