The picturesque coastal town of Esperance, 725km south-east of Perth, is a place of rugged beauty and stunning beaches. And, while tourism is a major modern industry, Esperance owes much of its prosperity to the good ol’ US of A. In the late 50s and 60s, American farmers and investors descended on the area and worked with local agronomists to pioneer new farming methods - including the introduction of trace elements to the soil - to make the surrounding pastures more productive. Because of the low cost of land, farmers flocked from everywhere to get in on the act and Esperance took off again.
Esperance lies on a gorgeous bay dotted with the islands of the Recherche Archipelago. Nearby is Cape Arid National Park, a large (279 832 hectares) and exceptionally scenic park that is home to more than 160 bird species and is thus an important resource for the conservation of birds. It harbours a number of restricted and threatened species, as well as some interesting inland birds.
One endangered bird, the western ground parrot, lives in the park, and several rare species, including the Australasian bittern, Carnaby's black-cockatoo and the Cape Barren goose, visit the park on occasions. Western Australian Cape Barren geese breed only in the Recherche Archipelago and occasionally visit nearby parts of the mainland. Total numbers are estimated to be only about 650 birds. The western ground parrot has declined to very low numbers in the park due to extensive wildfires in the 1970s and 1980s.
: Offshore Angling Classic (February), Wildflower Show (September), Festival of the Wind ( even-numbered years October and November)
Things to do
Municipal Museum - with old machinery and farm equipment. Also with display of Skylab which crashed to earth and left fragments near here
Fishing - Diving and fishing charters available in town, also beach fishing
Seal watching - from Tanker Jetty
Water Sports - at Fourth and Observatory beaches
Visitor Information Centre - Museum Village, Dempster Street, Esperance
In the area
Great Ocean Drive - a loop road travelling past the magnificent coast line
Whale watching - for southern right whales (June to November)
Archipelago of Recherche - a haven for sea lions and seals on over 100 small islands. Cruises available.
Cape Le Grand National Park - for wildflowers and bushwalking
Speddingup Wildflower Sanctuary - guided walks in flowers are in season
Find out more about the area around Esperance region.