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Your guide to Cape Le Grand National Park (Esperance)

Esperance WEATHER

If you’re looking for a place rich with the beauty of unspoilt nature, Esperance, Western Australia is sure to hit the spot. This town, located in the Goldfields-Esperance region, is famous for its white-sand beaches, dunes and panoramic bushland.

Another well-known tourist destination, located just 56 kilometres east of Esperance, is Cape Le Grand National Park. Spread across a massive 318-square-kilometre area, there are loads of Esperance experiences you and your family or group can enjoy while visiting Cape Le Grand.

Things to do in Cape Le Grand National Park

A quick search online and you’ll see how amazing photos are at Cape Le Grand National Park. But that’s nothing compared to what you’ll experience in person.

Cape Le Grand National Park is a tourist’s dream, driving amongst long sweeping hills atop large dunes. The extensive park is home to amazing local wildlife, some of the most scenic landscapes in Australia, and beautiful natural and clean beaches.

Here are three experiences you must do while visiting Cape Le Grand National Park:

1. Explore amazing Esperance beaches

cape le grand beaches

Going to Cape Le Grand means indulging in fun water and land activities, as the park has five natural beaches located across the coast. With many to choose from, we recommend visiting at least one or two during your adventure through Cape Le Grand National Park.

Camping is also available at some of the beaches mentioned below. If you’re seeking a comfortable stay with access to shared amenities, a campers kitchen, kids playground, free Wi-Fi and more, consider Esperance accommodation from Esperance Bay Holiday Park.

Here are some of the best beaches to visit in Esperance:

Hellfire Bay

Said to be named after the occasional appearance of St. Elmo’s fire, Hellfire Bay is a charming, secluded bay where you can have a picnic or go swimming. Hellfire Bay also has picnic facilities and toilets which can be used by travellers.

Lucky Bay

One of the most famous beach in this part of Western Australia, Lucky Bay offers fine white sand and turquoise blue waters for everyone to enjoy. Here, you can go beach fishing, boating, 4wd beach driving, swimming, snorkelling and surfing. Lucky Bay beach is also a good spot to launch your boat if you’re planning a trip offshore.

Rossiter Bay

This lovely secluded beach is ideal for beachcombing, birdwatching, swimming and bushwalking activities. Rossiter Bay also welcomes many native birds with flowering thickets a favourite for the local Australian wildlife – so bring your camera.

Le Grand Beach

Featuring toilet facilities and its own small boat ramp, Le Grand Beach is another great spot for diving, snorkelling, surfing, swimming, bushwalking and fishing. If you’re hoping to launch your smaller boat for an offshore adventure, this is the beach you should visit – although larger boats are best launched at Lucky Bay.

Thistle Cove

This beautiful bay offers not just the sun, sand and sea, but also sculpted rock formations that ‘whistle’ with the sounds of the wind and waves. Aside from swimming, you can also explore this pretty-as-a-picture cove on land, as it features freshwater wetlands teeming with life, or you could go for a refreshing picnic.

2. Take a coastal bushwalk around Cape Le Grand

cape le grand national park bushwalk

If you’re a seasoned bushwalker or happy to take a stroll through beautiful natural landscapes, consider one of the many coastal bush walks and hiking trails in the region. Passing local beaches, these walks span over 17km combined.

We recommend travellers split up the sections into a few sizable chunks, especially if you’re planning to park at one beach and return to your vehicle after exploring the coast. We also recommend travelling in groups or pairs as some sections of the trails can become quite steep, unstable and slippery – with the trails from Thistle Cove to Le Grand Beach also containing water crossings.

Rossiter Bay to Lucky Bay (2-3 hours)

Class 3 Trail – Good Fitness Level Recommended

Starting at the secluded Rossiter Bay, you’ll be following a path over the ridge south-west of the beach towards Lucky Bay. There are some steep sections, although overall it’s a relaxing walk for new or experienced bushwalkers.

Lucky Bay to Thistle Cove (1 hour)

Class 3 Trail – Good Fitness Level Recommended

The quick one-hour bushwalk from Lucky Bay to Thistle Cove will present you with amazing 360° views over Cape Le Grand National Park, the Recherche Archipelago and the Great Australian Bight.

Thistle Cove to Hellfire Bay (2 hours)

Class 4 Trail – Good Fitness Level & Bushwalking Experience Recommended

The trail from Thistle Cove to Hellfire Bay is covered in primarily granite which can be dangerous for inexperienced bushwalkers, so this trail is suited for more advanced hikers. During the wet season and after rain the rocks can become extremely slippery, so always travel in groups or plan your journey to visit in the dry seasons.

