Things To See And Do
Great Ocean Drive
Esperance is set in the middle of a coastal region known for its many attractive beaches, offering surfing, scuba diving and swimming in sparklingly clear water. Nearby are a number of salt lakes, including the Pink Lake, which gains its rosy hue from red algae living within its waters.
These can all be viewed on the 38 kilometre circular route known as the Great Ocean Drive. One of the best drives in Western Australia, we suggest you take a picnic and make a lazy day of it, or unpack the surfboard and ride some of the best waves in the country.
Offshore from Esperence is s string of 105 islands known as the Recherche Archipelago. These islands are protected as a Nature Reserve as they are teaming with sealife, including New Zealand fur seals, tammars (a species of Bandicoot), Recherche Cape Barren Geese, dolphins and Minke whales in season.
Woody Island, which is the only island of the archipelago open to visitors. Options include day trips, serviced-hut accommodation and camping with ablutions block, barbecues and a playground. The island has glass-bottom boats, disabled facilities, water slide, snorkel hire, an interpretive centre, a cafe and a kiosk and offers opportunities for bushwalking, swimming and fishing. For more information ring (08) 9071 5757.
The Museum Village is an interesting collection of historical buildings which covers an entire block. Apart from the old railway station and yards there is a former doctor's surgery, a school master's residence, a church and a private home, all located on an imaginary historic street.
The village incorporates a cafe, art gallery, a blacksmith's, craft shops and the town's visitor information centre.
Esperance Museum displays material relating to local history, including pioneer memorabilia, a 1951 coal-fire locomotive, shipwreck items, pieces of the US Sky Lab, which fell to earth in the Esperance region in 1980, Aboriginal artifacts, a room with antique musical items, a display of antiquated communications equipment and agricultural machinery. Location: corner of Dempster St and James St.
The first European settlers in the vicinity were the Dempster brothers who drove horses, cattle and sheep into the area in 1863, taking up a large grazing lease in 1866. The former Dempster Homestead, located at 155 Dempster Street, is listed on the National Estate as an important relic of the early history of the area. Built in 1863 by the Dempster brothers it is rough in construction having used local limestone and a design based on needs rather than aesthetics. It has been restored and is now in private ownership but can be viewed from the street (there is no access to the grounds or interior).
Cannery Arts Centre
The Cannery Arts Centre is the major arts exhibition space in Esperance. It displays local and touring exhibitions and possesses studios in use by local artists. There is also an arts and crafts shop. It is located on Norseman Rd, just beyond Tanker Jetty.
Esperance Yabby Farm
Located at the north-western end of town, near the southern edge of Lake Warden, is a yabby farm which is open from Tuesday to Saturday. Call (08) 9071 3675 to arrange a time to visit.
Monjingup Lake Reserve
This reserve, centring on Monjingup Lake, is situated amid attractive bushland and offers walking trails, picnic and barbecue facilities, springtime wildflowers and birdwatching opportunities. It is located on Telegraph Rd which runs off the South Coast Highway to the north-west of town.
Further along Telegraph Rd is Telegraph Farm which offers visitors a chance to view a working farm with such wildlife as red deer, kangaroos, emus and water buffalo. They have a protea plantation and a coffee shop. Ph: (08) 9071 1146.