The South-East Region of WA

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Hyden is located 212 miles (339 KM) East of Perth in wheat and sheep farming country. Wave Rock, adjacent to the Caravan Park, is probably unique in the world for it's unusual form. The area is noted for its wide range of wild orchids. Hyden is well situated for an overnight or longer stop en route to the Esperance area.
Wave Rock January 1980


Esperance is located 450 miles (721 KM) south-east of Perth on the shore of the Bay of Isles. Over 100 islands make up the Esperance Archipelago,home to a huge variety of wildlife including dolphins, sea lions, seals and sea eagles. From about July to November each year Southern Right Whales visit the area to calve.

A Sea Eagle swooping down to feed near Esperance
Esperance is the major centre of the South East Region, and offers a comprehensive range of services including shopping, restaurants, entertainment and accommodation. Accommodation available includes hotels, motels, chalets, units and 6 caravan parks.

The Franklin at Bushlands Caravan Park Esperance February 1992 - Ensuite facilities out of sight to right - Very Highly Recommended
I found Esperance to be the most "tourist friendly" place I have ever come across in Australia. The locals are all very friendly and helpful and made our visit there that little bit special. The local Rotary and Lions Clubs and the Chamber of Commerce have all contributed to making Esperance and the surrounding area a Top Tourist Destination. I don't normally rate the places I visit, but if I did Esperance would definitely earn the 5 Star Award, and it did earn my "Golden Boomerang Award".

West Beach, and beyond it Blue Haven Beach, near Esperance
The beaches near Esperance are sheltered by the islands surrounding the bay, and are ideal for swimming, fishing and boating. A regular visitor to the town jetty is a friendly sea lion, probably attracted by the offal from the fish cleaning table half way along the jetty.
Sea lion near the Esperance Jetty
Diving and fishing charters are available from the town wharf, as well as daily cruises to visit the surrounding islands. The cruise operators are very knowledgeable about the local aquatic and bird life and make special effort to provide good photographic opportunities.

The Rotary Lookout near the town gives an impressive view of the surrounding area.

The South East Region is best known for it's national parks, which offfer magnificent coastal and inland scenery, unique wildlife, and the greatest variety of wildflowers found anywhere in the world.

Cape Le Grand National Park is located about 30 miles (50 KM) east of Esperance, and is probably one of the best known and most spectacular national parks in Western Australia. This area offers beautiful beaches and great fishing.

Hellfire Bay
The Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) operates caravan and camping areas at Lucky Bay and Cape Le Grand Beach, with septic toilets, tank water, solar heated showers and barbecues. No power is available, but the sites are well laid out and offer a real opportunity to "get away from it all". Site fees are quite reasonable.
Lucky Bay
At the eastern edge of the park, 55 miles(88 KM) from Esperance, Orleans Bay Caravan Park offers the normal facilities of a caravan park, as well as chalets and park cabins. This is an excellent base for those wanting to visit the national parks without having to totally rough it.

Cape Arid National Park lies a further 20 miles (32 KM) east, and CALM also operates two camping areas here, at Seal Beach and Thomas River, but with limited facilities - pit toilets and barbecues only, no water or power, but no camping fees either. Peak Charles National Park lies inland about 60 miles (100 KM) north-west of Esperance and offers sweeping views of salt lakes and dry sandplains.
Peak Charles
View from Peak Charles
Stokes National Park is situated 50 miles (80 KM) west of Esperance on Stokes Inlet. Two camping areas with limited facilities are located near the inlet. We had completed a reconnaissance of the area and had planned to stay here for a few days, but heavy rain the day before our planned arrival would have made towing the caravans difficult so we chose to move on to Hopetoun.


Hopetoun is located 364 miles (582 KM) south-east of Perth at the eastern edge of the Fitzgerald River National Park. Once a major harbour serving the gold and copper mines in the area, it is now a peaceful coastal community and popular holiday destination. Accommodation available includes a hotel, motel, chalets, cottages and a 100 site caravan park set among the peppermint trees near the beach.

Main activities around Hopetoun are fishing, sightseeing and relaxing. Offshore fishing for tuna, snapper, nannygai and other varieties is popular, as well as beach fishing.

The most fished spot around must be Pichie Richie, at the headwaters of the Phillip River. Despite constant fishing over a period of two months during the summer holidays, we were able to catch a bag limit of good size black bream only two weeks later. The river is only about 50 feet wide and a couple of feet deep at the best spots, but is absolutely teeming with fish. The fierce competition for food makes these bream react totally different to their more wary brethren in estuarine waters, as they positively pounce on any bait presented, but on light tackle they still provide a good fight.
A good catch of Black Bream from Pichie Richie, caught by Michael and Keith Lewis and Jack Penglase (a local, and uncle to Michael's wife)
Fitzgerald River National Park extends from Hopetoun through to Bremer Bay and has an area of over three quarters of a million acres (almost 330,000 hectares). Nearly 20% of the state's plant species are found within the park, as are over 140 species of birds.

East Mount Barren in the Fitzgerald River National Park
View from East Mount Barron looking East towards Hopetoun
Much of the park is only accessible by 4 wheel drive or on foot, but those areas accessible by normal vehicle are quite spectacular. A sightseeing guide prepared by the local community, in particular Elsie Penglass, a noted wildflower photographer (Aunty Elsie to my sister-in-law Lorraine), gives precise instructions for visiting some truly unique sights.

There are five camping areas with toilet facilities within the park for those who enjoy roughing it.

Bremer Bay Bremer Bay is situated 322 miles (515 KM) south-east of Perth at the mouth of the Bremer River and the western edge of the Fitzgerald River National Park. It is a very popular holiday spot for the keen fisherman, and also offers spectacular views of rugged coastline for those equipped with 4 wheel drive vehicles.
Much of the rugged interior and coastline is only accessable by 4 wheel drive

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