Esperance, if it’s not already, has become a Western Australian holiday hotspot over the past few years. It’s incredible coastline, with long, white sandy beaches, along with a host of untouched national parks inland make it a must-do for adventurous and relaxation-seekers alike.
One place that’s been getting ever-popular in recent times is the wildlife sanctuary that is Woody Island, one of over 100 island and islets that make up the Recherche Archipelago chain of islands, stretching from Esperance to the Great Australian Bight.
What Is It:
An island and nature reserve about 15km off the coast from Esperance, Woody Island is a small (around 1.5km long) island that’s listed as a nature reserve, along with being one of the only islands along the Recherche that actually has tall trees.
It lacks any real predators, and as such the wildlife that do reside there are remarkably chill, easily seen basking around the islands various nooks and crannies.
Where Is It:
It’s about a 30 minute boat ride departing from Esperance, and the best way to get there is with the team at Woody Island Eco Tours.
That boat ride will take its time getting over there to showcase some of the wildlife around the island, from sea eagles to dolphins, sea lions and more.
You can also arrive on your own boat, and there are moorings available on the island, just check in with the Eco Tours team ahead of time to nab a spot.
What To Do:
Woody Island is a true nature-lovers paradise, and once you’ve finished boating around the island, the options on land are plentiful.
There are several walks that run around the island and offer spectacular views and wildlife spotting – if you go at the right time of year there’s a good chance you’ll see a heap of bird nesting.
And as above land, so below the sea, where snorkelling, diving and fishing will reveal a host of incredible marine life, or grab a kayak/canoe and explore the shore yourself.
Woody Island Eco Tours also have an eco retreat on the island, with camping and safari hut options if you’d like to stay a night and make the most of your stay.
And last but certainly not least, the island has a sneaky little bar for a drink, kiosk for grub, and a visitors centre to take in a little history of the island.
What Not To Do:
As we said before, the local wildlife don’t have many predators to worry about – so don’t become one of them! As it’s a nature reserve you absolutely must treat the island and its inhabitants with respect.
Also be mindful of the water temperature, being so far south it can obviously get very cold outside of summer months (and it’s even still cold then), so be prepared.
Make sure you book ahead before heading down to Esperance! As you can probably understand, Woody Island’s popularity is only growing by the day, and its only going to get busier every new holiday season.
Cover photo by Love Childs