Is Lucky Bay Esperance Really the Best Beach in the World?

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Google ‘Lucky Bay Esperance’, and images of blindingly white sand, crystal-clear azure waters, and kangaroos lounging on the beach flood the screen.

It seems the epitome of paradise, yet our mid-March visit revealed a different story: a beach dotted with dried seaweed and a notable absence of kangaroos—except for those on warning signs.

View of Lucky Bay Beach with four wheel drives on the beach
Our first visit to Lucky Bay – overcast, no kangaroos and a few 4WD ©Lifejourney4two

Despite this, Lucky Bay, in Cape Le Grand National Park, unveils its magic on a sunny day, showcasing its true allure beyond the picturesque scenery. From camping by the beach to exploring scenic trails, these experiences truly captivated us.

Join us as we dive deep into our Lucky Bay adventure, uncovering the reality behind its famed beauty and offering tips to help you fully appreciate this extraordinary slice of Western Australia.

Arriving at Lucky Bay on a sunny day with its vibrance shining through ©Lifejourney4two

Preview: What to Expect in This Post

Dive into Lucky Bay in Esperance, WA, with us as we unravel the magic and the myths of one of Australia’s most talked-about beaches.

Video Taster of Lucky Bay

Lucky Bay, Esperance - The Best Beach in the World?

Whether you’re squeezing in a quick read or settling down for the full journey, here’s a roadmap to our exploration:

  • Our Personal Journey: Follow our footsteps as we uncover Lucky Bay’s raw beauty and occasional surprises, sharing those moments that make it one of our top beaches to visit on the south coast of WA.
  • Wildlife Wonders: This section delves into the reality behind those famous Lucky Bay kangaroo beach sightings and the bay’s broader natural spectacle.
  • Lucky Bay – A Snapshot: For those in a hurry, skip to our summary, which captures the essence of its charm and challenges. Jump to Snapshot here.
  • Comprehensive Visitor’s Guide: This guide provides essential insights for planning your visit, from navigating the beach to camping under the stars.
  • Reflecting on Lucky Bay’s Acclaim: We weigh in on Lucky Bay’s standing among the world’s best beaches and consider whether it really lives up to its accolades.

So, let’s dive in … and I promise it won’t be as cold as the southern waters at Lucky Bay!

Lucky Bay on a sunny day with bright blue waters
Lucky Bay before the crowds on a sunny day ©Lifejourney4two

Our Experience At Lucky Bay: Love at First Sight

From the car park, Lucky Bay immediately captivated us.

Despite its ‘bad hair day,‘ with seaweed strewn across its sands and an obvious lack of kangaroos, the beach was undeniably special. The walking trails, panoramic views of the Recherche Archipelago, and encounters with wildlife were the highlights that made us truly appreciate this bay.

Moments of Serenity: Beyond the Beach’s Beauty

Sitting beside our 4×4 parked in the carpark, Lars and I shared a hot cross bun and sipped coffee, the muted blues of the ocean sprawling beneath an overcast sky spread out before us.

Shelley eating a hot cross bun looking out over Lucky Bay
Hot cross buns with a view! ©Lifejourney4two

The beauty, even under a veil of clouds, was undeniable. But it was the walk towards Thistle Bay that truly sealed the deal for us. The path unwound through breathtaking scenery, encapsulating the essence of what makes Lucky Bay and its surroundings a notch above the rest.

Thistle Bay Coastal Walk with pea gravel on steps leading down and bushes all around. Rocky headlands in the distance
On the coastal trail from Lucky Bay to Thistle Cove ©Lifejourney4two

Lucky Bay’s Natural Wonders: A Closer Look

A sign overlooking the bay, declares it has the “whitest sand in Australia,” a title recognized by a national scientific committee. I admit the parts that weren’t covered in seaweed were beautifully white and squeaky, but so were many of the nearby beaches in the area.

I enjoyed the views, though. I sat there, looking out over the Recherche Archipelago, and was captivated by the natural beauty around the bay.

Islands seen off the coast with rocks and bushes in the foreground
Walk from Lucky Bay to Thistle Cove ©Lifejourney4two

Walking Trails at Lucky Bay

There are a few walking trails that start from Lucky Bay:

  • Lucky Bay Lookout and Flinders landing point: Easy | 5km return | Allow 2 hours
  • Lucky Bay to the Flinders Monument: Easy | 1.2km return | Allow 45 minutes
  • Lucky Bay to Thistle Cove: Moderate | 4 km return | Allow 1.5 hours

As we tread these paths, we are reminded of the delicate balance between enjoying and conserving our natural surroundings. Staying on designated trails and minimizing our impact is a small but significant way we honour this land and its traditional custodians.

