Hens Day Hike a Hit!

Hens group in front of the bus at Smiths Beach before the hike

Getting ready for the hike at Smiths Beach!

Last week a group of lovely local ladies joined us to take a look at their own backyard and enjoy a pre-wedding celebration for their dear friend Mandy! A hen’s day with a difference, we started the adventure with a hike from Smiths Beach to the Aquarium.

Hiking through the granite gneiss south of Smiths Beach

Hiking through the granite gneiss south of Smiths Beach

With the weather on our side, we were presented with light winds and clear waters, making a dip in the sheltered waters a highlight for many! In the shade of a marquee we enjoyed a delicious and fresh roll from the Margaret River Bakery before a game of quoits and bocce.

Cooling off at the Aquarium

Cooling off at the Aquarium

We continued our hike along to coast to eventually reach the protected nook at Canal Rocks. Indulging in an afternoon feast of fresh fruit, dips, cheese, chocolate coated strawberries and of corse, champagne!

Enjoying the shade of a Melaleuca tree

Enjoying the shade of a Melaleuca tree

Congratulations to Mr & Mrs Mills, we wish you a happy and long future together :).

West Coast Swimming Club joins us for performance camp!

Up and coming athletes from the UWA West Coast Swimming Club made their way down to Margaret River for a ‘Performance Camp’ to welcome in the new year. In the pool at the Margaret River Recreation Centre and out on the Cape to Cape Track, everyone had a great time focussing on their skills and immersing themselves in the elements.

West Coast Swimming Club

Day 1 – Walking out of Smiths Beach.

After a training session in the pool, the first day out on the Track saw these young fish out of water walking from Smiths Beach to Injidup! The team took a dip in the ocean and enjoyed a little snorkel at The Aquarium to cool off.

Snorkling at the Aquarium

Cooling off and enjoying a snorkel at the Aquarium

The following day was spent at the beautiful coastal hamlet of Gracetown where these kids completed a variety of team building challenges. From Spider’s Web, to Leonardo’s Bridge, to Raft Building, the group excelled through the activities by maximising communication and assigning competent leaders.

Launching the raft in Gracetown

Launching their competed raft into the bay at Gracetown

It was a really rewarding day for the kids and gave them the opportunity to get out of the pool and reconnect with nature together, whilst having to think on their feet.

Spiders Web

Spiders Web in action!

A great time was had by everyone involved! Well down to all the swimmers and we hope to see them back next year to take on some more of the Cape to Cape Track and continue developing their leadership and team work skills!!!

Leonardos Bridge

The team successfully constructed Leonardo’s Bridge

Looking for a camp for you and your team? Whether you are professional athletes, from the corporate world or just want to pull your organisation together for something fun and rewarding we can tailor a package to suit your needs. Email us at info@capetocapetours.com.au so we can meet your needs and create a program to suit your outcomes.

Year One’s from Margaret River Independent School take on the Track!

The students from the Margaret River Independent School are always so much fun to take out exploring on the Cape to Cape Track! These local kids spend their days learning in small classes in a beautiful bush setting about 10kms south of Margaret River. The schools vision is to provide an environment that caters for the whole child in development of lifetime learning skills as well as academic and creative excellence. This year, the year one students joined our managing director Gene for an overnight camp full of leadership and team building activities.

Gene chatting to the kids out on the Track.

Gene with the Year 1 students from Margaret River Independent School

We are always impressed by the knowledge and respect that these children have for their local environment! These 6 and 7 year olds are often finishing our sentences when we begin talking about some of our endemic flora and fauna species. Their enthusiasm and connection with nature is inspiring.

Kids in Boranup Forest

Enjoying some shade in Boranup Forest

As well as walking through the bush, we worked on some of our favourite team building and leadership activities including Spiders Web and Pipeline.

Being briefed on the Spiders Web activity

Being briefed on the Spiders Web activity

The challenge was set for the children to make their way through the web of the mighty Hamelin Spider, which the kids took to quite well. Without facilitation, they formed a circle, selected a leader and formulated a plan that would see all of their classmates get safely through the web.

Forming a circle in the shade to formulate a plan

An empowering moment for the children

The kids were very impressed with themselves after the activity concluded, and rightfully so! Who would have thought that a group of 6 and 7 year olds could make such a great team!?

Celebrating Spiders Web success

Celebrating Spiders Web success

The class also demonstrated amazing patience and cooperation throughout their pipeline activity, which they very quickly got the hang of. Returning to the Pipeline activity throughout the walk allows the group to try and better their score that is measured by how fast they can move the ball through the pipeline with dropping it to the ground!

