Deepdene to Cape Leeuwin
Cape to Cape Track
The Hike - The final section of my six day Cape to Cape Adventure and after a lovely morning walking along limestone platforms, past large granite boulders and on beaches, I had 15km of mostly beach and cliff walking until I reached Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. Having caught the two ladies I had met the previous day tackling the tough beach stretch into Hamelin Bay, I decided that some company would be nice and joined them as we walked towards the Turner Brook crossing. At this point I had my shoes off and tied to my bag so was enjoying the feeling of sad between my toes. The ladies were sticking to the high parts of the beach and while I had found the area closer to the water was harder, it wasn't always the case with big soft spots so we all elected to take the known evil closer to the dunes. With the skies getting darker off to the west, we got one good view looking towards the lighthouse in the distance as the sun illuminated the white tower.
It seems that Deepdene Beach is the most talked about beach on the Cape to Cape with an almost mythical status about it's length, depth of sand and potential for a bad time. Some hikers claim that the sands are like a Sarlacc Pit and just taking one wrong step will see your leg consumed by the deep sand while others say the whole ordeal will take between 4-5 hours when the winds are blowing. I am of course being hyperbolic but the 7.5km stretch from one end to the other is something you need to be prepared for. I personally don't find soft beach walking to be too much of an issue and even with gale force winds the day before on Hamelin Beach, maintaining a good pace is just a matter of a good headspace and a determination to reach the end. It does help that I'm a fairly young buck with plenty of kilometres in my legs over the past few years but by this stage of a N-S end to end, your trails legs should have come into their own. Reaching Turner Brook, it was a short hop over the narrowest section near the ocean end and after a bit of coaxing, both Julie and Karen were on the other side. From here we stuck to the upper section of the beach as the lower sections where we might find patches of hard sand were on a slope that can cause leg and feet issues after a while.
I find Deepdene Beach much more interesting than Hamelin Beach, mainly because there are plenty of cool rock platforms close to shore and they attract more life in the form of sea birds. While the clouds had well and truly set in, the wind wasn't too bad compared to the previous day and it didn't feel like it was going to rain anytime soon. I chatted away with Julie and Karen who were sisters that lived in different parts of the state and we discussed various hikes we had done. They were due to do the South West Coast Path in England but thanks to COVID, they had to adjust their plans, hence the trip on the Cape to Cape. We were getting some very English weather so it was almost a direct substitute but not really. I was intrigued by the bird life and stopped a lot to photograph the Pied Oystercatchers, Seagulls and Pacific Gulls. Not being used to having company on this hike, I realised how much I stop and break the rhythm of anyone that hikes with me. The ladies eventually just kept going and I caught them up, a method that worked for everyone. Finding a washed up buoy, we all stopped for photos as the molluscs were plentiful on the bits they could grab onto.
The total 7.5km length of Deepdene Beach is a bit deceiving as it's not all on soft sand like Mazzoletti Beach is. After about 4km of fairly same-same walking (excluding the rock platforms mentioned before), you reach a spot where it becomes clear that the trail takes a rockier route along the coast. We took this time to have a bit of a rest and I put my shoes back on to avoid some painful walking in the upcoming kilometres. The change was a welcome one and I don't have any memories of this from my last trip in 2014 so it did come as a bit of a surprise. I'm not sure if the beach has drastically washed away or if I just forgot that this bit existed. Either way I was a happy camper as I love a bit of rock hopping and it certainly made the walking feel less arduous. Just after we entered the rocky zone, the heavens decided to open with a small shower passing through. Having lost my rain jacket before Redgate Beach, I was hoping it would be a minor inconvenience but Karen and Julie decided to put their rain jackets and pack covers on just in case. It didn't last long and it was soon back to being just a gloomy, non-threatening sky. The limestone through here was highly enjoyable with a jumble of formations sticking out in every direction.
This would just be the start of it and I was stopping quite frequently to take photos. Karen and Julie had also begun to fall behind and with a 3pm pickup time, I was doing the maths on whether I could hike with them a little longer. Waiting on them to catch up, I made a decision that we would part ways here and I would continue to the end on my own. I had been talking about the book I had read the previous night at Hamelin Bay and Julie was quite interested in it (Island Home by Tim Winton) so I fished it out of my bag and gave it to her. It's a great read, basically Tim Winton's musings on Western Australia, the landscapes and the people as he's seen them change over time. Saying my goodbyes, I wished the ladies well and bolted off into the distance. Reaching some excellent scenery in the form of a dark and wide platform, this area has a bit of a wild feeling to it. Adding to that is the really twisted and decaying shapes that the limestone has eroded to over the years. There are some really gnarly formations all throughout this area culminating in a series of small caves that although very inviting on a wet day, have the chance of collapsing at any moment so be careful with your exploring.