Walking the Cape to Cape Track is on every hiker’s bucket-list. And nobody has as many insider tips when it comes to the Track as Cape To Cape Explorer Tours founder Gene Hardy. He’s been guiding groups on Margaret River’s famous 124km multi-day hike for 11 years. And he knows the walking trail like the back of his hand!
If you’re considering hiking the Track in 2021, read on for this quick five-question Q&A with Gene. And if you want to see Gene in action on the Track, make sure you CLICK HERE to check out an amazing video filmed by Tourism Australia recently.
Why is it a great time for Aussies to discover the Cape to Cape Track?
The Cape to Cape Track is hands-down one of the best multi-day hikes in the country. It’s got everything from towering forests to some of the best beaches you’ll find anywhere. Amazing wildflowers and orchids. Epic coastal views. And challenging terrain from limestone cliffs to huge granite marbles dating back 600 million years. It’s mind blowing!
With international travel shut down due to Covid-19, we’ve found that Australians have absolutely loved discovering what’s in their backyard. Now is really the perfect time to tick the Cape to Cape Track off your bucket list!
Tips for walking the Cape to Cape Track
We always urge our hikers to put in some training and preparation before they come. Particularly, do some beach walking as there is a bit of soft sand on the Cape to Cape. Wear comfortable shoes that are worn in. And take a back-up pair of runners to change footwear if you start to get any hot spots on your feet.
If you’re really keen, you can hike the Track carrying all your own food, water and sleeping gear. But it’s a slog! Which is why people love Cape To Cape Explorer Tours. We take care of everything so they can walk with just a day pack and really enjoy the magic of the Track! Beginner walkers might like to do one our 3, 4 or 5 day highlights tours, walking around 10-15km a day. Those wanting more of a challenge tend to tackle the entire 124km over 6 or 7 days walking 14-21km a day. Or go hard with our 5-day Fast and Furious package or 3-day Trail Run.
Any ‘aha’ moments or great stories from walking the Cape to Cape Track?
There have been so many amazing memories and incredible experiences with guests over the last 11 years since I’ve been running Cape To Cape Explorer Tours! There’s the kangaroo attack. The tsunami. And the storm.
But the ‘aha’ moment for me comes every season when I see the reaction from our hikers. They’re living busy lives and they get out on the Track and you can just see the change in their face and their mood and their entire being. Sharing that with people in incredible. It’s why I do what we do. It’s a privilege!
What’s special about the flora and fauna?
One of the wonders of walking the Cape to Cape Track is the variety and diversity of vegetation, from coastal heathland and inland loops through woodland and forest. The region of Western Australia’s southwest including the Cape to Cape Track is recognised by Conservation International as one of just 36 global biodiversity hotspots. To quality, one of the criteria is having at least 1500 endemic species found nowhere else on the planet. This region has almost 7000!
As for fauna, bird life is plentiful thanks to the abundance of heathland on the Track. Colourful residents include splendid and red-winged wrens, scarlet, white-breasted and yellow robins, golden whistlers, New Holland honeyeaters and spinebills. On sunny days the open trails are ideal lazying spots for many different species of lizards and some snakes including dugites, carpet pythons and tiger snakes. Colourful bobtail lizards are a regular feature on the Track, are as curious heath monitors up to 2m in length. Most of the 124km Track hugs the coastline, which is protected by the Ngari Capes Marine Park. It’s where pods of frolicking dolphins and majestic humpback and southern right whales can be spied. Oh, and don’t miss the friendly stingrays at Hamelin Bay!
How interesting is the geology?
It’s fascinating! We relate the geology of the Track to Top Deck chocolate. You have this base layer of granite and granite gneiss, formed under intense underground and metamorphic pressure when India and Australia collided 600 million years ago.
And then on top of it is a layer of limestone, formed in only the last one million years, and that’s the rock that forms much of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge which the Cape to Cape Track traverses. The geology is fascinating, setting the scene for everything that makes Margaret River special, from the hiking to the surf and even the wine!
Which tour do you recommend?
You can’t beat hiking with Cape To Cape Explorer Tours of course! We take care of all the hassle and logistics, transfers, meals and accommodation so all you have to do is enjoy the Track. We’ve got a tour suitable for everyone, guided or self-guided, ranging from single day tours and multi-day tours between 3 and 7 days.
We also stay in awesome coastal accommodation and we do our own in-house professional catering using the best local produce. Plus, our guides and drivers are all Margaret River locals. We’ve hiked, surfed, fished, foraged and explored this coastline all our lives!