Pipeline in action!

Pipeline in action!

The camp finished with an expedition through the awe-inspiring and mighty Giants Cave! With crawling, ladders and sliding, each one of the children made it the entire way through the 500m underground labyrinth. It is always such an empowering experience to reconnect children with their natural environment. As you can see, Cape to Cape Explorer Tours love hosting camps for school and youth groups! We are more than happy to creative a package that suits the needs of your group. Check out our Schools page to find out more information or send us through an email at info@capetocapetours.com.au today!

A special thanks to Lauren Trickett for the incredible photos she took throughout the camp.

 

All the gear with great ideas; tips for happy hiking with Nyree

Heading out to explore a trail or take on a long distance hike for the first time is both an exciting and daunting experience. Around a quarter of our hikers are about to embark on their first ever multi-day long distance walk when we meet them for the first time and what I’ve gathered after two years of guiding on the Cape to Cape Track is that regardless of experience, tips for making your walk more enjoyable are always welcomed! Even with the incredible and awe-inspiring beauty of the Track, walking 20kms a day for 7 days straight is both a physical and mental challenge for even the most fit, experienced or determined. From gear to daily tips, here are some of the most important things to me while I’m out in the elements!

Nyree guiding at Cosy Corner

Out at one of my favourite sections of the Track, Cosy Corner

Do your research, then gear up!

Before you hit the shops or online stores, have a good read through your itinerary, planning, preparation and packing notes provided by us! This guide will allow you to go through the equipment you already have and figure out what else you will need to get the most out of your hike.

  • Footwear 
    • Your shoes is the most integral component of your hiking attire. If you haven’t worn your hiking boots/shoes for six months, make sure you get them out and take them for good stroll before packing them in your luggage and crossing your fingers. Shoe rot on the first day of your hike is the last thing you need when you’ve got six more days on the Track to follow. If you’re going to wear shoes you’ve worn on previous hikes, make sure you take them out and test them in soft sand. I would say that close to 30% of the Cape to Cape Track is variable sand, which is very different to walking on firm or rocky terrain. Your feet will move more in your shoes and they are likely to fill up with sand – two things that increase your chance of blisters.
    • If you are buying new shoes for the trip, I recommend either Salomon‘s (narrow / medium foot) or Keen‘s (medium / wide foot). Although our paperwork recommends boots, if you are an experienced walker with good ankle strength you can definitely comfortably walk the Track with lighter hiking shoes. Also, it’s not a bad idea to bring some hiking sandals! These can be great on warmer days with less soft sand beach walking.
    • When buying new shoes, make sure you purchase them at least one size too big. For example, I usually wear a 38 but my Salomon’s are a size 40. This will leave more room when sand walking and also extra space if you need to apply blister covers or wear extra socks.
    • On that note, make sure you get comfortable socks! I really like Bamboo socks as they are reasonably prices, antibacterial, super soft and durable! However, many hikers choose marino wool and toe socks to keep their tootsies comfortable and rave about them! Whichever you choose, make sure you wear them in with your hiking footwear.
  • Backpack
    • One of the many bonuses to walking with us is that you will only be hiking with a comfortable day pack! Choose a pack with enough space for your water (bladder pocket ideal), lunch, wet weather gear, swimmers, microfibre towel, personal medication, first aid including blister treatment (Compede & Fixomull) and a compression bandage, sun protection and Track notes. Somewhere between 25-40L will usually do the trick.
    • Although sometimes this feature is only available on a larger pack, it is great to find a bag with a hip belt as this will help distribute the weight evenly and reduce the load on your shoulders.
    • A metal frame with mesh across the back is also an added bonus, especially on hot days.
    • A lot of our hikers like Osprey or Deuter, I currently have a Companion and love it.
  • 3L Hydration Bladder
    • A lot of people opt against these because they can have a plastic kind of taste. However, they will ensure that you stay hydrated whilst on the Track with great ease. You can add a sachet of Hydralyte or any other powdered sports drink to remove the unpleasant taste.
  • Microfibre Towel
    • Great for dusting the sand off your feet after a beach walk or water crossing. These lightweight, compact towels can be aired out on the outside of your pack after use.
  • Adjustable hat
    • I prefer a broad brim adjustable hat so I can be confidently protected from the sun in strong wind
  • Light weight, quick dry pants
    • These are all I wear on the Track now. Not only do they add extra protection from snakes and sharp shrubs, they also keep you ready for any kind of weather. Remember if it’s a warm day and the ocean looks inviting, you can always jump in to cool down! Patagonia make some awesome pants for both men and women.
Nyree guiding at Moses Rock

The hike from Moses Rock to Gracetown is a great day to wear hiking sandals on the Track.

