Travelling down to Margaret River from Perth we stayed overnight at Tall Timbers on the outskirts of town. The host was very accommodating and was happy for us to leave the car on-site whilst off hiking.
Being Easter we were expecting beautiful weather and prepared for the track to be busy with day and multiday hikers.
Cape Naturaliste to Yallingup 14kms
The pitter patter on the rooftop woke us and on drawing back the drapes a very gloomy day greeted us. Regardless of weather we gathered our gear together in readiness to be picked up by Matt from Mr Pick Me Up who drove us to Cape Naturaliste.
Arriving at the Cape which is about 13kms out of Dunsborough the rain was still persisting so we zipped up our rain jackets and head off down the track. Being a paved track to Sugarloaf Rock there is opportunity for all to enjoy this section of the track.
Stopping to fill in our hike intentions at the registration station, we chatted to a small group of middle aged men who were with an organised walking group. Everyday they would be dropped off somewhere along the track, walk to the designated spot where lunch would be set up then be picked up at the end of their days hike and be transported to private accommodation. For us it was food, clothes, sleeping quarters in the backpack and walking every step of the way, no luxury for us!!!!
Arriving at Sugarloaf Rock we tarried awhile watching the ocean dance around the rock. Being a road access point we were joined by many tourist who drove in to enjoy the view.
Generally the walking was along limestone cliffs over gentle undulating terrain back from the ocean. Sauntering along we were graced by wonderful ocean views which kept us entertained before dropping down to Kabbijgup Beach. This area is known as a great surfing beach but there wasn’t a surfer insight riding the waves.
The rain was only short lived but the wind was blowing a gale and coming off the ocean certainly put a chilly nip in the air. Walking along we chatted to Mary, a solo hiker who was walking to Cape Leeuwin.
Leaving the ocean behind we followed along a sandy vehicle track which lead to Mt Duckworth campsite. The tea tree plantation formed a shady canopy for hikers to pitch their tent. With water tank, picnic tables and toilet, it is an idle sheltered bush campsite for those looking for a shorter day. For us it was the perfect spot for lunch before continuing onto the seaside village of Yallingup. A group of day walkers walked in and were waiting to be picked up, their days walking was done.
Back on the track we continued walking in the dunes before descending down onto the beach for the walk into Yallingup. Arriving at the caravan park we booked in and set up the tent before wandering over to the cafe. Alas it was closed!!! Surely not as it was only early afternoon. A local informed us the cafe closed early so the workers can get down to the ocean to catch some waves, fair enough.
After some time spent down at the water ourselves we returned to discover a large group of young people had set up about 20 tents near us. That was no issue but during the night whilst sound asleep someone from the group walked by our site, tripped and fell on the tent landing on top of me!!!
Onto Moses Rock Campsite 20.4kms
Unscathed from the night incident we packed up and made our way to the cafe for breakfast, atleast it opened early.
Wandering towards Smiths Beach some serious camera gear was being carried by guys clad in wetsuits. A couple of surfers caught up to us and were very interested as to what we were doing walking along the beach in hiking boots and backpacks on, ‘this is a surf beach what are you doing’. After explaining our reason for not being in a wetsuit they told us they where from Italy here to compete in the Margaret River Pro Surfing event. Wishing one another well we continued on along the beach while they headed into the ocean.
Further on a couple of hopefuls were casting a line, we enquired as to what was biting, there response indicated they certainly wouldn’t be enjoying fish for lunch.
Making our way up off the beach we headed for Canal Rocks. The track weaved its way through, around and over this significant rocky outcrop along the coastline. Captivated by the waves crashing into the rocks we found ourselves in awe of this spectacular performance by nature.
Time to drag ourselves away and push on with a scramble up the rocky track which lead back into the dunes. If we weren’t slogging through the sand we were scrambling over rocks, it’s all part of this great walk.
Stopping for lunch we enjoyed overlooking Injidup Point and watching many surfers out in the ocean. They appeared to spend alot of time just bobbing in the water waiting for the ideal wave to roll in.
Another solo hiker arrived, Gary, like Mary he was walking through to Cape Leeuwin. Unofficially this was our hiking group.
There was no water flowing over Quininup Falls just dry rocks and no sighting of dolphins which are renowned to be in this area. Over the course of the hike we crossed over dry brooks that during the winter months would be flowing into the ocean. At times the water level can be deep enough that an alternative route needs to be taken. The guide book details this info.
Walking along the exposed clifftop and not in any hurry we paused to enjoy the view. There’s plenty of seats to take a breather and watch the ocean activity. After enduring walking along the vehicle tracks of deep loose sand we eventually entered into a shady tea tree area giving relief from the sun.
