Destination: Cape To Cape Track

by Julia D’Orazio & Tom Lucey

Destination: Cape To Cape Track

Travel writer Julia D'Orazio recently embarked on one of Australia's top coastal walks - the Cape To Cape Track - and certainly found she had something to write about. The landscapes, the weather, the native flora and fauna, all were on vibrant display. Her destination guide here gives a full insight into the 125km trail in Western Australia that thousands of Australians hike each year.


Cape To Cape Track is regarded as one of Australia's top coastal walks. Fringing the Indian Ocean, the legendary 125km moderate route connects two heritage-listed lighthouses - Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin - and Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park in the country's southwest. Avid walkers are treated to spectacular sceneries throughout, from treading verdant heaths, clifftop trails, rocky terrain, isolated beaches and under the canopy of towering karri trees and woodlands to end where two oceans meet. Along the way, spot surfers chasing waves, whales splashing at sea, and birds playing coastal guard. At every head turn, the trail astounds. Conquering the track can take four to seven days, depending on fitness level and eagerness to finish in record time! The track can also be enjoyed in smaller sections if not up for the marathon meander along the coast, with shorter half-day or full-day trails available. We opted to complete the trail from Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse to Gracetown as time was not on our side.

Trail Vitals

Total Distance: 125km one-way

Total Days To Complete: 4-7 days, depending on speed (and if you are up for the challenge!)

Start: Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and finish at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, Augusta, Western Australia. The track can also be done vice versa.

Sections: 18

Shortest Section: Cosy Corner Road to Turner Brook (Deepdene Beach) - 4.23km

Longest Section: Wallcliffe Road to Redgate Beach - 10.33km

Tom Lucey at the beginning of the Cape To Cape Track

The Cape To Cape Track. (Image courtesy of Julia D'Orazio & Tom Lucey)

Planning Overview

Before you tighten your hiking boots to walk the legendary Cape to Cape Track in Australia's southwest, ensure you are fully prepared for what awaits - both good and gruelling! First, you must decide which cape to start your adventure from. We recommend beginning closest to Perth at Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, 13km from Dunsborough town. Starting your epic multi-day hiking adventure from here means you have the sun on your back as you walk north to south.

The Cape To Cape Track is accessible all year around, however, walking in the cooler months is suggested from autumn to spring. Winter can prove challenging with colder temperatures and rain, with some track diversions necessary with Margaret River's deluge and other streams. Spring rewards with wildflowers in bloom and whales spotted frolicking along the coast. Try to avoid walking in summer, as it can get hot with carrying extra drinking water required to hydrate in the heat. Please note that water supply may also be limited along the tracks during the dry season. Make sure to pack extra electrolyte tablets too!

We undertook the hike in August when temperatures were cooler. Although it did sprinkle a few times, we were prepared with our rain jackets (another consideration when walking in the winter) and other weather-appropriate clothing. Speaking of gear, it is imperative to have quality gear when embarking on this trail. Most of our camping and hiking gear was from Mountain Designs, a one-stop shop for outdoor gear, no matter the season.

Julia D’Orazio on the coastal trek of the Cape To Cape Track
Julia D’Orazio on the coastal trek of the Cape To Cape Track

For coastal trekking with idyllic views at every step, there are few better tracks across our amazing country. (Images courtesy of Julia D'Orazio & Tom Lucey)

How Do You Book The Trail & What Does It Cost?

Walking along the Cape to Cape is free. If you would like to complete it with a guide, there are plenty of guided tour options. Head to the not-for-profit community group Friends of the Cape to Cape Track website for an updated list of tour operators ranging from experience and desired comforts - yes, you don't have to camp each night on the trail! Booking a stay at the trail's designated four basic campsites is not required. Each campground has small water tanks, a drop toilet and picnic tables. There are also park-managed campgrounds along the way, including Conto and Point Road, for $11 per person per night. Treat yourself to a hot shower (or even a proper bed!) at private caravan parks: Yallingup Beach Holiday Park, Yallingup Caves Holiday Park, Gracetown Caravan Park (3km from the track and offers pick up from town), Prevelly Park and Hamelin Bay. (Refer to each caravan park for prices.) Another cost to factor is transfers to your desired start/finish point. We parked the car at Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and organised a pickup service via the transport services recommended. Prices are dependent on distances travelled.

