Cape to Cape Track
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Cape to Cape Track
Australia

The Cape to Cape Track in a long distance trail in south-west Australia, and runs along the coast from the lighthouse at Cape Naturaliste to the lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin.

The area is known as the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, and hikers come for the amazing natural beauty of sea, beaches and habitats.

Walking the length of this path is an achievement for any hiker, yet you can also choose to walks the easier sections if you prefer.

If you want to see what southern Australia has to offer for hikers, the Cape to Cape Track is a good place to begin.

Highlights
  • Ocean views
  • Sandy beaches
  • Forests
  • Wild flowers
  • Bird life
Walk Map
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About the route

At 135 kilometres long, this is a trail that is challenging enough for any hiker to complete, yet each day’s walking is achievable for most abilities.

The route mostly follows the coastline, but does dip inland into Jarrah Forest and Karri Forest. This adds diversity and some welcome shade!

Although this track can be walked in any direction, north to south is usually preferred.

This is so you can walk without the sun directed at your eyes, and you can ease yourself into the terrain that becomes more wild and challenging further south.

The northern part of the route has more access points, so ideal for those who prefer shorter day treks. The southern end of the route is more remote, giving you a wilderness experience.

No matter what the season, always take plenty of water with you.

You can access rainwater tanks at campsites, and there are streams and rivers, but water needs purification to make it drinkable.

Along the track you will come across small coastal towns, so you’ll be able to stock up on supplies and find accommodation other than camping.

  • Travel

Perth is the nearest major city to the northern trailhead at Cape Naturaliste. It is a 3.5 hour drive.

Augusta is the nearest town to the southern trailhead, about 6 kilometres away.

There are buses that stop near to the trail that run between Augusta, Margaret River, Dunsborough and Busselton.

If you are flying in from abroad, the nearest international airport is Perth.

  • Length

The Cape to Cape Track is 135 kilometres from start to finish. Most hikers take around 7 days to complete the route. It is possible to access different parts of the track if you prefer just to walk some sections.

There is lots to see and do in the surrounding areas of the Cape to Cape Track, so if you want to do some side trips, factor in a few more days to your trip.

  • Grade and difficulty of the walk

This route is graded 3.

Despite the length, the terrain is mostly moderate and most hikers of average fitness will be able to manage.

The path is well-trodden and primarily consists of rocks, sand, dirt tracks and some minor roads.

Some of the most difficult parts are the stretches of beach where the sand is soft, and this can make walking more of an effort. There is also some rocky areas.

The way is well-marked with yellow and white signs, making it simple to follow.

  • Experience

You do not need to be an expert to walk the Cape to Cape Track, although if you plan to complete the length as a multi-day hike, then having well worn-in boots and enough stamina is essential. However, you can also add rest days.

The way is mostly well-marked, so no navigational skills or equipment is needed, although it is useful to have a map with you to give you information on the area.

  • Permits

You do not need a permit to walk the Cape to Cape Track.

  • Guided or Self-Guided

This trail can be walked either self-guided or guided, and there are advantages and disadvantage with both.

There are companies that can provide guided walking trips, so you get the benefit of local knowledge and a group of fellow hikers to walk with. You also have you bags transported for you to your accommodation.

If you prefer to make your own itinerary, then a self-guided hike might be better. Even if you choose to walk independently, you can also arrange to have your bags shuttled to your next stop.

best time to walk

March to May, and September to November are the best times of year to walk the Cape to Cape Track. This is because the temperatures are warm, but not too hot for hiking.

The coastal route offers some breezes to make this a pleasant hike, although shade may be lacking along much of it.

At other times of the year, rivers may swell making crossing difficult, especially the Margaret River mouth. It is always worth asking other hikers or calling local tourist information centres before you begin that part of the hike.

  • A typical itinerary would be:

Day 1:
Cape Naturaliste to Yallingup: 14 kilometres.

Day 2:
Yallingup to Moses Rock Campsite: 21 kilometres.

Day 3:
Moses Rock Campsite to Ellensbrook: 19 kilometres.

Day 4:
Ellensbrook to Prevelly: 14 kilometres.

Day 5:
Prevelly to Point Road Campsite: 22 kilometres.

Day 6:
Point Road Campsite to Deepdene: 22 kilometres.

Day 7:
Deepdene to Cape Leeuwin: 18 kilometres.

Accommodation

There are camping grounds along the Cape to Cape Track itself and some of them are free, although basic.

For the free campsites, booking is not required. All campsites have water available, however it needs purification to make it safe to drink.

You will also find other accommodation options just off the track, especially in the small towns.

What to do

Spot different species of birds such as colourful parrots and cockatoos, honeyeaters and wrens, as well as birds of prey circling above the cliffs.

Out at sea, you might be able to spot dolphins. During winter and spring, look out for Humpback whales that visit the coast.

This area has a vast range of wild flowers that thrive among the rocks, heathland and in the forests.

The region is known for its hospitality. Around the Cape to Cape Track, there is plenty to opportunities to try fresh seafood and other cuisine.

Take a side trip to visit one of the many vineyards in the region.

Spend some time learning about the history of Ellensbrook Homestead, first built is 1857. It stayed in the family, who created a home for Aboriginal children.

Visit the lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin. Standing for over 100 years, the lighthouse marks the place where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet.

Published: January 7, 2020 Modified: January 13, 2020

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At a glance
Difficulty 3/5
Starts at Cape Naturaliste, Naturaliste WA 6281, Australia
Finishes at Leeuwin WA 6290, Australia
Length of route 135 Km
Average time to complete 6 - 8 Days
Possible to complete sub-sectionsYes
Highest pointUnknown
Permit requiredNo
Equipment neededCamping equipment, Poles if preferred, Trekking gear, walking boots, Water Supplies
Countries visited Australia

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