On arriving at Moses camp we discovered it was similar to Duckworth with tent sites nestled in amongst the canopy of of tea trees, toilet, water tank and picnic tables. There was a cleared area where four wheel drivers could park and set up camp. Once set up, dinner enjoyed and a chat about our day with Mary and Gary it was off to bed early.
Nodding off to sleep to the sounds of the waves rolling in and out was suddenly interrupted as the sounds of an animal scampering about our tent become evident. Mmmmmm someone forgot to hang our backpacks and the little critter was enjoying a snack of nuts. Just as well our food bag was well out of reach.
Continuing to Ellenbrook campsite 19.5kms
Being an unofficial group everyone packed up and headed off at their leisure. An uneventful day on the track had us pretty much walking through the dunes, crossing over dry brooks and beach walking. The ocean views especially from Wilyabrup Cliffs were impressive.
Unexpectedly we found ourselves back down on the beach, referring to the map it didn’t indicate a beach walk. With no option but to slog through the dense sand sinking with every step we made our way forward and if that wasn’t tough enough, a slog up a steep incline had us slipping back down with every step. We claim this is fun and keep coming back for more!!!
Coming across a wooden staircase the ascent was made much easier from the valley floor which would have been a gruelling climb prior to the construction of stairs. Crossing over a few gravel roads that lead down to the ocean we spotted a few keen surf fisherman trying their luck to snag the catch of the day.
Coming upon an intersection a decision needed to be made. Veer left and stay on high ground following the track into Gracetown or veer right and descend steeply for a scramble over rocks. Being adventurous at heart we opted to test our algility and scrambled over the rocks as we made our way to Cowaramup Bay.
Arriving at the busy seaside town of Gracetown Mary and Gary stopped off at the outdoor ‘cold’ showers to refresh but for us it was a slog up the hill to Gracies General. What a surprise, gourmet food was on offer and yes we feasted, no beef jerky for lunch today.
Leaving Gracetown we passed by the plaque in memory of those who lost their life as a result of a cliff collapse.The limestone cliff edges are soft and can collapse spontaneously. The track made its way through low dense vegetation exposing us to the sun rays, it was hot. Stopping at Ellenbrook beach we paused to read another plaque in memory of a shark victim. The ocean is spectacular and beautiful but it also is harsh and claims many innocent lives.
Stopping at the historic Ellenbrook house we enjoyed reading the history and wandering around the building that had been built by convicts. Google to enjoy the read. Continuing on we came to Meekadarabee Falls and Cave. There is a weather proof book displayed that tells the story of the area. The path from Ellenbrook House to the falls is paved making it accessible for all.
Back on the dirt track it was a hop, skip and a jump down the track to Ellenbrook campsite, who am I kidding at the end of the day we are dragging ourselves into camp. A great spot with cleared areas for four wheel drivers and hikers in amongst the shelter of the trees. A young guy was set up and chatting to him he shared, as a Year 12 student he was undertaking the activity of walking the Cape to Cape, not a bad effort for a young guy going solo.
Off to Prevelly 9.5kms
A beautiful cool morning made walking conditions very pleasant as we wandered along through the forest following the vehicle track. Eventually back on the narrow track and with ocean views we continued on.
Arriving where the narrow track crosses the well used gravel road, the sign indicating whether Margaret River sandbar can be crossed or not is located. No detour for us. Walking along the cliffs we enjoyed gazing upon the many secluded little bays.
With Joey’s Nose, a rock formation, coming into view our hike was almost done. Not looking to rush the end of the hike we stopped, boiled the billy and pondered the vastness of the ocean. Trudging across the sand again, we passed over the dry sandbar. With water levels in sight it wouldn’t be too long before the river and ocean would merge making it difficult to cross. Heading up the stairs from the beach to the car park we briefly chatted to a group just starting out.
As our hike was concluding at Prevelly we left the track and continued along the bitumen road. In the distance a few people with significant cameras where mulling about. Wow they must have heard we were on the track and eager to snap our pic!!! We were sadly mistaken, they were only interested in snapping the pic of a surfer getting her surfboard out of the car. As it turned out, a champion surfer from Italy had stolen our limelight!!!! Anyway we just continued on and made our way to the Sea Garden Cafe to enjoy our end of hike feast before calling a taxi to transport us back to Tall Timbers to collect the car. The host was at the accommodation and invited us in to have a shower and enjoy a cuppa, an offer that was never going to be refused.
Until next yarn, happy hiking from Bernadette and Ian