Gill Goes.... Trekking the Cape to Cape in Western Australia- South to North


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Oceania » Australia » Western Australia » Augusta
December 29th 2019
Published: March 13th 2020
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Cape To Cape Trail MarkerCape To Cape Trail MarkerCape To Cape Trail Marker

The new markers have replaced the very old ones. Friends of the Cape to Cape non-profit group were instrumental in the roll out
As was the case last year on enforced holidays over the Xmas break I needed to find somewhere to go for a multi-day hike, but where?

I looked at a lot of places overseas (prohibitively expensive for just a week) and then over east- Kangaroo Island, Great Ocean Way or anything at all in Tassie, but travelling east was also really, really expensive (Perth to Hobart was about $1200 return!!!!). Then there were widespread fires across almost the entire east coast so it was definitely out. So, resigned to the fact that I would self implode, I got very lucky - a weather window of opportunity opened up for doing the Cape to Cape again- highest temp for the week was predicted to be 27C - bearable. Once again it only took a day or so to get organised. Lucky moment number 2- my friend Meg was in Augusta for Xmas and offered to come pick me up from Cape Naturaliste (where I would leave my car) and drop me at Cape Leeuwin. Lucky moment number 3- I had pretty much enough dehydrated food supplies in the cupboard to put together some meals and all of my hiking and camping gear is always ready to go. I drew up a proposed itinerary and decided to mostly wing it with the campsites (with the exception of the DBCA run campsite at Contos Beach. I called them to inquire about availability as the booking page on the website showed that it was full for the entire week- last year I pre-booked the last spot and when I was there the campsite was nearly empty. Final lucky moment- the ranger said to come without a booking and she was sure it'd work out OK).

Day 1

29/12/19 Cape Leeuwin to Deepdeene (15.5km, 29 770 steps on the pedometer for today, 5hrs including lots of photos and a cup of tea break)

Drove from Perth to Cape Naturalise with one stop at the Bunbury Farmers Market for a coffee and their excellent lemon pistachio slice. Meg picked me up the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse car park ( I let the Dunsborough police know I was leaving the car there at my own risk) and we drove for over an hour to get to Augusta- lots of traffic. Got dropped at the lighthouse at 13:30. It was blowing a gale and promptly rained on me. Bliss! I had read somewhere that the advantage of a S-N hike apparently is a strong tail wind- however, not today, headwinds all the way.

It's quite a nice start, the first half an hour passing the old water wheel, the small rocky beach and then to the register to sign in (drenched). From here beach walking, sandy tracks, a big monitor lizard and rock hopping into a deserted Deepdene Campsite for Night 1. The last couple of hundered metres off the beach and into camp were the toughest of my day- my 2nd toes hurt, my R knee hurt and my R hip/groin wasn't happy either! Not impressed with myself... So, Deepdene- nicely sheltered and despite only 2 apparent areas to pitch my tent I must of walked between them half a dozen times to choose the better pitch. Ended up with the first one as you come into the campsite- it seemed more level. There was a bench/table combo at both spots and a short walk to the drop toilet (clean, lots of toilet rolls) and water tank. The water tank was about 1/3- 1/2 full, water clarity good and no smell. It was very
nice to get my shoes off and have some reheated dinner. Early to bed. Love my tent

Day 2

30/12/19 Deepdene to Hamelin Bay Caravan Park (10km, 20 582 steps on the pedometer, 3.5 hours-ish)

