Cape To Cape North to South – Nov 2019 by Chrissie Fearon
Its fair to say that I signed up for the Cape to Cape, WA track knowing very little other than it’s an iconic experience aspired to by hikers. My saving grace was that I opted for a group tour guide option that promised to ensure that all I had to do was turn up with the right gear, fitness and attitude and they would supply the rest – lunch, dinner, accommodation and local tour guide. Cape to Cape Explorer Tours – more then delivered on this! I found out during my trip that more than 50% of hikers choose to experience the track this way. With many more choosing to accomplish the track in sections with a day or two’s rest in between. Being the person I am – I chose the 7 days, 8 night back to back experience.
Fortunately I had spent the winter months getting plenty of hiking experience in by walking with a local Perth group The Hike Collective. I learned later that both The Hike Collective and Cape to Cape Explorer Tours (collaborators) had just won silver awards at the 2019 WA Tourism awards. Being a non -native to WA (resident for 8yrs), bush safety, understanding the WA countryside and landscape was a big factor for me. Both of these organisations more than ticked the boxes for me.
I walked the track in November 2019, with 7 other walking companions (strangers at the start), we were the last of the seasonal tour groups for 2019. For this walk, we walked north to south, which I was pretty thankful of later, as it allowed us to build up our fitness with 2 of the ‘stamina’ walks being on the 6th & 7th day with 7kms and 11kms of beach walking respectively.
One of the benefits of walking the track with a tour guide (apart from the obvious safety aspects) is that they also know the history and landscape of the area that you are walking through. Each day there was a different theme – geology, marine life, flora, fauna, aboriginal culture and settlement history. I found this to be a great “value add” to my walk and I certainly finished the walk feeling that I was more connected to this wonderful landscape of WA.
Having only ever done single day hikes previously, there are a couple of points of difference for a back to back multiday day hike. Water intake – scrimping on daily water intake (to minimise toileting) will catch up with you very quickly. The Cape to Cape does have bush toilets (of various star ratings) except for day 7 (Cosy Corner to Cape Leeuwin). At some point - expect to ‘pee’ in the bush – take toileting supplies. Ensure that your boots are well worn in. Poor shoe choices and foot care will end your hike. One of our group members had to pull out because of this. Have a good residual fitness – its not a tough hike, but it is long. Stamina and some mindfulness is beneficial especially when facing long hot stretches on the sand.
The Cape to Cape IS truly an iconic hike. Explorers are rewarded with stunning views and encounters with wildlife. Every day is different in terrain, vegetation, animals, coastline and townships. If you do get the chance, I would highly recommend putting this on your bucket list!
Day From => To (Distance)
Day 1: Naturaliste => Yallingup (13km)
Day 2: Yallingup = > Moses Rock (17km)
Day 3: Moses Rock = > Gracetown (13km)
Day 4: Gracetown = > Gnarabup (20km)
Day 5: Gnarabup = > Boranup Forest (21.5km)
Day 6: Boranup Forest => Cosy Corner (20.5km)
Day 7: Cosy Corner = > Cape Leeuwin (19km)
Photos courtesy of Hike Collective
Ensure the you can walk at least 20kms in a day
Have a base residual fitness
Can climb and descend steep steps (knees, hips and ankles)
Have worn in your hiking boots
Track is very training shoe friendly – however training shoes are not sand friendly => increased chance of blisters
Carry at least 2L of water per day
Good health lunch – and snacks
Walking pole – great for steadying up / down
Carry a snake bite kit and first aid