From Stirling Range National Park we headed back to the coast via Ravensthorpe, as small rural town with some cute craft stores and a lolly shop which is soon to have the largest lollypop in the world erected. And painted silos are getting quite popular over here as well.
We decided to have one night in Esperance itself to restock and wash ourselves and our clothes before we headed to Cape Le Grand NP for a couple of days and then the Nullabor. The drive in to Esperance was quite spectacular as we were chasing a storm and had hours of entertainment watching the lightning strikes on our left and the blue skies on our right. We were quite lucky to miss the brunt of it as apparently there were 8okm/h winds further north.
Esperance is a relaxed coastal town with a mix of shops for locals and shops for tourists. It has a great looking gallery and arts hub which was unfortunately closed to install a new exhibition. There were also a number of smaller playgrounds for the kids to stretch their legs and Izzy tested out the ocean pontoon waterslide.
It was quite late by the time we left town but we still decided to stick to the plan and do the beach drive to Le Grand Campsite in Cape Le Grand NP as it was quicker than the inland route. It was a scenic beach drive with mostly firm sand however there were a few softer patches and one where we got bogged and had to use the Maxtrax again.
This area of the coast is quite popular and both Le Grande Beach and Lucky Bay camps were booked out until mid-January so we drove on to Hellfire Bay for a quick look, given it is supposed to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia, or the world. It was a lovely bay with a rock outcrop to the east that reminded me of the Wilsons’ Prom a bit. The thing the beaches here do have is very fine white sand making for amazing turquoise bays. We had good fun playing on the beach and the rocks for a while, before deciding we really should move on to our campsite.
We decided to take the inland route to Dunn Rocks and Rossiter Bay, our camp for the next two nights. There is a shorter route along the beach but it was getting quite late and we didn’t want to risk get bogged again. We arrived and stupidly drove through the dunes and straight onto the beach, getting bogged in a soft patch just as it was getting dark. The Maxtrax got used for the second time in a day and we turned back into the dunes for a more sheltered camp.
This part of Cape Le Grand NP is less popular and has no facilities and no booking system. Over the two days we saw three other cars and had the beach to ourselves, apart from one emu that I stumbled across one day when going for a walk.
It was a bit cooler here but Izzy still braved a body board in the ocean before joining Matthew to board the dunes instead.
This really is a stunning part of the coast and we could have easily spent more time here and also explored Cape Arid NP further east but time was not on our side and we needed to start heading east across the Nullabor to make it to the Flinders Ranges for Christmas.