Israelite bay; the ultimate 4WD adventure from Esperance

Israelite Bay is a remote beach east of Esperance, primarily known for its fishing and the 4WD adventure to get there. It is fairly remote, and you need to be completely self sufficient (fuel, water, camping, cooking etc).

It also holds a lot of historical value, being one of the first places to communicate with Europe. There are ruins and an old jetty still there to explore today.

Israelite Bay fishing
Relaxing on the rocks at Israelite Bay

Where is Israelite Bay?

Israelite Bay is a shire run campground 200km east of Esperance. The nearest fuel, water and general facilities is at Condingup Tavern, which is 134km away.

Israelite Bay Camping

There is a designated camping grounds at Israelite Bay, which would probably hold around 20 groups of campers. There are also a number of other places littered around the bay that have been set up for camping too.

We saw a few camper trailers set up, but you would have to be very confident in its build quality before taking it out there!

Israelite Bay locals
Look for the locals

Getting to Israelite Bay

Israelite Bay can be accessed by Fisheries Road. The first 130km are bitumen/gravel and are quite easy to drive on. After that though, the road turns to a 4WD track and is quite challenging, even in the dry.

In terms of Esperance 4WD tracks, this one would be considered quite remote, so be prepared for things to go wrong; its a long way from help.

Fisheries Road Gravel
Airing down further at the end of the gravel section

The corrugations are terrible, and there are ruts that would easily have a large chunk of 4WD’s bottomed out. Most of the really bad places have alternative routes, but in the wet it would be a real challenge to get through this track.

It goes around a salt lake; make sure you stick as far as possible off the lake, or you may end up bogged to the sills in stinky, salty mud! How do I know that? Don’t ask!

80 Series bogged
Up to the tyre carriers in salty, burning, stinky mud

The 4WD section of fisheries road is often closed to poor weather, so make sure you check with the ranger before heading off!

Israelite Bay supplies and help

The closest place to make a purchase at Israelite Bay is the Condingup tavern, some 134 km away. This has diesel, petrol, a general store, a tavern and some very good quality food!

From here on though, you need to have your own water, fuel, food, cooking equipment, camping equipment, tools and spares to ensure that you are 100% self sufficient.

Help is a long way away at the Bay; make sure you have a first aid kit and you are careful with what you do!

Fishing at Israelite Bay
Plenty of places to go to fish

Fishing at Israelite Bay

The fishing at Israelite Bay is the main reason for people visiting it. Esperance locals often visit the area, and those who are looking for a fishing adventure head there too. We fished off the rocks one evening and had minimal luck, but were not all that persistent!

Herring, Skippy, Salmon, Mulloway, squid and the reef varieties are very common. I’m told Pink Snapper are common too, in season. We also dived in 2 locations trying to find some fish for a feed, but didn’t come across much.

However, just because we didn’t do too well fishing doesn’t mean it isn’t good for wetting a line; a number of the guys we spoke to had caught Mulloway, Salmon and sharks off the beach and rocks.

Israelite Bay 4WDing

Israelite Bay is not the most pretty of places, and the main beach is covered in seaweed. Unless the weed is dry and you can see people have driven on it, stay off it!

When we stayed at Israelite Bay, a bloke was driving down the beach on the seaweed in the middle of the night, when he sunk down and couldn’t get out. He slept the night in his car, and had to be recovered early the next morning.

Israelite Bay Rocks
Driving across the many rocks

Seaweed is very deceptive, and often has huge pockets of air under it. One minute you can be driving along, and the next you will lose a wheel and all hope of traction.

I managed to pick up a large piece of weed on my rear tail shaft, just driving along a short section of the beach to access the rocks (the only way you can go, used by everyone).

Seaweed is a pain for 4WD's
Be careful of the seaweed

On low tide, most of the beaches can be driven on providing you stay off the weed, and take it easy. Make sure you know the tide times; they are very important in this area. The point has a number of big rocks that you can drive around on, literally right to the water’s edge. Take care on these, but enjoy the area.

The beach around the corner is pristine and whiter than I’ve ever seen a beach before. The sand squeals when you walk or drive on it, and it is considerably louder than I thought it would be! You can drive west along the beach for quite a while

Israelite Bay attractions

Israelite Bay had an operating communication station way back in 1877 – 1917. Today, you can wander through the ruins and see what it was like.

Two graveyards are evident and a few cottage ruins. There is also a jetty at Israelite Bay, a washed up boat and plenty of rocks/beach to explore. The major attraction is the fishing and remoteness – the further away from people the better it seems to be!

The telegraph station at Israelite
Israelite Bay Telegraph Station

You can also drive to the Bilbunya dunes from Israelite Bay, but make sure you have a heap of fuel on board. These dunes are the biggest in the southern hemisphere, and are well worth the climb.

Washed up boat at Israelite
A washed up boat full of sand

Would I go back?

Honestly? I would, but I’d go back to other parts of Esperance first. We visited Cape Arid and Le Grand National Park after Israelite Bay, and were blown away.

They are prettier, have more options for getting out of the wind and better camping facilities. Israelite Bay is remote, which makes it good for fishing and getting away from it all, but it is a long way out!

You can check out some other places here – Thomas River in Esperance and Duke of Orleans Bay

Fisheries Road Esperance
The road in

That said, it is a unique place with a lot of history and a sense of freedom which is spectacular. A lot of people come down from Balladonia, through the Bilbunya dunes, onto Israelite Bay and then continue working their way back.

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  1. Hi Richard, been on your trip across the night yet?

  2. Hey Richard,

    That’d be a heap of fun. Hopefully someone gets in touch, or you could try some of the Facebook groups

    All the best mate

  3. richard mcgowan says:

    Would like to do the complete run, west to east Australian bight in feb, 2023. Anyone interested?.Richard

  4. Hey Tommy,

    Honestly, I don’t remember. It would have been 143L of stock tanks, and maybe another jerry can or two. You can get fuel at the roadhouse about 150km away from Israelite Bay. I know we were planning on going to Bilbunya dunes, but were running low on time and fuel, and gave it a miss.

    Budget 20L/100km and you should be fine

    All the best

  5. hi mate how much fuel did you take with you? i have a 105series… just trying to calculate how much fuel needed for a getting out and back plus exploring

  6. Hi Phil,

    As I mentioned in my message, I wouldn’t do it in a day trip. It will likely take 3.5 – 5 hours one way. It should be dry now, but it will be corrugated and stay off the salt lakes

    All the best

  7. Has anyone done the trip from Esperance to Israelite bay. Want to do it as a day trip. Wondering how long it would take and road condition. Thanks. Phil

  8. Hey Barry,

    It should be a pretty magic spot to kick back over Christmas. Have a great time


  9. Thanku for all this helpfull information.
    Sounds like a great time out.
    Can’t wait to see it, heading there Xmas 2020