Best spots to cool off in the summer heat
It’s a hot summer afternoon. The cicadas are buzzing. The scent of eucalypt hangs heavy in the still air. And Hamish Gibson, from Cape to Cape Explorer Tours, knows exactly where he wants to be. “Plunging into Chapman Pool and then resting in the shade of a tree is a beautiful feeling,” he says.
Loads of local secrets in the Margaret River region
Never heard of Chapman Pool? There’s good reason. Hidden away in the Blackwood River National Park, about 20 minutes inland from the townships of Margaret River or Augusta in Western Australia’s South-West coast, this bush-fringed waterhole is something of a local secret. And it’s not the only one. Few visitors realise that the tall forests of Margaret River are interlaced with a web of waterways that offer the perfect summer playground.
Quiet forest pathways sooth mind and body
The still waters of the Margaret River itself are the perfect place to try your hand at canoeing – not least because motorised craft are banned from these waters. “Particularly in the morning, when the water is often super still, the reflection of the treescape in the water is a wonderful thing to see,” Hamish says.
Whether you opt for splashing about in the water or something a trifle more adventurous – the area’s limestone ridges offer some amazing places to go rock climbing or abseiling, including Brides Cave with its glorious forest setting. You’ll be doing yourself good simply by breathing in the forest air. Indeed, numerous studies have shown that time spent among the trees is a sure-fire way to bring your stress levels down and boost your wellbeing.
Walking the capes to get off the beaten track in Margaret River
Exploring Margaret River’s bushscapes also lets you expand your understanding of our First Peoples. Take Cape to Cape Explorer Tours’ range of day hikes and multi-day trips. These include the iconic 124-kilometre Cape to Cape Track, stretching between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin. “The walking tracks in this part of the world are often the paths used by the Wadandi and Bibbulmun people,” Hamish explains. “They understood the area’s microclimates. And they knew the best places to gain shelter. To hunt. To perform ceremonies.”
They also understood the rich variety of the plant life around them. The area is known for its biodiversity. This includes an extraordinary array of wildflowers, as well as the strong native wisteria, which they used like twine, and the banskias, which were used to carry fire safely.
Book your self-guided adventure on the Cape to Cape Track. Or walk with expert guides on the 8-Day Guided End-to-End adventure. Either opt is a great way to get off the beaten track in Margaret River.