The Cape to Cape Track features spectacular coastal and forest scenery, a fascinating geology of cliffs, caves, headlands and rock formations and an ever-changing display of vegetation and wildflowers. It runs for 124 kilometres along the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, between the lighthouses of Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin in the far south west of Western Australia. I lived in Dunsborough in the 80’s and my son and family is still there so the area is my favourite local water playground and as locals we know all the little hidden bays and places where the tourists still don’t seem to venture. Take your time and you just might find some of them “off the track”.
Don’t rush your walk as there is so much to see and do. Spectacular views from cliff tops, trails down to many hidden beaches and beautiful karri forest. This coast is a surfers mecca and stop at one of the many amazing sparkling little bays and if you’re lucky you’ll have it to yourself for a refreshing swim. Many hikers miss the last campsite, Deepdene, racing their way to the finish. Stay at Deepdene and experience watching the Cape Leewin Lighthouse slowly come into view through the beautiful pinks and purples of dawn! What a wonderful way to finish your Cape to Cape hike.
North to South
Walking north to south I believe has many advantages, best being that the sun is behind you so you can fully enjoy the spectacular views. Hiking season is autumn, winter and spring and the wind and rain often will come from the north, west and only a little from the south west (summer the wind does come from the south west).
Unfortunately you have to leave the track to visit a winery, so you may wish to allocate a day and if you don’t have transport, there are wine tour companies that will come into Prevelly to pick you up. Or stop overnight at Prevelly and sample local wines overlooking the ocean as the sun goes down.
Dunsborough to Cape Naturaliste
Rather than taking a taxi out to the cape, you do have the option of walking along the many very pretty bays all the way up the cape. You could possibily fill up your water at the Cafe at Bunkers or the Lighthouse Cafe (there is a tap at the toilets but not drinkable) then you could walk on through to Yallingup but it is a big day.
Eight day trek: to give you lots of time to stop, watch and swim.
Day One: Cape Naturaliste to Yallingup is a taxi ride from Dunsborough town. The track follows the coast with spectacular views and initially sealed for wheelchairs. 13kms to Yallingup where we recommend camping as you can while away the afternoon on the magnificent beach renowned for surfing, swimming and snorkelling.
Day Two: Yallingup to Moses Rock Campsite. Start early, it is stunning walking, take plenty of water and don’t miss the sunset on top of the cliff (2mins walk from camp).
Day Three: Moses Rock to Ellenbrook. Stunning coastal scenery, surf and njoy lunch at Gracetown cafe. From there you follow the coast, turn inland at Ellens Brook to arrive at the green oasis of Ellensbrook House. Make sure you find the weir before heading along the path past the waterfall (flows only after heavy rains now) and a short stroll to the campsite under the trees beside the brook.
Day Four: Ellenbrook to Prevelly. Hopefully its later in the Spring and the Margaret River mouth is sanded over or you have to take the detour (not great). I’d suggest research before and organize to have a canoe company carry you across. Lots of accommodation options at Prevelly. You have half a day here so enjoy. Swim, surf, vino, meal, sunset. If you’re into local food and wine, we suggest add a day and book a wine tour.
Day Five: Prevelly to Contos. You leave the coast and get amongst the gorgeous karri forest and come out again on the coast to camp at Contos. (Campsites are lovely with well serviced camp kitchen but unfortunately the beach is a 20min walk).
Day Six: Contos to Hamelin. Lovely start through the karri forest again and the last 7 kms is a pretty hard slog along Boronup Beach to arrive at the pretty bay of Hamelin. Enjoy the sunset, its often really stunning here even if the weather isn’t clear and sunny.
Day Seven Hamelin to Deepdene. Enjoy a lazy start, hopefully you get to walk amongst the huge stingrays that come into this bay and explore along the rocky south point. Saddle up as there are lots of lovely lunch spots along the next section before you climb up and over the small dune into the green oasis of Deepdene campsite. Luckily not many have found out how lovely the campsite is, so you’re likely to have it to yourselves.
Day Eight: Hamelin to Cape Leewin. Set your alarm as its worth getting up and coming out over the dune at first light, Early morning this beach is stunning and even more stunning is the first glimpse you get of the Leewin Lighthouse through the pinky haze of early morning light. Celebrate with photos in front of the beautiful lighthouse and the cafe serves superb devonshire teas. Enjoy, well done.