View of Lucky Bay in the distance with a path through low green bushes
Walking from Lucky Bay towards Thistle Cove on the coastal trail ©Lifejourney4two

Flinders Plaques and Memorial

If you head east along the beach to Lucky Bay Lookout, you’ll find the historical point where Flinders landed, marked by a plaque in the rocks.

Extra information panels explain how the bay was named by Matthew Flinders, who was happy to reach these shores during a summer storm in 1802 while circumnavigating Australia.  

Sign detailing the naming of Lucky Bay
How Lucky Bay got its name

After our hot cross buns and coffee, we walked up towards the Flinders Monument. You can start this walk from the beach’s western end or, as we did, head into the campsite and follow the path towards the headland. 

From the monument, we had a bird’ s-eye view of the beach, and for a special treat, dolphins played in the waves just below. 

Flinders Monument at the western end of  Luckybay
Flinder’s Monument, and just after this photo was taken, we saw the dolphins down below ©Lifejourney4two

Discovering the Coastal Trails: Thistle Cove

After examining the monument and watching the dolphins in the bay, we headed towards Thistle Cove.

Honeyeaters flitted between the bushes on either side of the gravel path and narrowly missed our heads a few times. The lush bush, granite outcrops, and views of the Bay of Isles make this walk a favourite. 

And, for me, it’s all part of Lucky Bay’s charm.  

Lucky-Bay_new-holland-honey-eater bird with black and white stripy feathers with a flash of yellow on its wings
New Holland honey eater ©Lifejourney4two

The trail is easy in most parts, but there are some steeper rocky sections, too, so I recommend wearing walking shoes and poles if you struggle with knee problems.

The views from the trail are awesome, and we saw lots of birdlife and a few lizards.

Views on the coastal walk towards Thistle Bay ©Lifejourney4two

Planning Your Travels to Western Australia?

⭐️ Also, grab our free printable road trip planner. It’s your key to crafting the perfect Lucky Bay itinerary, ensuring a smoother and easily organised trip. Download here.

Lucky-Bay-rocks-with-bay in the background
Views from the coastal trail ©Lifejourney4two

Wildlife Wonders: The Truth About Those Kangaroo Sightings

So, are there kangaroos at Lucky Bay? 

Finding an article about Lucky Bay without seeing at least one photo of a kangaroo on the beach is nearly impossible. This gives the impression that kangaroos are merrily hopping around, sunbaking, and generally hanging out at the beach at any given time. 

This isn’t the case, and we’ve visited Lucky Bay several times and not seen a single roo (that’s Aussie for kangaroo) on the beach. Wildlife is fickle, and you can rarely be guaranteed a sighting of anything if it is wild and free. 

4x4 vehicles on the white sands of lucky bay
Plenty of 4×4 vehicles on the beach but no kangaroos ©Lifejourney4two

When Can You See Kangaroos at Lucky Bay?

There used to be a coffee van at the beach, and a local told us that when the generator started up, the kangaroos would head to the beach because they associated that noise with food.

Whether that was for leftover crumbs or people feeding them, I don’t know—unfortunately, I expect the latter!

However, the van no longer visits the beach. And with no trigger or promise of little treats, the Lucky Bay kangaroos aren’t as commonly seen as in the past.

However, you can do a few things to improve your chances of spotting a kangaroo there

  1. Stay at Lucky Bay Caravan Park: The more time you spend at the beach, the higher your chance of spotting kangaroos. Staying in the beach campgrounds is probably your best bet for kangaroo sightings. However, the campgrounds book out months in advance, so get in early. 
  2. Visit around dawn and dusk: Kangaroos are the most active and are seen more often in the early mornings and late afternoons, but there are no guarantees. 
Lucky Bay Beach ©Lifejourney4two

Do Not Feed The Kangaroos 

Even though signs at the beach tell you not to feed the kangaroos, I’m afraid many visitors may ignore this and tempt the roos closer with titbits. 

If you are lucky enough to see kangaroos at the beach, please don’t feed them.