Tom Lucey on the rocky roads of the Cape To Cape Track
Julia D’Orazio resting at a shaded rock formation

Rocky roads and sandy trails underfoot. (Images courtesy of Julia D'Orazio & Tom Lucey)

Water Supply

There are several ways to collect water along the trail. Water tanks are located at designated campsites, but the quality varies. Creeks flow from vineyards and farmlands. If you are collecting water from either, ensure you treat the water correctly. We used water purification tablets. It is also possible to fill up from town taps, which we took advantage of!

Tom Lucey wearing Larapinta convertibles through water

The men's Larapinta convertibles showing their functionality on this crossing. (Image courtesy of Julia D'Orazio & Tom Lucey)

Our Favourite Bits

Canal Rocks Road to Wayadup was one of our favourite sections of the track. The 1.81km section features a Rotary Lookout with spectacular panoramas over the coast, including Canal Rocks. Although the section is short, it also proves to be a test of endurance, with a steep staircase leading up to the lookout. Then, it involves a bit of clambering on a rock-strewn path over the ridge. Careful footwork is still required to go down the slope - but you'll be rewarded for all the hard work! We decided to have a breather along the clifftop. It is a perfect place to take in the scenery and appreciate how far we have come.

Another section we loved was the Quininup Brook to Moses North Carpark. The 1.75km section passes the side track to Quininup Waterfall (Please note: the waterfall is seasonal). It also includes a low-lying boardwalk, which we saw a family of kangaroos hopping about - just one of the many wildlife interactions we had en route.

Tom Lucey & Julia D’Orazio on the Cape To Cape Track

Hiking partners. (Image courtesy of Julia D'Orazio & Tom Lucey)

Gear List


  • 4-season free-standing tent

We recommend: Mountain Designs Geo 2-Person Tent Treetop

  • Sturdy hiking pack between 55-65L

We recommend: Mountain Designs X-Country 65L Technical Hiking Pack

  • Down sleeping bag

We recommend: Mountain Designs Travelite 700 Down Sleeping Bag

  • Sleeping bag liners
  • Lightweight sleeping mats

We recommend: Mountain Designs Airlite 5.5 Insulated Sleeping Mat

  • Rechargeable LED Camping Lantern
  • Hiking pillow
  • Hiking poles

We recommend: Mountain Designs Tread Pro Trekking Poles or Leki Legacy Trekking Poles

Eating & Drinking

  • Furno stove and pot set
  • 2x lighters/matches
  • Bowls
  • Camp cutlery set (fork, knife & spoon)
  • 3L water bladder
  • Spare 1.5L water bottle
  • Water purification tablets
  • Food, snacks and even desserts!

We recommend: Back Country Cuisine

  • Coffee machine (need all the energy, right?)

We recommend: Wacaco Nanopresso Coffee Maker


  • Comprehensive first-aid kit
  • Maps & another navigation method

We recommend: The official Cape to Cape Track Guide app for a comprehensive overview on the go, app that can be used offline and a paper map of the Cape to Cape track

  • Telstra mobile service as reception is received along a majority of the trail
  • Head torch


  • Toilet kit including small quick-dry towel, toilet paper & small hand sanitiser
  • Sunscreen
  • Toothbrush & small toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Wet wipes (Baby wipes also do the trick!)
  • Plastic bag for your dirty papers - leave no trace remember!


  • Charging cables
  • Battery pack to recharge devices
  • Charging cords


  • Camera & batteries
  • Tripod


  • Versatile hiking pants

We recommend: Women's Mountain Designs Cooloola Convertible Pant and Men's Mountain Designs Larapinta Convertible Pant

  • Long-sleeve shirt

We recommend: Women's Mountain Designs Vapour Hooded Pullover

  • Down jacket

We recommend: Women's Mountain Designs Peak 700 Down Jacket and Men's Mountain Designs Peak 700 Down Jacket

  • T-shirt
  • Rain jacket

We recommend: Women's Mountain Designs Florence Hooded Rain Jacket and Men's Mountain Designs Perisher Softshell Jacket

  • Swimsuit
  • Underwear & socks
  • Buff
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Hiking boots

We recommend: Merrell Men's Moab 3 GORE-TEX® Shoes

Photo Credits

All video and imagery supplied by Julia D'Orazio & Tom Lucey




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