Cape to Cape Day 05 – Conto's Campsite to Deepdene

Cape to Cape Index

The Boranup Karri Forest

Cape to Cape Track I was very eager to get away from the crowds of Canto's Campsite that morning, so I packed up my hammock quickly and skirted the hoards of campervans and oversized (and excessive) tents in order to make my way out of the campgrounds. I arrived at the sign outside the entrance and turned left down the trail, circumventing the boundaries of the massive campsite. The trail was refreshingly thin here and undulated around the bushland for approximately 900 metres or so with views opening up of the beautiful green carpets of the canopies of trees off in the distance to my right. I reached a junction that branched off left back to Canto's (that is how big the campgrounds were!) and right descending into the woods along a firebreak that carved through the foliage as far as my eye could see.

I continued along the path as Australian magpies (Cracticus tibicen) and Australian ringneck parrots (Barnardius zonarius), also fondly known as 'Twenty-Eights' (subspecies : semitorquatus), flitted from tree to tree above my head singing and squawking as they did. The path veered left as it joined a dirt road that brought me straight through the Point Road campsite, approximately 2 kilometres away from the entrance to Canto's Campsite. The campsite was fairly large, albeit no where near as large as Canto's, and subsequently much quieter. Despite the camping fee of $7.50 per adult imposed, I would much rather have stayed the night here instead of Canto's. I came to the junction of Point Road and Georgette Road and turned right continuing on South along the Cape to Cape track.

The Boranup Karri Forest

The Boranup Karri Forest

The forest came to life at this point, with the birds flitting around in the 20-30 metre-high canopies, entertaining me with their chirping and whistles. Hoots and squawks of parrots (Family: Psittacidae) and cockatoos (Family: Cacatuidae - the name having been derived from the Malay word 'Kakak tua', meaning 'old, elder sister') soon joined in, along with the cackles of the occasional Laughing kookaboora (Dacelo novaeguineae). The soundtrack of the jungle had begun, and for a moment I felt as if it was being played solely for me, welcoming me to the magnificent Boranup Karri Forest.

After 3.7 kilometres from Canto's, I veered left at the crossroads and settled into a comfortable and relaxed pace of 4.4 km/h, walking down the leaf-strewn path as crepuscular rays of sunlight pierced through gaps in the canopy above.

The Boranup Karri Forest

The trail ended up turning right once again into Daves Road (from Brozie Road) at the 4.31 km mark. Here the canopy of the Karri trees (Eucalyptus diversicolor), with their smooth pale grey trunks that shot up to easily 40 metres high, completely towered over me. Karri trees are a type of Eucalypt that can reach heights of up to 90 metres, making them the third tallest tree in the world. I was surprised to see that my Suunto Ambit showed that 5 kilometres had already passed (almost 16% of the entire days hike!) since I broke camp as I still felt as fresh as I had been then. There was no hint of weariness at all, and I wasn't too sure why this was - perhaps it was the gorgeous forest surrounding me, the soft and pleasant morning light, the firm ground that I was hiking on, or perhaps it was because of the good night's rest and the hearty breakfast I had that morning...

I found the layer of leaves on the forest floor to be almost compost-like and the soil underneath to be soft (possibly nutrient-rich loam?) - the sparseness of the vegetation very different from the rainforests of Malaysia that I was used to. I reached another junction at the 5.89 km mark, with the right turning heading down Donovan Road and the Cape to Cape track continuing straight along Daves Road. At the 9.07 km marker, Davies road met a junction where the trail turned right leading uphill along Trig Road, crossing Georgette Road half a kilometre later. Trigg Road carried on uphill and finally reached the junction that turned right to the viewpoint at the 10.5 km mark.

I had been making decent progress since I had started that morning, with an average speed of 4.6 km/h so I decided to take a short detour and head up to the Boranup Hill viewpoint, thinking that after having already covered more than 10 kilometres, a viewpoint at the top of a hill would make a perfect place for the first rest stop of the day. The viewpoint was basically a small clearing with a small tower that had a metal ladder leading 2.5 metres up to the viewing platform. I stopped to take in the views for 20 minutes or so and made an altimeter reference adjustment (peak hight was 194m) before descending back down to the junction.

The Boranup Karri Forest

I continued along Trig Road, past another junction, and to a gate right in the middle of the path (this was at the 13.2 km mark - if you skip the viewpoint, please take into consideration that an extra 1 kilometre was added on due to the Boranup Hill detour from here on in). Since it had just turned noon and the sun was high in the sky, I stopped for a minute or two here to take out my GoalZero Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit and to strap it to the top of my backpack. The path then descended down the hill before turning right at the junction to Boranup Road. As the trail made its way down to the coast once again, the trees became more sparse and the path a lot more sandy.

Next : Cape to Cape Day 05 – Conto’s Campsite to Deepdene (Part 2)

Cape to Cape Index

Cape to Cape Index

Hamelin Bay

I reached the coastline at the 15.8 km mark and was greeted by the blazing sun and the unwavering roar of the ocean. Frolicking surfers stared at me bemusedly as I passed by lugging my backpack. All I could do at the time was to continue to march on, keeping my head down and pulling the peak of my buff low to escape the glare of the sun.

