Cape Le Grande
Cape Le Grande National Park is named for Officer Le Grande of the ship L’Esperence, part of a French expedition commanded by Admiral D’Entrecasteaux in 1792.
To place all these French named places into perspective; consider that the nearest town to the park, at 50km, is Esperence while further around the west of the coast lies the well known D’Entrecasteaux National Park, named for the admiral.
In 1802 Matthew Flinders visited the area while sheltering from a storm and named Lucky Bay in honour of his fortune in finding it.
Edward John Eyre named Rossiter Bay in honour of Captain Rossiter, of the ship 'Mississippi', anchored in the area at the time. Eyre was undertaking an arduous crossing of the Nullabor. Mississippi Hill at Lucky Bay is named for the ship.
All of this southern coastline stretching all the way back into South Australia is a pristine and visually stunning region. The sandplains that run cover much of the inland area are host to a variety of scrubby bush, melaleucas, grevilleas, banksia varieties and numerous small marsupials while closer to the waterline, the landscape turns to rugged granite outcrops that perforate the sea. The beaches of the region are renowned as some of the whitest sands and cleanest waters in the world.
Designated walk trails in the area consist of –
- Coastal Trail—15 km one way, allow 6-8 hours. This walk may be broken into four shorter sections.
- Le Grand Beach-Hellfire Bay—Allow 2-3 hours, hard going.
- Hellfire Bay-Thistle Cove—Allow 2 hours, hard going.
- Thistle Cove-Lucky Bay—Allow 30 minutes, easy.
- Lucky Bay-Rossiter Bay—Allow 2-3 hours, medium.
Hills, Beaches and Coves
Three climbable hills are located in the park being Mt Le Grande, Frenchman Peak and Mississippi Hill and the Le Grande Heritage Trail is an easy half hour walk from Thistle Cove to Lucky Bay.
The Rossiter Bay car park leads 400 metres to a bird sanctuary and Cape Le Grande Beach and Lucky Bay both have pay-per-person camping areas with reasonable facilities and boats are able to be launched at Cape Le Grande Beach.
At only 50km on the bitumen from Esperance, Cape Le Grande can make for a great day trip or an extended camping destination.
Peace and Quiet
The region is virtually uninhabited and finding a secluded beach on a stunning white piece of sand is a breeze. Photographic and fishing opportunities abound and there is a chance to catch the rare site of a kangaroo on a beach.
Returning to Esperance via the sand is possible and makes for a pleasant and unconventional sand driving experience. The hard, compacted sand makes the trip in a 2WD feasible, although not recommended.
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