The sun was out (damn), up very early but not on the trail until well after 0800, there was no cause to rush as it would be such a short day. Hip and knee still sore, toes better. Retraced my steps back out to the beach for a long beach stretch, lots of shore birds around. The beach gave way to perhaps my favourite section- the jigsaw puzzle like blowhole rocks and stellar cliff views. I really enjoy rock hopping. There's a lot to see around the rocks- lots of crabs, good waves. It's not a difficult section at this time of year. Time to turn back inland after an hour and a half onto a sandy, spidery, hot inland trail (1 long skink, no snakes). Took a short break up by the small lighthouse- it's a generally unappealing area around the fenced off lighthouse but there's a small trail to a wooden bench overlooking the water- this is the place to
stop for an instant coffee and powdered milk! The plan was to overnight at the Hamelin Bay Caravan Park even though it would make the day short. I was happy to stick with the plan- it is one of the most beautiful spots on the walk- the bay is sensational- always stunning colours. Reached the shop before 12:00 and indulged in an overpriced yoghurt and cup of strong coffee from one of those machines. Headed up to the office and paid the single walker (last year I had paid $42 for a site- drop in walker rate this year was $25- good to have the $17 to spend at the shop!) before heading back to my designated area. The caretaker (who I met last year) and her husband are really lovely people, her husband brought me over a chair. Pitched the tent before having a SHOWER! So good! Entire afternoon spent reading by my own personal gas tank. Did wander up to the camp kitchen to boil some bore water (as recommended), it's always entertaining to sit up there for a while - listening to a bunch of kids playing spin the bottle - seems it's morphed into "punch or
SignageSignageSignage

Some of it is looking pretty old and broken but it's welcome to see
hug".

Another 2 hikers turned up late afternoon and pitched near me but were fairly quiet beyond exchanging a hello. Despite the CP being completely full, mostly of family groups, it was a quiet night.

Day 3

31/12/19 Hamelin Bay Caravan Park to Conto Campground (20km-ish, 35 596 steps on the pedometer, 6 hours)

05:45 I leave the caravan park - early start with a 21km day, the light on the sand is beautiful at this time of the day - reasonably compact beach sand for about 7km followed by a turn off the beach heading into the the Boranup Forest. Lots of hot, hilly 4WD tracks first though- it is so dry and hot, the March flies are challenging. I stop for a trail side breakfast at the 2 hour mark. Just a short walk from here is the forest- hooray- trees and shade. I meet up with my first end to end walker and hot on his heels a couple of girls also end to ending. Further into the forest i figure it's a good time for some coffee, I tell myself I have to slow down, there's no need to get into camp
early- one of the advantages of non-winter walking being that you have tons of time before sunset to pitch your tent. Disadvantage is also the sun- I usually just try to beat the heat - today- unsuccessfully. Even arriving into Contos before midday it's boiling- I am boiling. Face still red 4 hrs later. Tent pitched under the peppermints, I try to pick a spot without a massive branch overhead. Just next to my spot there is a big branch down- it doesn't look sawn off. Eek. There is the option of walking to the beach from here for a swim but I can't be bothered with anymore sun today. Afternoon spent sitting at the picnic table reading my book surrounded by 4 families who’s kids had a great time playing tag with walkie talkies. They are all wrecked and in bed before 8pm, I made it to 9pm. I wake up briefly some time after midnight to the sound of a car then some younger campers telling their mate to "just stay in the car, you'll be right" as they head over to their tent.

Happy New Year!

Day 4

1/1/20 Contos to Prevelly Caravan Park (18.63km, 34 891 steps on the pedometer, 6.5 hrs inc 1 hour break)

I was nervous about today. There were 2 sections concerning me- the cave system called Bob’s Hollow with a steep (but short) chain assisted section, and later a valley with a 300 stair climb out - last year I said to myself- really glad I’m coming down these steps! Happy to say both weren’t nearly as horrendous as I thought. Left Contos at 05:38 - beautiful cloudy start through scrubby bush with frequent stellar ocean views. Reached the Bob's Hollow cave system around 0630. All very easy downhill stuff. Nice walking with the towering limestone cliffs and the sound of water beneath in the caves. This is a popular section to day walk but given that it was so early on new years day there wasn't a soul to be seen. The chain ascent was a piece of cake this time and I enjoyed a short cup of tea break at the top. Great views.

From here onto soft sand then amethyst coloured compact sand. Several pied oyster catchers around the rocks. The compact sand was short lived- super soft Redgate Beach- harder than I remember with 2kms of soft... super soft sloping sand. Sweated about 2 litres. Pretty hot turning off the beach back into bush just before 0900! A surprised emu and a not surprised kangaroo today, still no snakes. Reached the shady Frank Mouritz Bridge and bench at 0920. The bridge crosses the Boodjidup Creek (named after the original founder of Friends of the Cape to Cape Assoc.) and luxuriated on the soft grass under a tree for an hour with about a litre of tea. Not much water in the Boodjidup Creek, very stagnant. Disappointingly there was a distinct lack of "leave no trace" with used toilet paper nearby and evidence of a camp. Hydrated and rested it was time to hit the stairs!

