Day 1 – Dunsborough to Yallingup – 14km
This day started with an early start to the bus stop to catch the bus to Dunsborough for 8:30am and we arrived at 2pm. We found a deli with some great sandwiches – avocado, turkey and cranberry mmmmmmm. The info center was open which was amazing you would think Sunday it wouldn’t be a problem but what we soon noticed something about western Australia – nothing is open late. Open hours are 8-5 and closed on Sundays really where are we?
We are still 14km from where the trailhead it starts at Cape Natraliste so the nice lady at the info center called a cab for us. The last and pretty much the only thing the cab driver said was ‘ oh your hiking watch for snakes’ yeah thanks tips. Ate our sandwiches at the trailhead, took some pics of the lighthouse, signed in on track logbook. Today was going to be a short day but we had to move fast as we had to be to our campground by 6pm, as it gets dark early. The first part of the trail was paved and already we were seeing bobtails. Lizard creatures.
Today the trail was very coastal and the beaches were awesome but we didn’t see any other hikers just lots of surfers. 3 hours later we reached Yallingup the town we would stay in for the night. It took us 3 hours and we covered 14km so pretty easy today but a late start.
Our campsite was very exposed to the wind off the ocean so we froze that night. We thought we were smart and would pack nice and light so we brought this sleep sheet that was supposed to increase warmth in a sleeping bag an extra 8 degrees but alone not so warm.
Day 2 – Yallingup to Gracetown – 32 km
We planned an early start, which is really easy here as the sun is up at 5am and it’s already warm out. I think it was warmer outside of the tent. The campgrounds here are amazing they have camp kitchens with everything – toasters, microwave, kettles, stoves, BBQ’s fridges and sinks. They don’t have small animals and the birds don’t beg for food or raid your food if you put it down and walk away; odd concept.
The first part of the day was great with coastal views and easy walking. A bobtail almost attacked Phil, as he was about to give me the camera. I said ‘oh come this way’ so stepped backwards ‘no this way’ so he looked down the bobtail was between his legs with his mouth wide open and it was hissing. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture; to busy laughing. I don’t think I’ve heard Phil scream like a girl before.
Today was hard it was a long hot day the trail varied from doublewide track where we saw 2 snakes. The first one ran towards me but I didn’t see it until it headed into the brush so I only saw the back half. I jumped to the other side of the trail and grabbed Phil and yelled. The second snake also on a double wide trail Phil ran down the trail on the right and I was running on the left; I decided to stop running at the crest of a hill and Phil ran to the bottom. I looked down trail and I saw a big black thing so I yelled to Phil. ‘Ah Phil what is that on the trail? A snake…what you just ran right past it and it didn’t even move. I cautiously walked down the trail not to disturb the snake and Phil got closer for some pictures it was either sleeping or dead. We had no idea if it was poisonous or not at the time.
Now paranoid of snakes our eyes were peeled to the trail to make sure not to miss the next snake, as we didn’t want to step on a snake. The next 10km of the trail was really over grown and in the middle of nowhere. Phil led this section as I was too freaked out and everything looked like a snake now. Every piece of wood, stick, rock, or leaf.
I looked up at the hills for a break andsomething caught my eye in the distance; why was there a table on top of the hill and then it sat up holy sh*t is that a kangaroo it looks like a creature from Jurassic Park; my god it was HUGE! Phil looked thru the camera zoom lens to see there were lots of kangaroos up on the hill.
Around 5pm we are now wondering where is Gracetown we should be there already, corner after corner after corner and then there it was hidden in a bay just off the ocean. Approaching the car park we could see the town about 600m to the right but no campground. We asked this guy sitting in his truck watching the surf drinking a road pop where the campground was he pointed up the road and said 3km that way. We must have looked just exhausted he offered to give us a ride as the store in town was already closed; yet again closed at 5pm. Jumped in his truck and headed to the campground he was a super nice guy with his arms covered with tattoos and 3 surf boards in the back he looked like a regular surfer down here. Chatting along the way he was much surprised that we had come all the way from Yallingup today. His name was Smarty and he offered to give us a ride into town to buy for food if the campground didn’t have enough for us so he waited while we checked it out. There was food to consume so we said good-bye to our buddy Smarty; drinking his road pops.
Very bonked we drank a Coke so we could think again -set up camp made food and went to bed; another great cooking area at this campground.
Day 3 – Gracetown to Prevally – 21km
Camping was a lot warmer in Gracetown so we didn’t freeze but still pretty cold. Our new thermasrest the Neo Air were really warm the part of the body on the mat was warm and the rest was cold.
The guy running the campground gave us a ride into town at 8:30am. There wasn’t much in this general store to buy but we needed to replenish some snacks for the day. Sitting outside the store eating breakfast our buddy Smarty pulled up to buy another 6-pack.
