Leaving Albany, Western Australia visitors are amazed at all of the natural beauty around them. Just two hours away from Albany you’ll come to Bremer Bay – the western gateway to one of the world’s biodiversity, wildflower and bush walking areas known as Fitzgerald River National Park.
Bremer Bay is not only rich in nature but also in heritage. It was named by Surveyor General John Septimus Roe in honor of Sir James Gordon Bremer, Captain of the Tamar, which sailed into Bremer in 1848. Visitors can get a taste of the history of the area at the Wellstead Museum which is the original settlement in the region. It was built in 1850 and houses many interesting artifacts and antiques. There are many great camping sites nearby like Point Ann and Hamersley Inlet.
Fitzgerald River National Park is home to over 1,800 beautiful and unusual species of flowering plants. It is one of only three places in Australia where the southern right whales come to calve in large numbers. It is a most delightful sight. Visitors to the park can go bush walking, go camping, canoeing, swimming, surfing, fishing, four-wheel driving and get in some great whale watching. Of all of the plant species here 250 are rare and 62 occur nowhere else on Earth. The spongelite cliffs were left exposed in the Hamersley and Fitzgerald river valleys. In the spring the ancient landscapes are covered in colorful wildflowers. The winter brings the southern right whales and visitors can best view them from the cliffs at Point Ann and the white sands of Trigelow Beach. The park has barbecues and toilets but no drinking water so make sure you bring your own supply if you plan on camping to keep company with the kookaburras and parrots.
Take the time to visit the southern coastal town of Hopetoun, where the dramatic coastline invites visitors to hike, fish and swim. The town sits on the shores of lovely Mary Ann Haven. The town offers visitors accommodations for overnight stays and plenty of places to dine or grab a snack. The town also offers amazing beaches for swimming, snorkeling and exploring the rock pools. At East Mylies visit the blow holes and cave.
Visitors discover that wildflower season is every season in the ancient ranges and rugged river valleys of Ravensthorpe. There are trails to wander through all of the beautiful and colorful paths. Ravensthorpe has been mined for gold, copper, silver, nickel and other minerals. Some mining relics can be seen at the Dance Cottage Museum. This is the beginning of the Cattlin Creek Heritage Trail that leads visitors through local history. Beyond the town take the Railway Heritage Walk which follows the former railway that was linked to the remote mines of Ravensthorpe to the port of Hopetoun.
Located on the town foreshore in the heart of Esperance you’ll find the Tanker Jetty. Here you can do some fishing, wander the 670 meter length of the jetty or just sit and take a look at the local marine life. New Zealand fur seals and Australian sea lions are frequent visitors to the jetty. There is even a resident sea lion that has been named “Sammy” by residents. You can snorkel or dive the artificial reef at the end of the jetty. This is an Esperance icon just a short walking distance from the town center.
Esperance is a lovely coastal town. The Great Ocean Drive is a 38 kilometer circular loop drive that offers spectacular coastal scenery. There are sheltered, pristine beaches with crystal clear water and snow-white sand. The most popular is Twilight Beach offering family swimming, surfing, windsurfing and fishing.
Esperance is color-filled wildflower country that also has untouched islands. This area includes Australia’s whitest beach – Lucky Bay – set against an amazing seascape of 110 islands of the Recherche Archipelago. In town visitors can have four-wheel drive beach safaris, cultural tours and steam train rides as well as other adventures. There is the arts center and galleries to see and the museum where visitors can see what’s left of the NASA Skylab after is slammed back down to Earth near Balladonia.
In French Esperance roughly translates to hope and the French are credited with discovering this town. This is a beautiful coastal town and has the most amazing coastal scenery. Here you’ll find five national parks. At Caper Le Grand National Park you can see kangaroos lazing on the beach. Cape Arid is a popular park for camping, fishing and hiking.
An amazing thing to see is the Esperance Stonehenge on the south coast. There are supposedly 66 large, permanent replicas of Stonehenge throughout the world but this Esperance project seems to be the only life size stone one. This full sized replica of the original Stonehenge in the U.K. looks like it would have looked around 1950 B.C. The 10 Trilithon Stones are set up in a horseshoe pattern and weigh between 28-50 tons each. Inside of this horseshoe stands another horseshoe of 19 Blue Stones. The Trilithon Stones are surrounded by a circle of 30 Sarsen Stones with 7 ton lintels on top. Between the Sarsen Circle and the Trilithon Stones is a full circle of 40 smaller stones, called the Bluestone Circle. The Altar Stone weighs 9 tons and lies in front of the tallest Trilithon Stones. This structure is aligned with the Summer Solstice – Sunrise – Esperance, WA. The Station Stones are positioned on this line to allow the sun rays to pass through to the Altar.
On Middle Island you’ll find Lake Hillier – a pink-colored lake. The island is the largest island making up the Recherche Archipelago of the coast of Esperance. The lake appears to be bubble gum pink. It is around 600 meters long and surrounded by a rim of sand and dense woodland of paper bark and eucalyptus trees. A narrow strip of sand dunes that are covered by vegetation separates the lake from the Southern Ocean. No one really knows why the lake is pink. Scientists think that the color comes from a dye created by bacteria that lives in the salt crusts. Anyway if you would enjoy it they say that it is perfectly safe to swim in this pink lake.