The Cape to Cape Track is Australia’s longest coastal trail. If you enjoy multi day hikes, and prefer camping in the bush rather than sleeping in a cosy bed, the Cape to Cape Track is definitely for you! The trail has 135 km in total, runs through immensely beautiful Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, and features spectacular landscapes. You will be given an opportunity to see some of the best places in Margaret River in Western Australia. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you all you need to know about the Cape to Cape Track.
The 135 km Cape to Cape Track is Australia’s longest coastal trail. It usually takes 4 – 7 days to do it. The walking track goes through Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, and stretches between Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. The Water Wheel is the official end of the Cape to Cape Track, but the truth is that everyone goes a few extra kilometres to touch the second lighthouse. Read more about the trail and find out how to plan the hike in a separate post with the Cape to Cape Track: 7-day itinerary.
The Cape to Cape Track goes along the coast with several inland loops. Good news is that it’s not boring at all. The scenery changes every day. The beach stretches remain the greatest challenge of this hike. So be prepared for that! If you are experienced in hiking you can definitely do the Cape to Cape Track unsupported, carrying all the necessary equipment on you. If you don’t feel like doing it by yourself, there’re some companies offering self-guided or guided Cape to Cape trips. I recommend the first option though.
The Cape to Cape Track is an amazing adventure, but it also requires a good level of fitness and some experience in long distance hiking. The toughest part for me was to carry all the necessary equipment on my back for such a long time. Even though I took the bare minimum with myself, my backpack was quite heavy, and it gave me a hard time, especially when I was walking on the beach. The trail itself is not difficult. The total distance, and the long sandy stretches should be your main concern. Focus on your endurance.
The trail is marked quite well, except the beach sections. When the walking track goes down to the beach, there’re no more signs until you walk uphill again. So it may be tricky sometimes to recognise the point where you should exit the beach. I mainly followed the signs and used google maps from time to time to double-check if I’m heading in the right direction. Internet works only close to the towns. So the best thing you can do is to download the map of Margaret River region, and check if it works offline before you go.
What is the best time to hike the Cape to Cape Track? Make sure to check the weather forecast for Margaret River in Western Australia. This will let you know what to expect. The trail is open all year round, but the best time to do this hike is Australia’s spring and autumn. These seasons are definitely hikers friendly as the temperature is not too high. I did the Cape to Cape Track in December, which is Australia’s summer. Some days were super hot, and night surprisingly cold. Warm clothes come in handy! Don’t forget to pack them.
Most people start the Cape to Cape Track at Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, and head towards Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. It’s obvious that if you leave your car at the first lighthouse, you will have to get back there after the hike. This is how you can do it. Take a taxi from Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse to Augusta, catch a bus to Dunsborough, and then take another taxi to Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. This is exactly what I did to pick up my car. A day entry fee of AUD 15 for a vehicle applies for entering Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.
Camping is possible at national park campsites or private caravan parks. National park campsites have basic facilities such as toilets and picnic tables. You can camp for free at most of them. Some sections of the Cape to Cape Track include caravan parks only, so you have no other choice than staying a night there. That will cost you more, but at least you can take a shower and charge your devices. Don’t forget to make a booking. Read more about camping in a separate post with the Cape to Cape Track: 7-day itinerary.
Packing light for a multi day hike is a key to success. You do need to take all necessary gear with yourself, but remember that every extra kilogram will make your life harder. In my opinion this is the bare minimum: ultralight tent (it’s worth the money), sleeping bag (be mindful that nights can be very cold), power banks (you will have an opportunity to charge your devices every two days on average), fly net (don’t go without it), headlight, ear plugs (needed to survive a night out in the bush), cosmetics, toilet paper, water and food.
You don’t have to take water for the entire hike with yourself. There will be some grocery shops along the way. National park campsites also have rainwater tanks. Bad news is that they should not be solely relied on, especially in summer. I didn’t have any troubles with refilling my bottles even though I hiked the Cape to Cape Track in December. Nevertheless, I would definitely recommend having at least 5 liters of water in your backpack every day. Just a reminder. Tank water needs to be treated or boiled prior to consumption.
What else do you need to know about the Cape to Cape Track before you go? I have some good news again. You don’t have to take food for the entire hike. There are towns along the way where you can buy some groceries or even grab a coffee. Private caravan parks sell some basic products too. They are overpriced, but you can’t be too choosy. It’s reasonable to carry a food supply for at least 2 – 3 days though. Read more about locations of grocery shops in a separate post that includes the Cape to Cape Track: 7-day itinerary.
This is all you need to know about the Cape to Cape Track. Do you think you can finish this hike in 5 days? Let me know by leaving a comment below!