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Cape to Cape Hike - Western Australia

Home Page > Camping > Cape to Cape Hike, WA

After a long relentless summer with only 22 mm of rain recorded in Perth between October 2023 and March 2024, the season seems to have finally changed. It is a bit cooler now (beginning May) and some rain is even forecast! Sounds like a perfect time to travel to the south-west of WA and undertake the Cape to Cape hike between Augusta and Dunsborough.

From the TrailsWA website: "The Cape to Cape Walk Track runs for 123 kilometres along the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, between the lighthouses of Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin in the far south west of Western Australia. It features spectacular coastal and forest scenery, a fascinating geology of cliffs, caves, headlands and rock formations and an ever-changing display of vegetation and wildflowers.

Although one can do the walk in either direction, we have chosen the less frequently chosen north-bound route which will put the sun in our faces (not so good), but the seasonal south-westerly winds at our backs (better).

We got a train from Elizabeth Quay Station in Perth to Mandurah and then the TransWA bus to Augusta. We arrived at Augusta at 14:30, bought some yoghurt at the IGA and walked along to the river to eat it. Having driven through a 30+ mm drenching in Australind just morth of Bunbury, where motorists actually pulled off the highway as visibility and water depth were challenging, we anticipated cool weather in Augusta, but it turned out to be pretty warm. After eating we set off towards the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse. We planned to walk about 6 km to a point just short of the lighthouse. We picked up water at the new marina. It was around 17:30 when we found a teeny spot along a track running parallel to the road to the lighthouse, just the right size for our tent. We had a little heavy rain at the end of the day but otherwise were drenched in sweat, which was surprising. It was quite humid! We were happy to get into the tent and to sleep.

We woke naturally before 06:00 and had breakfasted and broken camp by 07:20. It had been a good night, the wind had died down overnight but picked up with sunrise. It was still overcast and we had drizzle off and on during the day. The track we camped along had views of the lighthouse and ocean. We hiked down and used the toilets just before the lighthouse parking. There was also a rainwater tank there but we had enough water, 1.5 litres each. The walk from the start of the Cape to Cape Track at the lighthouse is very beautiful. At times rocky as you walk over limestone edging the ocean. Then it's uphill and down again to a very long beach walk. We had not given a thought to the tides and whether this would present any issues, however the sea was huge and the tide seemed high, leaving us very little beach to walk on. At one time we were walking through a dip of limestone rocks with a cliff face behind us, and a large wave caught both of us with nowhere to go! We were both caught in swirling seawater to just below the knee and felt the seawater rush down into our boots!

We saw many people walking the track, one large organised group of about 20 or more. We also saw a helicopter up ahead towards the end of the day for ages moving over the bush and the beach, sometimes very low. We could see two hikers walking far ahead towards us and then suddenly a group of 4 policemen in hi-vis gear came down onto the beach from the dunes with another hiker. This was also far ahead of us on the beach. All of them headed up a track before ours. We wondered what it was all about.

The walk along the beach was tiring, the sand soft. As we turned off the beach to the Deep Dene hiker walk-in campsite, there was a steep climb up and over the sand dune. Deep Dene is a very pretty spot with two campsites each with a table. There is a pit toilet and four rain water tanks, three feed into the fourth. It was only 13:30 when we arrived but we decided against pushing on anywhere else as it would be a little rainy all afternoon and you can't beat a table. We had a relaxing afternoon in the tent and another pair of hikers arrived at 18:00, but we were in bed.

Good nights rest and we hit the track at 07:30 this morning. First up the other side of the sand dune and back onto a soft beach walk, over a small headland and then across a short, exciting/hair-raising cliff edge walk complete with huffing blow holes which the sea rushed up through. The sea is so far a major feature of the walk and beaches are windswept. Huge crashing whitehorses dump onto the sand. A rain shower rushed in over us in minutes of our arrival on the beach. A short steep up and down through some small forest brought us down to Hamelin Bay where we picked up water and had a cold shower at the beach toilets. Then back onto the beach for a 6 km walk. It was soft to start but hardened up and was in the end fun to walk. Mike chose a northbound direction for the walk so that the wind would be at our backs and boy did that work in our favour today!

