Let’s be real. Esperance is a long way from Perth—720km to be exact—so it’s easy to settle for a weekend getaway to Injidup, Serpentine, Black Diamond or even Bali instead. But beach-selfies-with-a-kangaroo aside, there’s a lot more to this solitary little town than you probably realise, and plenty of reasons why you should commit to the drive for your next escape.
The Local Fare Is Foodie-Friendly
A very welcome addition to the town’s food scene is Brown Sugar. The cafe specialises in native ingredients with a modern twist; think quandong pancakes, lemon myrtle and polenta poached eggs, and even salt and pepper crocodile. And for an exceptional paddock to plate lunch, head to Yirri Grove Olive Oil Farm & Restaurant.
There’s No Shortage Of Good Coffee
In typical Esperance fashion, the best coffee in town can be found right on the beach. Food van Coffee Cat is located at the base of the Tanker Jetty, and once you’ve ordered they give you a pager so you can sprawl on the grass or explore the foreshore while you wait. Offering Dukes Coffee Roasters’ Market Blend, a weekly rotation of single origin beans and bottled cold brew, the Cat holds down its long reign over the local coffee scene.
There’s Nightlife If You Want It
Moving away from the ill-famed “Snake Pit” nightclub, there are other options to keep you entertained after a day at the beach. Lucky Bay Brewing crafts beer out of locally-sourced barley, making it one of the most environmentally friendly (and delicious) beers in the country. With eight brews, they are open on weekends for tasting and tours. You can also try their beer at Taylor’s St Quarters, which also has Little Creatures on tap, live music on Saturday nights and is the place to be for locals come Sunday afternoon.
The Boutique Shopping Is Refreshingly Unique
Get the latest fashions (and often a bargain) from brands like Zulu & Zephyr, Status Anxiety and Bec & Bridge at Woven. For gifts, and a tourist-like experience, head to the Museum Village, filled with heritage buildings and cute shops like Naturally Esperance, and ESP for kitsch souvenirs, old fashioned sweets and nostalgic children’s gifts. A short stroll from the village is old fashioned Book Box, open only on weekends but well-stocked to fulfil your holiday read needs.
You Can Treat Yourself And Unwind
The good thing about Esperance is that almost everything is walking distance, meaning the money saved on Ubers can be directed down other channels, i.e. treating yourself. For men, Dempster Street Barber Shop offers old fashioned cut throat shaves, with Westons-trained barber Rick Graham consistently delivering great haircuts too. Located just around the corner, is B Naturally You, for massages, pedicures and a great range of women’s swimwear that’s guaranteed to get a workout while you’re in town.
The Market Scene Is Worth Sussing
The town has two fortnightly markets—the Esperance Growers Market and the Museum Village Markets. Keep an eye out for Bread Local’s homemade “Brewer’s Bread”, made from Lucky Bay Brewing’s barley mash byproduct, and other baked goodness. Grab some granola and fresh almond milk to complete your camping supplies and consider homegrown zucchini, garlic, figs and tomatoes. If your visit to Esperance doesn’t fall on a weekend, there’s also plenty of local produce at grocery BJ’s Fruit & Veg, including Papa Waffles craquelin bread.
The Beaches Are World Class
White sand and crystal blue waters, Esperance beaches are truly unmatched to a point that once you’ve been you’ll never go anywhere again without saying, “I’ve seen better”. A trip out to Cape Le Grand National Park is imperative—this is where you will get your Lucky Bay kangaroo selfie, climb Frenchman’s Peak and have a BBQ at gorgeous Hellfire Bay. Closer to town, surf at West Beach, sunbathe at sheltered Blue Haven, jump off the rock at Twilight Beach and skinny dip at nudie beach 11 Mile Lagoon at sunset.
There Are Some Seriously Stylish Accommodation Options
For the campers, facilities at the Duke Of Orleans Caravan Park and recently refurbed Lucky Bay campground are the best, though booking is key as spots are limited. For a more urban choice, consider Clearwater Motel Apartments for light, modern and centrally-located living. If you’re chasing a happy medium, check into the Esperance Chalet Village, for a chilled, rustic vibe five minutes drive from the town centre.
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Image credit: Drive For Your Senses