First, they are wildlife and can easily find their own food. Second, if they become too familiar with humans feeding them, they will become a problem, and any attack will likely result in them being killed.

sign at Lucky Bay - be aware and care for our wildlife - do not feed the kanagaroos
If you are lucky enough to see a kangaroo – keep your distance and do not feed them!

Lucky Bay: A Snapshot

Before diving in any further, let’s take a moment to capture what makes this place so special.

Here’s a brief overview or ‘snapshot’ of our experiences and key observations, offering a quick glance for those of you short on time or looking for the highlights. I’ve also delved deep into reviews from other visitors to Lucky Bay, blending their experiences with our own insights.

Below, you’ll find the distilled essence of Lucky Bay, encapsulating both the glittering pros and the occasional cons. This balanced view ensures you know exactly what to expect.

Lucky Bay: Pros and Cons Summary 


Natural Beauty: Super white sand and clear, turquoise waters create stunning scenery.

Amenities: Good facilities, including eco-toilets, camping spots, and walking trails.

Seasonal Serenity: Quieter experience with still pleasant weather in off-peak seasons.

Variety of Activities: From beach strolls and 4WD adventures to sunset watching.

Accessible Beach: Cars can drive onto the beach.

Unique Comparisons: Nearby Thistle Cove and Hellfire Bay offer quieter, equally beautiful alternatives.


Crowded: The beach can get very busy, especially during tourist peak times and sunny days.

Kangaroo Sightings Are Hit or Miss: Despite promotional materials, kangaroo sightings on the beach can be rare.

Vehicle Impact: Cars and drones can disturb the peace and natural vibe of the beach.

Sand Management: Driving on the beach sometimes requires preparation, like deflating tyres to avoid getting stuck.

Weather Dependent: The full beauty of the bay is best experienced on sunny days, making weather a significant factor.

Car driving off Lucky Bay beach
Access for 4x4s to and from the beach ©Lifejourney4two

After laying out the stark contrasts through our pros and cons table, it’s evident that Lucky Bay’s allure isn’t just in its superficial beauty.

However, its popularity can sometimes lead to crowds, especially during peak tourist seasons. Many visitors have also been disappointed that there are so many cars on the beach. One referred to it as looking more like a carpark than a beach.

Our visits have taught us that every coin has two sides, and Lucky Bay is no exception. The seaweed and the hit-or-miss kangaroo sightings remind us that nature operates on its terms, not ours.

Yet, the overwhelming natural beauty and various activities ensure Lucky Bay remains one of my favourite beaches in WA.

A brown beetle on a flower
You might not spot kangaroos, but keep your eyes open, and you’ll find the animal world all around you;) ©Lifejourney4two

Tips For Visiting Lucky Bay Esperance

Given the insights gleaned from our pros and cons, here are a few actionable tips to enhance your Lucky Bay visit:

  • Timing Your Visit: Aim for an early morning or late afternoon visit to dodge the crowds and immerse in the bay’s tranquillity, especially outside the peak tourist seasons.
  • Beach Driving Preparedness: Check the sand conditions upon arrival. Deflating your tyres can help avoid getting stuck in softer patches.
  • Exploring Nearby Alternatives: Nearby Thistle Cove and Hellfire Bay offer quieter but equally mesmerizing beach experiences.
  • Weather Awareness: Lucky Bay’s beauty shines brightest in the sun. Check the weather forecast to choose the best day for your visit.
  • Parking & Fees: Cape Le Grand National Park has a $17.00 entrance fee. Buying a park pass is worth it if you plan to visit other National Parks in WA.
  • No Dogs: You cannot bring animals into the National Park.
  • Best Times to Visit: Visiting in the shoulder seasons can help avoid crowds and provide softer light for photography, enhancing wildlife sighting chances.
  • Safety First: With no surf life-saving patrols, be cautious of rips and mindful around rocky areas.
  • Ensure your fuel tank is full to explore multiple beaches within the National park.
  • Lucky Bay has toilets, parking, and BBQ facilities for your convenience.
Lucky-Bay-wildlife-sign on the road into cape le grand
Driving in Cape Le Grand National Park ©Lifejourney4two

Accolades for Lucky Bay in Western Australia

A quick search online reveals the many accolades Lucky Bay has received. From being the whitest beach in Australia to one of the best beaches in the world.  It has definitely not gone unnoticed in the world of beach awards.

Banana Boat lists the World’s Top 50 Beaches for 2024, with Lucky Bay taking the number one spot.