The last section of the day diverting into Prevelly CP is possibly the dullest point of the walk IMO, it's a brown sandy track and then a weave through the residential streets- it always feels a bit weird walking through streets with a full pack. Got a couple of toots and bemused looks. Luckily you end up back down at the beach on a temporay trail of sorts- dune preservation work in progress. Massive crowds on
Sandy StretchSandy StretchSandy Stretch

Relatively firm sand to walk on, lucky for me
the beaches. Arriving into the CP at 1220 I am desperate for a ham and salad roll and a coffee- like last year. This year it is not to be- the bakery didn't deliver so there isn't a breadcrumb in sight. The coffee was good though and they served up a really yum feta and spinach "sausage roll". Paid a decent rate on my patch of grass - I think it was about $18 - tent site tonight behind the shower block. Initially I thought it wasn't that great a spot but it was actually good- flat, grassy and near the kitchen and shower. The ablution block was a lot cleaner this year so I really enjoyed my shower! Also hit up the attached laundry to wash my sweaty hiking gear in their laundry sink and hang it on the hills hoist.

Then proceeded to sitting around in the camp kitchen area for a few hours. It was clean, plenty of fridge space, lots of chairs and tables and good recharging availability. Well utilised space, people were quite friendly. New Year's Day finished up at Surfers Point with probably 100 other people enjoying fish and chips (got to replace
the carbs/fat) and a Coke (sugar free).

Day 5

2/1/20 Prevelly to Moses Rock (35 ish km, 52 650 steps on the pedometer!!!!!!, 12 hours with >2 hrs of breaks)

0400- rain!

Day 5's plan was a relatively cruisy 23km starting off with a back track out of Prevelly to get back on the C2C. Had to pack up in the rain (!!!!), so glad I packed a rain jacket and my pack cover. I usually also line my pack with a waterproof liner and plastic bag my sleeping bag... but not this time. I'm sorry to admit that I stooped to stealing the plastic bin liner from the caravan park laundry room to cover my sleeping bag with (karma got me though as in the rush to pack up and subversively acquire the bag I left my Luci light behind 😒).

Anyway, back to the track. I was on the beach in light drizzle at 0613, a few other early birds around ... it's an easy beach crossing (summer means the mouth of the Margaret River is closed so there is no question about diversions, etc that exist for winter walkers) before climbing up
Beach Vegetation Beach Vegetation Beach Vegetation

Leading up to the Deepdene Campsite there's a small hill to get up and down, this is typical beach vegetation
to the cliffs and passing Cape Mentelle- very stunning, very windy. Back onto the beaches before once again climbing back up into the scrub and into Ellensbrook Camp (stayed there last year- very lovely, very green, lots of birdlife). Arrived into Ellensbrook at 0848 and enjoyed a slightly drizzly cuppa and snack on one of the picnic tables for 45 mins. Water tank and toilet in good shape, the homestead was closed for renovation.

Next stop Gracetown- reached there via coastal heath and cliff tops in time for lunch. Coming into the town is very picturesque, especially as you round the corner to Lefthanders - seal like surfers everywhere, 3 helicopter fly bys, no sharks. Still no snakes.

Excellent cafe- Gracies (ruben sandwich, awesome coffee and fresh fruit), where I felt so good after sitting for an hour or more, and it was only 1pm, I decided to keep going to Moses Rock campsite (another 10.5km- yeah, no problem). Had to completely fill back up on water and buy another 1.5L as the rumour was that the rain tanks there were close to empty. Leaving Gracetown is via a climb up a granite boulder headland- somewhat challenging with a lack of little sign markers and being fully loaded up again weight wise. Spectacular. Big waves. Little bit of flat sand, big dunes. Superb craggy cliffs (Wilyabrup Cliffs). One almighty bush track sand hill into Moses Rock at 18:15.

So windy - took the opportunity string my tent outer in the trees to dry out (which it did in about 10mins flat). Just finished setting up my camp when a dad and son arrived, followed by another couple. Ate a quick solo dinner (peanut butter and crackers) in the gale force winds at one of the tables before the rain started - no socialising tonight as everyone was forced into their tents pretty early.

