Cape Le Grand National Park

Western Australia has many magnificent national parks that have been created to preserve many of our magnificent natural geological features, or rare species of flora and fauna.  One of my favourite places is Cape Le Grand National Park, which is situated about 30 kilometres south east of the town of Esperance.

This pristine park is known for its stunning scenery and idyllic beaches where you can go swimming, bushwalking, fishing and camping.  There are many excellent bush walking trails through the park which traverse the rugged coast and breath-takingly beautiful beaches where you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the Southern Ocean.

There was a period, during the reign of Napoleon, when it was feared that Western Australia could be claimed by the French.  Cape Le Grand National Park is named after one of the officers for the French expedition of 1792 that was led by Admiral D’Entrecasteaux on board the ship L’Esperance.

Cape Le Grand National Park is a real treasure, it is stunningly gorgeous, and probably one of the few places in Australia where you can see kangaroos resting on a beach.

Photo: Adrian Paul

And what beautiful beaches they are here!  There are several beaches, including Thistle Cove and Lucky Bay.  Lucky Bay is one of the most stunning and unique bays in Australia, and has been nominated as one of the best ten beaches in Australia. The bay stretches for over five kilometres, offering a magnificent stretch of beach and sparkling clear blue water.  It also has a troop of kangaroos that live here, and these are the ones that often sleep on the beach.    

As you drive into the park you pass some massive granite outcrops that you can climb for stunning views.  The highest of these is Mt Le Grand at 345 metres, then Frenchman’s Peak at 262 metres, which is a slightly easier climb.

The peaks of the park’s south-west corner are thought to have formed as the result of erosion and movements in the Earth’s crust over the past 600 million years. It is also believed that about 40 million years ago sea levels were at least 300 metres above their present level, in which case these peaks would have been largely submerged. There are caves and tunnels that are found in the peaks and these are thought to have been either formed or enlarged by wave action and underwater currents.

Fortunately camping is allowed in the park, giving visitors the opportunity to get maximum enjoyment out of their visit. The two camping grounds are situated at Lucky Bay, and at Le Grand Beach. Facilities include septic toilets and showers. A camping fee is charged. Firewood is scarce in the park and you should take a portable gas stove with you.

Due to its distance from Western Australia’s Capital, Perth, it’s about a 740 kilometre drive, Cape Le Grand National Park rarely gets busy, and it is possible to have a glorious beach all to yourself.  This is one place that is worth the hours of travel as the reward for making the effort is to experience a remarkable piece of coastline.  In fact, Esperance has some of the prettiest coastal views anywhere.  The airline Skywest has regular flights to Esperance from Perth, so it is possible to fly and hire a vehicle to visit the park.  The roads to Cape Le Grand National Park are quite good, so you no longer need a four-wheel drive in order to see the park properly.

(for more of Adrian Paul’s brilliant photos of Western Australia please go here)

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2 comments to Cape Le Grand National Park

  • Superb blog post, I’ve been trying to find the right location to take a vacation and this kind of weblog really helps! If perhaps you know of any additional similar to it please send my family an email and let me know.

  • You have to see places like this to fully appreciate the beauty of the ocean. There are more shades of blue and green in the southern ocean than anywhere else I can think of.

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