Lucky Bay also appears in the recently published Lonely Planet book Best Beaches: 100 of the World’s Most Incredible Beaches, with Lucky Bay number one among the top five best beaches worldwide for seeing wildlife.

Lucky Bay panorama
Panoramic view of Lucky Bay in Esperance ©Lifejourney4two

It seems to be that the standout reason Lucky Bay has won so many awards is the chance to find kangaroos on the beach. But honestly, so many beaches along the coast have pure white sand, crystal clear waters, and stunning scenery, so why aren’t they picked out in the lineups?

I’ve also read articles highlighting Lucky Bay as having the most pristine beach ever.

That’s not the case. Well, not when we were there anyway.

Don’t get me wrong—Lucky Bay is beautiful and one of my absolute favourites on the south coast of Western Australia, but there are plenty of other contenders in the area.

For example, Hellfire Bay, nearby, is gorgeous, as is Wharton Bay, further east.

They just don’t have regular visits from the roos, though, as you’ve already read, it’s not so common at Lucky Bay now, either.

And while we’re talking about some of the best beaches on the South Coast, some other favourites of mine are Conspicuous Cliffs near Walpole and Little Beach at Two People’s Bay Nature Reserve, just east of Albany.

Hell fire Bay
Hellfire Bay near Lucky Bay ©Lifejourney4two

Reflecting on Lucky Bay’s Accolades

So, does Lucky Bay truly deserve to be called the ‘Best Beach in the World‘?

It’s a matter of perspective. True beauty goes beyond the visible, touching on the experiences and memories a place gifts its visitors.

In my opinion, though, I don’t think it deserves all the attention, but maybe it’s better to attract all the tourists to one beach and keep the other beaches, which are just as gorgeous, more of a secret;)

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Lucky Bay Camping: A Night Under the Stars

Camping at Lucky Bay is an experience unlike any other, offering a chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Cape Le Grand National Park.

With bookings essential, plan ahead to secure one of the 56 coveted campsites and prepare for a stay filled with stargazing, dawn swims, and direct access to nature’s wonders.

Booking Your Stay

  • Bookings are Essential: Secure your spot up to 180 days in advance for a maximum stay of 14 nights during school holidays, or 28 nights otherwise. While specific campsites can’t be reserved, you’ll choose from available spots upon arrival.
Lucky-Bay-camp-site set amongst bush
Lucky Bay Campground ©Lifejourney4two

Campsites and Facilities

  • Campsites: The campground hosts 56 compacted crushed rock sites suitable for various setups, from tents to caravans—all unpowered.
  • Amenities: Despite the remote location, the campground offers flush and no-flush toilets, showers (hot water not guaranteed), food preparation shelters with gas barbecues, dishwashing sinks, and picnic tables.
  • Water and Safety: Bring your own drinking water, as the untreated supply on-site is not guaranteed. Remember, the region can experience varied weather, so come prepared for both hot days and chilly nights.
  • Plan Ahead: With the campground’s popularity, especially during peak periods, booking ahead is crucial. For the latest information and availability and to secure your camping spot at Lucky Bay, visit the official Lucky Bay Campground booking page.
  • Fees: A per-person camping fee and a per-vehicle park entry fee apply. These fees contribute to the park’s maintenance and preservation.
  • Stay Guidelines: Campfires and dogs are not allowed. Generators can be used within designated times.

Enjoying Lucky Bay

You’re perfectly positioned from your campsite to enjoy stargazing, dawn swims, and wildlife sightings. The campground’s proximity to walking trails means you’re just steps away from exploring the natural beauty surrounding Lucky Bay.

Making the Most of Your Stay

Staying at Lucky Bay Campground offers a unique way to experience one of Western Australia’s most iconic beaches and connects you deeper with the natural environment. It allows for peaceful mornings and evenings filled with the sounds and sights of Cape Le Grand National Park.


Other Accommodation Nearby

Esperance Accommodation 

If you are looking for places to stay in Esperance, then here are some well-reviewed places to consider: 

🛌 🏕️ Esperance Pink Lake Tourist Park: ⭐️ 8.6/10 | Fabulous Reviews| Value for money We camped here, and the facilities were clean and well looked after. It was very busy, but we were there just before Easter, which may have explained it. Easter is one of the busiest times in Esperance. Read reviews here

🛌 Esperance Bay Holiday Park: ⭐️ 8.7/10 | Fabulous Reviews | Near Beach | Read reviews here

🛌 The Treasure Box Homestay Unit: ⭐️ 9.5/10 | Exceptional Reviews | Has everything you need | Read reviews here

How to Get to Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand

Embarking on the journey to Lucky Bay brings its own set of wonders. From the scenic drive through Cape Le Grand National Park to the anticipation of discovering one of Australia’s most beautiful beaches.

