Best Beaches in Esperance

If you’re traveling to the remote town of Esperance, you’ve probably been lured to the area by the promise of pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. The great news is Esperance delivers on this promise and then some. This laidback beach town is one of Australia’s best destinations, and it’s easy to while away a few weeks exploring the area.

To the west of town are the sensational beaches of the Great Ocean Drive, while to the east lies the untouched beaches of the Cape Le Grand National Park and beyond. In a country and a state of excellent beaches, Esperance and the surrounding areas still manage to surpass even the highest expectations. Read on to discover 10 of the best beaches in the Esperance region. 

Observatory Beach

We start with Observatory Beach, the westernmost beach on our list. Situated 13 km west of Esperance, the beach is set around a gently curving bay with dramatic cliffs. Most visitor’s experience of Observatory Beach is limited to Observatory Point, which affords sensational views across the bay and on towards Esperance. While the views are incredible, particularly at sunrise, we’d suggest making the extra effort to descend the long staircase close to the viewpoint and make your way down to the beach.

On Observatory Beach, you’ll discover a beautiful, quiet location perfect for undisturbed walks and swimming. Away from the sheltered headland, you’ll find the beach is good for surfing, as well as kite and windsurfing. If you like to escape the crowds, this is an excellent option. 

View of Observatory Beach from the Observatory viewpoint
Observatory Beach provides a spectacular introduction to the Great Ocean Drive.

Twilight Beach

Arguably the best beach in Esperance, this stunning beach is located in a sheltered curving bay. The beach’s shallow turquoise waters make it a favorite amongst young families, and the smooth rocks in the sea give it real character. They’re also great fun to explore if you’re feeling adventurous, and there’s no shortage of opportunities to jump from them into the sea.

The southern end of the beach, close to the headland, is the most popular spot. It’s more sheltered from the wind and the waves, and it also has a decent-sized car park, plus toilets and a picnic area. The beach broadens out as you head north and is more open to waves and the wind, although you’ll find far fewer people here.  The beach is part of the Great Ocean Drive and is just 8 km away from the center of Esperance. 

View of the steps and approach to Twilight Beach near Esperance
Beaches don't come much more spectacular than Twilight Beach near Esperance.

Salmon Beach

Salmon Beach is located at the eastern end of Twilight Beach and offers something different from Esperance’s other beaches. The beach is very popular with fishermen who use the expanse of rocks both in and along the sea to land some exceptional fish. The rocky nature of the beach also creates plenty of rock pools, meaning hours of fun and exploring for kids and families.

Salmon Beach is not a swimming beach, as the rocks combined with the large swell can make it a dangerous location. During the winter months, it’s a popular location for walkers, particularly on stormy days when the sea is at its dramatic best.

Coral on the beach at Salmon Beach in Esperance
Salmon Beach provides an alternative beach experience.

Blue Haven Beach

Tucked around the corner of a protruding headland, the exceptional Blue Haven Beach is another favorite on the Great Ocean Drive. Famed for the bright aquamarine colors of its water, it’s another classic Esperance Beach. Access to the beach is via the southern end with a small car park at the end of a narrow road. From here, you descend a large wooden staircase, which provides fantastic vistas across the sea to the Bay of Islands.

The southern end of the beach by the staircase is the calmest and best for swimming. There’s also some of the best snorkeling in the Esperance region here. As you progress up the beach, the sea becomes rougher, and the tide is notably stronger. While the beach is patrolled, it’s recommended to swim with caution in this area. Note there are also no public toilets at Blue Haven Beach.

View along the white sands and aquamarine waters of Blue Haven Beach.
An Esperance favourite, Blue Haven Beach offers vivid colours and soft sands.

West Beach

Beautiful West Beach is the final beach included from the Great Ocean Drive. Located as the name suggests, just to the west of Esperance, it’s a popular option for residents and visitors alike. Situated just 3 km from the center of town, it’s easily accessible and has good facilities and plenty of parking.

West Beach offers a little something for all visitors. As well as the soft white sands and beautiful waters that Esperance is famous for, you’ll also find lagoons here that allow sheltered swimming. Beyond the lagoons and the reef, there’s a good surf break, making it one of the most popular locations for surfers in the area. It’s also a popular location for walkers outside the hotter summer months. During the winter months, it’s often possible to see whales from the beach. 

At the west end of West Beach is Chapman Point. It’s an excellent observation point with amazing views to the east, west, and out to sea across the Great Australian Blight. The sunsets from this point are some of the best in the whole of Australia. 

View along West Beach in Esperance
West Beach is a favourite amongst locals for its close proximity to Esperance.

Hellfire Bay

We now move to the beaches located to the east of Esperance. The first of these and the first of three beaches within the Cape Le Grand National Park is Hellfire Bay. This incredibly picturesque bay is famed for its amazing clear waters and is argued by some as the best beach in the Esperance region. Its sheltered waters are perfect for swimming, and there’s plenty of space on the beach to escape the crowds.

