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Cape to Cape Track – Walking the Southwest of WA

 

The Cape to Cape Track is 135 km long walk track located within the the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park which is found in the South-west coast of Western Australia (the famous Margaret River wine growing region).  The Cape to Cape Track is not developed to the extent of the Bibbulmun Track in that there is no “five star accommodation”, read huts, however, there are campsites with water tanks, a very good guidebook is available and the track is reasonably well marked.

Cape to Cape Track Trail Marker

Cape to Cape Track Trail Marker

As at November 2002, the Department of Environment and Conservation with the support of the Friends of the Cape to Cape Track had established four campsites. Even with the four campsites established there is a stretch of the Cape to Cape Walk Track between the Ellensbrook Campsite and Deepedene where the walker will need to make their own arrangements for camping and accessing or carrying in their own water. Each of the established campsites on the Cape to Cape Track consists of cleared tent sites (usually around three except for Ellensbrook which has two large camping areas), a pit toilet, a water tank fed off the roof of the toilet and a picnic table. The water supply at each campsite is limited.  Please note that a NO FIRES policy applies along the whole of the Cape to Cape Track so if you want hot food, a fuel stove will need to be carried. I have walked the Cape to Cape Track twice. The first time was in 2002 when I walked north to south, i.e., from Dunsborough to Augusta. I revisited the Cape to Cape Track in September 2009, this time walking from the south (Augusta) to the north (Cape Naturaliste).

Accessing the Cape to Cape Track

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The nearest town to the northern trailhead of the Cape to Cape Track is Dunsborough (approx. 270 km south west of Perth) and the nearest town to the southern trailhead of the Cape to Cape Track is Augusta (approx. 298 km south west of Perth). Dunsborough is 15.4 km from the northern trailhead of the Cape to Cape Track, however, the trailhead can be accessed from Dunsborough via the “Meelup Trail,” a walking trail from Dunsborough to Cape Naturaliste (see my track notes for more detail on the “Meelup Trail.)” At the southern end, the Cape to Cape Track trailhead is 8 km south of Augusta at Cape Leeuwin. No dedicated walk trail exists into Augusta, however, one can follow the road, beach or get a taxi if preferred.

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Public transport to and from the Cape to Cape Track Trailheads

The only public transport options to access the towns at each end of the Cape to Cape Track are buses. The Western Australian State Government bus company Transwa and the private bus company, South West Coach Lines (Veolia Transport WA) also provide services to and from Augusta and Dunsborough

Intermediate Access Points to the Cape to Cape Track

The nature of the Cape to Cape Track means that it passes through numerous localities providing easy access for short walks and day walks.  These additional access point Yallingup, Smiths Beach, Gracetown, Prevelly Park and Hamelin Bay. In addition their are numerous minor access points, of which some may be 4WD only.

Cape to Cape Track - The Isolation of the Beach

Cape to Cape Track – The Isolation of the Beach

Cape to Cape Track Maps and Documentation

There is a very good guidebook for the Cape to Cape Track written by Jane Scott and Ray Forma titled, “The Cape to Cape Track Guidebook incorporating the Meelup Trail” (Fully Revised 5th Edition).  The Cape to Cape Track guidebook is published by Cape to Cape Publishing. The book is available from the Friends of Cape to Cape Track and various map and outdoor retailers.

Cape to Cape Track Guidebook Sample Map Page

Cape to Cape Track Guidebook Sample Map Page

The Cape to Cape Track Guidebook provides basic information on each section of the track. This basic information includes access options, facilities and description of track sections. The basic information is supported by minimal detail 1: 25 000 “page-sized” maps for each section plus photos.  The book also covers the Meelup Trail (13.5 km) which runs from Dunsborough (nearest town to the northern trail head) to Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse (northern trail head).

The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has published two maps of the Track. Map 1 covers the Track from Cape Naturaliste (northern trailhead) to Prevelly and Map 2 covers the track from Prevelly to Cape Leeuwin (southern trailhead).

Other track documentation includes a set of five sketch maps covering the track. These retail for approx, $2.20 each or for a reduced price if all five are purchased as a set.  Scans from these sketch maps, giving a general indication of the track can be downloaded from my Dropbox. The scans are provided for general information only.  You should purchase your own copies.  The sketch maps are:

  • Cape to Cape Walk Track – Section 1 – Cape Naturaliste to Wyadup – 20 km
  • Cape to Cape Walk Track – Section 2 – Wyadup to Cowaramup Bay – 27 km
  • Cape to Cape Walk Track – Section 3 – Cowaramup Bay to Redgate Beach – 31 km
  • Cape to Cape Walk Track – Section 4 – Redgate Beach to Hamelin Bay – 29 kmCape to Cape Walk Track – Section 5 – Hamelin Bay to Cape Leeuwin – 29 km

Cape to Cape Track Notes

I have completed to end to end walks of the Cape to Cape Track a north – south walk in 2002 and a revisit, south – north wak in 2009. Clicking on the links will take you to my write ups of those walks. Hopefully this provides a bit more of a hands on take of the Cape to Cape Track.