A later start today but we only had 20km so not a big deal. The surf was amazing this morning and the surfers were loving it. First Goanna sighting today big lizard creature – I had a universal symbol for crazy creature on the trail it was stop suddenly with arms straight up like a stick up. We didn’t see any hikers today just one guy from Vancouver as we approached the Margaret River mouth and soon to be in Prevally. This guy was camped up the beach but he ran out of money so he was hiding out until he had money transferred to him.
Reaching Prevally was a relief as it was only 3pm so this would leave us lots of time to recover and get ready for tomorrow. Tonight we decided to rent a cabin instead of shivering in our tent – what a great idea. The food at the general store was really expensive here but we needed to replenish our food stocks as we had run low. Night came at 7pm.
Day 4 – Prevally to Hamelin Bay – 42km
Up early and already packed left at 6:30am up the trail to find out there was a detour so we had to walk all the way back to the campground and around to the other side of town and onto the beach. There were fires on the trail so we couldn’t go that way too bad we didn’t know this earlier.
Approaching a big cave in the side of the hill there was a group of 14 hikers taking a break. We chatted with them for a few minutes, took some pictures. They were doing day hikes and someone would meet them everyday to take them to a campground. The trail now was heading away from the Ocean and up into the hills. There was always rustling in the bushes but you didn’t know if it was a little lizard or a snake until you saw it. Something caught my eye as I look to the side of the trail it’s a snake making it’s way through the brush beside us another big one. ‘Phil come this way quickly’ as we jumped forward it made it’s away in the opposite direction.
Reaching the next campground that seemed closed had running water in the washrooms so we filled up with water. It was a really hot day and we still had 20km to go. On our way out of the next campground we met up with a big group of kids and adults. It was the same group we saw in Prevally just after the Margaret River mouth. They had just hiked in from the road it was about 11am they were shocked to see we were there already.
Following our map it was all 4wd roads with real names, which seemed weird but it travelled thru the Karri National Park. (Karri is a tree) It was stinking hot and the trail seemed to go forever we knew we would soon hit the beach and when that happened we would only have 6km left. It was double track and up and down hills so we started running we knew we would run out of water soon so we had to make some fast time, Just before we reached the beach we both ran out of water so we had one 600ml bottle of Powerade to share for the next 6km. The beach was most amazing the surf was gentle we just wanted to go for a swim to cool off but instead we kept trekking, The destination was in sight around this bay to the end of the beach we could see if forever and it seemed like forever. 2 hours later we reached a car park and asked this couple that were French that spoke broken English where the campground was he explained up the hill down the road across the path to the end but it closes at 4pm and it’s 3:50pm. What are you kidding me what campground closes at 4pm?
So just like the amazing race style we start running down the road across the trail; thru the campground and reached the office at 3:55pm. There were a few weird looks from the other campers but we made it just in time loaded up on some more food and the nice lady at the campground decided she could open her till for us so we could buy it.
Another great campsite and lots of friendly people; we were known as the walkers. Visited with a family from Switzerland that night, Phil made friends with some fisherman who told him the snakes we saw were dugite snakes poisonous of course someone earlier had said they were pythons.
Day 5 – Hamelin Bay to Cape Leeuwin – 26km
Up at 5am and survived the craziest thunder lightning storm ever; the flashing in the tent woke me up at 2am it went on for hours without any rain. At about 4am it finally started to rain and the lightning continued and so did the thunder. Around 5am the ground rumbled it was horribly loud and that’s when Phil said that’s enough lets get out of here and head to the laundry room. Sorting our stuff in the laundry room; the rain let up so we ended up leaving at 7:30am. It was a super hot night; we didn’t freeze we were almost too hot.
Finally the last day and not much food left; being so rushed yesterday in the store we didn’t buy very much well there wasn’t really that much to buy anyways. Chicken Curry Pasta with Pepperoni Sausage was breakfast. This was a mistake.
The air was muggy from the storm; which makes the flies really bad apparently. Being from Canada we have never experienced this before, flies crawling on you all the time this drove us nuts. In your ears, eyes, on your sunglasses, crawling on your neck…they rested on the packs.
The last day had one of the more amazing coast lines with lots of rock caves from the waves, there were crabs running from us and the birds were fishing. A long beach walk ahead we knew it was going to be hard as the sand was soft so we found ourselves following in someone else’s tracks the whole 10km. The lighthouse was in sight very early on in the day but it was still a long way off.
Finally reaching the end of the trail signed out in the logbook and then walked to the lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin – where the waters meet – Southern Ocean and Indian Ocean.
Someone else was standing there with a pack and he was from Germany and we had been following his footprints as he just finished the walk as well. The closest town to the end of the trail was Augusta and all the cabs were busy and we didn’t want to walk anymore so we hung out in the parking lot until we found the right person to ask for a ride. The first guy out of the lighthouse we started talking to and before you knew it we had a ride into town he also gave us a tour of Augusta.
Stayed in the Youth Hostel that night lucky for us they had only one room left; Phil made a great dinner and finally ate some fresh fruit and vegetables again.
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