How To Travel From Albany To Esperance. The Definitive Travel Guide.
Albany and Esperance are two of the most spectacular destinations to explore along the extensive southern coastline of Western Australia. They are home to epic national parks, fantastic white sand beaches and countless hikes and outdoor opportunities.
These two locations are 500 kilometres apart, and the best way to travel between these two locations, of course, is to road trip it, but there are a few other potential ways to get there. I’ve written this Western Australia guide to help you decide which route is best taken to travel from Albany to Esperance.
From Albany to Esperance
The Best Time of Year to Travel From Albany to Esperance
Western Australia is a hot place, but it’s also a vast and extreme place. The southern coast generally experiences four seasons and is very temperate in comparison to the northern areas of the state and even in comparison to Perth. Albany and Esperance will enjoy very hot summers and surprisingly cold and rainy winters. The best time to visit by far, and to make this journey, is between November and February when it’s driest and hottest. This is also the busiest time of course, so if you are looking for quiet, aim to go between either September and November or February and April, when you miss the crowds, and you are yet to hit the bitter, rainy winter.
Can You Fly?
Both Albany and Esperance have domestic airports, but both are small and have very few services. It’s not possible to fly between the two airports, however, you can fly daily from Albany to Perth and then connect to fly into Esperance, a journey of at least 5 hours, which is actually as long as it would take to drive in one long go anyway!
Is There A Bus?
There is no direct bus to Esperance form Albany either, unfortunately. There are buses direct to Perth from where you could change – a long journey though! As you can see, the best way is to find some form of private transport…
Ride Shares Along The South Coast of WA
If you enjoy travelling with strangers then there are plenty of ride shares available on the road from Albany to Esperance. These are generally advertised in Facebook Groups or occasionally on Gumtree and if you are flexible and willing to share costs then it’s an excellent option to travel from Albany to Esperance.
Renting a Car or Campervan
If you need your own transport to road trip it, then rather than buying a car or ridesharing, it’s possible to rent a car or campervan to make the journey from Albany to Esperance. Some companies may even allow one-way rentals, or it’s possible to do a loop and rent somewhere larger like Perth and end up back there again.
It’s best to do a lot of research before choosing your rental company, as each has different rules, types of vehicle and packages available.
The following companies should offer campervan hire from Albany to Esperance and there are plenty more car rental places available too, although depending on availability, you may again find yourself having to travel to Perth to start the journey!
The Ultimate Roadtrip Itinerary to Esperance from Albany
Albany is just under 500 kilometres away from Esperance along the quickest route going, however after a few little detours along the way you might find that those kilometres quickly stack up fast. The fastest route is along National Route 1, which passes through Ravensthorpe, but you will notice that along the way, most of the best sights will be a detour from the highway, as the highway runs inland, and most of the towns and national parks are all found along the coast. They are all totally worth the extra mileage though.
The Best Way To Travel From Albany To Esperance!
Albany is the launching pad across to Esperance. From here it’s a distance of 483 kilometres along the fastest route, past beautiful beaches and wonderful national parks. Before you depart though, make sure that you’ve experienced all that Albany has to offer. From the epic national parks and beautiful beaches to the laid-back coastal life of the city, there’s a lot to do in Albany before you hit the road.
Distance From Albany to Esperance: 483 Kilometres
Two People’s Bay
Just down the road from Albany – but, you’ll notice too, your first detour from the highway! – is Two People’s Bay. This nature reserve is one of the best in the area, and the perfect first stop on the road to Esperance. The bay is blue and turquoise, surrounded by huge granite boulders and fringed by white sand. Visit Little Beach then walk over the adjacent boulders to find the hidden Waterfall Beach.
Distance From Albany to Two People’s Bay: 39 Kilometres
Distance From Two People’s Bay to Esperance: 487 Kilometres
The Porongurups are a strange area of natural beauty, found just northeast of Albany. Again, it’s a slight detour from the main highway, but it’s worth the extra distance to see this unusual area. The Porongurups are a mountain range of smoothed granite boulders, and it’s a wonderful place to hike. The towering Castle Rock stands tall in the range, and the enormous Balancing Rocks are simply intriguing. Climb the Granite Skywalk to the top of the huge Castle Rock, for supreme views over the surrounding valley.
