Thanks to social media, Australia’s best-kept secret has been exposed. Now the whole world knows Esperance has the best beaches on the planet.
Located about 10 hours from Perth in Western Australia’s south coast, the farming town of Esperance has been out of mainstream tourist guides for decades. Until now, only well-informed travellers had access to this earthly paradise, which is gifted with snow-white beaches, pink lakes, and turquoise seawater.
No, it’s not a scene from Star Wars. It’s real.
With thousands of Instagrammers hunting for the perfect location, Esperance’s surreal landscapes have become an ideal and recurrent backdrop on the social media platform.
Hashtags like #esperance and #capelegrand have popularised the site to such an extent that Cape Le Grand National Park is seeing a massive surge in visitor numbers.
According to figures from WA’s Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Cape Le Grand National Park received some 170,860 visitors between 2016 and 2017. That’s around 32,500 more than the 2012-13 period.
“Obviously with amazing natural assets that are camera friendly, there’s a lot of inspirational imagery floating around on social channels that people can enjoy in Esperance,” said Marcus Falconer, chief executive of Australia’s Golden Outback tourist office.
“Esperance is a relatively immature tourist destination. I think there’s room for sustainable growth,” he told The West Australian.
For Tourism Esperance chairman Wayne Halliday, a series of official and privately funded initiatives are also responsible for the boom in the local community’s economy.
According to Halliday, the fantastic food, numerous Indigenous cultural experiences, and the recent overhaul of their camping facilities are all major factors that turn Esperance into one of the hottest tourist attractions right now.
“It fits into the mould of what Tourism Australia research indicates, that international and interstate visitors are looking (for) the number one experience: it’s the coastal experience,” Halliday said.