Clocked in at about 35km- 52 650 steps today!

Great day.

Bit tired.

Day 6

3/1/20 Moses Rock to Mt Duckworth (23.8km, 41 322 steps on the pedometer, 8 hrs with a couple of hours breaks)

Remember that hip/groin pain from Day 1? Well, today after the massive yesterday it is completely gone!!! Remember my sore L 2nd toe? That doesn't hurt anymore either, the nailbed has a nice big bruise but it doesn't hurt.

Back
Night One DinnerNight One DinnerNight One Dinner

Last nights frozen leftovers make for a good night 1 meal, home dehydrated meals to follow
to the story- Day 6 got me into Yallingup (20.5 km)- met some 4WD campers and a marathon runner on the way before trudging through a (very) heavy down pour (thank you for the bin bag Prevelly, kept my stuff inside the backpack dry), actually got cold! Probably should have put my raincoat on earlier. Took in more dramatic cliffs, a couple of sets of stairs, soft beach sand and some very nicely placed bench seats. Coming into Yallingup was gorgeous- the colour of the ocean changed as the storm clouds lifted and the sun came out. Quite a bit of rock hopping (a really great section) before getting onto sinky Smith's Beach. Lots of people around.

Arrived at Yallingup Caravan Park about 1 pm. Kind of mapped out my afternoon of having a shower, etc but Yallingup Caravan Park wanted to charge me $54 for a last minute 2m spot on the grass - not even a real spot and it was non negotiable- peak season, etc, so I declined. Headed over to the cafe for lunch (and a bit of a sulk) - very large salad bowl (no small serves possible, although this worked out OK as I polished the rest off for dinner), sat for an hour before pushing on to Mt Duckworth (only another 3 kms). Just me and 2 young teenage BMX bike riders. Chilly night so in my tent by 7! I had my fingers crossed the boys weren't going to light fires to keep warm as it was blowing a gale and they seemed a bit under prepared (tent but no sleeping bags!).

So, a day ahead of schedule and i am feeling very good.

Day 7

4/1/20 Mt Duckworth to Cape Naturaliste (10.67km, 18 846 steps on the pedometer, )

I slept in! Didn't leave until 07:20! Very quick walk through 4 WD tracks and then sedge land up over the cliffs. Clear and sunny with lots of chatty day walkers coming towards me. Architectural masterpiece set of stairs to go down to the beach, a 700m stretch of beach (tops) before ascending another architectural masterpiece set of stairs. Ate my last ziploc bag of rehydrated oats perched on a fence while the surfers all sat on the comfortable bench. Very nice relaxed last breakfast with such a short walk ahead and no real time constraint. From there it was another 3.5km into the lighthouse on accessible path. The sign in/out book is duly completed. The lighthouse is visible for the whole time and is quite a tame walk in, especially as after you walk through the visitors centre it is a bitumen paved pathway/road right up to the actual lighthouse. There is definitely a much bigger wow factor when you reach the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse.

10:15- C2C S2N complete! Woohoo!

But before heading home ...Had to have scones with cream and jam and a large coffee to celebrate! And...the car was still there, unscathed.

That's it...

Maybe 135km.

Superb.



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Note- Having done the walk now in both directions I would say that if you are only going to do it once go North to South as the landscape beauty builds and builds. If you're local to WA like me I don't think it matters which way you go at this time of the year, there is no real difference in difficulty. The sun angles weren't appreciably different, neither was the wind. Don't over pack with food- there are so many options for buying supplies. I didn't
have a guidebook this year (https://walkingtwobytwo.com/2018/06/20/the-capes-guidebook-on-the-cape-to-cape/ which was great last year but I had given it away) only the maps (which I didn't use at all). I bought the Cape to Cape App https://www.capetocapeguide.com.au/ which I did use. It's a good app (8/10) but only goes North to South, it'd be great (10/10) if it went both ways! I also used the Friends of The Cape To Cape website again as a refresher.

http://www.capetocapetrack.com.au/

If you want to have a read of my north to south from last year here is the link

https://www.travelblog.org/Oceania/Australia/Western-Australia/Augusta/blog-1029497.html



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Familiar treated pine log steps


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