Leaving the beach there is a 160 m climb over about 4 km. The path is narrow to start but widens up into a forestry track. Just after a point where it becomes for walkers only we found a great campspot in a clearing. Later on, two other blokes arrived and camped nearby. Should make mention of the bush which is really very green, surprisingly given no rain for so many months. We saw very few hikers today, but memorably one bloke aged 78 who is doing his 5th Cape to Cape but reckons it's his last. His advice for a long life? "Be happy".

Grimy night as not enough water for a shower, but then in bed we realised we were 7 km from Point Rd Campsite and could wait til then for brekky so we could have used our water for a shower. The water we picked up at Hamelin Bay was not very nice to drink anyway, bit brackish, and made our coffee creamer "curdle". We set off well before 07:00 and saw a large grey kangaroo bounding towards us on the track. When he saw us he hopped away. The walk up to Point Rd and beyond to Conto Campground is through large Karri tree forest, very beautiful. Put us straight back into the Bibbulman Track! Point Road is a pay campsite, $15 per head and very nice. Proper numbered sites laid out and new pit toilets and large drinking water tank. The water was good. We had brekky and pushed on. The 7 km to that point had gone quickly. After Conto we were up along the cliffs, beautiful views over the ocean and a lovely path through the scrub. Many day walkers about given the close proximity to Margaret River. It was the best weather day we have had, intermittent light showers and sunny in between. At Redman Bay carpark toilets there is a water tank and we picked some up for later.

Some beach walking over very soft sand, not for long though, and then up through the dunes along an estuary. We climbed for a while and crossed the river by a footbridge. Then up many log steps up the steep valley. Out on top we walked to the first track intersection and found a clearing to camp in. No tea tonight, we wanted a really good shower each in about 2 L of water.

Best weather day so far, sea breeze and blue skies, fluffy white clouds. Gorgeous. Our clothes were soaked from last night's downpour, but with weather like this they would dry fast. A local walker passed our campsiteand "shot the breeze" for a few minutes. The people around here are all really friendly. One thing about this trail which is unfortunate is that many day walkers and hikers seem to think they can go to the toilet anywhere they like and so white toilet paper in the bush is a common sight. This is no good! Back into the forest for a brisk 7 km walk to Prevelly where we picked up water for the day at the Rifle Range Park. Really nice facilities. Had brekky and then a lovely walk along the beach from one bay to the next. We just love the pounding surf here! We saw many surfers today.

Back uphill through scrub, we made our way to Ellen Brook Hike Campsite which was very pretty, in the shade along the brook, which was not running. We had a late lunch, rest our tired feet and then walked on following the brook and passing the old Bussel family farmhouse. A stunning late afternoon walk along the cliff tops, watching the surfers ride the waves from up high. We found a convenient bench and small clearing in which to pitch the tent.

Another beautiful day. The surfers beat us to it and were already out there before we got up. It is quite a long walk from the car park to the beach so they would have got there 05:30 or thereabouts. Dedication! The waves looked superb, much glassier than last night. The lifestyle down here makes more sense to us than the people who scurry daily into office buildings in Perth and think about what to buy next. We had a 3 km walk into Gracetown. We stopped at Huzza Beach parking area where there were tables and benches, toilets and even a really good outdoor shower. I had an ocean dip first and then we both showered and had brekky. There was a sobering memorial just before this for the 9 lives lost in 1996 when a cliff collapsed during an inter-school surfing competition. People were watching from the cliffs overlooking the beach which then collapsed. Some of the dead were children. A tragedy we had not heard of and which made us feel sad for the little town. We had sent a parcel of food for our last three or four days to Gracetown. Australia Post stated on their website that we could send to Gracetown via Parcel Collect. Gracie's General Store is the place to collect. We made our way there and Mike went in only to be given a card which said to pick up the parcel in Cowaramup which is about a 15 km walk away. We were quite shocked that Aus Post would get this so wrong. I went in to have a look at what we could buy, we only have three days left on the trail. I got chatting to the two baristas and as one of the employees lives in Cowaramup and was only due to start work at 10:00 (it was 09:15 then), they messaged her to ask if she could go to the post office on the way and pick it up. She was happy to do that! Such great attitudes all round and friendly people. While we were waiting we chatted to a local man. All the patrons were very friendly. You do notice that no one is one their mobiles and there is no music playing. It's all very relaxed and natural.