Cape to Cape Track Resources and Other Key Points to Note

Cape to Cape Track Key Points to Note

The first and foremost to note about the Cape to Cape Track is that is a no-fires walk trail, that is open fires are not allowed along the Cape to Cape Track or at the designated campsites.  This means that one must make use of a fuel stove or eat pre-cooked food whilst transversing the Cape to Cape Track.

Mt Duckworth Campsite on the Cape to Cape Track

Mt Duckworth Campsite on the Cape to Cape Track

The other difference to note with the Cape to Cape Track is that there are no huts or other forms of shelter at the campsites. If you plan to camp out on the Cape to Cape Track you need to take your own tent or other form of shelter. On the positive side, each campsite has a toilet, water tank and picnic table.

Water availability on the Cape to Cape Track can be limited particularly during summer and early autumn. There is a section between Prevelly and Contos and then again south to Hamelin Bay where there is no local water unless Boodjidup Creek is flowing.

Cape to Cape Track Resources

43 Responses to Cape to Cape Track – Walking the Southwest of WA

  1. Heath Adams August 31, 2009 at 9:21 PM #

    Great site. The information was tops. Really helped me with my planning Thanks very much.

  2. Chris H. October 16, 2009 at 6:32 AM #

    If you are into long distance walk, why not try the Great North Walk in NSW It’s a 250 km bushwalk between Sydney and Newcastle and is 21 years old this year.
    Enjoy.
    Chris H.

  3. Irene Mitchell February 26, 2010 at 12:56 PM #

    Hi there
    My query was about cycling tracks are these tracks suitable for mounatin bikes?

  4. Aushiker February 26, 2010 at 1:29 PM #

    Hi Irene. The Cape to Cape Track is a WALK only trail, so no it is not suitable for mountain bikes. There are trails for mountain bikes including the Mundi Biddi.

    Regards
    Andrew

  5. doug haines May 19, 2010 at 11:55 AM #

    The cape to cape has sandy coastal tracks which are sometimes 4wd tracks and would be unrideable on a bike.
    Lots of trails in the hills are not too sandy and provide firm footing for bikes.
    The C2C is right on the coast and has littltle tree cover so is exposed to seabreezes.
    Doug

  6. Aushiker May 19, 2010 at 12:09 PM #

    Hi Doug

    I am little unclear as to your references to biking the Cape to Cape Track. The is not the focus of this posting or this blog. Both of my posts on the Cape to Cape Track describe my walks of same.
    I hope you post really wasn’t about promoting your website, but to be sure, I have edited your post to remove the link. If I have that wrong you can let me know and I reconsider my action.

    Regards
    Andrew

  7. Tom May 29, 2012 at 10:19 AM #

    Useful and well presented site. Thanks. Can you please send me a copy of the scanned maps?
    Tom

    • Aushiker May 29, 2012 at 9:54 PM #

      Thanks for your comments Tom. The scans have been emailed to you. I hope you find them of use.

      I hope you share your experience of the Cape to Cape Track sometime.

  8. Mike May 31, 2012 at 3:55 PM #

    Excellent useful info Andrew, a wonderful resource!
    Can you also send me a copy of the scans as well.
    Many thanks,
    Mike

    • Aushiker June 2, 2012 at 8:43 PM #

      Thanks Mike. I have emailed the scans of the Cape to Cape Track to you. Enjoy your experience of the Track.

  9. Amanda June 6, 2012 at 6:54 PM #

    Hi dear sir

    I would like to know if you do catering to student group trekking program in cape to cape start Dunsborough to Augusta ?

    Would love to hear from you soon

    Regard
    Amanda
    Transinex

  10. Mark Dorey October 2, 2012 at 7:33 PM #

    Excellent post, would it be possible to get a copy of the maps? We are planning to hike at least part of the trail in November as part of our trip to WA from Yorkshire.

    Thanks

    Mark

  11. MaRia October 31, 2012 at 7:07 AM #

    G’day

    Thanks for all the helpful info, please could you send me a copy of the maps? Also when is the best time of year to do the Cape to Cape?

