Australia Prt 16, WA: Esperance and Cape Le Grand NP

I had some fantastic days in the Esperance / Cape Le Grand area. Sorry, an overflow of beach pictures in this post, but I hope it is a welcome change after all the red sand pictures 🙂

Day 199: 25 August 2019
Esperance
Weather: Sunny

Rod takes me out on a drive. We visit the Rotary Lookout and ride the loop along Ocean Road and Pink Lake. What fantastic scenery !
Tomorrow, I repeat this on my bicycle.

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There are signs everywhere along the beach, asking you to stay below the water line and out of the dunes as not to disturb the nesting birds. Fifty meters further on, the dunes and beach is full of 4WD tracks. And it is allowed ! As the kangaroos must go to the kangaroo school where they should learn not to jump in front of the cars (yes, they are responsible for their own death), the birds must go to the bird school to learn not to put their nests / eggs on beaches where people like to drive 4WD’s.
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Ron buying vegetables from a local farmer 🙂

Day 200: 26 August 2019
Esperance
Weather: Sunny

Esperance must be one of the neatest towns I’ve seen so far in Australia.
Melbourne and Renmark were nice as well, but they can’t compete with the setting of Esperance right at the coast of the Archipelago of the Recherche.
AND, Esperance has quite a bit of bike paths.
Today, I follow the bike path going west out of town, towards West Beach. From West Beach, I ride to Salmon Beach and on the Twilight Beach.
Yesterday, by car, we rode the whole loop, via Ten Mile Lagoon, …. but the pike path doesn’t go that far. It goes inland here, crossing the hill directly towards Pink Lake after which it loops back into Esperance.
Really nice ride !

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The old pier in Esperance
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Clock tower, Esperance
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West Beach

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Blue Haven Beach
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Blue Haven Beach
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The excellent bike path out of Esperance.
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Riding down to Salmon Beach

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11 mile Beach

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National Park put the island on fire. “Managing nature”….
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The whole bay was covered in smog by late afternoon.

Day 201: 27 August 2019
Esperance
61,48 km (Total so far: 9584,01 km) – Altitude climbed: 499 m
Weather: Sunny

I forgot to reset the gps and odo-meter yesterday, so above figures are from yesterdays and todays ride.
Today I rode out of town towards the east to Esperance Bay.
Kilometers long white beach, only for me.
Brilliant day again.

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Bandy Creek Harbour
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The beach at Esperance Bay

Day 202: 28 August 2019
From Esperance to near Dunns Beach
61,93 km (Total so far: 9.645,94 km) – Altitude climbed: 240 m
Weather: Sunny, moderate head wind

The first ten kilometer or so, I backtrack the road I rode when I came into town.
South of the Myrup Airstrip, I take a right turn. Nice scenery as I’m riding along the Mullet Lake Nature Reserve.
A few steep hills and a bit more traffic as expected.

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Looking at maps the previous days, I was not sure how far east I wanted to ride. First I settled for Dukes of Orleans Bay, just south of Condingup, but as the weather looks bad for Friday and Saturday, I only have today and tomorrow with fine weather.
So, I take a right turn on Dunn Rock Road (mainly because that’s a gravel road to the coast, the others are paved haha).

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A nice +/- 17 km ride brings me down the Dunns Rocks and Dunns Beach.
Wauw !!!
A kilometers long bay, paper white sand, water in various tints of blue, big white dunes a bit further on. And no one around.
I must be the happiest person on Earth for a while.
I climbed the rock for better views, then rode my bike on the hard packed sand of the beach towards the dunes.
Spectacular.
The sea water is way to cold to swim. It’s still winter here and there’s nothing between the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.

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The beach west of the Dunn Rocks

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Day 203: 29 August 2019
From near Dunns Beach to near Merivale Rd & Cape Le Grand Rd
45,06 km (Total so far: 9.691,00 km) – Altitude climbed: 369
Weather: Sunny, strong head wind

I had to break my tent down before breakfast. The night was already very windy, but nothing to worry about. After sunset, the wind gusts just got stronger, so best not to take any risks with the tent.
There are two possibilities to go from Dunns Rock towards Luck Bay.
Back via the road I came and then take the asphalt road into the park, a total distance of about 50 kilometer.
Or straight over the beach, a distance of 10 kilometer.
The latter option required waiting for low tide for a few hours. I know worse ways to spend your time than waiting for low tide on this stunning beach.
So, lay down on the sand I did for a while.
Around 1 pm the moment was right to start the trip.
The first 1,5 km it was a bit of riding and a bit of pushing as the sand was sometimes too soft.
Then followed a five kilometer section which I could ride perfectly. The last three kilometer I had to push again.

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Rossiter Bay, which I cycled east to west

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The bike, waiting for low tide and hard sand.

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Via a gravel road I passed Lucky Beach & Thistle Cove.
One of my goals in the park was to climb Frenchman Peak.
I started it, took the first steep part up, but as the track went up, it got more and more exposed to the north and the wind gusts almost threw me off my feet.
I didn’t continue all the way up, too dangerous. but the views I had from halfway up were already pretty nice.

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Lucky Bay
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Frenchman Peak
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View from half way up Frenchman Peak

Unfortunately I could not go down to Cape Le Grand itself. The road was blocked off for ‘controlled burn-offs’. They do that all the time. These park rangers are a bunch of pyromaniacs. Nature was coping pretty good, even without our burn-offs, but the national parks here seem to think it is necessary to burn the place down regularly.
Woody island was completely on fire a few days ago, I read a lot of sections in the national parks along the Munda Biddi Trail are closed for burn-offs.
Yes, …. we people know how to do it.

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Day 204: 30 August 2019
Near Merivale Rd & Cape Le Grand Rd
Weather: Rain

As predicted it rained. I stayed put in the tent.

Day 205: 31 August 2019
From near Merivale Rd & Cape Le Grand Rd to Esperance
35,55 km (Total so far: 9.726,55 km) – Altitude climbed: 142 m
Weather: Sunny, very strong head wind

I ride back to Esperance the same way I came out here, via the Merivale Road. Riding out, I was battling against an easterly wind, riding back, I am battling my way against an even harder westerly wind. At times, I can make 8 km/hr only on the flat.

I stay one more night in Esperance before starting the last stage of the trip, westward towards Perth.

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