Here’s how to make your way there:

From Esperance: Lucky Bay is about a 50-minute drive (approximately 70 kilometres) east of Esperance. Follow the signs to Cape Le Grand National Park, and you’ll find clear directions to Lucky Bay.

Esperance-to-Lucky-Bay route
Route from Esperance to Lucky Bay

From Perth: The journey from Perth to Lucky Bay covers about 720 kilometres, making it a substantial road trip.

You can expect around a 7 to 8-hour drive, travelling through some of Western Australia’s picturesque landscapes.

Be sure to plan your route, check road conditions, especially if you’re travelling in remote areas, and make the most of the journey to this incredible destination.

Lucky Bay Map

Beyond Lucky Bay 

  • Frenchman Peak: Challenge yourself with a hike to the summit of Frenchman Peak in Cape Le Grand National Park for panoramic views. This was one of our highlights.
  • Cape Le Grand National Park: Here, you can discover stunning coastal views and gorgeous beaches like Hellfire Bay and Thistle Cove, and you can enjoy bushwalking in diverse landscapes.
  • Cape Arid National Park: Venture into this remote park for more beautiful beaches, bushwalking trails, and wildlife spotting opportunities. We wild camped at Israelite Bay.
  • Great Ocean Drive: A 40km loop that reveals Esperance’s coastal beauty, including key spots such as Twilight Beach and Blue Haven.
  • Pink Lake (Lake Hillier): Though not as vibrantly pink as before, it’s still a fascinating sight, especially from the air during a scenic flight.
  • Thistle Cove: Known for ‘Whistling Rock’ and its beautiful beach within Cape Le Grand.
  • Esperance Stonehenge: Visit the full-size replica of the original Stonehenge as it would have looked around 1950 BC. It’s the only complete granite Stonehenge replica in the world.
  • Wharton Beach: Nestled between Cape Arid and Cape Le Grand National Parks, Wharton Beach dazzles with its powdery white sands and crystal-clear waters, offering a quieter alternative for beachgoers and adventurers alike.

These destinations provide a diverse range of experiences, from serene beach days to adventurous hikes and historical exploration. Each spot has a unique allure and promises unforgettable moments in this stunning corner of Western Australia.

Plan Your Adventure

Are you embarking on a road trip to southern WA? Make sure you’re well-prepared. Here are some resources to help you plan the perfect trip:


Lucky Bay… That’s a Wrap

Our journey through Lucky Bay has taken us from overcast days with no kangaroos in sight to moments of sheer beauty under the sun’s embrace.

Despite its occasional ‘bad hair days,’ Lucky Bay has unveiled its charm to us in more ways than one, from serene moments shared over hot cross buns to adventurous trails leading to breathtaking vistas.

So, Is Lucky Bay Worth It?

Yes, with every piece of seaweed and each elusive kangaroo.

It’s the unexpected that often defines our travel experiences, teaching us to see beauty in imperfections and reminding us that nature doesn’t perform on cue.

The accolades and Instagram fame might draw the crowds, but the personal encounters and the off-the-beaten-path adventures make Lucky Bay special.

Tell us your thoughts on this famed beach. Did it meet your expectations? Comment below!

And don’t forget to sign up and download our FREE Travel Planner.

Traditional Owners

As we share our journey and insights, we pay our respects to the Wudjari people, the traditional custodians of Cape Le Grand National Park. May our explorations always honour the land and its ancestral guardians.

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Before You Go – Are You Planning Your Travels?

These are the travel resources we recommend and use when planning our trips.

For a more thorough list, visit our Travel Resources page here.

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Shelley, a former primary school teacher with a law degree, and her husband Lars co-own Lifejourney4two. Their adventure began in Perth, Australia, and has since taken them through Europe and Africa in motorhomes and bush campers. Shelley's travel guides combine practical advice with engaging stories, mirroring their shift from 'One Day' to 'Day One'. Together, they aim to inspire others to embark on their own travel dreams.

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