As Hellfire Bay is within the national park, there is an entrance fee to pay per vehicle, although this cost is offset by the good facilities on offer at the beach. Toilets, showers, and a shaded BBQ and picnic area provide you with everything you need for your visit. These facilities are ideal as the beach isn’t the closest to Esperance. It’s located 60 km and a 45-minute drive away, meaning you’ll need to make a day trip out of your visit. However, with plenty of other surrounding beaches and the entrance to the Frenchman Peak trail opposite the beach, there’s no shortage of activities in the area.  

Aerial view along the spectacular Hellfire Bay.
Hellfire Bay is arguably Cape Le Grand National Parks and Esperance's best beach.

Thistle Cove

The second of our Cape Le Grand National Park beaches is Thistle Cove. Situated between Lucky Bay and Hellfire Bay, it’s often overlooked in favor of its more illustrious neighbors. While the beach lacks the facilities of both Lucky Bay and Hellfire Bay, it shares the same stunning waters and squeaky soft sand. It also has considerably fewer visitors, making it a great choice if you’re pursuing solitude.

Thistle Cove’s location in a large circular bay ensures perfect calm waters for swimming. It’s also a good location for paddle boarding or kayaking, although you’ll need to bring your own. The other reason to visit presents itself as you approach the beach from the car park. You’ll pass a natural monolith known as Whistling Rock. Depending on the speed and direction of the wind, the rock is famously known to whistle. 

View along the spectacular stretch of beach at Thistle Cove
Thistle Cove is often overlooked but it's still a sensational beach.

Lucky Bay

Another strong contender for the best beach in Esperance is Lucky Bay. This wonderous long stretch of pristine sand, accompanied by beautifully clear waters, is our final beach from the Cape Le Grand National Park. While Lucky Bay’s beauty is undeniable, opinion can be divided on the merits of the beach.

The most significant divisive factor is that vehicles are allowed on the beach at Lucky Bay. Given the terrain, these all tend to be large 4WD vehicles, and during peak summer, the beach can sometimes resemble a car park. If you’ve got your own 4WD or you don’t mind this incursion onto the beach, you’re in for a treat. Otherwise, you might want to consider Hellfire Bay or Thistle Cove.

Lucky Bay combines calm areas of sea that are great for swimming with a decent break for surfers. There’s also a real novelty factor with the presence of the friendly local kangaroos who enjoy visiting the beach. At the beach, there are some good facilities with toilets and a BBQ area. There’s also a small rustic campsite that allows you to camp right next to the beach. If you’re touring around or overlanding, this is one place you really should consider staying. 

Aerial view of Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park near Esperance.
Lucky Bay is a spectacular and popular beach that allows vehicles on the beach.

Wharton Beach

Just to the east of Cape Le Grand National Park is the sensational Wharton Beach. Considered by many to be the best beach in Western Australia, it’s inevitably a contender for the best beach in the Esperance region. Slightly further afield than the other beaches covered, it is located just over 92 km from Esperance by road. This relatively straightforward journey should only take you just over an hour.

So, what is all the fuss about with Wharton Beach? Well, for a start, the beach stretches out in a perfect semi-circle for an incredible 4.5 km. The water is a fantastic shade of turquoise, while the sand is some of the finest you’ll ever see. Even better is that the beach is largely deserted as it’s located a considerable distance from the nearest major towns. The beach also offers swimming and surfing during the right weather conditions, and its smaller waves are perfect for younger or learner surfers. 

Access to the beach is via the sealed Orleans Bay Road off the Merivale Road, which runs from Esperance. The track is easily accessible by 2WD vehicles, and there’s a car park at the end. While driving on the beach here is permitted, you won’t encounter the same problems and volume of vehicles that can sometimes blight Lucky Bay. If you plan to drive onto the beach, you’ll need a 4WD. 

View along the 4.5 km expanse of sand that is Wharton Beach near Esperance.
There's 4.5 km of unspoilt white sands and aquamarine seas to enjoy at Wharton Beach.

Duke of Orleans Bay

Our final beach is the sister beach of Wharton Beach, known locally as ‘The Duke.’ The Duke or the Duke or Orleans Bay is a long expanse of sand on the other side of the headland from Wharton Beach. It’s one of the most scenic settings in the area, with the beach surrounded by sand dunes, which blend into the surrounding vegetation. 

The beach tends to attract visitors looking for a real off-the-beaten-track experience. It’s a relatively remote location, and the proximity of the more famous Wharton Beach keeps visitor numbers low. With vehicles permitted on the beach, it’s easy to drive along and find a spot a few hundred meters from the nearest person.

As well as the fantastic expanse of soft sand, the crystal clear waters are an excellent place for water-based activities. Swimming, fishing, bodyboarding, and surfing are all possible at different points of the beach. If you like the location as much as we think you will, there’s also a well-equipped nearby caravan park, where you can prolong your stay. Find out more information in our dedicated Duke of Orleans Bay guide.

View from the headland back along on the beautiful beach at the Duke of Orleans Bay.
'The Duke' is an unspoilt beach popular amongst locals looking to avoid the tourist crowds.

Enjoyed This Guide?

If you’ve enjoyed this guide, you can find similar guides for Western Australia. We have a guide on the best beaches in the Margaret River Region, while there’s also plenty of information, tips, and road trip ideas on our Australia travel guide page.

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