Hiking the Cape to Cape Trail, Australia

All hiking posts, Australia, Cape to Cape, Australia, Hiking

The Cape to Cape is a week-long 135km hike on the south-west coast of Australia.

The trail is really stunning. We hike over cliff tops (take sun cream!) with spectacular views of the turquoise sea. We walk through native forest, up and down sand dunes and along beaches. We pass stunning rock formations and hop over terrifying blowholes. We walk past a memorial for dead surfers, and then watch surfers tackling massive waves.

The Cape to Cape is an exhausting slog. Although not a technically difficult trail in any way, every step is through sand. Even when you’re not walking on the beach, you’re walking on sand. A week of hiking on this terrain is difficult! I think, “this is more exhausting than the Larapinta Trail!” a number of times.


We start the trail a few kilometres before Cape Naturaliste lighthouse, wild camping on a lovely beach


A typical view on the Cape to Cape


There’s A LOT of beach walking


Oohh, forest! Lovely! The sand is more compact, mixed with dirt


Amazing cliffs


The Cape to Cape is one giant slog through sand. If you don’t like the look of this photo, don’t contemplate doing the trail!


Some rock hopping into the next town


Lunch break


Beautiful, clear water


Quite possibly the Margaret River




Another lunch break as the rain clouds roll in


Much of this coast has massive waves. A sign warns us of the perils


Australians call this fuzzy tree the ‘black boy’. Australia, isn’t it high time that you stop using slang names like this??


Green as far as the eye can see


Eucalyptus forest (but still walking through sand!)


More sand





These blowholes are terrifying. The sea shoots up the holes in the rocks!


Lovely lime green seaweed and rock formations at the end of the trail

There are four designated free campsites on the trail. These are lovely – set amongst trees so that you’d barely know they were there. It really seems that the trail organisers have thought about how to minimise the impact of the walk.

We stay in one national park campsite in a lovely forest. The forest is a really welcome change to clifftop and beach walking!

We wild camp for one night in a magical little spot next to a little bridge. There are other good wild camping spots on route, so you don’t need to hop from campsite to campsite unless you’re out of water.

When it comes to wildlife, the trail doesn’t disappoint. We see seals, skinks, lizards, snakes, possums, lots of black cockatoos, and, of course, kangaroos. We even see a whale on its migration path (albeit pretty far away from us!)


“Possums, don’t lick the meths bottle!” we say to our new friends


Cockatoos are everywhere in the south-west




A very friendly skink



It is, however, sad to see signs for 1080 poison on the trail. It is nasty stuff, and the animals that eat the poison-laced baits die a slow and excrutiating death. I find it ironic that 1080 is laid here to preserve the native wildlife, such as the possum, and over the water in New Zealand, it’s dropped from the sky to kill possums.


We only see one other thru-hiker on this trail – a young American guy. Maybe it’s because we are doing it at the start of summer. We have every free campsite to ourselves.

The Cape to Cape is a good hike if you don’t have much time, as it’s so short. Unlike the Larapinta Trail, it doesn’t need much pre-planning at all. The trail goes through a few surf towns and past streets of rich people’s houses. You’re never that far away from civilisation, with some access roads on route.

We buy the guidebook just a couple of days before the hike, and before we know it, we’re walking!


Signing the logbook at the end of the walk


The end of the trail – where the Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean


The finish!


We also hiked the Larapinta Trail in the Outback. To read about our experience, click here.

11 thoughts on “Hiking the Cape to Cape Trail, Australia

  1. Nobody calls it black boy these days. We learnt at school 20 years ago that it’s a grass tree. There is re-education at schools these days to change the name,


      1. Hmm that’s very strange if they still call it that in the book. I know the older generation still call it that out of habit (like my parents for example) but most under 30 would have learnt grass tree.


  2. Great photos! I want to do this hike in early November – but planning already! This might be a silly question, but I like to hike with a hammock are there many stretches with no decent sized trees? I didn’t take the hammock on Larapinta because I was worried I might have trouble finding trees to hang from is some spots. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hi Sarah Jayne,
      sorry – I only just saw this comment! I think you’d be fine with a hammock. A lot of the trees are low, though – tea trees – but I think you’d be ok. There’s definitely many more trees than on the Larapinta..!


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