Esperance has some of the best beaches in Australia, with blinding white sands, crystal clear waters and endless hours of peace . Some of the most stunning can be found in Cape Le Grand National Park (which does require a small entry fee). You can access the National Park via Lucky Bay Road.
History of Cape Le Grand
The cape was named after an officer who was part of a French expedition in 1792 . The French were among the first to explore western south coast of New Holland. The expedition , which departed on September 1791,was under the command of Admiral Bruny D’Entrecasteaux who was commissioned to search for lost explorer Jean-François de La Pérouse, who had not been heard of since leaving Botany Bay in March 1788.
During the expedition the two ships L’Esperance and Le Recherche encountered a storm off the south coast. Fears were raised that the ship would be wrecked if they couldn’t find a safe harbour. Le Grand, one of the ship’s crew, climbed the masthead as the ship rolled in the wild weather and spied a safe anchoring place. In honour of the crew member who saved the day, D’Entrecasteaux named the cape, Citizen Le Grand.
Lucky Bay, Thistle Cove and Hellfire Bay are within a small driving distance of each other and offer an unforgettable experience.
As you enter the park you will see Frenchman Peak. It was named by surveyor Alexander Forest while looking for good pastural land in 1870. He thought the peak resembled the hats worn by the French troops in the 1800s. I think it resembles a great white shark to be honest. The local aboriginals call the peak Mandooboornup . In their dreamtime story, the peak represents an eagle.
There is large cave at near the summit.
Lucky Bay is the largest of a string of beautiful beaches located in Esperance’s Cape Le Grand National Park. The bay stretches for 5km and if you are lucky enough you may even find yourself sunning yourself next to a kangaroo.
Migrating whales can be seen frolicking in the deep blue waters between July and October.
If you enjoy bush walking there are numerous tracks that will give you stunning views of Recherche Archipelago.
Lucky Bay has camping and motorhome facilities including picnic areas, solar-heated showers, BBQs and toilets. No bookings needed, just first in best dressed.
The bay is a lot less menacing than the name suggests. It was thought to have been named after St Elmos Fire. That is what they call the bluish flame/electrical discharge that occasionally occurs just above ship’s masts.
Dust off your picnic sets and enjoy this beautiful setting. A white sandy beach and a rocky granite outcrop guarantees great swimming and exploring. If you feel like a wander you can walk from Hellfire Bay to Le Grand Beach but allow 3 hours. Be warned it can be a hard walk. The other option for walkers is Hellfire Bay to Thistle Cove and that is still a tough walk but it takes half an hour less time. I don’t need to remind you to take plenty of water,
Thistle cove was named by Captain Matthew Flinders in 1802. Whilst exploring the coast in HMS Investigator the ship’s master John Thistle discovered fresh water flowing across the beach. It must have been a great relief because in honour of his find Flinders named the bay after him.
Thistle Cove is home to whistling rock. Who doesn’t love a whistling rock? The rock itself looks a little weird. It is vertical with a little curve. I must admit on the day I visited the rock didn’t want to whistle for me. But I do assure you it does make strange noises when the wind is up.