Hellfire Bay to Le Grand Beach (3 hours)

Class 4 Trail – Good Fitness Level & Bushwalking Experience Recommended

Finally, the trail from Hellfire Bay to Le Grand Beach is likely the most advanced trail out of the four listed. This trail takes bushwalkers on many uneven and awkward angles with steep inclines and declines. If you’re planning to tackle this bushwalk, we recommend taking your time and again, travel in pairs or groups.

More Info From DPAW »

3. Drive along the Cape Le Grand dunes

cape le grand national park drive along dunes

Cape Le Grand National Park is a great location for dune driving, so if you plan to explore the area or wish to make a side trip of it on your visit to Esperance, make sure you bring your 4x4.

As well as driving across the sand dunes to appreciate the local flora and fauna, you can also drive along Lucky Bay as the sand is compact enough to be safe for vehicles. You can also park on the beachside if you plan to go for a quick dip or just want to watch the rolling waves in this picturesque beach with the whitest sand in the world.

Cape Le Grand National Park really is an amazing location!

4. Cape Le Grand wildflowers

cape le grand wildflowers esperance banksia

One of the most common wildflower plant families you’ll find scattered across Cape Le Grand National Park is the beautiful and bright Banksia. Additionally, you’ll likely find:

  • Melaleucas
  • Grevillea
  • Sheoaks
  • Christmas tree
  • Grass trees

When the WA wildflower season is happening, many more wildflowers show their colours in full bloom. During July to late October, you can expect to see large-leafed sun orchids, blue china orchids, wallflower orchids, kodjets and many more. Just a short drive west of the Esperance town centre is Stokes National Park which is also a brilliant destination to view Esperance wildflowers in full bloom.

5. Wildlife spotting at Cape Le Grand

cape le grand wildlofe spotting esperance kangaroos lucky bay

With endless landscapes of untouched nature reserves and parks, Esperance and Cape Le Grand are full of thriving native WA wildlife. To get up close and personal with unique local wildlife, read on below.


If you are adamant that you want to see the native Kangaroos on your journey through Cape Le Grand National Park, we recommend visiting Lucky Bay. The native wild kangaroos are often sunbaking at the furthest end of the beach and are usually very placid and friendly – although we recommend viewing them from a distance.

Whale watching

If you’re hoping to see pods of whales migrating across the south-west coast, one of the five beaches mentioned above will make the perfect viewing location. Whales are commonly seen migrating down the coast in the second half of the year. If you’re passing Walpole on the way through, check out Conspicuous Cliffs for the best chance to spot these majestic marine mammals.

Bandicoots & possums

During your journey through Cape Le Grand National Park, you’ll likely see quite a few bandicoots, pygmy honey possums, ring-tailed possums and quenda (southern brown bandicoots) scurrying around the native plants and flora. While they appear cute and friendly, we recommend not approaching the animals.


Cape Le Grand National Park is the ideal destination for avid bird watches with thousands of resident birds calling the National Park home, and many more migrating and visiting species. Before venturing off the Cape Le Grand, stop in at the Esperance Visitor Centre for local travel guides and advice from local experts on where to spot rare native birdlife.

For more info, see this list of birds found at Cape Le Grand National Park.

6. Go maountain climbing in Cape Le Grand National Park

mountain climbing at cape le grand national park

If you love trekking and climbing, you can head to the park’s famous granite rock formations: Frenchman’s Peak and Mount Le Grand.

Frenchman’s Peak (Mandooboornup) is 262 metres high, while Mount Le Grand has a 345-metre elevation. A trek up to either Frenchman’s Peak or Mount Le Grand is sure to give you sweeping views of the ocean, Cape Le Grand National Park and Esperance.

Mississippi Hill, another geographical formation in the park, is located close to Rossiter Bay where you can continue your trek and finish with a reinvigorating picnic.

Book your Cape Le Grand National Park getaway

Cape Le Grand National Park is the perfect weekend getaway if you wish to enjoy the beauty of nature with its famous beaches and bushland. If you’re lucky, you might even come across some grey kangaroos sunbathing by the sea.

Cape Le Grand campgrounds

There are two campgrounds located within Cape Le Grand National Parks which include basic amenities such as toilets, showers and sheltered common area. One Cape Le Grand camping site is located at Lucky Bay, with the other at Le Grand Beach. Both campsites do charge a camping fee to camp overnight.

However, if you are a bit wary of camping in one of Cape Le Grand National Park’s campgrounds, we recommend booking a comfortable Esperance campsite at Esperance Bay Holiday Park in the Esperance town centre.

Located in the heart of Esperance, Esperance Bay is well-equipped to provide the creature comforts of a home away from home. Book a powered or unpowered site depending on your needs and make use of our shared amenities, camp kitchen, included Wi-Fi and more.

Frequently asked questions

15 September 2020

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