Secrets of Esperance: wild flowers, chicken roulade and the bluest of blues

When was the last time you fell asleep listening to the ocean?

When was the last time you fell asleep listening to the ocean while wearing a capri under your long joggers, combined with a tank top, T-shirt, Provisionerd hoodie, vest, socks and hat? Inside a sleeping bag, inside a swag? ^^

If the answer is never, you still have about 6 days to quit your job and book a plane ticket to Australia, because sleeping in a swag under the stars is something you should experience at least once in your life.

Admittedly, it was a tiny bit cold, but who cares when you can wear the entire contents of your backpack? The award at the end of your suffering is a sky so full of stars, you want to switch careers to become an astronaut. Or a chicken roulade. One of those two.

Highlights of the Southwest

It’s already been 2.5 weeks since I started exploring the southwest coast of Australia, but it was so worth it that I have to tell you a bit more about it. Obviously, I don’t want to bore you with endless chitchat, so here are a couple of highlights you should definitely try to see if you ever decide to visit this region:

  • Wild flower season is totally worth adjusting your trip dates for
  • 360-degree view from Frenchman Peak in Cape Le Grand NP
  • Walking/climbing from Thistle Cove to Hellfire Bay – “it’s just an easy coastal walk”, “the worst is behind us”, “I’m sure we’re halfway there”
  • Kangaroos on the beach at Lucky Bay
  • Massive trees at Valley of the Giants
  • Crossing a fairy-tale forest on your way to the Granite Skywalk of Porongurup NP
  • Climbing the super scary former firemen’s Diamond Tree Lookout
  • Crazy blue ocean colours at Frenchman Bay, Greens Pool and many, many more beaches and bays
  • Oh yeah, and free chocolate at the Margaret River Chocolate Co.

Tour guide wisdom

Funnily enough, trips like this also teach you a bit more about the other gender. Firstly, surf dudes are not as tough as you’d think. I can safely say this because we didn’t see a single surf dude during those 6 days we were cruising the region. Apparently, their excuse was that the wind wasn’t right. Pfft.

Secondly, guided tours are mostly booked by girls. Somehow guys prefer to just buy a car and drive around themselves so they can enjoy their freedom. Which is fair enough, but it fascinates me, because I’ve always loved guided tours. In addition to being driven across the country while either enjoying the view or catching up on some sleep, you’re also bombarded with random facts and stories. About Australia’s complicated history with the Aboriginals and Europeans, the Rabbit Proof Fence (which we passed), salt lake beds, special plants and trees, naming conventions, scary shark stories; basically, anything you can think of.

That’s how I got my hands on some very crucial information about punching a shark in the face if it attacks you. Since that’s what saved one of our guides’ friends when he was bitten in the butt.

Another random fact is that Australia’s (unofficially recognised) national animal and national bird are the red kangaroo and the emu. The romanticised story is that neither of these animals can move backward, only forward; a symbol for progress. Unfortunately, I googled it and it turns out they can actually move backward as well, although only infrequently.

I also learned that “up” at the end of all those names for villages, national parks, flowers etc. (like Porongurup) actually means “place of” in Aboriginal language. Place of many trees, children, summer flies or wild turkeys. I’m not kidding, apparently “Mullalyup” means “place where the young men had their noses pierced”. 😀

Let’s leave it at that.