Eight days in Esperance was the perfect tonic for a welcome back to laconic Western Australian style of living. The great colour of the beaches, the welcome of friends new and old, a visit to the horse races (enough of those for Julie for a lifetime) and of course the simple lifestyle of fishing from the jetty or the beach regularly meant we unwound from our travels across the Nullabor in style.
We left Esperance today thinking that one day this could be the perfect retirement lifestyle. The distance and isolation from the city means that it is not over teaming with people – although many from Kalgoorlie Boulder make it their second home.
The highlight of any trip to Esperance is interaction with beaches. We chose to drive to the Duke of Orleans via the 22km of fantastic beach sand. The car was put into 4wd drive as we headed to Hellfire Bay for a fish. No fish but great beauty. We then moved over to Lucky Bay for a BBQ lunch and some down time. The return journey again via the beach was relaxing. We also took in the town loop to the west beaches. Names like Twilight Bay and Eleven Mile Beach roll off the local tongues as bits of paradise – and they are.
With the local knowledge of the father son combination of Jimmy and Gary Rowatt we were certainties to catch fish. Most evenings, rain, hail or shine we were the be seen on the famous Esperance jetty. The foreshore has undergone a massive extension and modernization program making it remarkably attractive. Grassed areas, children’s playgrounds, seating, BBQ’s and modern toilets have made this the centrepiece of the impressive foreshore. The harbor was continually full, three ships at a time taking out iron ore and wheat to overseas destinations. We managed to bag some herring for Julie’s dad back in Perth. Potentially we may have had our share of fish for the next 12 months.
We parked up next to Gary Rowatt and Jenenne King in the local caravan park, sharing meals, stories and just chewing the fat. It was a highlight to have Sunday lunch with Jim and Shirley Rowatt. Simply ageless people from a time past – still as hospitable and welcoming as when I visited their house on a regular basis way back when I was in primary school. We were also lucky to be invited by Brendan McCormack’s mum Chrissie and partner Tom to share a great meal and gain a little more insight to what makes the Stud Australia’s No 1 fireman. Throw in a number of my old Kalgoorlie mates at the Esperance races and we ticked off a number of reunions.
Yep a big tick for Esperance – time well spent.