I first walked the Cape to Cape Track solo in 2002 walking in a southerly direction from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin. Having completed that solo walk of the Cape to Cape Track I returned to the Track in September 2009 leading a group from the Perth Bushwalkers Club to complete a northbound walk from Cape Leeuwin in the south to Cape Naturaliste, the northern trailhead.
The Cape to Cape Track route as we walked it is outline in the map above. You can zoom in for more details. We started out from Perth busing down to Augusta and then out to Cape Leeuwin where we commenced the actual walk to the northern trailhead at Cape Naturaliste where we caught the Dunsborough taxi into Dunsborough.
Cape to Cape Track Northbound – Getting to the Cape Leeuwin Trailhead from Perth
In Augusta we stayed at the Turner Caravan Park where we paid $12.00 each for a shared un-powered tent sites amongst trees. A very good caravan park in my view and one I have no hesitation in recommending.
Our adventure on the Cape to Cape Track started proper on Sunday September 27, 2009. Thanks to the folks at Turner Caravan Park we were transported to the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse for the 8:30 AM start of the walk. The cost was $5.00 per person. As it was, it turned out to be to early for the lighthouse shop which opens at 9:00 AM so we did theÂ obligatory group photo and headed off full of good spirit, with Hamelin Bay our planned destination.
After about “five minutes” of walking we had to stop for the photo ritual at the petrified waterwheel, the southern trailhead landmark of the Cape to Cape Track. From what I can find out the wooden waterwheel was built in 1895 to supply fresh spring water to the lighthouse keepers’ cottages. The water came from a spring about 330 metres away in the marshlands near there.
From the waterwheel we worked our way along the coast a bit, passing beneath the limestone cliffs at Quarry Bay and finding interesting things on the beach.
After Quarry Bay we head up along the single track of the Cape to Cape Track to the Track Registration Station. We of course signed ourselves in. This is important as it gives the Friends of the Cape to Cape Track and the Department of Environment and Conservation information on the usage of the Track.
Everyone was still jovial and in a good mood at this point, however once we hit Deepdene Beach, to the north of the Augusta Cliffs, it become clear that this was not going to be an easy 10 km of beach walking. Soft sand and a northerly wind put heed to that idea and once we reached Turner Brook, the decision was made to abort the day’s plans and to camp overnight at Deepdene Campsite.
When I walked the Cape to Cape Track back in 2002 finding the exit off Deepdene Beach to the Deepdene Campsite was a bit of a hit and miss affair. Basically one had to count the blowouts heading south. Now the exist off Deepdene Beach is now easily found as the Track exit point gated and signed.
Cape to Cape Track Northbound – Day 2: Deepdene Campsite to Conto Campground – 32 km – Monday September 28, 2009
After heavy rain overnight, we packed up and headed off with the intention of walking through to Conto Campground, our planned Day 2 Cape to Cape Track camping site. This day’s walk was now 32 km instead of the original 22 km. After 10 km, we arrived at Hamelin Bay two members of the group felt that 32 km was pushing the limits for them and arranged for the Augusta Taxi to take them through to the Conto Campground. Four of us decided to continue the walk, with three of us taking the opportunity to reduce our pack loads for the day, getting tents and other gear taken by taxi to Conto.
The balance of the walk to Conto Campground was quite good. Boranup Beach was a mix of soft and hard sand, and the balance was track walking via Point Road Campsite on to Conto Campground.
Cape to Cape Track Northbound – Day 3: Conto Campground to Ellensbrook Campsite – 36 km – Tuesday September 29, 2009
Coming into Redgate Beach, Calgardup Brook was flowing so some off us to the boots off path to wading across. From there Redgate Beach was a hard slog along soft sand as expected.
Once we left the beach we followed Boodjidup Brook before the crossing on the bridge and then the “300″ steps to the ride. From there we went into robot mode for the uninspiring section to Prevelly.
At Prevelly we indulged at the General Store even though it was windy and freezing sitting outside. After a consultation, we decided to not attempt a crossing of the Margaret River at the mouth, instead we backtracked to the Cape to Cape Track and continued north via the alternate route (Wallcliffe Road, Caves Road, Kilcarnup Road) which I estimate adds approximately three kilometres to the day, not the one kilometre suggested in the 3rd Edition of the Guidebook.
