Home' Traveller : Scoop Traveller WA 018 Contents June-December 2010 Scoop Traveller 33
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Melaleucas, taken by
Dan Paris, at Wheatfield Lake.
DAN PAriS | Five-day tour | Esperance
“Although I’m not technically a ‘local’
yet, I’m also not a tourist. I’ve lived
here now for six years, but I’ve been
visiting here for about 13. This is the
kind of itinerary I send my friends and
family when they first visit Esperance.
It takes them to the best bits and gets
them off the beaten track while allowing
them a chance to experience some
local flavours.” – Dan.
DAY ONE First stop has to be the
Cape Le Grand National Park.
Located an easy 40-minute drive
from town, pure-white sand edges
turquoise waters surrounded by
impressive granite mountains. Now,
if you’re the motivated, mountain-
climbing sort, then Frenchmans
Peak gives you a great bird’s-eye
view of the whole park. The climb
is about 1.5hr return and is a top
way to work up an appetite for
lunch. Next stop is Lucky Bay,
which officially has the whitest
sand in the country. The campsites
here are a perfect place to stop.
There are a couple of options for the
afternoon. The reef in Lucky Bay
contains the leafy sea dragon
among other things if you feel like
a dive or a snorkel. Alternatively,
walk trails run along the coast of
this park past beautiful coves and
through pristine native vegetation,
littered with wildflowers at all times
of year. Every year in whale season
(until October), I’ve seen whales in
the corner of Le Grand Beach, a top
place to watch the sun go down.
DAY TWO Heading east of
Esperance, just after Condingup is
Parmango Road, also known as the
Balladonia Track. There were pastoral
leases at Deralinya, Balbinya and
Nanambinia, to name a few. It will
take you about 1.5hr to reach the
first one (Deralinya) from Cape Le
Grand National Park. The remains
in these places really give you a feel
for the challenges faced by earlier
settlers. Allow 40min-1hr to travel
between homesteads (track con-
ditions vary depending on the
weather, so check at the tourist
bureau before departure). The
homesteads, although in various
states of disrepair are beautifully
preserved. Searching for fallen
buildings, the remains of an old
veggie patch, cattle or sheep yards
and gravesites will release your
DAY THREE Mount Ridley is only
about 40min from town. I’d heard
about it from locals for a few years
in passing, but this place was a huge
surprise to me. Start your journey
with a climb up Mount Ridley itself
past its very own ‘wave rock’. The
view from the top is endless. Come
back to the base to the campsites for
a picnic lunch shaded by casuarinas,
quandongs and pincushion hakeas.
After lunch, explore the tracks
around the base of the mountain
for some crazy rock formations and
aboriginal art sites.
DAY FOUR Back in town, Esperance
has important wetland systems: a
mosaic of seven major and more than
90 smaller lakes. The Kepwari Trail,
just on the edge of town is a lovely
way to experience a small portion
of the ecosystems supported here.
There are bird hides, organic art
installations, picnic sites and a
boardwalk that takes you past some
lakes and through bushland filled
with wildflowers and wildlife.
DAY FIVE I recommend a lap of the
tourist loop, followed by a stroll
through the town. Winding past a
stunning coastline, the Great Ocean
Drive can be compared to nothing
else. Closer to home, you’ll find the
Rotary lookout for a view of the
district. In town, a leisurely walk
takes you past the old Bijou Theatre,
to the restored Esperance Museum,
brimming with heritage displays
from earlier settlers to Skylab and
beyond. The Museum Village is a
little enclave of shops in buildings
from yesteryear. Head to the Bay to
enjoy a walk along the Tanker Jetty
at sunset, and say ‘g’day’ to Sammy
the seal while you are there.
lunch cruise | peel Do a lunch cruise
through the calm inland waterways of the
mandurah estuary and peel inlet. onboard,
spot the local pods of bottlenose dolphins and
take in the sites of the spanking waterfront
canals, while enjoying a hearty serve of fish and
chips. Visit www.bouvardcruises.com.au.
bus tour | avon + golDen outback
Join a one-day bus tour through york to Wave
rock and other geological formations of the
area. in spring, the Wheat belt drive comes alive
with wildflowers, plus there’s plenty of picnic
spots wildlife parks and aboriginal culture to
discover. Visit www.pinnacletours.com.au .
heli Flight | great southern soar
over the rocks, rivers and ranges of the great
southern. best time to go? now to october,
when you get spot whales from above.
Visit www.heliwest.com.au .
morning cruise | southern Forest
take a morning cruise through the pristine
Donnelly river. pack a picnic lunch and enjoy
the sites of lush wetlands, forests, and the
ocean. Visit www.donnellyrivercruises.com.au.
limo Wine tour | margaret river
ride a limo through this wine region. birthday?
anniversar y? Just want to have some fun with
your friends? class up your act and enjoy the
flavours. Visit www.allstarhire.com.
Dolphin sWim | bunbury swim with the
dolphins at koombana bay. tours operate from
october to may, and are professionally led by
a marine biologist or environmental scientist.
“Mount Ridley... I’d heard about it from
locals for a few years in passing, but this
place was a huge surprise to me.”
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