    Regards MaRia

    • Aushiker October 31, 2012 at 8:42 AM #

      No problems MaRia. The maps have been emailed to you this morning. I would suggest summer is probably to hot so either Autumn (there is a possible risk of low to no water in the campsite tanks) but it is more likely that you will be able to walk across the mouth of the Margerat River. The other better time is spring where you should have no problems with water at the campsites but you are likely to have to walk around the river mouth. Winter is another possibility but the weather will be cold, wet and windy.

      Both times I have walked the Cape to Cape Track have been in late spring. I have had to walk around the mouth of the Margerat River on one walk and on the other just got across. It really comes down to the winter rains. If I was to go again it would be in late spring and probably from the south so that I am more likely to have the wind to my back.

      Hope that helps.

  12. Tracey Davies February 14, 2013 at 11:53 AM #

    Hi Andrew. A group of ladies from Queensland are planning the Cape to Cape hike September next year (2014). I am from WA & have always loved the South West. Most of us have hiked before. so we know what is involved. Would you say the walk was better done North to South or South to North? Also, as we get older we don’t want to carry as much weight. I carried over 23kg on the Overland track in Tasmania. I would like to keep it down to around 15kg to make the hike more enjoyable. I was thinking of 2 nights camping & 1 night accomodation, 2 nights camping & 1 night accomodation until the end of the trip. Have you got any suggestions? I know there is a company called Cape to Cape Explorer tours that may be able to pick us up at certain points along the trail & drop us back there again the next morning. We plan to have extra provisions packed & waiting for us at the accomodation points to save us carry extra weight. Also having a comfy bed after a couple of days camping out appeals to the over 50′s. Look forward to reading your comments. Thanks Tracey

    • Andrew Priest February 15, 2013 at 7:55 AM #

      Sounds like a great plan Tracey. Having walked both directions I personally prefer the north to south … something about finishing off the walk along the beach south of Deepdene Beach and in and out to the lighthouse. The finish at the northern end is not so enjoyable.

      I am not up on the transport/accommodation options so really cannot help from that perspective but the Friends of the Cape to Cape might be able to. That said there are options to stay in more comfortable accomodation at Yanchep, Smiths Beach, Hamelin Bay and of course one could get a lift out to Margaret River at Prevelly. The other advantage of going south is you go down the “300″ steps at Boodjidup Brook and not up them! On flip-side you may cop some headwinds heading south and they make the walking tough going.

      Enjoy your walk and if you have any more questions, more than happy to try and help out.

    • Gene Hardy August 17, 2013 at 10:50 AM #

      Hi Tracey, Cape to Cape Explorer Tours would love to assist you to get the best from you Cape to Cape experience. We can assist you with your trip planning and picking up your camping gear and dropping it at your next location. We can also assist you with accommodation choices. Andrew is right on the mark with his North to South call, I love that last day cruising along Deepdene as the Leeuwin lighthouse slowly shows itself! If you would like to touch base to discuss your trip and how we can help, please just email me and the team at;

      info@capetocapetours.com.au

      Cheers,

      Gene Hardy
      Director
      Cape to Cape Explorer Tours

  13. Paul Lucchinelli February 17, 2013 at 8:39 AM #

    Love your site.
    Can you please send a copy of the sketch maps?
    Thanks, Paul

  14. Birch March 6, 2013 at 9:48 AM #

    Thank you so much for both this information and your trek notes, they have been so helpful in planning! I have a couple of questions: I’m thinking of walking this this August solo so here goes
    -Just how wet and cold is wet and cold? I’m from Minnesota so “winter” means as low as negative 20′s C and blizzards.
    -You recommend walking north to south, but other sites say the other direction will provide a prevailing tailwind. How significant is the differences?
    -I have only done a little backpacking, but I am young and in good shape-given the terrain, what would be a reasonable distance to expect for each day?
    -Also, most of your pictures, it looks like the campsites are in (relatively) wooded areas, do you think it would be possible to camp using a hammock?
    -Finally, would you perhaps send a copy of the sketch maps?
    Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you!

    • Andrew Priest March 12, 2013 at 8:39 PM #

      Hi Birch. I will try and answer your questions.

      (1) As to the weather, now we don’t get as cold as that :) The Bureau of Meteorology is a good source for weather data.
      (2) Again check the Bureau’s website for August wind data. They have historical wind roses to give you an idea. Personally I would still walk North to South as I feel the walk, particularly the last section is much nicer way to finish off the walk;
      (3) From what I remember you would probably get away with it but I never really considered them from that perspective;
      (4) Maps coming via email.

      Enjoy your walk.

