Something different for you today – a walk in my backyard! Not literally in my back yard. A tour of my tiny garden patch with a rose bush for my vases and herbs for my culinary efforts – thyme, parsley, basil, mint and oregano – would take about one minute. Though there could be interest in my frustrating effort to grow a Japanese Yuzu tree in a pot! So far, this fledging tree has produced three lemons that all fell to the ground before growing much more than pea size.
This is a walk where I live – about a 15 minute drive from my home in the gloriously beautiful South West of Western Australia, three hours drive south of the WA capital Perth.
Fresh clear unpolluted air and great natural beauty. It’s a backyard that attracts people from throughout the world, and walks here have given me great solace in these last few years of the pandemic.
Today’s walk was on Cape Naturaliste. A perfect autumn, so hubby and I didn’t take much persuasion to pack the water bottles and head for the Cape track to walk from Sugarloaf rock to the Cape Naturalist lighthouse and back – a round trip of about five kilometres with a cafe at the lighthouse promising coffee at the half way point.
The Cape was given its name by French navigator Nicolas Baudin back in 1801 when he was mapping the Australian coast. He named the Cape after one of the expedition ships, Naturaliste.
The route I took today is a small section of Western Australia’s 130 kilometre Cape to Cape walking track, stretching from Cape Naturaliste near Dunsborough to Cape Leeuwin near Augusta at the southern most tip of the State. It’s rated a moderate walkers track, with many access points to enable people to undertake short sections of it. The complete walk takes 5 to 10 days to complete the whole journey in one go, with some very basic huts and camping spots en route.
The Cape Naturaliste section was at its best for my walk today, bathed in glorious autumn weather. I’ve lost count of the number of photos I’ve taken here over the last decade. But my camera adores it, so I find myself snapping away.
The walking track hovers safely above the beaches and cliff faces here. You can access the shoreline – and many surfers do to reach the beaches. But it can be dangerous in bad weather.
I spotted surfers today a fair distance from me, stretching my camera’s abilities! Don’t assume they are spritely young surfers. This area has a colony of ‘senior’ surfers – some well into their 70’s and even their 80’s – who haven’t let their older age dim their enthusiasm for their sport! I seem them out there regularly surfing in all sorts of weather. I’d show you their photos, but they might not invite me to their next beach barbecue!
The scenery on the Cape changes with the seasons and the weather. Spectacularly wild at times when storms rage in from the Indian Ocean and picture postcard beautiful the next. Ablaze with an abundance of colourful wildflowers in spring, including rare orchids and a feast throughout the year for birdwatchers – more than 160 different species including sea and forest birds.
I should mention the impressive sunsets here. In fact, I go to one side of the Cape for the sunsets over the Indian Ocean, and the other side for sunrises. I took the shot below a few months ago of sunset watchers at the Sugarloaf Rock lookout.
There’s always something different on Cape walks. Like the tiny lizard standing stock still on the track ahead of us today. Did he think we couldn’t see him? His camouflage colours were pretty good! It’s true, I almost stepped on him. He remained as still as the dead, only scuttling off into the scrub when we’d passed.
Then there was a butterfly I spotted feasting on wildflowers. He proceeded to follow us, fluttering about and sometimes sweeping ahead like a stealth bomber!
A white breasted robin swept across the path, hastily seeking refuge in the scrub away from human eyes. Ha, my camera found him! The photo wasn’t that good though. I’ve had better luck in the past with eagles on the Cape, perched precariously over cliffs above the sea.
By mid year – winter and spring – whales pass close to this coastline in great numbers – and the track between both Capes offer superb views and encounters. Humpbacks, Southern Rights, Minkys, and the mightly Blue Whale. Most pull into Geographe Bay on one side of Cape Leeuwin for a rest in their migration, often with their new borns. Last year, a mother and very young baby Southern Right arrived early in the season in May and stayed about three months in the Bay. Here, whales can be seen less than 100 metres from the shore! For about six months, it’s like a whale super highway. Guess where you’ll find me in the whale watching season with my camera!
Orca killer whales are found off Western Australia’s southern coast in late summer, and in recent years have been spotted out to sea from near Cape Leeuwin.
At any time of the year there’s a good chance of seeing dolphins swimming and surfing off the Cape. I didn’t spot any today, but have been lucky on so many other visits capturing photos including those below. I recall showing my Tasmanian based sister the Cape on a visit several years ago, and lamenting that she wasn’t going to see dolphins surfing. She grinned, pointing down towards the beach “You mean like that”. Yes, she had lucked in on a pod that could have given Kelly Slater a run for his money! The American World Surf Champion has stayed near the Cape, so perhaps he’s studied their surfing moves!
Whenever I leave home to go travelling, I seem to depart on beautiful mornings when the local coastline and Cape are at their glorious best. And, despite the excitement of a new travel venue ahead, I often find myself wistfully wondering why I’m leaving at all.
As usual, all the photographs above have been taken by me – except the one with me in it! (Taken by hubby with my camera). Note that I did write about Cape Naturaliste when I first started my blog. I’ve trashed that story, replacing it with my up to date ‘walk’ story today.
Access to Cape Naturaliste: Three hour road trip from Perth. Direct flights from Melbourne into Busselton, about half an hour away, with Jetstar from April 6.
See my last story: Singapore still fascinating
With my next story, I’ll take you for a ride on a driverless train! Watch out for it next month.
You can view some of my other photos on Instagram at