At the end of 2022, I was lucky to return to a beautiful part of the world – Western Australia or WA.
When international tourists think of Australia, they often consider iconic cities like Sydney and Melbourne, the Great Barrier Reef, or the Outback. Iconic all on their own, it’s easy to forget just how gigantic and varied Australia really is. Almost as big as the USA, Australia is home to some of my favorite places to explore. And WA? It definitely ranks high on the list of Australia’s best-kept secrets, even for Australians!
On its own, Western Australia would be one of the biggest countries in the world. Australia’s largest state sprawls across nearly 300 million square kilometers. She’s big, and she’s vast. From ancient rock features to endless vineyards and excellent wineries to crystal clear water lapping the whitest sands in the world, Western Australia is the land of infinite exploration. It’s hard to describe the scale of the place, and it feels wild and open, with big skies and crazy coastlines.
And the colors are out of this world. The colors of Esperance, Australia, left a marked impact on me. You could spend a year here and still be surprised.
The list of places in WA I’m keen to explore is long and doesn’t seem to get any smaller. When I first visited five years ago, I spent most of my time in Perth and Margaret River. This time, I headed further south to Esperance, a town that evokes a feeling of endless summer and incredible nature.
Famous for many reasons, Esperance often draws people in for its iconic bubble gum pink salt lakes. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that’s all there is to see. This part of Australia is layered and complex, with many places and experiences that guarantee you’ll fall in love with it. It’s the kind of place that, once you visit, you can’t stop talking about it.
But what struck me the most about spending a week in Esperance was just how colorful this place is. In fact, I’d say it’s probably the most colorful landscape I’ve ever seen packed into one place. The colors of Esperance, Australia, are so vibrant they don’t even seem real. And clashed against each other? The colors pop even more.
So allow me to introduce Esperance to you through its unbelievable color palette. Here are my picks for the colors of Esperance, Australia – enjoy.
Turquoise blue seas
There are a couple of contenders for the top spot regarding the most eye-popping colors of Esperance, Australia. But after much deliberation, I’ve decided it must go to the color of the ocean water.
Here the ocean is bright turquoise, a blue so pure it looks manufactured. Is it a swimming pool? Nope, it’s real. And even though I was there in September, which is technically the end of winter/beginning of spring, the weather was hot and magical. And I couldn’t resist jumping in that water as often as possible.
I spent a morning on a boat trip with Esperance Island Cruises, exploring the 105 Recherche Archipelago islands. Each island has its unique wildlife species dwelling on it and its unique story. We saw sea eagles and had pods of dolphins swimming alongside the boat. Swimming off the boat at Blue Haven Beach in the iconic turquoise water was a highlight for me!
PSA – Esperance local legend Jaimen Hudson runs Esperance Island Cruises – you’ve probably come across him on Instagram already, but if you haven’t, be sure to give him a follow for the most epic aerial photos and videos of the whales and dolphins of the WA coastline.
Esperance has become world-famous for its bubblegum-pink salt lakes. And the best way to see them? From above.
Hope on a scenic flight with locals Fly Esperance to see Lake Hillier on the remote Middle Island. A naturally bright pink contrasts with the bright blue ocean and white beaches, making for an unbelievable view. Thanks to a specific type of algae found in the water, which produces a red pigment, there are pink lakes all over the Esperance coastline, with their colors changing according to rainfall and the seasons.
I spent my first day exploring on the flying pub crawl tour, which takes you around the region flying above the famous coastline and lakes in a fixed-wing airplane and stopping at local breweries and pubs. This way, you get the best of everything. I couldn’t think of a better way to start my trip to Esperance!
The whitest sand beaches in the world
For many years in a row, the beaches with the whitest sand in the world have all been in Esperance. There are endless stretches of beaches, with the nearby National Parks home to the most pristine white sand and some of the clearest, bluest waters you will ever see.
Five of Esperance’s best beaches must be Lucky Bay, Hellfire Bay, Wharton Beach, Twilight Bay, and Blue Haven.
Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park is often lauded as having the whitest sand in the world, comprised of fine grains of milky frosted quartz. Thanks to a pristine environment combined with weather-eroded quartz make, Lucky Bay is the winner when it comes to the pure white sand. Also famous for having kangaroos that hang out on the five-kilometer stretch of beach, Lucky Bay is not to be missed on any trip to Esperance.
