Onward down the track south to the coast via a short stop at what must be Australia's most colourful local roadhouse/tavern and tavern at Widgiemooltha, we enjoy the beautiful woodlands giving way to cropping and grazing country as we approach Esperance.
After checking in to our lovingly maintained motel we decide to go exploring the Ocean Road. The various beaches west of the town are remarkable, the most beautiful I think I may have ever seen is Twilight Beach, where the granite and pure silica sands create natural rockpools perfect for safe swimming.
We check out Happy Hour at the Taylor St Quarters, perhaps the most stunning view and atmosphere for any restaurant on our trip so far. With balcony views right near the water in the yachting bay looking south, this is a great place for breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee or late afternoon wine. We determined to come back for dinner tomorrow and booked for 6 pm.
However, the other interesting restaurant is the Loose Goose, and after a refresh at our motel, we head there for a 6pm dinner. The cricket has been made a little exciting by a Pat Cummins superb spell with the ball, offering a glimmer of hope in the Boxing Day test. And our 'audible' murder mystery is progressing to a point of great intrigue.
However. more drama of our own was to greet us the next morning. We dallied around town for a while and then headed to the simply wonderful sites of the Cape Le Grand National Park including Le Grand Beach, Hellfire Bay and the wonderful if crowded Lucky Bay.
The drama I speak of is because we broke one of our trip rules. We failed to fill up the fuel the 'night before' and found ourselves with 30 km of fuel left according to the gauge and 60 km from the nearest fuel stop. Our astonishment turned to laughter as we realised we were in slightly less trouble than Burke and Wills. So our dilemma, should we seek a friendly serious camper in the campground with spare fuel? Or shall we take the risk of a trip at a fuel efficient 80 km/hr back to civilization? We chose the latter. There is always the Royal Auto Club if we get stranded and we will never know how far we could have got as we limped into the BP Service Station back in Esperance.
Fueled up, and a little sheepish, we hit the road back for BBQ lunch at Lucky Bay 960 km) as if nothing had happened.
At this point, I want to praise the WA Parks and Wildlife Service. Compared to the frugal and limping infrastructure and staffing philosophies of SA Governments of both persuasions, whose Tourism and Environmental policies are set by the 'scrooges' in Treasury, with no care for the public, the WA parks infrastructure is outstanding. Properly maintained paths, excellent camping and day trip facilities resplendent with SA-sourced free Heatlie Gas BBQs. Clean, modern outback tech savvy toilets. Real staff, offering help and advice with modest park entry prices. They even have solar powered hot showers at the Lucky Bay campground, no wonder it's so popular. Further, there is sensible informative, educative signage, not signage meant to incite fear of doing the wrong thing. Well done WA, lift your game SA.
Back to Esperance to Dinner at the lovely Taylor St Quarters, whose staff and owners are friendly, accommodating and helpful. Great job all of you.
We opt for an evening of local Blues music at the Cannery Art Gallery to finish our evening. Excellent local blues talent, and a crowd of about 100 keen locals and visitors. The gallery has a wonderful exhibition of flotsam art, by local artists. Off to bed, Wave Rock is next.