Time was not on my side. To really experience the glorious Cape to Cape Track in Western Australia, you need a week. I had only a day to spare…but it was long enough to know that one day I’d love to come back and do the whole 135km between the lighthouses at Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste.
Instead, I took a day tour with Cape to Cape Explorer Tours for a “taste” of the track. Blessed with a (mostly) sunny day, I set out with guide Drew McKenzie to walk just a couple of sections.
Based in Margaret River, in WA’s south-west, Cape to Cape Explorer Tours specialises in helping people to walk the track, whether it is on a self-guided walk, a half-day or full-day tour, or the ultimate – an end-to-end adventure.
The Cape to Cape Track, part of Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park, is rated among Australia’s top 10 long-distance walk, Drew tells me – and I soon see why. During the day, we walk over coastal heathland, along limestone ridges, look down on vast sweeps of deserted beaches and out to clear blue water, and spy crabs and other tiny creatures living in rock pools.
As we walk, Drew shares his extensive knowledge of the flora of the region (we encounter no fauna on this day).
“Most people choose to walk the track from north to south, but the beauty of it is that you don’t need to do it all,” he says, adding that the track, opened about 12 years ago, is now rated as one of the top 10 long distance walks in Australia.
Cape to Cape Explorer Tours takes maximum groups of 12 for end-to-enders, with comfortable accommodation at the end of each day. Of course, there is also the option of camping, but the track is not remote and civilisation is never far away.
Much of the track hugs the coast, but there are sections that loop inland, including part that goes through the magnificent Boranup karri forest.
Caves, cliffs, rocky headlands and other formations keep it interesting, and depending on the time of year, wildflowers add colour to the landscape.
In the afternoon, we find ourselves at Cosy Corner (one of the camping spots along the track), and Drew leads the way down to the shoreline. The limestone rock formations here – where the surf crashes against its wall – is etched with circular shafts creating blow-holes. It’s also, a closer look reveals, home to tiny colourful crabs.
The limestone cliffs along sections of the track are great vantage points to watch for dolphins and whales, and there are seats along the way. Just the place for that “I-was-here” photo, or just a well-earned rest!
Take my advice: if you can, plan to spend more than a day here.