Hamelin Bay

As I was walking, I couldn't help but notice that my shadow stretched out in front of me despite it being midday. This told me a few things - I was not at the equator, that being in the Southern Hemisphere meant that I was currently travelling South; and that if I were able to measure the angle of the sun's elevation (altitude) in the sky, I would be able to calculate my approximate latitude. As it happened, my shadow then was almost exactly the same length as I was tall which meant that the altitude of the sun was approximately 45 degrees (this was handy as it was not as if I had a clinometer with me!). Now with the sun's declination for the time of year (10.6 degrees North), I was able to calculate the following :

Latitude = (90 degrees – altitude) – sun's declination = 45 - 10.6 = 34.4

It turns out that Margaret River's latitude is approximately 34 degrees South!

*Discalimer : This is all an approximation considering the nature of all the variables involved. A clinometer would have given far more accurate readings of the sun's altitude (don't forget to use eye protection if you use one!), and true midday would not have been exactly 12:00 due to the large geographical areas that time zones tend to carve out. Since midday is when the sun reaches its highest altitude, a sundial would have been able to determine true midday.*

My shadow started to drift to the left as I rounded the cove passing by fishermen that were casting their lures, my head tilted low and my thoughts consumed with angles, shadows and the sun. There was one point where a surfer stopped me to ask if I knew when high tide was, and fortunately for him, I had the tide table with me. His question did however leave me a little bewildered as to why he would ask me (of all people) about the tides.

I stumbled out onto Hamelin Bay at 14:21, almost blinded by the glare of the sun. I had just covered a 6.6 km stretch of beach, with non-stop walking in an hour and a half, and all I could think about at the time was to find some shade. Unfortunately there was none to be found so I carried on plodding Southwards...

Hamelin Bay

Missing Turn-offs

Towards the end of the beach I came across a section that was impassable, so rather than just try and go around the rock and battle the tide, I chose to go up and over the rock formation which would lead me on to the next beach. Unbeknownst to me, I had just walked past the junction of the Cape to Cape track that lead back inland. I carried on walking to the end of the next beach before realising (rather belatedly) that something was indeed amiss.

Hamelin Bay

I stopped for a moment to check the navigation menu of my Suunto Ambit and then only realised that I had deviated from the track by a fairly large amount. Realising then that I had not seen any signs and not wanting to risk heading back with the chance of not being able to find the trail, I decided to plot a bearing that was directly perpendicular to the trail and to bushbash directly to it, taking the shortest path possible. I was careful to remember the terrain, looking back periodically, in case I had to track back. My decision turned out to be a mistake for I emerged from the bush shortly after with nothing but a hugely deflated overconfidence and scratched up calves.

I plodded back to the part of the beach that merged onto my GPS route and saw the sign that marked the turn-off soon after. Another poignant reminder that nature is unforgiving when underestimated.

Cape to Cape

Next : Cape to Cape Day 05 – Conto’s Campsite to Deepdene (Part 3)

Cape to Cape Index

Cape to Cape Index

Limestone Pinnacles

The trail before the Foul Bay Lighthouse endlessly undulated up and down hills. I kept on making the mistake of telling myself that the lighthouse would be just around the next hill, which ended up causing frustration to start to set in after several times of that not being the case. Just when I began to lower my gaze and just trudge forward one foot after another (wondering if this was how the other two had felt just before pulling out), the tip of the lighthouse appeared in the near distance (oxymoron?) as I rounded a corner.

The trail met a road shortly after the lighthouse. I turned right and followed the road for a short while before turning left once again down a sandy path that made its way back down to the coast.

Limestone Pinnacles

The path narrowed down to a log stairwell just before meeting the coast, a coast that was fringed with strange looking pinnacle-like limestone knobs that were formed by erosion over the years. The rocks generated strage and very unnatural guttural sounds that reverberated as the waves thundered through the rocks, occasionally sending huge puffs of spray high up into the air. I stopped here for a while feeding my senses, completely lost in thought.

Deepdene Cairn

Deepdene Sunset

After rounding the cape, the trail dipped down to another beach momentarily before climbing back out once again. The trail continued to meander up and over pinkish-peach rocks and through narrow calf-scratching paths before opening up to the beach once more. The trail did this several more times, dipping inland for a while and then back out to the beach, past Cape to Cape posts that had been defaced by vandals, before I finally caught sight of the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse blinking in the distance.

The sign marking the Deepdene Campsite lay infront of a sand blowout that was completely obscured behind a fairly large dune. Cutting inland from here, the narrow path lead through the woods for some distance before finally reaching the campsite (and fortunately for me, just as darkness was beginning to set in).

Route Playback

Suunto Movescount Stats



 The information from the Suunto Ambit for this trek can be found on my Movescount Page

For those who also have a Suunto GPS device, the entire route for the Cape to Cape Walk can be found below :

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Next : Cape to Cape Day 06 – Deepdene to Cape Leeuwin

Cape to Cape Index
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