  15. kiki March 26, 2013 at 4:43 PM #

    Hi Andrew,

    great post. it has really helped with my planning for the cape (this long weekend). Is it possible send the maps over please?
    our original plan was to walk the entire length unassisted (leaving a car at each end), but now we are leaning towards using the two cars to get to/near each days campsite and walking with smaller bags (also ensuring plentiful water supplies in the cars).
    thoughts?

    • Andrew Priest March 29, 2013 at 7:44 PM #

      My apologies for the late reply. Been one of those weeks I am afraid. I am interested in hearing how your walk worked out and if you tried the car shuffle idea. Where you able to get relatively close to the campsites?

  16. Gerry Killian March 26, 2013 at 9:05 PM #

    Planning a walk from 19th April. This has been on the bucket list for a few years! Got the DEC maps which are excellent. Would love to see the sketch maps. Any ideas on what the crossing at Margaret River will be like at the end of April?

    • Andrew Priest March 29, 2013 at 7:34 PM #

      Maps on the way Gerry. Given we have had a fairly dry summer and assuming not to much rain I think you would have a good chance at crossing the river … I hope your walk goes well.

  17. Andrew Priest April 3, 2013 at 9:45 PM #

    Thanks for your feedback. I have attempted to send you an email with a link to the maps but as you didn’t provide a valid email it bounced so sorry cannot help you.

  18. Rob April 28, 2013 at 11:52 AM #

    Hi Mike,
    I’m planning on doing the Cape to Cape from 27th May. Would I be able to get a copy of the sketch maps?
    Thanks for all the info, can’t wait to do it!

    • Andrew Priest April 28, 2013 at 12:45 PM #

      Rob an email is coming your way. Regards Andrew.

  19. Nikki Stas May 8, 2013 at 12:05 PM #

    Hi Andrew,
    Cheers for all the info!
    Heading off from remote central oz to do a wee walk and see some water, can’t wait.
    Could you please email through the sketch maps?
    Cheers

    • Andrew Priest May 8, 2013 at 4:18 PM #

      LOL … nice timing … winter storms for you to play in :) Email on the way. Enjoy!

  20. Mark Smith May 30, 2013 at 2:03 PM #

    Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for the information – all useful. We are planning to walk in July. Would you please forward the scanned maps?
    Many thanks.
    Mark

  21. neale June 9, 2013 at 12:04 PM #

    Dear whomever!
    Does anyone know how long it takes to walk from Injidup Beach to Smiths Beach?
    Neale

  22. Pip July 1, 2013 at 1:20 PM #

    Hey Andrew,
    I’m a first timer to this track and think I would only be able to do from cape naturalist to Prevelly. Could I have a map for this section?
    Any helpful tips as well??

    • Andrew Priest July 2, 2013 at 9:36 AM #

      Email with maps on the way. Do enjoy your walk. This is a nice relatively easy section. Should be lots of fun.

  23. Jodie Carlyon July 11, 2013 at 3:39 PM #

    We are planning on doing the cape soon was wondering if I could get a link to the sketch maps please….. Cheers

    • Andrew Priest July 22, 2013 at 8:24 PM #

      Hi Jodie. No worries. Email on the way. Andrew

  24. Faully August 10, 2013 at 10:29 PM #

    Hey Andrew,
    Couple of first timers planning on the Cape walk in Oct. Is there anywhere close to the track to replenish food supplies? Would love the maps as well. Cheers

    • Andrew Priest August 19, 2013 at 9:53 PM #

      Email sent with the maps. In terms of replenishing food supplies, the best option would be Prevelly but don’t expect a huge variety given that Margaret River is really close by.

  25. Emma September 3, 2013 at 4:24 PM #

    Hello Andrew,
    Thank you for your marvellous site. I am thinking of heading over from Victoria and hiking the Cape to Cape walk next week. Do you think it would be a crazy time weather wise? Would you be able to send me a copy of the sketch maps?
    Cheers, Emma

    • Andrew Priest September 6, 2013 at 2:12 PM #

      Hi Emma. I am jealous :) Walking next week should be fine as long as no nasty storms are coming in. You might not be able to cross the Margaret River but (i.e., have to do the long walk around). The sketch maps can be now be downloaded from Dropbox. If that does not work for you let me know and I will email them to you.

      • Gene Hardy September 13, 2013 at 12:40 PM #

        Hi Andrew, Cape to Cape Explorer Tours offer a canoe crossing service for the Margaret River for the wetter spring months for people who would like to not have to walk around:)
        Looking amazing out there this year with the wildflowers really early off the mark.
        Kind regards,
        Gene Hardy
        Cape to Cape Explorer Tours

        • Andrew Priest September 13, 2013 at 9:21 PM #

          Thanks Gene. I wasn’t aware of this option. It is good to know so thanks for sharing and all the best with the service.

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