Sure, you’ve seen the Instagram shots of bikini-clad people lazing at Lucky Bay, diving into the turquoise ocean and making the most of those gorgeous beaches.
But what you haven’t seen is the frosty fog rolling over the bottle-green grass when you open your curtains in the morning. The roaring firepit at Esperance Chalet Village, spangled by strings of twinkling fairy lights. The baby southern right whale frolicking at its mum’s side in the inky deep. The wild, protruding ranges of the Fitzgerald River National Park, scattered with wildflowers and offering views across the ferocious Southern Ocean.
You might not be taking a dip in winter - or if you’re into cold water therapy, maybe you are. Either way, there are so many refreshing ways to experience Esperance in the colder months. Here are some of our favourite activities to help you see the cooler side of Esperance.
As the cooler weather arrives, so do the whales. From June to October, the many secluded bays of Esperance become playgrounds for mothers and calves to relax, feed and practice their swimming. There are lots of places to see humpback and southern right whales from the shore, so pack a picnic, fill your thermos and head to one of these viewing hotspots.
The Great Ocean Drive is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in Australia - and it’s stunning in any weather. The entire loop is 40km long, but there’s a dedicated walk and cycle path that winds from the Esplanade to Twilight Cove for about 9km, which makes for the perfect adventure on foot or on your bike. Get rugged up, bring out the beanie and don’t forget your waterproof jacket!
On a rainy afternoon, be sure to head to Lucky Bay Brewing for a tasting paddle and a woodfired pizza. They’ve geared themselves up for winter with indoor and outdoor fireplaces, so you can enjoy a cosy afternoon enjoying some locally brewed beer and a slice of Margartia. With live music most weekends, this is the place the locals come to warm up.
Warm yourself up from the inside out with a locally crafted spirit tasting at Esperance Distillery Co, the smallest distillery in Australia! This father-son duo literally infuse the local environment into their small batch gin, rum and vodka, using native botanicals like Vanilla Acacia, Esperance Wax, Lemon Bush and Rosella found within 100km of Esperance.
So many people who’ve been to Esperance are totally unaware of the untamed nature reserve of Woody Island just 15km off the mainland, it’s one of the 105 islands that make up the Recherche Archipelago.. You can take a ferry ride over in just 40 minutes (or a chopper and be there in six!) and explore for the day, or you can stay overnight in a safari hut, luxury retreat or bring your own tent! Wake up to the sounds of the birds, go for a morning walk and sip a coffee while watching dolphins in the bay. The perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life.
Learn more about the Aboriginal culture and history of Esperance on a walking tour with Dabungool Cultural Experiences. Your guide from the Nyungar nation will start the day with a traditional welcome to country before setting off on a walking tour of Kepa Kurl Nyungar Boodjar. Your guide will share their local and traditional knowledge with you as you learn about the local birds, flowers and foods of the area.
There’s a thriving arts scene in Esperance; with everything from handmade leather goods to locally made glass jewellery and The Cannery Arts Centre, which is Esperance's leading local art gallery and workshop craft space. Check out our list showcasing the best of the arty side of Esperance.
Winter’s a great time to lace up your boots and head out for a hike. There are so many trails in and around Esperance that are breathtakingly beautiful in winter. From inland lakes and arboretums to coastal trails and steep inclines like Frenchman’s Peak, we’ve rounded up some of our favourites here so you can take your pick!
Fans of 4WDing will be thrilled when exploring Esperance and the surrounding National Parks. From moderately easy trails from Esperance to Cape Le Grand, to super challenging routes through Cape Arid, there’s a trail to suit everyone. What’s more fun than splashing through giant puddles and really ramping up the rugged factor? You can find some of our favourite 4WD adventures here to help you start planning your trip.
So, there you have it; come rain or shine you can have an action-packed escape in Esperance!