While you’re here and hiking!

It’s all well and good to be geared up and ready for the elements, but there are also a couple of simple things that might make the hiking days a little easier whilst you’re here with us.

  • Keep hydrated
    • Each morning before you get out on the Track it is a great idea to consume at least 500mL of water (that’s in excess of your dehydrating coffee). When I know it’s going to be a warm day, I’ll make sure that I have at least a whole litre of water before hitting the Track.
    • Hydralyte is a godsend after a long day in the sun. Bring some a long and take it whenever you are feeling tired or dehydrated during the week. You may also want to put some into your water bladder to spruce up your taste buds.
    • Another tip is to store the bladder in the fridge the night before your hike! The water will generally stay cool in your pack throughout the day and keep you feeling refreshed.
  • Good quality lip balm
  • Zinc
    • Everyday that I am out on the Track I make sure that I am protected from the sun with both SPF 50+ sunscreen (Cancer Council or Le Tan). I also apply a layer of Surf Mud to my face. This amazing natural products smells like honey and keeps me protected from those harmful rays.
  • Look after your muscles
  • Get enough sleep – aim for 8 hours every night
  • Stretch
    • Particularly the legs and hips. Check out these yoga poses to help release some of that muscle tension. Magnesium will also help with this.
    • Bring a tennis ball – roll it under your feet and up and down your hamstring
  • Blisters
    • Dress your blisters with Compede & Fixomull. Sometimes wool can also soften your toes in tight shoes.
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse from Skippy Rock

There is no feeling quite like the one of arriving at Cape Leeuwin after 135kms of hiking.

When you get home

It’s important to give yourself some time to recover after your hike. Make sure you take at least a day or two for downtime and to unpack before heading back to work.

  • Clean your gear
    • The one item that most people forget to clean is their hydration bladder! Without proper cleaning and storage the tube is a breeding ground for algae and bacteria.
      • Hot water & bicarb soda generally does the trick. Make sure you massage the tube to exfoliate off anything that may be growing inside! After you have finished, rinse all the grossness out and re-rinse with bicarb to store.
  • Keep stretching those legs
  • Stay active
  • Continue drinking lots of water

I hope these tips and tricks help you plan your next adventure on the Cape to Cape Track! They certainly help me get through lots of days on the Track during our peak seasons. My best advice would be to keep training in the shoes you plan to wear on the Track for long distances on variable terrain. If you are interested in hiking the Track this Autumn, check out our Guided or Self-Guided experience and make sure you book on soon to avoid disappointment!

A Whale of Time for our Humpbacks!

It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen a Humpback breach, you still can’t help but to stop in awe of these enormous, majestic and mystical creatures! With adults measuring 12-16 meters in length and weighing in at a whopping 30,000kg there is still something so streamline and weightless about the way they move through the ocean.

Adult Humpback breaching

Amazing breaching humpback in Geographe Bay. Photo credit: the_mermaid_viking

Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) have a life expectancy of at least 48 years, with sexual maturity being reached between four and eight years (average five years). These whales have a gestation of 11-12 months and once their calves are born, they breast feed for a further 10-12 months. Calves become independent between one and five years after birth (sometimes even longer), with a two and a half year average calving interval. This just highlights the immense commitment from these mothers to raise their young.

Baby and mother Humpback whales

Mother and baby Humpback in Geographe Bay. Photo credit: the_mermaid_viking

At the moment hikers on the Cape to Cape Track are experiencing the peak period of migration for population 8 (Group D) of the 15 populations of Humpback’s from around the world. Although this populations was hunted to the brink of extinction throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s, they are steadily recovering at a rate of approximately 11% per year with current estimates placing population 8 as the largest aggregation of Humpbacks in the world nearing 50,000 individuals.

