Australia's Golden Outback

"Where else can you search for sea dragons in the morning, view space junk in the afternoon, then enjoy a spectacular sunset from your very own island hut?" We've compiled a list of 10 activities visitors can only do and see in Esperance: Visit Australia's whitest sandy beach! The beach sand at Lucky Bay was officially named Australia's whitest by Geoscience Australia in December 2006 and "squeaks" when walked upon. This stunning area has great camping facilities and is particularly popular with families who enjoy sharing their patch of sand with the local kangaroos. This unique co-habitation makes this location one of the most photographed in the region. View wild and wonderful flowers all year round! The expansive Fitzgerald River National Park, about 3 hours drive west of Esperance, is home to more than 20% of WA's total plant species including 1,800 species of flowering plants and 209 species of birds. The peak of the 'wildflower' season in this region is September but many species flower throughout the year. Drink fresh water from a sandy beach with Uncle 'Doc'! This is a cultural tour with a difference! Ron 'Doc' Reynolds runs award-winning Indigenous tour company Kepa Kurl. Doc is a proud descendant of the traditional landowners of this region, the Mirrnning or 'Whale People', and takes small groups of visitors for half or full day tours which include visits to historical landmarks and spiritual sites, gathering bush and beach tucker or whale watching. See spectacular space junk! In 2009 it will be the 30th anniversary of the crash landing of Skylab. Debris from the US Space Program's first space station only narrowly missed the town centre of Esperance. Back in 1979 Skylab news was sensational and merchandise was hawked world-wide as bookmakers took bets on where and when the 75 tonne space-station would crash back to Earth. Today, bits and pieces of twisted metal have become some of Esperance's most famous tourist attractions. The Esperance Municipal Museum has a comprehensive display and curators Dorothy and Mervin Andre will even tell you about the littering fine they sent to the US government when Skylab hit the ground. Almost thirty years later, the fine still hasn't been paid! Get a bird's eye view of the majestic Recherche Archipelago! The natural beauty of the 'Bay of Isles' or the Recherche Archipelago, as it is more commonly known, cannot be fully appreciated from the ground. The 110 islands and 1500 inlets spread across 270km of coastline viewed from above during a scenic flight with Esperance Helitours is a 'must-do' adventure when visiting the region. Daily flights operate during the months of October through to April (weather permitting). Take home some funky fish fashion! Andrew MacDermott developed an urge to 'tan' in his early teens when he became fascinated with chemistry and the technical aspects of tanning hides. Today, he and his brother run Australia's only fish and shark skin tannery, Mermaid Leather, and export unique designer 'fish fashion' such as handbags, shoes, pens, perfume applicators and craft materials all over the world. Their range of colourful 'Fish Scales' are popular with craft lovers wide and far as they can be used for jewellery or dress making and scrapbooking. The colourful scales can even be used for plucking the strings on your guitar! Search for a Sea Dragon or see the Sanko! The waters from Albany to Esperance are home to rare and beautiful sea dragons. These delicate creatures live on the seagrasses and reefs so abundant in the 'Bay of Isles'. 'Weedy' Sea Dragon sightings have occurred in popular tourist spots such as Lucky Bay, Thistle Cove and Duke of Orleans Bay and 'Leafy' Sea Dragons can sometimes be spotted enjoying the calm waters of Esperance Bay around the Tanker Jetty. Esperance also ranks amongst the best destinations for dive enthusiasts and is regarded as one of the top ten greatest dive spots in Australia. For those who love scuba-diving, a dive on the world's second largest diveable ship wreck is a must. The Sanko Harvest sank 32km out from the Esperance Port in 1991. It has now become a magnificent marine park and attracts divers from all over the globe. Enjoy the sunset from the balcony of your very own safari hut! Fifteen kilometres off shore from Esperance is picturesque Woody Island, the only island in the Recherche Archipelago open to visitors. Mackenzie's Island Cruises runs daily excursions to Woody Island and their eco-safari huts are available during the summer holiday period. You can get up close and personal with nature without sacrificing the comforts of home as well as enjoy the crystal clear water and gentle lapping waves, explore the 'Snorkel Trail' or have a splash in Skinny Dip Bay. Take in the breathtaking scenery along the Great Ocean Drive! You may have heard of Australia's Great Ocean Road - the famous road that hugs the Victorian coastline - but have you heard of the Great Ocean Drive? Equally spectacular but with less tourist traffic, this 40km circular loop takes in some of the most stunning coastal scenery WA has to offer. Rotary Lookout, Twilight Beach, Nine Mile Beach Wind Farm and the amazing Pink Lake are highlights along the way not to be missed. Meet some Esperance icons! Esperance Bay is fringed by tall pines and is frequently visited by whales, dolphins and seals. However, two of the bay's regular attractions have recently been elevated to celebrity status. Voted by locals in a recent poll as 'Esperance Icons', Sammy the Seal Lion and the Tanker Jetty are both popular tourist attractions. Right on The Esplanade (formerly Fisheries Road), the jetty is a favourite local fishing and swimming spot and celebrated its 73rd birthday in March 2008. The jetty is also the favourite spot for regular visitor Sammy, who delights visitors with his antics. During the summer months, the old Shell petroleum tank, not far from the jetty, is turned from an eye-sore into the region's most unusual outdoor cinema. Local wildlife cinematographers Dave Riggs and Jennene Paris project films showcasing the wonders above and below the crystal clear waters of Esperance. On balmy summer evenings this is the perfect place to enjoy the wonders of Esperance and have a picnic with family and friends. Information on self-drive tours or holiday packages are available from Australia's Golden Outback

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