Note: Both the 3rd Edition of the Guidebook and the Cape to Cape Track map incorrectly show the Track exiting Caves Road to the north of Kilcarnup Road. The Track actually follows Kilcarnup Road as it exists on the ground. The alternate route is not signposted either. Once we rejoined the main Track at Gnoocardup it was pretty straight forward, if not up and down walking to Ellensbrook Campsite.
Upon our arrival at Ellensbrook Campsite we found the water tank empty, but water is available about 500 metres north from the Ellen Brook and at Ellensbrook House (taps).
Day 4: Ellensbrook Campsite to Moses Rock Campsite – 20.5 km – Wednesday September 30, 2009
Coming into and leaving Gracetown via the Cape to Cape Track is a hit and miss affair, with the Track being poorly marked at both South Point and North Point. Is this another sign of the attitude of Gracetown towards walkers? This was probably the worse section for trail markers or rather a lack of them so it was good to get back into the “wilds” around Whaleback.
Once we completed the crossing of the Willyabrup Brook it was a relatively short stretch before came into Moses Campsite, our last campsite on the Cape to Cape Track this journey.
Day 5: Moses Rock Campsie to Yallingup – 22 km – Thursday October 1, 2009
Our plan today had been to walk through to Mount Duckworth Campsite, but the day was wet and cold and feet where are hurting, so after Injidup Beach the decision was made to bail at Yallingup for the day.
When we arrived at the Yallingup Beach Holiday Park we confirmed that Dunsborough had a taxi service (meant we would only have 14 kilometres to walk instead of 24 kilometres) and we decided to enjoy the “luxury” of two cabins which where meant to hold four adults and two children each. The emphasis being on meant. The cost was $116.00 per cabin. As it rained all night it was a good decision.
Day 6: Yallingup to Cape Naturaliste – 14 km – Friday, October 2, 2009
Having slept well and feed well in Yallingup, we headed off to Cape Naturaliste, with a planned arrival time of 12:30 PM and a taxi pick-up booked for 1:30 PM. As it turned out, we travelled well today, enjoying dolphin and whale sightings off the coast, arriving at Cape Naturaliste around noon. A phone call to Dunsborough Taxis had us picked up about 30 minutes later. Dunsborough Taxis can be contacted on 08 975 8688 and have a mini-bus for group pick-ups or drop-offs.
We all stayed overnight at the Dunsborough Inn Motel. My room was a “queen sized” backpacker’s room (double bed, shared shower) and cost $30.00 for the night. Good value in my view. Leaving Dunsborough one group member caught the South West Coach Lines 7:00 AM bus service getting into Perth around 11:30 AM whereas the remainder of us went on the Transwa service which departed at 10:00 AM arriving in East Perth at 2:30 PM. In hindsight, getting the South West Coach Lines bus would have been a better option as it left early and did not stop on the way to Perth.
There ends the walk.
- Optus mobile coverage was only at Prevelly, Yallingup and Cape Naturaliste. There was limited coverage at Augusta and Dunsborough;
- Winds, with the exception of the first day, where in our favour, i.e., prevailing from the south-west;
- The Conto Campground to Ellensbrook Campsite GPX file is missing the the first kilometre or so out of Conto Campground;
- Both the 3rd Edition of the Guidebook and the Cape to Cape Track map incorrectly show the Track exiting Caves Road to the north of Kilcarnup Road. The Track actually follows Kilcarnup Road as it exists on the ground. The alternate route is not signposted either;
- The Gracetown store is okay for maybe getting a feed and supplementing supplies but not for a complete re-suppy;
- No water available at Gracetown;
- Dunsborough Taxis can be contacted on 08 975 8688 and have a mini-bus for group pick-ups or drop-offs.
- Cape to Cape Track – Walking in the Southwest of WA;
- Walking the Cape to Cape Track – Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin;
- Cape to Cape Track maps;
- Friends of the Cape to Cape Track;
- The Cape to Cape Track Guidebook incorporating the Meelup Trail – Fully Revised Fifth Edition;
- John Chapman a noted Australian bush walker and author of numerous bush walking books has a section on the Cape to Cape Track;
- The Department of Environment and Conservation maintains a resource page on the Cape to Cape Track.