Is there anything better than vineyards, craft beer and ancient forests? How about a family of kangaroos hanging around in a stunning beach? Tough choice I know. Luckily, it is all there in one place, in Western Australia.
In case you need a break from the wine
A small section in our guidebook suggested a side trip to Mandalay Beach and with some time to kill in our hands, we decided to check it out.
These days, the Lonely Planet disappoints us more often than not. It focuses heavily on tours, hotels and basically a thousand different ways on how you can spend your money. But it forgets that the best things in life come for free, after a bit of a walk and away from the crowds.
Watching the power of the Southern Ocean crashing against the rocks was hypnotising and just for once, the book was right.
Fighting for your spot
European vessels passed by the coast of Esperance, 800 km southeast of Perth, back in 1627 but it was not until 1792 that the French made the first landfall. Can you imagine the look in their faces when they found Twilight Beach?
Starting from Esperance, the **Great Ocean Drive*# is yet another beautiful coastal road, offering a bit of everything: From wind farms to a pink lake and of course, staggering views of the ocean.
Twilight Beach and the Great Ocean Drive on their own could justify the long drive to this remote town. But there is more, in particular, a place called Cape Le Grand.
Unfortunately for us, the only camping site in the national park was full. But if there is anything we have learnt in the last few months is that a smile can go a long way. In the end, they agreed to let us share a spot with another campervan and we promised we would be quiet when going for a walk in the sand.
That night we had curry for dinner and beers by the beach while watching the sunset. That night we were happy, very happy.
Surrounded by stupidly beautiful beaches, it is perhaps surprising to start the day off with a hike to Frenchman’s Peak. However, with 360 degree views of the whole national park and a blue sky like this, it is hard to argue against the climb.
Just a few minutes drive away from the peak, lies Cape Le Grand best secret, the one we have been dying to visit since our arrival in Perth, Lucky Bay.
The water may be a bit cold and it may be a bit windy at times, but who cares. A long stroll along the white sand will help appreciate the beauty of this place.
Fancy your own private beach? A few rock formations make their way into the ocean, creating secluded bays boasting all shades of blue. It is surreal.
Not many people venture this far. The ones that do, consider themselves lucky, lucky indeed.
Blending in with the locals
Lucky Bay may lack the accessible marine life of Exmouth. But if it is wildlife what you are after, fear not, the local community of kangaroos will make sure you do not feel alone.
Some may even try their luck, adopting a human-like form and sitting at your table, with the hope to grab a bite or two. Don’t be fooled by the charming eyes!
Others, will be happy to keep you company as you wonder what your future is going to look like.
Good bye WA
A nice city with some friends, gorges, manta rays, kangaroos, emus, wine, hills, forests and the best beach of the trip so far. Goodbye Western Australia, something tells me you will end up being one of the highlights of the whole year.
“You want to drive across the Nullarbor? Make sure your car is up to the task and stock up plenty of food and water”