One of the premier long distance walking trails in Western Australia, the Cape to Cape Track traverses through some of the most spectacular landscapes this state has to offer while popping in and out of the many surf towns found along the coast.
Here’s a comprehensive guide to conquering the Cape to Cape Track, one of Australia’s best walks:
What is it?
The Cape to Cape Track is a multi-day hike taking you along limestone cliffs, pristine beaches, over seasonal creeks and through some amazing forest. Officially opened in 2001, it was the result of a lot of hard work by passionate locals and now we have a coastal thru-hike that provides access to world class scenery in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. Starting and finishing at two impressive lighthouses, the 130km trail is ideal for day walkers and well equipped for those looking to do the whole thing in one go.
Where is it?
The trail runs the length of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, forming the section that juts out from the south west of Western Australia. Officially the trail links the two main lighthouses at Cape Naturaliste near Dunsborough and Cape Leeuwin near Augusta, running along the coastline with occasional detours inland to explore creeks, forests and the limestone cliffs.
Along the trail you’ll pass through several towns and hamlets including Yallingup, Gracetown, Prevelly and Hamelin Bay where you can rest for the night, have a meal or simply stop for a coffee. Supplementing the town stays are five additional campsites, each with water tanks, a toilet and somewhere to pitch your tent.
What to do:
Walk!!! At 130km long, the Cape to Cape Track can be broken down into easily manageable days with a full pack or if you have a like-minded friend, you can do car shuffles to complete it in a series of day hikes (or just pick one nice day to do). Most people take between five and eight days to complete the whole track end to end but there are plenty of options if you want to go faster or slower. With only basic campsite facilities out of the towns you need to carry everything with you including a tent, sleeping gear, enough water for the day, food, clothing and medical supplies.
When you’re out there, the scenery is simply stunning. Starting at Cape Naturaliste you are treated to wild and rugged limestone cliffs all the way to Yallingup with the famous Sugarloaf Rock visible for most of the day. From there you head towards the famous Canal Rocks/Injidup Nature Spa region before hitting Quinninup Falls. Past there you get Wilyabrup Cliffs, Gracetown, Ellensbrook Homestead, Prevelly, Contos, Boranup Forest, Hamelin Bay and Deepdene Beach before finishing at Cape Leeuwin.
There is never a dull moment on the Cape to Cape so make sure to bring a camera as you’ll be sure to see something special. Watch out for whales during peak season between September and November as they hug the coastline heading back to Antarctica for the summer.
For more info on what to expect on each day then visit thelifeofpy.com/cape-to-cape-track.
What Not to Do:
Being mostly in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, dogs are not allowed on the Cape to Cape. Stealth camping is also not allowed so make sure you have enough time to make it to your destination and have booked accommodation ahead of time, especially during school holidays. As always, adhere to the Leave No Trace principles and pack out what you brought in.
Long distance hiking may not be for everyone so if you want to experience the Cape to Cape but don’t like the idea of carrying all your gear and camping at night then there are several tour operators that will drop you off in the morning, provide a guide or two for the day and then pick you up and drop you off at accommodation for a well-earned wine.
About the author:
Mark (The Life of Py) is a Perth based outdoor enthusiast that loves exploring the trails of Western Australia in his free time. When he isn’t out taking photos he is busy planning the next adventure. See more of his content here.