The single thing I cared about the most when visiting Australia?
Seeing a kangaroo.
And not in a zoo- in the wild.
Knowing that we’d spend two months traversing Oz, road tripping for at least half of it, hoping to cross paths with a roo didn’t seem so far stretched.
To better our chances of seeing our furry, hopping pals, we planned our Western Australia road trip around visiting Esperance.
Esperance is a picturesque region of Western Australia, absolutely packed with stunning coastlines, and beaches as far as the eye can see.
There’s no denying the fact though, that Esperance is remote.
The region is an eight hour drive (each way) from Perth, which is the closest major city and international airport.
But, if there are places in the world worth the trek it takes to get to them, Esperance is without question one of them.
On our visit, we drove to Esperance via Albany. Although aggressive, we managed to see the best bits of Western Australia in eight days.
So short on time, we drove the five hours from Albany to Esperance without stopping.
We wanted to save as much time for this picture perfect region of Oz as possible.
Once in Esperance, we found ourselves with about 4-5 hours before sunset.
On the following day, we planned to wake early and visit Cape Le Grand, about 30 minutes outside the heart of Esperance.
So, on our first day, we decided to check out the local beaches.
The best beaches in Esperances are located along the Great Ocean Drive.
Esperance’s Great Ocean Drive loops the town to the region’s stunning coastline and vegetation.
On our drive, we stopped at West Beach, Blue Haven Beach, Salmon Beach, Twilight Beach and Nine Mile Beach.
Visiting Oz in early winter was great for cost saving (we experienced discounts nearly everywhere- from lodging to car rentals to accommodation), but meant we didn’t always have the best weather for beach days.
When we visited Esperance, it was 50-60 degrees, with bouts of sunshine and cloud cover.
Not exactly beach lounging weather, but perfect beach strolling weather- which is exactly what we did.
All the beaches we stopped at were beautiful, but we especially enjoyed West Beach and Twilight Beach.
Even on a cloudy day, the water was a surreal shade of blue, and the sand was some of the whitest I’d ever seen, sans islands in the middle of the tropical sea.
Although we only had one day to see the best of the Great Ocean Drive, it’d be easy to spend an entire week here, hanging out at a different beach every day.
After our beach walks, we called it an early night- grabbing Subway sandwiches, veggies and hummus, crisps and hot chocolate for an Airbnb picnic.
Early the next morning, we woke and drove straight to Coffee Cat, a cafe food truck, parked seaside by a jetty.
Fully caffeinated, we set off for Cape Le Grand, regarded as one of Australia’s best national parks.
Famous for its white sandy beaches, friendly kangaroos, and rugged coastal peaks, Cape Le Grand deserves way more attention than the half day we were were able to allow.
If we had more time, I’d have loved to camp in the park or stay nearby so we could visit multiple times to soak in the area’s incredible beauty.
Our desire to visit Cape Le Grand early in the morning wasn’t just a road trip itinerary decision- we’d heard morning was the best time to spot kangaroos on the beach in Lucky Bay.
Ah, Lucky Bay.
Said to have been voted Australia’s best beach, the sand here is bright white, and the water, a shade of turquoise that’ll leave you breathless.
When we first arrived to the beach, we gazed down at the beach from the parking lot- looking for roos.
We didn’t see any, and it looked like a morning storm was rolling out, so we decided to wait in the car for a few minutes before heading down to the shore.
No more than 10 minutes had passed when we happened to look up from our phones and see two kangaroos staring at us. No sooner did we make eye contact with them than they hopped on down to the beach.
We scrambled out of the car to follow them down, and were rewarded with seeing them eat and play with 3-4 other kangaroos.
Over the next hour or so, we lingered on the beach, watching roos come and go, eat and hop.
Neither of us believe in getting close to wild animals, so we kept our distance, but couldn’t believe how close they willingly came to us.
To say it was a morning full of magic moments would be an understatement.
When we finally managed to pull ourselves away from Lucky Bay, we drove over to Hellfire Bay.
In nicer weather, you can hike from Lucky to Hellfire, but with another storm rolling in, and a long afternoon/evening drive ahead of us, we opted for the short drive.
In summer, you might be lucky enough to spot dolphins here. But, even without the sea creatures, the beautiful, secluded stretch of sand is worth a visit.
When you reach the sand from the car park path, veer off to the left to visit a smaller version of Hellfire Bay- Little Hellfire Bay.
It’s about a 15 minute walk from Hellfire Bay, and often less crowded simply because people don’t know it exists.
When noon rolled around, we groaned. We had no interest in leaving Cape Le Grand or Esperance, and even considered pushing back our flights from Perth a day or two so we could stay longer.
In the end, work commitments won out- we knew we had to get to Melbourne on the schedule we’d agreed to.
And so, leaving Cape Le Grand, we drove back to Esperance, grabbed sandwiches and another round of coffee, and then set off for the long drive back to Perth.
On the way back, we drove inland, breaking up the drive with a late afternoon walk at Wave Rock.
We arrived in Fremantle mid-evening (~8 pm), exhausted but still riding high from such an incredible time exploring Australia’s gorgeous coastline.
Have you ever been to Australia? Is seeing kangaroos in the wild on your list of things to do in life?
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