Exploring Wharton Beach: Western Australia’s Pristine Paradise

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You know you’re on to a winner when you message your friends that you’re heading south to Esperance and ask them if they have any hot tips on where to visit.

Then all three responses say don’t miss out on Wharton Beach!

Wharton Beach has become a bit of an open secret among those who venture beyond Esperance in search of the perfect beach day. And we have to admit between the drive there, the colour of its shallows, and the distinct squeak of its sands, there’s something undeniably special about this spot.

Facing crowded beaches elsewhere around Esperance? Wharton offers a serene escape.

Join us as we dive into why this beach is worth every kilometre from Esperance.

Heading towards Wharton Beach with sandy gravel track on the road and clear turquoise waters and white sandy arched bay
View of Wharton Beach from the road ©Lifejourney4two

🥜 Wharton Beach Esperance in a Nutshell 🥜

  • Location: An hour east of Esperance in Duke of Orleans Bay, renowned for its clear azure waters and white sands.
  • Stay: Nearby camping at Orleans Bay Caravan Park.
  • Access & Mobility: Accessible by car, with 4WD beach access.
  • Connectivity: Prepare for limited mobile signal.
  • Environmental Care: Leave no trace to protect the beach’s beauty.
  • Local Amenities: Condingup Tavern is nearby for meals and fuel.
  • Safety: Note the presence of rips; the beach does not have surf patrols.
  • Activities: Offers 4×4 beach adventures, tranquil solitude, swimming spots, fishing, snorkelling, scenic walks, and photogenic landscapes.
  • Dog Friendly: You can bring dogs to Wharton Beach
Perth to Wharton Beach Route
Perth to Wharton Beach, Western Australia
lars and shelley by their 4x4 on Wharton Beach, Western Australia
Us, with our 4×4 parked up on Wharton Beach ©Lifejourney4two

Like the look of our storage in our Isuzu DMax? Find out how we kitted it out to suit our camping style.

About Wharton Beach 

Nestled between Cape Le Grande and Cape Arid National Parks, Wharton Beach’s 4.5km of brilliant white sands offer a pristine escape without a National Park entrance fee.

It’s an Esperance gem that locals would rather keep under wraps — understandable, given its white sand, clear turquoise waters, and scenic views that epitomise this part of Western Australia.

Imagine a place where the sand dazzles under the sun (don’t forget your sunnies!) and serenades you with a squeak at every step you take.

Panorama of Wharton Beach - white sand, blue ocean with low greenery bushland on the shore
Wharton Bay Panorama ©Lifejourney4two

Why Wharton Beach is a Must-Visit

  • No Entrance Fee: It’s not within the national parks, so visiting is free.
  • Activities Galore: Whether you’re into swimming, 4WD adventures, picnicking, surfing, diving, snorkelling, fishing, or birdwatching, Wharton has you covered.
  • Facilities: Convenient car park and toilet facilities are available.

Birdwatching is a treat here, with sightings of the sooty oystercatcher, juvenile Silver Gull (red-billed), Pacific Gull, and New Holland honeyeaters making our day.

Wharton-Beach-Shelley-with-camera taking photo of birds
Capturing the local birdlife ©Lifejourney4two

Why Wharton Wins Hearts

It’s not just word-of-mouth; Wharton Beach genuinely delivers.

Western Australia is famed for its stunning beaches, and those in the southwest set the bar high. Yet, Wharton Beach is a cut above, offering tranquillity away from the more frequented Lucky Bay and Twilight Beach.

Here, you can immerse yourself in the essence of Western Australia’s coastline, minus the crowd.

juvenile Silver Gull (red-billed) in the water
A local juvenile Silver Gull (red-billed) enjoying the waves ©Lifejourney4two

Personal Two Cents

The debate between Lars and me over Esperance’s crown jewel of beaches is ongoing.

He’s all in for Team Wharton, while I remain undecided. Have you seen Lucky Bay?

Nonetheless, Wharton secures its spot at the top with easy access for 4×4 drives along the beach and cutting through Cape Le Grand to Victoria Harbour — a perfect escape from unfavourable wind directions.

Its lesser-known status is also a huge bonus.

At the end of Wharton Bay, you’ll find the trail to Victoria Harbour ©Lifejourney4two

Visitors Tip: Lars loved that we could drive along the beach and access the beaches on the other side of the headland. On the day we visited, there was a strong easterly wind, but driving to Victoria Harbour (see map) around the corner meant we could escape the gusts.

