2/12/16 We stayed in the town of Esperance for a couple of days to restock the food, water and wine supplies. Di had a tune-up at the chiropractor while I got a Bunnings-fix. Our “chi”s were once again in balance.
It had been recommended that we do the tourist loop drive just out of town, and we’re very glad that we did as the scenery was spectacular. The drive took us about 20kms west along the shoreline where the high heath-covered coastal hills dropped sharply into the sea at picture-postcard beaches and coves. We had not seen water that shade of blue before. With the granite rocks and brilliant white sand, it had a Greek Isles look about it.
People had raved about Duke of Orleans Bay, located a short drive east towards Cape Le Grand National Park, so we thought we’d check it out next. We set up on the beach side of the quirky little caravan park, with access to the beach via a short, narrow path through the vegetation. From the beach, the view across the water to a few small rocky islands in the bay was terrific, but the beach itself was a foot deep in seagrass and not very appealing. The real attraction was Wharton Beach, a 3km drive away on the opposite side of the point, where we could access the 4km-long beach by vehicle. It was certainly a very beautiful spot. Di was determined to go for a swim and coaxed me and the boys in for a very bracing swim in the cold Southern Ocean. Coming from Queensland with its very popular beaches, we found it odd to see these wonderful WA beaches almost deserted and generally with no-one in the water. The reasons twofold – the water is that much colder, and the sharks are that much bigger. People seem to take sharks much more seriously over here.
Last year, we were 222 days away from home on a 21,800km trip through western Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia – the biggest trip in the van so far. Arriving at Duke of Orleans Bay on our 223rd day of this year’s trip to Western Australia, we’d exceeded our previous record. So far, we’ve covered 25,550kms, and still have a lot more to go before we’re back home again.
“And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” – T.S. Elliot