Tail slapping Humpback

A big tail slap by an adult Humpback. Photo credit: the_mermaid_viking

Every year, these enchanting creatures take the incredible journey from their feeding grounds in the nutrient rich waters of Antarctica between (70° E and 130° E) all the way up to their breeding area in Australia’s north-west – as far as Camden Sound. The congregation leaves Antarctica around May in an orderly fashion dependent on sex and reproductive status. On their journey to their breeding grounds, lactating females with their yearlings head out first, followed by immature males and females with mature males, resting females and pregnant females making up the tail end charlie aggregation. On their journey south, mixed females, immature males and females leave first, followed by mature males and finally females with calves in early lactation follow.

Surfacing Humpback in Geographe Bay

Surfacing Humpback. Photo credit: the_mermaid_viking

The whales travel an incredible 9,000kms on their return journey and unbelievably they very rarely feed throughout the entire migration. They tend to stay within 20kms of the coast in waters of depths up to 200m. On their way back to their feeding ground in Antarctica, they hitch a ride in the Leeuwin Current – boosting their speed to approximately 10km/h which would be a massive help for a lactating mother on an empty stomach. The whales stop for a rest at four different locations on their journey, including Augusta, Geographe Bay, Shark Bay and the southern Kimberley region. We are very lucky to have the whales spending a little extra time on either side of the Cape and if you are in the area during the migration, we definitely recommend taking a charter to get up, close and personal with these gentle giants!

Migration of Humpbacks

Distribution of the 2 migrating populations of the Humpback Whale’s in Australia.

 

Enjoy the extras on one of our guided end-to-end experiences!

Our guided end-to-end hikes run back to back throughout Spring and so far this year our groups have been having an absolute blast! Not only are they loving the Track and learning about all the different environmental and social elements that make the Margaret River Region so special, they are indulging in wine tastings, massages, cave explorations and delicious meals after their days walk.

Enjoying the contrast of Boodjidup Creek & Beach!

Enjoying the contrast of Boodjidup Creek & Beach!

After your first day on the Track, we head back to Gnarabup for a fantastic BBQ of local line caught fish and fresh salad. This is the perfect opportunity for everyone to relax and get to know each other whilst chatting about the adventure that the week ahead holds!

Before setting off from Cape Naturaliste

Right before setting off on their 135km journey!

Day two on the Track is a little bit longer and more challenging than the first, but it’s all worth it to head to Cape Grace Wines and enjoy a wine tasting and a cheese platter with Karen. Heading home to unwind with a delicious Margaret River meal in your room will leave you feeling rested for your next day on the Cape to Cape. This night is one of the best to indulge in a massage.

Group of hikers tasting wine at Cape Grace winery

Hikers enjoying tasting at Cape Grace Wines

Your third day with Cape to Cape Explorer Tours is a shorter and easier walk finished with a sundowner at Margaret River’s founding estate, Vasse Felix. After trying wine produced from some of the regions oldest vines, head home to freshen up before hitting The Common for pizza night! Yum!

Enjoying a wine and platter at Vasse Felix

Vasse Felix sundowners are a lovely way to finish the day!

After crossing the half way point and the Margaret River, on day four you walk into your accommodation. Tonights meal is a degustation of Japanese tempura at Miki’s Open Kitchen, one of the regions most renowned restaurants. A two hour dining experience that will leave you feeling spoilt!

Mike's Open Kitchen

A sneak peak of some of the delicious Japanese food at Mikis Open Kitchen

After a variable, challenging and long day on the Track, you’ll head straight back to your accommodation to relax and enjoy a dinner in your accommodation from one of Margaret River’s best providers, The Larder. Another opportunity for a massage presents itself this evening.

Group of hikers at Contos Cliffs

Contos Cliffs is one of the most scenic sections of the Track.

After your second last day on the Cape to Cape, you will get the opportunity to visit one of Margaret River’s iconic caves. Venture underground with helmet and torch to explore the beauty of Calgardup Cave before emerging to a delicious hearty soup under the stars featuring freshly baked rolls from Margaret River Woodfired Bread.

Entering Calgardup Cave

About to enter the depth of Calgardup Cave

To celebrate your achievement of hiking the Cape to Cape Track, we spend the final evening sharing a meal at The Common. Certificates, slide shows and champagne make for an enjoyable evening of reminiscing with your new friends!

Celebration Dinner

Recapping on a life changing week at The Common!

With all of our Guided Join a Group experiences full to the brim this Spring and bookings for both Autumn and Spring next year already flowing in, we recommend booking now to avoid disappointment! With three different accommodation options including camping, staying in well appointed beach houses or staying at the 4-Star Margarets Beach Resort you can shape your Cape to Cape experience to suit your needs. Check out our dates on our home page now!

