Cape to Cape track – Cape Leeuwin, WA

I’ll start by admitting this is not an article about completing the whole track, but merely a couple of day jaunts while on our annual easter trip to Augusta. As the weather was not really conducive to our usual swimming adventures, I managed to convince a few of my fellow campers to join me on two Cape-to-Cape adventures.

Day one; with an ominous looking sky, we parked at the old water wheel near Cape Leeuwin lighthouse and set out in a northerly direction. Although only a short walk of a few kilometres, we were impressed at what we saw and the contrasting landscape within such a short stretch. It was truly beautiful but, it was reasonably hard work. I had not previously appreciated there are many parts of the track that involve walking (or trudging) across the beach on soft sand (as seen below).

Soft sand equals hard work

Nor had I appreciated that some parts of the track actually come very close to the water! A small section around the northern end of Quarry Bay involved some scrabbling across moss covered slippery rocks and through areas that quite obviously used to be enclosed caves with limestone divots, stalactites and tiny waterfalls.

Smallest water fall ever

By just making it around the corner of the bay, these treacherous (for walkers like me – I am no rock climber) areas then gave way to a spectacular coastline and views for miles. Just before reaching our destination of Skippy’s rock, we were able to look back at Cape Leeuwin lighthouse and marvel at the beauty of the region. By this time the sun was peeking out from the clouds and the day was glorious.

Cape Leeuwin lighthouse

Day two; a sunny autumn day and down to two walkers, we set out from Skippy’s rock and again headed north. This was a kilometre straight up hill through bush. Huffing and puffing and with quite a sweat up, we reached a fork in the path and decided to take the direction heading towards the coast. We were hoping for a view but instead we walked about 7 meters around the corner and found a bench seat.

The seat seemed to be facing in the direction of the ocean but had no view at all due to thick bush in front of it. Although obviously a great spot for tired walkers to rest and lunch, we were desperate to see where we were and what lay below. I climbed up onto the bench and gazed over the bush. I am very glad I did because this is what I saw…..

Now, as I said at the start, we were only interested in a couple of leisurely jaunts to enjoy the scenery and were on no mission to achieve a certain number of kilometres. From the vantage point of the bench, I was able to see; not only did the track carry on into thick bush but with internet reception, I was able to ascertain it turned slightly inland and would provide no stunning views for a number of kilometres. Feeling sweaty and satisfied with our views, we decided to head back to the rest of the family who were down at Skippy’s rock (a whole other story!).

Having previously walked several small sections of the track from the Cape Naturaliste end, I have mentioned to my husband many a time, that I would one day like to attempt the whole track. However, during our walk on Day one, we came across some very tricky parts of the track as well as some brave, fit looking, backpackers in their 20s who were only an hour or so away from completing the whole thing. As they staggered from the bush track out onto the road looking absolutely shattered, I realised what a gruelling mission it really is.

For those that are unaware, the Cape-to-Cape track is 123km stretching from Cape Naturaliste light house near Yallingup to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse just outside of Augusta. It is graded a level 4 bushwalk and it is recommended to be done over 5-8 days and for those with bush walking experience. After briefly quizzing the walkers we met about their experience, it turns out the hardest part is the number of times you need to walk across beach and soft sand. This is evidently brutal.

I found it hard as a semi fit middle aged woman in my hiking boots, walking for 1.5 hours carrying only a drink bottle. I think a semi fit middle aged woman carrying a pack with food and clothes for 5-8 days is a whole different scenario. Difficult would not be the word. I am thinking more like………… insane.

I have since reviewed my aspirations to walk the whole track and decided, for me, leisurely day walks are the best and safest way to go!


The quirks of Augusta – Western Australia

The beauty of travel is the ability to change things up. Even in a place you think you know inside out, you can be surprised by what you might find if you choose to do things a bit differently.

We have visited Augusta at least twice a year for the last 8 years, yet something simple like renting an Air Bnb in the middle of town instead of our usual camping spot, makes the same place feel remarkably different.

This weekend our accomodation has been the ground floor of a stunning house perched high on the hills above the Blackwood River. Without a doubt, its most impressive feature is the deck and its view over the river. Ideally situated, it is 100m from the best coffee shop (The Deck Chair cafe), 100m from the river and 20m from the quirkiest shop in the south west (I still don’t know what it is actually called)! Master 13 wouldn’t want me to forget it is roughly 500m from Augusta Bakery.

View of the Blackwood river

Being winter, when we usually visit in summer or early Autumn, our activities were always going to be different to normal. This time, instead of spending most of our time in the water, we spent it wandering along the river and exploring shops. On our first afternoon we walked up to the bakery for the obligatory pie.