Victoria-Harbour-beach, with a large rocky promontery and pale blue water in the shallows
Victoria Harbour can be reached by 4×4 from Wharton Beach ©Lifejourney4two

Discovering Little Wharton Beach

Little Wharton Beach offers a more intimate setting just a stone’s throw from Wharton. Its smaller size does not detract from its beauty, making it a perfect spot for those looking to explore further.

The conditions here are more challenging for vehicles, with powdery, boggy sand and a rutted access road, so 4×4 access isn’t easy. It’s only a short walk from the small car park, so you don’t miss out on much by being unable to drive down to the beach.

Little-Wharton-Beach-with some seaweed and rocks
Little Wharton Beach ©Lifejourney4two

Protecting Nature

A visit to Little Wharton also reminds us of our responsibility towards nature. The area serves as a breeding ground for seabirds, and visitors are urged to be mindful of protecting these vulnerable species, especially between August and February.

📍 Wharton Beach Map

To use this map, expand it using the square symbol on the top right-hand side and then look to the key on the left-hand side. You will find the corresponding position on the map by clicking each location in the key. 

Getting to Wharton Beach

Wharton Beach is only an hour’s drive from Esperance if you take the main route along Fisheries Road until you reach Condingup, and then turn south and follow the signs to Wharton Beach.

Esperance-to-Wharton-Beach route
Route from Esperance to Wharton Bay

While buses are sparse, car hire, especially a 4WD, lets you explore freely. There’s plenty of parking, and 4WDs can hit the beach itself.

Wharton Beach at ground level with our 4x4 tyre just in the picture

Driving on Wharton Beach

If you plan to drive on Wharton Beach, make sure to deflate your tyres. Always follow the Off Road Code, a code produced by Trackcare, WA, for safe and responsible driving on WA beaches and coastal areas.

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Suggested Day Trip From Esperance

If you haven’t got much time in Esperance and are sightseeing – a fabulous day trip from Esperance would include:

  • A drive to Lucky Bay in the early morning (you might catch the kangaroos on the beach).
  • Walk some scenic coastal route from Lucky Bay towards Thistle Cove. You don’t have to walk all the way—the views looking down towards Lucky Bay to start and then out towards the Bay of Isles are beautiful.
  • Hop back in the car and drive to Wharton Beach—it’s not as well known as Lucky Bay, and there’s plenty of room to find that peaceful spot.
  • At around 1:30 pm, head back towards town and stop at Esperance’s very own Stonehenge (see purple arrow on map below), for a dose of historical musing. They close at 3 pm, so leave time to get there and enjoy the ambience.
map of route from Esperance to Lucky Bay to Wharton Beach
Map of route from Esperance to Lucky Bay to Wharton Beach

Wharton Beach Camping

Orleans Bay Caravan Park – “The Duke”

Just a hop, skip, and a jump from Duke of Orleans Bay, the Orleans Bay Caravan Park, affectionately known as “the Duke,” offers the closest campsite to Wharton Beach.

A mere 4-minute drive separates you from the pristine sands of Wharton Beach and its charming sibling, Little Wharton Beach.

The park caters to all, offering powered and non-powered sites and chalets for those travelling without camping gear.

Camping in Cape Le Grande National Park

For those looking to immerse themselves in nature, the adjacent Cape Le Grande National Park offers:

  • Lucky Bay Campground: Boasting 56 campsites, it’s a favourite for many.
  • Le Grande Beach Campground: A more intimate setting with 14 campsites.

Managed by the National Park, these sites are hot commodities and can be booked up to six months in advance.

A word to the wise: The Cape Le Grand National Park Campsites fill up fast! Our attempt at booking three months ahead for a March getaway proved futile, so plan ahead.

Remember, camping in the National Park requires park entrance fees (payable upon arrival or via a Park Pass) and campsite fees. Pets are also prohibited, ensuring the local wildlife stays undisturbed.

shelley in the distance and our 4x4 on the white sands of wharton Bay
Wharton Beach and its scenic backdrop ©Lifejourney4two

Planning Your Visit

Don’t miss the local charm of Condingup Tavern, just a short drive from Wharton Beach. After a day of exploring, it’s the perfect spot to grab a meal and refuel your car and yourself.

Condingup Tavern ©Lifejourney4two

Swimming and Safety at Wharton Beach

The Beachsafe Organisation flags Wharton Beach as moderately hazardous due to its rips. Remember, there’s no surf patrol, so while it’s a surfer’s haven, swimming here means staying vigilant of the rips.