Walking Back in Time with Kalgoorlie Primary School

The year six’s from Kalgoorlie Primary School recently visited the Margaret River Region for they school camp. Staying at Wharncliffe Mill just by the Margaret River, the kids spent a whole week exploring through the area.

Kalgoorlie Primary School kids on the Cape to Cape Track

Hiking the newly opened section of the Track between Ellenbrook and Joeys Nose

As part of their camp they joined Cape to Cape Explorer Tours for a full day hike between Ellensbrook and the mouth of the Margaret River on our ‘Walk Back in Time’ schools package. Boasting rich geological, ecological and human history, this stretch of the Track was the perfect place to truely immerse these kids in nature.

Ellenbrook Pinnacles

The newly opened section of the Cape to Cape Track features limestone pinnacles

A new section of the Cape to Cape Track has recently opened between Ellensbrook and Kilcarnup Beach and the kids from Kalgoorlie Primary were some of the first to walk it! Similar to ‘The Pinnacles’ in Numbung National Park, the pinnacles are made of Tamala Limestone, unique to Western Australia.

Kalgoorlie Primary School kids walking on Kilcarnup Beach

Kilcarnup Beach in all of its glory.

These 11 year olds were also lucky enough to visit some of the regions amazing caves with plans to spend some time learning about the Wardandi Nyoongar people with Josh from Koomal Dreaming. A mountain biking experience was also on their agenda. If you’re planning a camp in the Capes region with a group of young people, why not check out some of the tours available on our website? We love taking kids out on camp and encouraging them to both reconnect with nature and work as a team in a fun and safe manner!

 

 

 

Product Review: Keens Newport H2

Keens Newport H2

You can currently pick these walking sandals up for $99.95 from the Mountain Designs Outlet online store. Walking over 100kms in boots can sometimes take its toll on our most precious hiking asset. It can be a relief to give your feet a breather for a day or 2 during your Cape to Cape hike. These sandals are comfortable, breathable, secure and waterproof whilst still protecting your toes. In warmer weather, these sandals are perfect for long beach sections, eliminating the concern of getting your feet wet!

Splendid July School Holidays

This July school holidays have been the busiest yet at Cape to Cape Explorer Tours! Even though we have had some wet and windy weather in the Margaret River Region, we’ve been out and about on the Track and underground.

Low family exploring Calgardup Cave

The Loh family explorer the underground wonders of the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge in Calgardup Cave.

The Loh family joined us last week for a Sunset, Forest and Cave Explorer Tour through the southern end of the Cape’s region. Although the rain was heavy outside, once we made our way down the steps and underground into Calgardup Cave our soggy thoughts were long forgotten. Escaping the Singaporean heat to visit Margaret River in the winter months has been a very popular choice for families from South East Asia. The Loh family used the holiday as a reunion as their youngest daughter Jaz is currently studying in England and their daughter Jana has recently been in Sydney completing her tertiary education.

Rainbow the Mehta family at Wydup Rocks

The Mehta family enjoying a rainbow mid-hike above Wyadup Rocks.

The Mehta family also joined us for a full day of hiking from Smiths Beach to Moses Rock. Although a few showers graced us throughout the day, we were lucky enough to experience lots of fantastic rainbows after each downpour. Living in New South Wales, the family are often very busy after school and on weekends with sporting commitments. The families favourites include soccer and cricket, whilst sun Anish also likes to surf when conditions are right.

The kids enjoying a hike in Nannup

Youth from Nannup, Margaret River, Manjimup, Pemberton and Northcliffe hiking the Timberline Trail in Barrabup.

To finish off the holidays, we spent two days out in the bush with youth from Margaret River, Northcliffe, Pemberton, Manjimup and Nannup for a Bush Survival Camp funded by the Local Drug Action Group. Camping at Workers Pool in Nannup was a great experience! We pushed on through some pretty extreme weather with the temperature dropping to -2.5 degrees on Wednesday night and over 75mm of rain overnight on Thursday and through pack up on Friday morning. The kids aged from 12-17 years old showed amazing amounts of leadership as they shared the responsibilities in the kitchen and around the camp fire. They were also incredibly respectful to all the supervisors, camp visitors and each other.

Overall, we’ve had a fantastic school holidays here at Cape to Cape Explorer Tours full of fun and adventure. If you are visiting Margaret River next holidays with the family why not try one of our day tours? We can also organise a customised trip for you and your family to help you reconnect with nature and learn a little bit more about the true nature of this amazing region.