Up early again to finish packing and cleaning the flat before leaving for a trip to Wyadup Brook Cottage at Yallingup. We went via Busselton where we had been invited to lunch with the parents of a colleague of Peter’s. Tom is the chief exec of the Frends of the the Cape to Cape track and he was was happy to talk us through what we can expect on the walk.
We met up with Judie and Mike at the cottage, which was a lovely two story wooden lodge in he forest, peaceful, beautiful. The Southern Hemisphere night sky was amazing, awesome as they say.
And so begins the the first leg of the Cape to Cape walk, starting at Cape Naturaliste and ending at Cape Leeuwin. It’s a coastal walk, of exceptional beauty, reminiscent of the Cornish coastal path with a distinctive Australian character of its own. Very early on we came up on a snake slithering across the track,causing Jane some alarm - snakes aren’t her thing.
This was the longest and toughest day of the walk, it being hot and we not being familiar with the terrain.So glad to be doing it, it’s just breathtaking. Later we went for a walk around Wyadup farm, admiring some of the beautiful trees in flower and the green parrots, galahs and white parrots. That night we went for a beer at Occy’s in nearby Dunsborough and later ate at a fish restaurant, very delicious.
Our host at the cottage drove us and one of our cars to the end point of the day’s walk and then dropped us off at the beginning. We had decided to modify the lengths of the sections of the track we are undertaking each day and had a much more manageable walk today. We were excited by the sighting of a pod of dolphins. We met two volunteer whale watchers who pointed us in the direction of a very good whale watching spot, which we went to the next day. The hardest part of the walk is the beach sections on sand but today’s walk was just right in length and not as challenging as I feared it might be.
At the end of the walk we called in at a winery, Swings and Roundabouts, very close to the cottage and sampled various wines. There was a lot on offer so we had to exercise some restraint. We bought a bottle for Christmas.
We had a planned day off from walking the track. We all went into Busselton where Jane, Judy and Mike walked along the mile long jetty, seeng a pod of dolphins along the way. I went off to meet Peter, who is joining us for the last three days, from he bus and we all met up for lunch at a restaurant overlooking the beach. In the afternoon we we went to the whale watching spot recommended by the whale watchers the previous day, where we saw two blue whales, quite a long way out and talked to the organiser of the whale watching volunteers. Following that we went back to Canal rocks where we had been on the walk the previous day. This is an inlet along the coast line where water is forced through a small gap, making a wild and impressive spectacle.
After that we went off to a natural ‘ spa ‘ further along the coastline. As we walked towards this turbulent jacuzzi like natural pool we encountered a snake which we think was a python, which was very confidently lounging across the track. It was about 3 metres long and certainly didn’t slither out of our way as we had been led to believe that snakes would. After clambering over rocks to get to the natural spa we saw a much smaller snake, also a python (we think), hidden in some crannies between the rocks. Jane was slightly discombobulated by the sighting of the various makes and when, a few minutes later her phone rang she yelped and almost fell off the rocks. The spa was very impressive; a natural depression with an incoming funnel of water pounding in from the ocean.
We went on home to Wyadup Brook Cottage, eating in, our first evening with Peter at the cottage.
The walk continues, different terrain each day. The encounter of the day was was the sighting of a kangaroo and joey in some undergrowth. It was as interested in us as we were of it so we stared each other out. The weather was perfect, not too hot, great company, the best of friends and Peter and I hanging out together, doing the sort of stuff we love best.
The final day of the walk and the shortest. By the end we will have completed 60 kms over the five days. It stretched us due to the heat and terrain but every minute was enjoyable and spectacular in its own way.
We ended at Ellensbrook House, a historic site, home of some early settlers; very evocative of the hardships they faced and their ingenuity in ensuring their survival.
We went on to Gracetown beach, where we had intended to swim but were deterred by a really cold wind. Instead of swimming we went off to Margaret River had a beer and coffee and then went down to the river mouth, a surfer paradise. The wildlife sighting of the day was a very pretty pink bobtail who stood his ground on our path snarling when approached by Peter, making a photo opportunity for Jane.
Then, a massage and an evening of packing up and celebrating the end of the trek – eating out at the fish restaurant again and consuming a bottle of sparkling wine from Swings and Roundabouts.
Saturday 25th, Sunday 26th:
We packed up and left the cottage. We said goodbye to Judie and Mike who are to travel to Adelaide by train and proceeded to the boat which was to take Jane, Peter and I on a whale watching trip. It was a really lovely trip - we saw a humpback whale and her calf at close quarter. It was a choppy sea and we got thrown around and drenched, all quite dramatic. Then to lunch at Eagle breweries near Eagle Bay and made our way back to Perth. The night was spent in a motel.
On Sunday we met up with Peter, after he had slept in, preparing for night shift. We had a lovely day, taking a small sailing boat, a Hobie Cat onto the Swan river and getting completely drenched. Peter was taught some sailing basics by Jane and was then only intent on performing the fastest and most jerky jives as we zig zagged across the river.
Early bed for another early start for our flight to Sumatra. There’s a frisson of uncertainty as we plan to transfer at Bali where the volcano, Mount Agung has just erupted and is threatening to blow again.