The balmy summer months make for the best swimming experience, given the typically chilly southern waters.

Wharton Beach ©Lifejourney4two

Esperance Accommodation 

We’ve listed the camping options nearest to Wharton Beach above, but 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

Connectivity and Communication 

Internet and mobile signals can be patchy around Wharton Beach, with limited signal from even the best networks like Telstra. Plan ahead by downloading offline maps and sharing your itinerary with someone who is not joining your adventure if you plan to head off road. 

Environmental Considerations and Leave No Trace

As we revel in Wharton Beach’s untouched beauty, let’s commit to leaving no trace. Please take away all your rubbish, stick to established paths and beaches, and respect wildlife.

Together, we can keep this paradise pristine for generations to come.

The far westerly side of Wharton Bay near Cape Le Grand ©Lifejourney4two

Best Time to Visit Wharton Beach 

Summer beckons with inviting azure waters, though surfers might lean towards autumn and winter for the swell. Spring is ideal for walkers and wildflower enthusiasts, offering cooler temps and vibrant blooms.

Real Visitor Insights on Wharton Beach: Beyond the Postcard Views

Wharton Beach isn’t just a spot we’re raving about—it’s earned its stripes among many visitors.

 Alongside our own experiences, we’ve gathered thoughts from fellow beach-goers and from reviews on Tripadvisor to give you the full picture. 

Here’s the real deal on why Wharton Beach keeps calling visitors back

Spectacular Scenery: Reviewers consistently highlight Wharton Beach’s stunning landscape, mentioning its squeaky white sand, clear turquoise waters, and beautiful coastal bushland as standout features that make the journey worthwhile.

Family-Friendly Fun: Families appreciate the beach, noting it as an excellent spot for kids and emphasizing its beauty and suitability for 4WD adventures.

Unmatched Beauty: Visitors are captivated by the beach’s beauty, ranking it highly among WA’s beaches for its pristine conditions, with some calling it a “hidden gem” and a “slice of paradise.”

Adventure & Accessibility: The reviews underline the beach’s accessibility, especially by 4WD, and its appeal for adventurous activities such as surfing and beach driving, making it a must-visit for those seeking relaxation and adventure.

White sand and turquoise waters at Wharton Beach ©Lifejourney4two

Other Places to Visit Near Wharton Bay

  • Cape Le Grand National Park: Famous for its striking coastal scenery, its famous beach, Lucky Bay and the commanding Frenchman Peak.
  • Cape Arid National Park: Offers remote beauty, with bushwalking trails and remote beaches.
  • Esperance Town: A popular coastal town with a town jetty and scenic waterfront. 
  • Great Ocean Drive: A 40 km scenic coastal loop with spectacular viewpoints close to Esperance.
  • Twilight Beach: Another breathtaking beach known for its unique rock formations and clear waters.
  • Pink Lake (Lake Hillier): Although further away, this natural wonder is renowned for its vibrant pink hue, accessible via a scenic flight.
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Wharton Beach FAQs

1. Do you need 4WD for Wharton Beach?

You need a 4WD to drive onto Whartons Beach, but if you have a 2WD, there is a carpark about 40 metres from the beach. 

2. Where is Wharton Beach?

Wharton’s Beach is about an hour east of Esperance between Cape Le Grand National Park and Cape Arid National Park on the south coast of Western Australia. 

3. Can dogs go to Wharton Beach?

Yes, dogs are allowed on Wharton’s Beach, but if you are in a 4WD and want to drive along the beach and visit Victoria Harbour, you enter Cape Le Grand National Park, where pets are not allowed. 

Wharton-Beach-with-vehicle on the beach as seen from above
Wharton Bay’s enticing colours ©Lifejourney4two

Exploring Wharton Beach … That’s a Wrap

After spending a day (or several) at Wharton Beach, it’s clear why it stands out in a region known for stunning shores.

It’s the kind of place that invites you to return, whether for the surf, the solitude, or the scenery of rocky headlands, pristine white sand and turquoise waters that stretch on forever.

So, when are you planning your visit?

👉 And don’t forget to grab our Free Travel Planner to organise your next road trip! 

Traditional Owners

We recognise and acknowledge Ngatjumay and Wudjari people as the traditional owners of Cape Arid National Park and Cape Le Grande National Park.  

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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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