Vegemite & Blue Cheese?
Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
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It wasn't long before we started to see changes in the landscape, where the deep red dust we'd become so accustomed to gave way to thick lush greens, hardy trees and countless salt lakes radiating a luminous green span beneath a cloudless blue sky. You beauty! The pictures will do very little justice.
Back in Kal, everyone had warned us - with an air of panic - that we would find no accommodation down in Esperance, nothing, and that we may end up having to rough it on the beach. Right-o. So imagine our mild surprise when the first door we knocked on gave us a half-decent twin overlooking the crystal blue picturesque bay of Esperance, all for a measly seventy bucks. Come on people.
Esperance itself is a pint-sized seaside village with a simple layout and friendly air. It became clear immediately why so many make it a holiday destination. And there's hardly anything to it, the perfect uncomplicated getaway, especially after spending months on end baking in the outback. To round off our arrival in style we got ourselves comfortable down on the rocks with a couple of stubbies, and spent a good while basking away in the setting sun until the growing southern chill had us clutching our nipples. Sore they were, but oh so worth it to see the ocean again.
Cape Le Grand National Park
'Best beaches in the world' we were told. Constantly. Bit of a bold statement really I thought, and so naturally took it with a pinch of salt. That's a ridiculous thing to say to someone. But they did say it with some conviction which kinda plucked with my curiousity. The Cape Le Grand National Park occupies a healthy chunk of land to the east of Esperance and its neighbouring townships, in a crooked and unsuspecting little hideaway somewhere in the south west corner of WA, Australia's Cornwall if you like. We handed over the mandatory $10 have-a-nice-day fee and blazed a trail over to 'Frenchman's Peak', an impressive looking monolith dominating the heart of the national park. An hour (and a touch of vertigo) later and we were atop the peak looking out over Cape Le Grand and its sprawl of endless bays and beaches, providing another great moment of wonder and inspiration. Awesome. There's a pic somewhere of my foot on the edge of the summit overlooking the tiny carpark below. A great vertigo moment too as I very nearly slipped while I was pissing about with the camera.
Panting like dogs and a good half-stone lighter we began the grand scour of the 'world's best', starting with Lucky Bay where we were truly, truly blown away. We couldn't contain ourselves. I jumped out and fumbled with the diff lock and we screamed down in the fourby onto the softest, whitest sand I've ever seen. Coating it serenely in lazy intervals was the most soothing pastel blue that could have existed. We'd just found heaven on earth. Naturally we hung around and spent most of our time in disbelief, confirming constantly between ourselves whether or not we were seeing the same thing. We were, and so we celebrated by eating a tasty sandwich, a sandwich that didn't have vegemite or blue cheese in it. Dare I say it, this was probably one of the best beaches in the whole world.
The sudden surge of excitement put us on an immediate roll. We pushed further, seeking out every beach, every bay along the coast, each one with a different character to the last, but essentially the same striking whites and blues. We were the only ones there. The place was amazing. We chased lizards across rocks, got lashed by the chilling spray of the southern ocean. Jay saw a cheeky roo being nosey in the foliage, I screamed like a girl and dodged a small herd of emus that suddenly bolted across the road right in front of us, and for a short time we became fearless crocodile hunters. The whole place came alive that day, but our adventures were far from over. By mid-afternoon we'd made it back over to Esperance and immediately swifted onto the Great Ocean Drive (in an anti-clockwise manner as quietly advised by one of the locals.) This attraction-filled loop gave us 'Pink Lake' (which today wasn't pink, much like the Blue Lake in Mount Gambier that day wasn't blue), the many wind farms that littered the inland-side, some magnificent views of the islands of the Recherche Archipelago, and Jay's favourite of all - the Ten Mile Lagoon. Every bit of it was stunning. We were like exciteable kids let loose without a curfew.
Back in Esperance we milled around and got stuck in to some of the silly overpriced tourist activities like crazy golf, where Jay got all cocky and hyperactive after beating me ('I'm tellin' ya, that hole's rigged!') In return I caned his arse at air hockey and stripped the grin away. And that night we went silly and splashed out. Celebrations were held in style at the 'Loose Goose' restaurant. I settled immediately with my instincts and jumped on a tender porterhouse with fat prawns, white wine and cream, while Jay sat smug with his thick chunk of Gummy shark. A bottle of Western Australian red accompanied the feast and we toasted our adventures with pride. Happy days. Shame the wine was shit..
(Note: Through the tireless and ever-striving advances made by Travelpod, you can now comment on photos as well as entries. It's fairly straightforward too so please feel free to add your thoughts, make a point or remind me just how much hair I'm losing..)