Cape to Cape, step by step: Walk into Luxury Cape to Cape Walk
The Cape to Cape track in Australia’s Margaret River region encompasses a spectacular range of natural landscapes. Tessa Gallagher took in the highlights of the 135-kilometre stretch over four memorable days.
By Tessa Gallagher | Published #69, Autumn 2017
The Margaret River region in Western Australian is renowned for its waves and wine, as well as its stunning natural landscapes. The coastline is reminiscent of the Mediterranean, with turquoise oceans, white sandy beaches, sweeping vistas, coastal cliffs, fascinating caves and towering karri forests.
It is this special pocket in the south-west corner of Western Australia that has attracted surfers, foodies, beach lovers, wine connoisseurs and those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, each enjoying their own piece of ‘Margie’s magic.’ The area also has one of the most incredible walks in Australia – the Cape to Cape track – which starts three hours south of Perth at the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and runs along the spine of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, ending 135 kilometres south at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.
Walk into Luxury’s four-day Margaret River Cape to Cape Walk last year became the state’s first inclusion on the exclusive Great Walks of Australia list. It seems the rest of Australia is starting to appreciate what West Australians have always known – this track is truly something special.
Having fallen in love with the Cape to Cape, Walk into Luxury owner Nikki King decided to up the ante and design an adventure that would allow guests to experience the track in complete style. The four-day walk involves the best chunks of the track, with luxury accommodation, post-walk massages, gourmet breakfasts, sumptuous picnic lunches and some memorable meals at the region’s best restaurants. It is a luxurious experience that wouldn’t look out of place on a travel bucket list.
Driving into Injidup Spa Retreat on a crisp and sunny Sunday morning is like entering some kind of dream world. A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Injidup is an intimate coastal retreat that promises tranquillity, indulgence and fabulous ocean views, and more than delivers it. There are only 10 villas here – all with their own plunge pool and decked terrace – which look out onto breathtaking 180-degree Indian Ocean views. There’s a kitchen, two bedrooms (each with an enormous ensuite), heated flooring, an open eco-fireplace and spectacular floor-to-ceiling windows.
A Walk into Luxury backpack greets me in my room, a sign of the attention to detail that lies ahead. It comes with a refrigerated cooling section at the front, a hint of our epic picnic lunches to come. The water bottle, sunscreen, wet wipes, Band-aids and itinerary that come tucked inside the backpack become my lifeline for the somewhat gentle introduction to the hike – a five-kilometre walk from the stunning Smiths Beach back to our luxury digs.
I join my three fellow walkers for spectacular clifftop sunset drinks that night, although I’m not alone in my desire to get to bed early with the promise of so much to see, do and eat over the next few days.
After waking to the blissful sounds of waves crashing on Injidup beach, I tuck into the gourmet breakfast hamper (all locally sourced produce) before meeting our driver and knowledgeable guides, Dean and Diane, at 8am for our drive to Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. The Walk into Luxury team have chosen the best and most diverse parts of the walk for our four days and today, we’re conquering the 14-kilometre track to Yallingup.
The first three kilometres are all boardwalk and the track slopes gently down to Sugarloaf Rock but things get a bit tougher as we cruise past Three Bears surf break and to the beach before heading inland on a 4WD track and then hitting Yallingup beach. While the walking can be intense in some parts, Dean and Diane make sure it’s never too strenuous or too easy. We stop plenty of times, often to check out the wildflowers and native animals, take snaps of the spectacular scenery or chow down on our gourmet provisions courtesy of local gourmet deli, Lamont’s.
I have my neck craned towards the coastline for most of the walk, such is its awesome beauty, and a few hours later, we’re in awe at the distance we’ve covered, all without seeing more than a handful of other hikers.
I can’t resist a post-hike nap back at Injidup before we’re taken to Ngilgi Cave for a private tour and eerily beautiful didgeridoo performance, a standout memory from the trip. A four-course dinner with matched wine at one of the best restaurants in the south west, Cape Lodge, is the perfect ending to an incredible day. I devour a meal of zucchini flowers, Exmouth goldband snapper, pork belly and a chocolate emulsion that has me practically rolling out of the restaurant.
Not surprisingly, the next day brings a new appetite and after a bowl of local granola and yoghurt enjoyed in the morning sunshine, we’re transferred to Redgate Beach for our stunning walk to Boranup – a 14-kilometre track that takes in the majestic sights of Bob’s Hollow, Contos Beach and the towering karri and jarrah trees of Boranup forest. Lunch today comes courtesy of Blue Ginger Foods and when we (frequently) stop to snack and take photos, Dean and Diane talk passionately about the landscape and history of the area, never tired of being peppered with questions. I’m definitely a little stiff and sore by the end of the day but so high on natural beauty and endorphins, that I can’t wipe the smile off my face. I’m grateful not to have to leave Injidup tonight but instead mosey down to reception where a local chef cooks us up a gourmet barbecue feast, chock full of local produce.
Sore calf muscles wake me up the next morning but it’s the last day and we only have a measly (in comparison!) eight kilometres to hike. Another delicious breakfast gets polished off before we’re driven to Moses Rock for our walk to the Wilyabrup sea cliffs. It is a track that rises high over several large limestone headlands before heading up on to the stunning sea cliffs that form the famous climbing buttresses of Wilyabrup cliffs. Four days in and I still can’t get over the wide variety of terrain we’ve covered – limestone cliffs, caves, coastal bushland, forest and beaches. It is a truly spectacular hike and I feel privileged to have experienced it.
A four-course lunch with matched wine at the award-winning Wills Domain Winery seems a fitting way to end this adventure and we toast an incredible few days over pickled seaweed, grilled marron, short rib and cider-poached apples.
The writer travelled as a guest of Walk into Luxury.
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Weather to go
Summer in Margaret River is dry and warm and runs between December and February. Winter is from June to August and is cool and wet. Generally, temperatures are mild year-round.
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