Esperance – Cape Le Grand

With the rain yesterday well and truly gone today, its about 27C by 9am!! I get up early to kick start my healthy regime with the personal training plan I was given before leaving the UK, funnily just as I am mid swing, Anne comes driving down the driveway with a prime view of my ass in the air!! Oops… she seems to be laughing rather than offended, looking like she’s just been for a work out too.

We head out towards the National Park and get to the entry fee ranger station within an hour, get our ticket and at that point notice the red petrol light! Ooops, as I said the car a gas guzzler we missed the need to fill her up in Esperance (50km away), we ask where the nearest petrol stations is and guess what, its Esperance!! double ooops… right well, we have to chance it as the park is big and we have no petrol! So we start looking at the manual to work out the reserve tank beyond zero, we change the settings on the dash to see how many miles theoretically in the tank. Aircon off, optimal driving speed, and we cruise.

The counter is showing 22km…. hmmmm, we apparently have to get 50km… not looking good for us I guess. I wait and wait until we get some form of signal to find the nearest petrol station, as the kms tick down…. a lot quicker than expected lets just say! any downhill bits are coasted… anyway, we pass zero on the countdown an we are still going. Thankfully we make it, the station being about 10km closer thankfully I would say we probably just made it! Filled right up we rush back to the park, thankfully we haven’t lost too much time but keen to get stuck in.

First things first, climbing Frenchman’s peak (or Mandooboornup)!! Its about 250m high 3km walk apparently and basically its tough, Grade 5 whatever that means. Its guided by a few sticks in the ground on the way, and starts pretty damn steep, but the main thing is don’t go off piste and follow the sticks as its pretty difficult otherwise and a bit dangerous! We see a couple of people coming down who reassure us its worth it!! As far as hikes goes, this to me is a steep climb/rock climb in parts as I end up pulling myself up parts of the slope and is really tough.

There is a large cave near the summit which is great shade, lots and lost of water is needed as its getting pretty hot now, it is thought the cave was formed by wave action and underwater currents during a period some 40 million years ago when sea levels were at least 300 metres above their current level and the peaks of Cape Le Grand were largely submerged.

I nearly chicken out of getting all the way to the top, not exactly overly loving heights and this is definitely taking me a long way out of my comfort zone, but a bit of encouragement and I make it up there. It is worth the view for sure, its pretty breathtaking!! Then its getting back down again…. to be honest its sort of easier, and thankfully not to many bum shuffles needed to get to the bottom.

Next stop Lucky Bay, and the whitest beach in Australia apparently one of Australia’s most well-known beaches. It’s known for pristine white sand that squeaks as you walk down to the water, friendly local kangaroo’s, crystal clear blue water and is advertised as a paradise in WA. Personally not disappointed, the sand is pretty hard like walking on the road and it retains all the moisture so is not dry to lie on. The water is just lovely, and to be honest after climbing Frenchman’s Peak its the best thing to go for a well deserved dip in crystal water. We also get to see a Kangaroo feeding her baby which is pretty cool.

A swim, a walk down the long beach and then a visit to a few other beaches on the way, Hellfire, Le Grande, and then we head back to the airbnb. For me its a sad practical evening of washing, there is only one Laundry in Esperance, and no service wash so I sit and wash and dry for a couple of hours!!! The only down side of travelling, the practicalities of doing laundry… first world problems.

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