A couple of years ago Sarah and I completed all the sections of the Cape to Cape track from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin which is a long distance (135KM) footpath in the South West, Western Australia. We have also looked for some good circular tracks along and around the cape to cape track. We have found what we think is a great section due to the flexbility of route choices and facilities. The route we undertook started in Yallingup and led to Canal Rocks where we returned via an inland track and continued onto another loop out the north side of Yallingup. The map below shows the route we took and links into Garmin for a more detailed view.
The stats are as follows: Distance 18.51 km | Time 4:42:14 | Pace 15:15 min/km | Elev Gain 580 m. However this can be broken down into 3 sections so you don’t need to complete the whole loop that we did. I will explain the options in the route description below.
There are also 4-5 potential possiblities for a coffee!
Garmin Link to the route: Naturaliste Hiking
The walk starts in Yallingup, we started from the campsite but you can start from the main parking area if not staying in Yallingup. There is a coffee shop and toilets at the start of the walk.
Heading up to Slippery Rock there is often a coffee van in the mornings before heading off on the trail towards Smiths Beach. The first section of the trail has some incredible views down to Smiths beach and eventually Canal Rocks comes into view. There are a couple of lookouts along the way which are certainly worth a stop. The picture above shows the first option which is the Torpedo trail which covers some great viewpoints around the coast and then heads up to the shop/cafe and bakery at the top of Yallingup and covers a loop back to the start. We however continued onwards to join the Quenda trail taking us to Smiths beach along the coast.
The trail joins with the Cape to Cape track and then drops down onto Smiths Beach. At this point you could loop back on the Quenda trail if you did not want to go any further however we pushed on to the end of Smiths beach and continued following the cape to cape track towards Canal Rocks. There is a great coffee shop at the Lamonts resort just behind the dunes on Smith’s beach which is open most days although on a Tuesday and Wednesday it closes by 11:00 (we tried to grab a coffe on the way back and found it was already closed). The track on past Smith’s beach is another great track and winds through some rocky outcrops before eventually meeting Canal Rocks Road where you need to walk down the road to get to the rocks. Don’t go straight on as there is no access down to Canal Rocks if you continue on the Cape to Cape Track.
Canal Rocks is certainly worth a visit even if you are not walking there. It is about a 5 minute walk down the road to access the car park and the rocks. Exploring around the rocks can take as much or as little time as you wish. I have included a video of the rocks…
From Canal Rocks we re-traced our route back to Smiths Beach and onto the Cape to Cape Track. When we got to the junction of the Quesnda trail heading inland we took that for a more interesting return loop. The Quenda track then joined back to the Torpedo Track and we took a right hand turn to head up to where the campsite/bakery/shop and cafe are at the top of the hill in Yallingup. After a nice coffee we continued on the Torpedo track which is behind the bakery, you will see the sign on the left heading down the hill.
At the bottom of the hill you will come across the Ngilgi cave sign and pathway across the little bridge. This is the route we took which is a nice walk up to the cave. This cave is one of my favourite in margaret river and is self guided taking in two great caverns so certainly worth a visit.
Once reaching the Cave car park you can continue following the orange walking track signs which take you up to a lookout and onto our final loop before returning down onto Yallingup Beach. This loop is really nice heading uphill to the viewpoint and then eventually drops down heading west to the Ocean. We dropped down onto the beach as soon as possible before returning back to the campsite.
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