Day 1: Yallingup – Esperance
We’re on the road by 5.30 am, following the realisation that we have a rather persistent oil leak that we thought had been fixed by the mechanic last week. Although not the perfect solution, we used some Engine Stop Leak as a short-term fix, because we couldn’t delay our trip any longer than we had – 6 days to get to Sydney was already pushing it! So, with a little optimism and lots of Stop Leak , we set off on our 9 hour drive to Esperance regardless.
Tip 1: Don’t leave anything to the last minute – especially car servicing and maintenance. Even though we thought we had the car sorted well in advance, we didn’t use the car much since it had been returned to us after it was serviced, so by the time we found the leak it was all a little too late. Check it once, twice, three times…
Despite the initial disappointment of the oil leak, we were all so excited to be starting the trip that we soon forgot about it, and singing at the top of our lungs in the car took priority. That is, until our second little hiccup decided to show up, in the form of getting the fuel nozzle stuck in the car for 40 minutes. After several attempts to yank the nozzle out (by Phil and the men at the service station, while Erin and I stood there looking a little helpless), lo and behold the local mechanic turns up. With a bit of extra strength, patience, and determination, he successfully yanked the thing out. It wasn’t until he waved us goodbye and said “nae bother” that we realised he had a thick Scottish accent, which felt a little uncanny since we were in the middle of a rural outback town with a population of about 200 people. Our Scottish guardian angel.
The fuel nozzle getting stuck actually broke up the journey and added a little hilarity to the otherwise long and uneventful journey to Esperance. Once we finally arrived, however, the beaches were so stunning, that it really was well worth the drive. Since we only had one night in Esperance (I would definitely recommend at least 2 or 3 if you can spare the time), we headed straight to the somewhat iconic Lucky Bay, which had the whitest sand and the bluest water that I’ve ever seen. It felt somewhat dream-like as we drove straight onto the beach, opened the car doors and cracked open a beer with the ocean breeze tingling on our skin. It just felt so good to step out of the car onto what i can only describe as a little piece of paradise. Aside from the beautiful beach itself, Lucky Bay is also renowned for being home to lots of very tame wallabies, which is pretty cool.
Lucky Bay is located in Cape Le Grand National Park (Cape Le Grand), which is full of beautiful bays, coastal peaks and extraordinary wildflowers. I would love to return here to explore the different beaches such as Hellfire Bay and tackle Frenchman Peak, which received its name because it was originally thought to resemble the hats worn by French troops in the 1800s.
We booked ahead for a caravan park in the centre of Esperance (Seafront Caravan Park) because Esperance gets really busy over Christmas and throughout the summer months. You can actually camp on Lucky Bay, but it is first come first serve, so you have to get there very early. We enjoyed being able to shower and cook in a kitchen after such a long drive, but if I could go back, I would definitely try and stay in Cape Le Grand based on the views alone. If you are planning on driving along the South-West and you enjoy visiting lots of white sandy beaches, you should definitely consider heading through Denmark and Albany as well.
Next time, we begin our cross along the Nullarbor.