Distance From Albany to The Porongurups: 50 Kilometres
Distance From The Porongurups to Esperance: 459 Kilometres
Stirling Range National Park
The Stirling Range National Park is home to one of Western Australia’s most iconic walks, the hike to Bluff Knoll. This is the highest mountain peak in the south of WA, standing at 1099 metres in height and it’s the only place in the state to ever experience snowfall! The hike to the summit takes around 3 hours return, and although steep, is relatively easy, but the views from the top are absolutely incredible.
Distance From Albany to Stirling Range National Park: 99 Kilometres
Distance From Stirling Range National Park to Esperance: 432 Kilometres
Bremer Bay is a quiet coastal town that’s found off the main highway on the road to Esperance. This is where things start to get more remote, and it’s a lovely opportunity to get off the road and to experience small town Western Australian life. The beaches in town are absolutely breathtaking, and there are some great camping spots too.
Distance From Albany to Bremer Bay: 483 Kilometres
Distance From Bremer Bay to Esperance: 398 Kilometres
Fitzgerald River National Park
The Fitzgerald River National Park is about halfway along the route to Esperance from Albany, and it’s a much under-visited and underrated national park. It’s a large area of coastline and forest and it’s an excellent destination for bushwalking and hiking. There are campsites found within the park and on the edges and it’s easy to end up spending a few days enjoying the outdoors here.
Distance From Albany to Fitzgerald River National Park: 287 Kilometres
Distance From Fitzgerald River National Park to Esperance: 226 Kilometres
There’s much at all in Ravensthorpe. With a population of just 800 people, this is small town Australia. It’s an interesting place to walk around or spend the night to break up the journey, but there isn’t a whole lot to do except join in with the locals at the tavern and stock up on supplies because even with just 800 people, it’s the largest town for a while!
Distance From Albany to Ravensthorpe: 295 Kilometres
Distance From Ravensthorpe to Esperance: 187 Kilometres
The small – and I mean small! – town of Hopetoun lies on the coastline to the east of the Fitzgerald River National Park. As well as being the gateway to the eastern parts of the national park, it’s a charming place to relax on the beach or take on a few hikes before reaching Esperance.
Distance From Albany to Hopetoun: 343 Kilometres
Distance From Hopetoun to Esperance: 192 Kilometres
Stokes National Park
Stokes National Park is one of the state’s smaller national parks, but it packs a huge a range of diversity into the area. It’s close to Esperance, but most people breeze on straight past to get to the more famous national parks and beaches along the road, but make the effort to stop, and enjoy the wild, rugged nature that’s found here, and that is completely undisturbed.
Distance From Albany to Stokes National Park: 483 Kilometres
Distance From Stokes National Park to Esperance: 85 Kilometres
You made it to Esperance! Now it’s time to relax on the beaches, hike the national parks and enjoy the sights of this beautiful part of Western Australia. Scroll down for a few of the highlights and must-dos in the area!
Distance From Albany to Esperance: 483 Kilometres
The Best Things To Do In Esperance
- The Not So Pink Lake – Driving in from Albany, the first thing you’ll stumble across in Esperance is the not so Pink Lake. This large lake on the outskirts of town used to be very pink, so pink the locals called it the Pink Lake, but these days it’s lost its pink hues, as the chemical compositions have changed, but it’s still a lovely lake.
- The Great Ocean Drive – With winding, cliffside roads to follow, this drive takes you to all of the best beaches in and around Esperance. Forget about the Great Ocean Road over East, Esperance’s very own Great Ocean Drive is just as beautiful! After all the driving you have just done, hold out for a little bit longer and keep on driving!
- The Esperance Museum – The Esperance Museum is a wonderful place to learn more about the small town and the surrounding area you are about to explore. There are even the remains of the NASA Skylab, a space station which fell to earth here in 1979. The locals even managed to fine NASA for littering.
