Saturday, April 20, 2019

5 Best Walks on the Cape to Cape

People come from all over Australia and walk the Cape to Cape — a 134-kilometre-long trail between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia’s South-West.

According to Gene Hardy, Managing Director of Cape to Cape Explorer Tours, it’s a trail of incredible diversity — of forests and gullies, waterfalls and oceans, granite clifftops and wild coastal bush.

“It’s one of the top half-dozen hikes in Australia,” Gene said.

Thousands of people enjoy the Cape to Cape trail every single year. Some choose to tackle a small section over an afternoon or a whole day. Others make it a mission to trek the entire length of the trail over the course of a week.

The experience is as diverse as the terrain.

“The first 3 km is sealed bitumen and (boardwalk) planks,” Gene said. “Probably 30 per cent of it is on sand and maybe 10 per cent is through forest on old logging trails.

“There are very narrow clifftop ‘goat tracks’; there’s shared four-wheel drive tracks; there’s bits of old road — it’s very varied.”

We asked Gene, who takes tours on the Cape to Cape all year round, to share his five favourite parts of the trail.

Walk One – 3 km

Cape Naturaliste to Sugar Loaf Rock

“If you’re going to do just one walk on the Cape to Cape — an introductory one — this is the one,” Gene said.

You can do this walk in a wheelchair, pushing a pram or even in a gopher, as the track is bitumenised and relatively flat. You’ll see lots of wildflowers and enjoy the botanic diversity of the region.

“Sugar Loaf Rock is one of the most picturesque and iconic granite formations on the whole Cape to Cape,” Gene said.

Difficulty: 1/10

Where to stay: Check out these accommodation options in Bunker Bay, near the start of the trail.


Dramatic Sugarloaf Rock near Cape Naturaliste.

Walk Two – 6.6 km

Smith’s Beach to Injidup Beach

“It’s quite rough and it’s certainly much more challenging, but it’s quite beautiful,” Gene said.

This is the rockiest stretch of the track, so expect to scramble over rocks and up steep surfaces. The track itself is easy enough to follow, but the terrain means this is for more experienced walkers with a reasonable level of fitness.

Gene described this walk as being full of “big vistas”, including over stunning bushland, beaches and the ocean. Quite often you’ll be walking on top of big granite outcrops, so watch your step while you admire the view!

Difficulty: 7/10

Where to stay: There are many stunning homes available in nearby Yallingup for those attempting this section of the trail.

Injidup Beach

Injidup Beach

Walk Three – 20 km

Gracetown to Prevelly

This is a full-day walk along tracks and beaches, taking in the beautiful landscape of Cape Mentelle.

It’s an easier walk than Walk Two but as it’s a full day, it’s best tackled by fit people – and don’t forget to take all the water, food and sunscreen you’ll need.

Difficulty: 5/10

Where to stay: Check out Percy Street in Gracetown and Whitehorses near Prevelly.

Swimming at Cape Mentelle, near Kilcarnup, Margaret River

Walk Four – 7 km

Redgate to Conto Beach

“This is the most stunning stretch of the whole Cape to Cape,” Gene said. “The clifftops overlooking Conto Beach are amazing.”

“It’s a moderate track; it’s not really rocky or long; it’s not too difficult. It’s very varied terrain.”

As long as you’re able-bodied, this is a great walk that takes in some incredible and typical South-West landscapes.

Difficulty: 5/10

Where to stay: Margaret River is the most central base for this walk. Check out these stunning holiday homes.

Contos cliffs. Photograph supplied by Cape to Cape Explorer Tours

Contos cliffs. Photograph supplied by Cape to Cape Explorer Tours

Walk Five – 21 km

Cosy Corner to Cape Leeuwin

This is the final leg of the track, heading north to south, and Gene says it feels “really remote”. It’s a full day, and it’s not for the faint-hearted.

“It’s a big day; it’s the most difficult of all the walks,” he said. “You have 4.5 km of soft sand, you’re facing south so it can be windy, but it’s worth every step of the journey.”

A real highlight of this walk is visiting the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.

Difficulty: 8/10

Where to stay: After this walk, you’ll have earned a bit of luxury! Check out these homes in nearby Augusta.

Approaching Cape Leeuwin. Photograph supplied by Cape to Cape Explorer Tours

Approaching Cape Leeuwin. Photograph supplied by Cape to Cape Explorer Tours



Walking the Cape to Cape

Gene said it’s easy enough to follow the Cape to Cape trail without a guide, following the track markers, but suggested anyone doing so invests in Jane Scott’s book, The Cape to Cape Track Guidebook.

“She’s the former president of the Friends group and her guidebook has a really good map,” he said.

It’s also packed with great information and advice about what you’re seeing and experiencing along the way, which will enhance your walk.

“Probably the main challenge is dropping a car at the end point of your walk, or maybe getting a pick-up from the end of your walk,” Gene said.

For those who prefer a guided tour, Gene’s Cape to Cape Explorer Tours has a range of options available, including a seven-day fully guided experience that takes in the whole trail.

If you’re heading to Western Australia’s South-West to tackle a section of the Cape to Cape, Private Properties has homes available from North to South along the track to make it a truly memorable experience. Find the perfect holiday home to rest here.


You might also like to explore with these Blogs:

Meet the Maker: Gene Hardy of Cape to Cape Explorer Tours

The Cape to Cape mountain biking experience

Where to go bird-watching in the Margaret River region

Indulge in these wine experiences


Image Credits: Photo Elements, Margaret River and
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