Moses Rock to Ellensbrook
Cape to Cape Track
The Hike - With a very enjoyable day in the bag between Yallingup and Moses Rock, I didn't think the walking could get much better. With my last day of good weather ahead, I was determined to make the most of it so brewed a coffee and went to the nearby lookout while I ate breakfast. With the morning easterlies blowing light, the ocean was pretty calm and my gaze once again was seeking out passing whales. My luck didn't turn around as the flat water revealed no giants of the sea so I headed back to the empty campsite and began packing up for the day. My original plan was to stay at Ellensbrook Campsite this evening and have my longest day on the track between Ellensbrook and Contos the following day. With bad weather approaching, the idea to switch up my itinerary and finish today in Prevelly didn't gain momentum until mid-morning. With a long day not on my mind, I thought leaving just after 8am was an early departure, which it is based on my usual routine and only having initially planned for a 19km day.
Heading towards the lookout I had visited a couple of times already, the views looking south were still impressive and at this point you can see all the way to Gracetown if the weather is clear. That would be my planned lunch stop and I was looking forward to a tasty meal but I had to get there first. Descending down the hill, the first section to Wilyabrup Beach is very familiar coastal heath with Pink Banjine being the main wildflower you'll see along this stretch. In the distance you can see the first big highlight of the day with the Wilyabrup Cliff standing proud on the edge of the water. It is the main feature of the first 4km of the day and the anticipation of seeing it up close makes the morning walking go very quickly, even if I was sauntering a little bit. The green edges of the cliffs leading down to the beach were a pleasant difference to the previous days and made it feel more like the coastal walking you see in the south of England (albeit in very brief stretches). Looking down from the cliffs at the rocks below felt very West Australian with the turquoise waters and I always enjoy watching the waves crash upon the rocks, causing spray to fly everywhere.
As I rounded a corner, the beach came into view and I could see two fishermen enjoying their morning. With most of the beaches between the Capes accessible by 4x4 for surfing or fishing, there is always the chance of running into a local on your travels or just spotting them in the distance like I had with numerous surfers. Reaching the comparatively small Wilyabrup Beach, the big task for winter and spring walkers is getting over Wilyabrup Brook. As always, it's best to assess the situation first by inspecting the ocean side and also upstream where there is a series of rocks that can be used if you're confident. Wanting to save time and avoid taking off my shoes/putting them back on again, I worked out a path over the rocks that looked easy enough. My last steps would be onto a carved out island of beach sand and then onto the opposite bank. I made it to the island but it didn't have the structural integrity I had hoped and collapsed not long after I had hurriedly stepped onto the firmer sand of the beach. With a somewhat successful crossing, I headed towards the fishermen and gave them a good morning before spotting the beach exit not much further along.
The soft sand of the dune exit was a good way of getting the legs working again as you climb up to the car park used to access Wilyabrup Beach. From here you disappear into the maze of Peppermint and Myrtle thickets that cover the cliffs and it's a nice section of walking filled with wildflowers, orchids and spooky looking paths. The only off-putting thing about this section is the unavoidable walking you have to do in sight of the private property that is to the left. The track is squeezed into this small corridor and the ugly sight of big fences creeps into your view on the open parts. I'm not sure if it's to keep whatever they have on their farm from escaping or to keep us dangerous walkers away from their property but it just wasn't a pleasant sight, especially at one point where a stream runs down the hill and they blocked the waterway with a myriad of odd bits and pieces that looked like a scrapheap. I digress because it doesn't last too long and the intermittent views of Wilyabrup Cliffs just up ahead had me excited.
When you finally reach the point at which you descend down the wooden steps, it's a really cool moment on the track. It's hard not to be impressed by a big chunk of rock poking out from the earth and Wilyabrup Cliff is no different. The almost Easter Island statue nature of the cliffs make for an imposing sight and that feeling only gets bigger as you descend down towards Biljedup Brook. I was fortunate enough to spot a group abseiling in the distance and it really put the size of the cliffs into perspective. I think it may have been the cadet group I ran into on the previous day but didn't wander down to where they were to confirm. As you stand at the lowest point where you cross the very small water course, staring up at the orange granite leaves you in awe with just the sheer size and beauty. It's definitely a unique spot and a great way to start what would become a pretty epic day. After crossing the brook, you head up towards the metal staircase that is used to get up to the top of the cliffs. A useful rest point, I took some time to attend to a hotspot on my foot before continuing on, hoping to be taken right to the edge of the cliff.