- Cape Range National Park – Cape Range is the most spectacular national park in the south of WA. It’s home to some of the most incredible, white sand beaches in the country, and it’s probably the main reason you may have travelled to Esperance in the first place. Visit Cape Le Grand Beach for the pure, soft white silica and then visit Lucky Bay to see the friendly kangaroos hopping along the shoreline.
- Cape Arid National Park –Cape Arid is a long way out, but the best place to explore this rugged, wild national park is from Esperance. You will need a four by four, as this is really off the grid exploration in a truly untouched part of the world.
Where to travel to next?
After Esperance, you can carry on to the east and cross the mighty, barren Nullarbor Plain which eventually leads all the way to South Australia, and then the East Coast. It’s a long drive, with very little along the way at all really to see or to do. It’s just a whole lot of driving, but a real Australian experience. Esperance is the last major stop in the west before you start to get really, really remote.
If you head north or would like to do a loop back to Perth, then it’s easy enough to carry on up the highway towards Kalgoorlie, the old wild west gold mining town that has seen something of a rebirth recently. There are some great things to do in Kalgoorlie, and from here you can then travel back west to Perth.
Driving Advice on the Road From Albany to Esperance
Driving from Albany to Esperance can be a challenge for those unused to the long roads and remote nature of Western Australia. Here are a few handy driving tips to help you along the way:
- Do not drive at night. As soon as the sun begins to set, if not earlier, then you should be off the road because this is when the wildlife begins to emerge. Australian animals like the kangaroo will throw themselves across the highway mercilessly and their ability to cause carnage should not be underestimated. Hitting a kangaroo is potentially deadly, or at the very least will end your road trip from Albany to Esperance.
- Stock up on supplies when you can. When you see a petrol station, fill up. When you see a supermarket, stock up on supplies. When you can fill your water container, fill it up. You never know when you will find somewhere else to stock up on supplies. Always carry extra if you have space, just in case!
- Don’t underestimate distances. Western Australia is huge. Don’t underestimate how far somewhere is. Locals might say it is down the road, but it is still a long way. Make sure you have adequate fuel and water and a rough idea of where to spend the night.
- Check the weather and check the road conditions. Western Australian weather, especially in the north, can be extreme and unpredictable. Roads are subject to flash floods, bushfires crashes… if a road is closed, there’s usually no alternative but to wait or go a very long way around. If it’s an unsealed road, always check conditions with locals before heading off into the unknown. Even the main highway outside Esperance was completely washed away a few years back.
- Roadside Assistance. It can always be handy having roadside assistance but check you are covered before you head off anywhere really remote. RAC tend to have the best deals and coverage.
- Get a Telstra SIM Card. Telstra has the best coverage across the state, so it’s worth getting one of their SIM cards.
How To Find Accommodation On The Road From Albany To Esperance
- Camping – The first and best piece of advice when it comes to camping anywhere in Australia is to download the Wikicamps App. This awesome mobile app will only cost a few Aussie Dollars but it gives you access to every single camping spot along the way, even a few sneaky bush camps. You get up to date reviews of sites and prices from users, and the number of hidden little gems I found through Wikicamps was incredible. There are plenty of free camping spots along the route, however, the law varies from Shire to Shire, and in some places you can be fined by Rangers if you are not in a designated camping or overnight spot. The more popular the destination it seemed, the stricter the rules were on camping – yet another reason to keep up to date on Wikicamps.
- Hotels and Air BnB – In most towns, you will find hotel rooms and Air BnBs available, although the quality and prices will vary. The more remote, the more expensive and the worse value it will be.
- Road House Accommodation – If you aren’t set up or prepared to camp then in between the larger towns accommodation is even more limited. If you find yourself stuck out, with dusk closing in, then sometimes the only option is a Road House. I found most of the Road Houses along the way from Albany to Esperance had accommodation, but it is not cheap and generally, the quality is very much lacking. It is the middle of absolute nowhere, so don’t expect too much.
All Words and Photos by Richard Collett