Why Lucky Bay is my Happy Place
As a travel writer, people often ask me, “What is the most beautiful place in Australia?” And I always answer: “The beaches around Esperance.” A description will never do justice to the sense of surprise and wonder you experience on first seeing them. And Lucky Bay is the best of all.
I still remember my first visit to Lucky Bay. As I walked onto the beach, a couple of kangaroos stared at me as though it was their private domain. They were not afraid and it was only when I knelt down to photograph them that they leisurely turned and hopped off into the bush.
I set off beachcombing and the sand was firm and squeaking at every step and so white that it had me squinting in the morning sun. I swam out into water that was a brilliant turquoise and, as I looked out across the Great Southern Ocean, it deepened into a dark, rich blue.
The view along the beach was more like a painting than reality. It was edged with banksias and coastal natives and, when I returned in spring a couple of years later, the wildflowers – pink and red coastal banjine, green peppermints, creamy white pipe banjine, blue lobelia – had turned the coastline beyond the shore into a floral wonderland.
Since first sighting Lucky Bay, I have driven around the south-western and southern coasts of WA to Busselton and through the Margaret River region, around Hamelin Bay and Augusta, beyond Denmark and Albany to Esperance and each time the journey was full of wonder. All the settings are so idyllic. I will confess that it’s my favourite stretch of coastline on the whole continent.
Still, Lucky Bay, which is a 50-minute drive east of Esperance and which I first saw in 1988, holds a special place in my heart. It has a deserved reputation as the best beach in Western Australia and, in many surveys, has been named as the whitest beach in Australia.
One of the other great bonuses about Lucky Bay is that it’s rarely overcrowded: on each of my visits, there have been just a sparse population of campers and holidaymakers swimming, beachcombing, going for long walks on the sand, and fishing. A recent redevelopment by WA Parks and Wildlife has seen the campground expand to 22 campsites, where campers can watch the dawn rise over the bay and the sun set the sky ablaze at the western end of the beach. It is an enviable option.
After a day of simply soaking up the peaceful ambience of the beach – which is located in the Cape Le Grand National Park – non-campers like myself can always head back to Esperance, where there are plenty of excellent accommodation options.
Lucky Bay is ideal and safe for children and equally perfect for swimmers, surfers and snorkellers wanting to test their skills in the deeper water. Even in the height of summer, when the camping sites are full, it’s possible to take your picnic, your sunnies, swimmers and towels and, after a few minutes, have a spot all to yourself where the only intruders will be a few of those shy resident kangaroos, who seem more than happy to share their special stretch of paradise.