Connection to Country Confirmed

Last week Nature published the first findings from the Aboriginal Heritage Project, which aims to build the first genetic map of Aboriginal Australia and help indigenous Australians trace their ancestry and family history. Analysing DNA in samples of hair has revealed that since their initial arrival in Australia around 58,000 years ago, communities of Aboriginal people have remarkably remainded in the same regions across the continent.

Studying the mitochondrial DNA from over 111 Aboriginal hair samples collected from across Australia between the 1920’s and 1970’s has uncovered that all Australian Aboriginal’s living today are decedents of the first population to arrive in the country and  over 1,500 to 2,000 years, groups of people spread across the land to both east and west coasts before eventually meeting in South Australia. Mitochondrial DNA is often used to trace maternal ancestry and map out ancient linages from deteriorated samples.

Field stations visited between 1928 and 1965, indicating sites where hair samples were provided.

Field stations visited between 1928 and 1965, indicating sites where hair samples were provided.

“These findings confirm what the Aboriginal community have known all along – that their deep ties with country stretch back thousands of years,” said Dr Raymond Todler, co-author of the study from the University of Adelaide. The study confirms that there is a real deep connection between Aboriginal people and country that has developed over thousands of years.

Wonderful Wildflowers

Heading into October, the wildflowers are well and truely on display down in Margaret River! With over 1200mm of rain so far this year, all our native flora is absolutely bursting with beautiful colours.

Anigozanthos manglesii

Anigozanthos manglesii – the red and green kangaroo is endemic to Western Australia and has featured as the states emblem since 1960.

Although our native orchids are exquisite, there are also many other flowering species that you can spot on the Cape to Cape Track that can be just as breath taking. One of our favourites is the Mangles Kangaroo Paw. The striking red and green of the flower stalk can grow over a metre in height and is a simply stunning contrast among the darker green foliage.

Kennedia coccinea

Kennedia coccinea – Coral vine is a welcomed splash of orange along the Track.

The Coral Vine adds a splash of warmth to the Cape to Cape Track as it meanders through the surrounding vegetation. Pink, orange and yellow are so dramatically eye catching it’s hard not to stop and take a closer look!

Petrophile axillaria

Petrophile axillaria – A prickly but beautiful pink flowering shrub

Although the flowers on this shrub are pretty and pink, the foliage is prickly and straggly! These beautiful flowers can be seen through the forest section of the Track and at nearly Cosy Corner.

Donkey Orchid

Dirus sp. – The Dunsborough Donkey Orchid is the most common orchid found on the Cape to Cape.

These rather tall and common Donkey Orchids are a funky and fun looking flower that can be found in various sections of the Track over early spring. Growing very tall, they are absolutely magnificent when poking out from the vegetation. If you want to take a step away from the coast and into other vegetation types, why not check out our Wild About Margaret River Tour? Not only will you get the chance to spot lots of native orchids with an experienced guide, you’ll also get the chance to learn some of the fascinating local history.

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!