Esperance has no shortage of beaches where you can while away a day if you want to relax. But if you fancy getting a bit more active, there are also heaps of walking trails to explore. If you want to lace up your boots and head out for a hike, you'll be rewarded with some of the best views in town!
Esperance Tide is a free magazine which you'll find in Esperance - written and edited by Esperance locals, and they recently listed their favourite walks and hikes. Check out their top picks and get ready to get active!
Dempster Head Walking Trails
This relatively gentle walking trail has spectacular views of the town and the bay, as well as a panorama from the top of the hill that cannot be beaten. For a more advanced walk, you can take the trail down to Lover’s Cove, a steep but short hike that includes sections that can be slippery. Good shoes are advisable, but you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular little beach that is only accessible by hikers or by boat.
Monjingup Lake Walk Trail
Just 10 km’s out of town, on Telegraph Road, Lake Monjingup is a beautiful sanctuary filled with birdlife and great walking trails. There is an easy 1.2km walk trail that offers views of the bushland and of the lake, as well as plenty of wildflowers, birds, and other wildlife. Check out the bird hide if you want to spot birds on the lake. Very quiet and observant watchers may also spot kangaroos, emus, honey possums, and plenty of lizards and frogs.
While this is not a dedicated walk trail, Helm’s Arboretum is a perfect spot for a stroll among the trees. With long gravel roads that extend between the stands of native trees, you can make your walk as long or as short as you choose. There are plenty of rest spots or picnicking spots among the trees, and plenty of wildflowers and birdlife to spot. Just be aware of cars, as the gravel roads throughout the arboretum are also used by vehicles.
Woody Lakes Nature Reserve
The Woody Lakes Nature Reserve is also known as Kepwari, the local Aboriginal word for ‘place of moving water’. The 7 km trail around the reserve has signs that provide information about the wetlands, and their significance. There are wooden boardwalks, as well as plenty of seating along the way, and two bird hides that you can use to check out the abundant bird life in the area. You can access the trail from either end, with entrances off Lake Road and Windabout Way, both just off Fisheries Road on the outskirts of town.
Cape Le Grand Trails
Cape Le Grand National Park is home to some of the most picturesque walk trails in the area. As most locals know, the hike up Frenchman Peak is not to be missed. While the walk is steep, climbers are rewarded at the top with panoramic views of the Cape Le Grand park. The Cape Le Grand coastal walk is also spectacular, with breath taking views of the beaches from multiple vantage points. The entire coastal walk covers 17km’s, from Rossiter Bay to Cape Le Grand Beach, with several challenging sections of trail. Walkers can do smaller parts of the trail, with access points at Rossiter Bay, Lucky Bay, Thistle Cove, Hellfire Bay and Cape le Grand beach. Check the signage in the area for walk distances for each section.
For a more advanced walk, Peak Charles is a great challenge for hikers. The Peak Charles National Park is 174 km North-West of Esperance, off the Norseman Road. The hike to the summit of Peak Charles is 3.4 km, and is a fairly challenging walk, with some steep sections. The view from the top is worth the climb!
Great Ocean Trail
No discussion of Esperance’s walk trails would be complete without a mention of the Great Ocean Trail. Starting at West Beach, this 17km trail goes along the spectacular coastline to Twilight Beach. At Twilight Beach, the trail turns inland and goes through the native bushland to the Pink Lake Lookout. From here you can follow the path back into town. You can join the trail at any point, so choose a section to take rather than doing the whole trail. The views are unparalleled, and the trail is mostly bitumen. Watch out for cyclists, who share this path.
Once you've hiked your way around Esperance, make your way further along the coast to the Fitzgerald River National Park. You'll be spoilt for choice with walking trails and hikes to be climbed, like one of the favourites East Mount Barren. This 2.3km climb will take you about 1-3 hours and reward you with some incredibly rewarding views of the surrounding national park and ocean views. If you're visiting in the Spring months, the landscape will be alive with colour as the wildflowers are in bloom.