After this hiccup we only got going around 10:30 after packing our food away. The beaches around Gracetown were so inviting and we could have spent more time there, preferably with snorkeling gear. We felt a bit behind all day. The walking was not easy ,and we were often along the clifftop which was beautiful. We can't get enough of the views. We were surprised to cross a small stream and could filter water there. We were hot and sweaty and drank a lot. At Moses Rock Hiker Campsite we refilled our water bottles and also put some extra in the water bag. The campsite was busy. We also hoped that Quinninup Falls, which is 300 m off the trail, was running so went there to fillter more water into the bag for a decent shower (and it was running in a bit of a trickle). This area is beautiful. Back onto the beach and then up onto the cliff edge again to find a spot to camp as the sun was setting. We were happy with our effort in getting this far. A very full day.

We had brekky at our campspot this morning before setting off. There were three intermediate targets: 12 km to Smith's Beach, 15 km to Yallingup Resort, 18 km to the next Hiker Campsite. Then as far as we could get before sundown. It was an amazing route today, from one beautiful beach up and over a headland to another. The light, bright turquoise of the water here and the pure white foam is a sight one never tires of. We saw many surfers today. With a massive rain front approaching it was a warm, still, overcast day and surf conditions looked perfect. We had amazing views at the end of our day of the surfers at Kabbijgup Beach, and watched for a while admiring their skills. We often see surfers on the track, walking long distances from bush tracks in their wetsuits, carrying their boards. They always look so happy.

At Yallingup Beach we had a swim and a lovely cold shower. The sea was perfectly clear. It was like a dream. We ended up almost past Sugarloaf Rock as we strugggled to find somewhere to camp. Just at sunset we pitched our tent in the middle of the path, not something we would choose to do, but we are up and away so early we figured it was safe(and it was pretty much dark by now). A few minutes later a surfer walked by. Of course. Mike asked how his day was, "We are blessed," he replied. We certainly are. We can see the lighthouse from our campspot and have only 4 km left of the walk, then 12 km or so into town. We get the bus to Perth from Dunsborough tomorrow arvo.

Whoa, windy night last night! Tent was pretty flappy as we did not want to hog the entire path by pegging out the vestibules. Never know when a crazy surfer will come by in the small hours! We got going 06:10, head torches on. Nice that the tent and our packs which had sat outside were all bone dry! We used the toilets at Sugarloaf Rock carpark just nearby and then had a sealed pathway all the way to the Cape Naturalist lighthouse! We hoped to make brekky there but the benches etc were all within the fenced enclosure which was locked. Damp Squib! We had quite a few boring km to walk along the road to the lighthouse so when we came to a slight clearing on the side of the road we made breakfast. We turned down to Meelup Beach and then walked the beautiful track to the start of the town. Dunsborough seems a lovely place. We sat in the park by the beach for a few hours and showered to freshen up at the beach too. It was a much cooler day today. There is huge rain on it's way tomorrow so we are very grateful to have been able to have a week long weather window to walk this beautiful coastline. In many ways we saw it at it's best

We get the TransWA bus to Mandurah at 16:24 from here and then the train to Perth, Elizabeth Quay which is our closest station. Then we will hop on a Purple/Blue Cat home. Pretty cruisy. We have fallen in love with Western Australia all over again.