As a tourist, the best way to visit Lucky Bay is by driving onto the beach while on tour with Tour Esperance on their 4×4 Le Grand Beach Adventure. It saves you doing some explaining when you get your hire car bogged down on the sands. If you’re lucky, you might even explore the impressive white dunes around the area too.
Deep red dirt roads
There is something so distinctly Australian when you see those burnt red colored dirt roads stretching out as far as the eye can see. It screams the Outback, and red definitely stands out as one of the primary colors of Esperance, Australia.
When I stepped off the plane in Esperance and got a whiff of the hot coastal smell, the red earth and dense green scrub instantly brought back memories of my last visit to Western Australia five years earlier. Throughout my time in the area, I was always mesmerized by the red earth-colored roads contrasted against the green landscape. It’s incredible.
Also, the roads are all paved; only the off-roads are dirt.
Fields of yellow gold
When I was there in early spring, I immediately noticed a landscape full of bright yellow flowers. If I had to guess, I think probably many of them are weeds, some wildflowers, and most canola or rapeseed plants.
But they are all beautiful, especially when you’re flying over them.
Rainbow botanical wonderland
As a huge plant lover, I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard that Western Australia is home to the most extensive wildflower collection on the planet. In fact, there are more than 12,000 species of wildflowers, with 60 percent found nowhere else on the planet, including native orchids, banksias, grevilleas, and many others. Wow, paradise.
The wildflower season in Esperance runs from August to November, when everything is colorful and in bloom. I spent some time with local legends Esperance Distillery Co, launched in December 2020 as Australia’s smallest distillery. As a fellow pandemic business starter and gin aficionado, I had a great time. Their knowledge is immense, with their gins infused with local botanicals. The flavors reflect the land in a way that I love.
They mentioned the nearby annual Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show was on while I was there, showcasing more than 500 local species of wildflower. Nearby Fitzgerald River National Park has some of the best biodiversity in Australia, not to mention being one of the largest national parks in the country. You can guess where I spent my day off.
Amber rocks everywhere
You will not be surprised to learn that the rugged Esperance coastline has many enormous red and orange rock formations, red earth dirt, and roads. Standing in stark contrast to the white beaches, green bush, and turquoise waters, these red rocks are iconic for Esperance and WA.
One of my favorite experiences in Esperance was spending the afternoon with Dabungool Cultural Experiences, learning about aboriginal Noongar culture in this part of Australia. Esperance is called Kepa Kurl, which means ‘where the water lies like a boomerang.’ Started by legendary local Annie and her family, they take you around the area where you can learn about indigenous history, culture, plant uses as medicine and food, and a Dreamtime story.
One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to learn as much as possible about the place. Esperance is so much more than pretty views. It has a deep, rich cultural history dating back over 10,000 years. Supporting local indigenous businesses has never been more important. I left Esperance with more knowledge, respect, and understanding than when I arrived. This is thanks in large part to this wonderful local family. This is how we should all be traveling.
PSA: black algae often grows on the red rocks along the coastline around the high tide mark – it’s very slippery, and locals repeatedly warn people not to walk on the black parts of the rocks – there have been fatalities from people slipping on them, and falling into the water, so be cautious.
The lush, verdant green landscape
Often when people think of Australia, they think of the iconic red earth of the Outback. But around Esperance, it couldn’t be greener. The land here is abundant with plant growth, covered in a dense, dark green scrubby brush. Perhaps that is the color I should associate with the most when considering Esperance. And nowhere here does green better than Woody Island.
To wrap up the most incredible week exploring Esperance, I caught a boat out to Woody Island to spend a few days offline.
Fifteen kilometers off the coast of Esperance, Woody Island is a nature reserve (snake-free) and home to some of Australia’s beautiful flora and fauna. It’s also the only island out of the 105 islands comprising the Recherche Archipelago you can visit and stay on. There are all types of camping and glamping here, with lovely walks and swimming spots.
It’s the perfect place to go off the grid in paradise and be surrounded by nature. It was hard to leave.
Have you been here? What are the colors of Esperance, Australia, that come to mind when you travel here? Are there other places you’ve visited that are vibrant too? Share!