It was on the way back we met our first quirky character who happened to be a French bulldog wearing a pink coat. His owners had headed into the Thousand Suns cafe and left him to fend for himself in the Nissan Patrol (don’t worry it wasn’t a stinking hot day or anything). He had decided their time was up and was literally beeping the horn at them! It was so funny! At various intervals he would jump onto the drivers seat, stand on his hind feet and pump both front feet on the horn! Master 13 and I couldn’t believe our eyes or ears!

From here we strolled on down the road and into the shop opposite our holiday house. The outside gave only a glimpse of what treasures lay within. A few puzzles, towels and games were displayed but once you were in, you didn’t know where to look first!

There were books everywhere, all categorised and labelled, some new, some second hand. There were ornaments, nick nacks, mugs, lunch boxes, games, puzzles, records, audio books, crafts, jewellery, kids toys ……. it was very quirky! I was astounded by the shop itself, the shop owners who clearly have an astonishing eye for detail and a love for all things unusual and the behaviour of yet another dog! This time a Newfoundland whose owners led him slowly through the shop. He could barely fit in the isle but behaved like a saint. There was temptation all around and not once did he attempt to touch anything.

Throughout the whole weekend we met an array of interesting dogs. We walked along the path from the boat ramp at the bottom of our street around the river to the Colourpatch cafe. It was a lovely morning, we saw people fishing, black swans and frolicking dolphins. Unusually, there was not a single pelican. These quirky birds normally frequent this area and I always find their antics interesting, but no such luck on this visit. Instead we saw dog after dog, big small and everything in between.

River Ramble

We were disappointed to find the Colourpatch closed (Sunday morning on a long weekend?!) but knew exactly where to head for our coffee fix. At The Deck Chair cafe in the centre of town, Yahava coffee in hand we watched a French Bulldog puppy and a Dachshund socialising and a sleepy Chihuahua whose eyes kept closing while he sat bolt upright!

To finish our weekend away, this morning we headed to the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse. This is where the Southern and Indian oceans meet in an aggressive and spectacular fashion, although today was surprisingly calm. We have been many times over the years but wanted to check out the new interpretive centre in one of the old light keeper’s cottages.

We enjoyed the centre and thought that the $20 fee per family was reasonable (some of these types of things are grossly over priced). The interactive element was great for the kids, who particularly enjoyed the quirky photos that came to life.

So another successful, yet different trip to Augusta! This has been the first real opportunity in months to get away and break the cycle of what has been quite a trying time for everyone around us. It is quite fitting it has fallen on the Western Australia Day long weekend. I am fairly certain we are all appreciative of what it means to live here in WA this year more than any other!

The dogs of WA are enjoying getting out and about too!


Canal rocks, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park – WA

With social distancing firmly in place and weeks of staying at home, we were in need of a new outing for fresh air. Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, here in WA we have lucky to be able to go out for exercise or mental health purposes as long as you follow the rules. We can only be in a group of two, or in a family group (who all live in the same house) and only within our local area.

So far, we have been for upteen bike rides and visited the same coffee shop almost daily. We are enjoying our new routine, but today being Sunday and a family day, we wanted to break out and do something different.

We jumped in the car and headed to Canal Rocks in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. This has long been a favourite of mine and a place we often visit in winter or on a windy day. Today was one such day. When the swell is large, the waves crashing over the rocks here is nothing short of spectacular.

To get the best view, we like to climb up on the rocks and then sit watching. Little Miss 10 other wise known as ‘mountain goat’ took off up to the top in seconds. Dad scrambled to keep up with her, while Mr 12 and I took our time climbing up.

The colours up there were utterly breathtaking. The red rocks contrasting with the blue of the sky and green of the ocean. The white/grey whisper of clouds enhancing the dramatic outlook. Even Mr 12, the most reluctant of us was captivated.

The visit however, is not complete without a walk over the bridge that crosses the canal. Here you can see down into the water before searching for crabs in amongst the rock pools on the far side. But, be sure to watch for waves! It is not uncommon for waves to wash right over the bridge and anyone standing upon it!

We certainly felt we had a blast of fresh air and were newly invigorated as we headed towards Dunsborough and our lunch. There was only one way to complete an Aussie morning out and that was with a pie. Tas’s Bakery is a favourite of ours for one particular pie……….. the surfies pie. For those that have not had the pleasure of eating one of these, it is a meat pie bottom with a top to die for. This consists of a layer of bacon pieces, an egg and is finished with a layer of crispy cheese. IT. IS. SO. GOOD.

I am sorry but I didn’t get a photo before I greedily consumed it!

Another great day out travelling our local area.