Yallingup to Moses Rock
Start - Yallingup
Finish - Moses Rock Campsite
Campsite - Water Tank, Toilet, Table
Distance - 23.4km (One Way)
Vertical Climb - 557m
Time - 6-10 hours
Date Hiked - 17th September 2020
Traditional Custodians - Wardandi People
The Hike- Day Two of my Cape to Cape journey and I woke up well before my alarm thanks to the early morning light illuminating my tent. It had been a while since I'd camped out on the trail so had forgot that you rise with the light and not the melodic chimes of your phone alarm. With the chirping of the birds making for a very lovely introduction to the day, I lay there in my new tent admiring the lack of condensation on the walls of the inner section. With the lightweight design of the Nemo Hornet, ventilation is very high thanks to a few cutaway sections in the outer shell. After a bit of a lie-in, I started to pack up my belongings and slowly got myself ready for the day. On the cards was a fairly straightforward 20km section of coastal walking, sprinkled with a few highlights including the famous tourist spots of Canal Rocks, Injidup Spa and Quinninup Falls. It was a day I was very much looking forward to and as luck would have it, the weather was forecast to be ideal thanks to temperatures in the low 20s, a light easterly breeze for the entire day and a bit of cloud cover later on.
With all my gear packed up I paid another visit to the Yallingup General Store for a spot of breakfast and to check the latest weather predictions for a couple of days time on their impressive surf/fishing report. Settling on smashed avocado on toast with a flat white, it really hit the spot. With the official track starting further down the hill, I trundled past the Caves Hotel and through the lush gardens towards the coast. Reaching the Yallingup Beach car park, I started my RunKeeper and headed off down Yallingup Beach Rd to begin my second day on the track. Right opposite the Yallingup Beach Holiday Park I spotted my first Fairy Orchid for the day and thought that this was going to be a pretty special trail day. The track follows the pavement that is popular with walkers and riders going for their morning exercise and I passed quite a few people enjoying the magnificent weather. As I was entering Yallingup on the previous day, I noticed that the Cape to Cape shares paths with a few marked trails that form loops near Yallingup. Having not seen them advertised I made a note to come back, perhaps next spring and check them out. Another of these trails popped up early on today with signs for the Torpedo Trail prominent along the coastal path that takes you away from town. With low scrub lining the now unpaved path and a flat ocean as far as the eye could see, the views along here were stunning.
My big hope for the day was seeing a whale and if I'm honest, my confidence of this occurring was quite high given the extremely flat water and the amount of people that had said they'd seen one on their recent trips. Whenever I took a break and had ocean views, my gaze would immediately start scanning the bright blue for dark shapes or frolicking whales. Early on it wasn't meant to be so had to be content with gulls sunning themselves on the rocks and seeking the wildflowers in the bushes, a feat that wasn't difficult given the variety and quantity to be found during spring. About a kilometre in I noticed a trail closure sign telling me that the Smith's Beach was closed for the winter due to extreme erosion and I would instead be taking the diversion on the Quenda Trail. This didn't really faze me as I was sure to be getting many more coastal/beach stretches over the coming days and the inland diversion would just mean more wildflowers. This turned out to be the case and immediately I was scanning the undergrowth for all kinds of different shapes and colours to photograph. Native Rose's, Donkey Orchids, Flame Peas, Flowering Acacia, Cowslip Orchids, Golden Buttercups, Pink Banjine and Vanilla Lily were just a sample of what I found here and it made for some excellent walking despite the sandy tracks.
Occasionally I'd get breaks in the undergrowth and the nice views looking down towards the water would open up. Some strategically placed benches provide some good rest points but being so early in the day I did not partake in a sit down. With the good finds continuing the length of the Quenda Trail, I was really enjoying the start to the day. All up if you end up doing the diversion it will add about a kilometre to your day but I thought it was a worthy detour. Descending down to meet up with the official track as it joins Smith's Beach, I was greeted with some nice postcard perfect views. A white sandy beach laid out below the dunes, surfers catching some waves and a few people enjoying a morning walk along the beach. From the final dune leading down to the sand, I had a look at the stretch of track that I had skipped and it seemed like the winter diversion was probably a necessary addition despite the fine weather conditions. As I entered the beach I was greeted by a doggo that was keen to know what I was doing or more likely, wanted to know if I had any snacks to share. I thought about taking my shoes off for this small beach section but as I could see the end was not far away, I decided to save some time.
Noticing some sea birds approaching, I quickly readied my camera and snapped off a couple of shots that I was lucky enough to get in focus. I believe the bird I captured was a Petrel or Albatross but cannot confirm with any certainty. Continuing on, I was enjoying the hard sand walking and soon came across the first proper water crossing of the Cape to Cape at Gunyulgup Brook. It didn't look too wide from a distance and so I gave myself a running start to launch myself over to the other side. It was not a very graceful effort with 17kg on my back and my foot landed right in the water so I would have a wet foot for the foreseeable future. With trail runners now my preferred hiking footwear for this exact reason, I was confident that the feeling of wet sock would quickly disappear and wouldn't affect me in the slightest. I'm sure anyone watching would have had a good laugh (as I was at myself). Exiting Smith's Beach at the boat ramp leading up to the road, you take a right turn and follow the road all the way to the end.
This was the start of a section that really had me smiling. As you come to the end of the road you spot a familiar Cape to Cape marker pointing you into the maze of orange lichen covered granite boulders. To start with it is very similar to some sections of the previous day but as you continue through the maze it becomes better and better. The big wow moment comes when you are confronted with one of the best views of the whole track thanks to a couple of pyramid shaped rock formations in the distance and a path snaking up the hill through the coastal scrub. My words don't do it justice but it's one of those moments on the trail where you just stop and appreciate the beauty. This awesome feeling continues as you scramble down the rocky steps to find that trail leading up the hill and it was slow going as I constantly stopped to take photo after photo. It was here I met my second raven friend that would be a recurring theme for the first few days and one I took as a good omen. Wishing him well on his journey, I continued mine as I hiked up the hill towards the gap in the boulders.
While the wider view of the impressively shaped rocks was awe-inspiring, I was having just as much fun admiring the almost manicured gardens that grow in the gaps of the rocks. In such a harsh and salty landscape, it's amazing to find plants of all varieties thriving where they can find a spare spot. Of course the Coastal Pigface loves this type of situation as it looks similar to a succulent but to see Acacia, Fabaceae, Banjine, Darwinia and Myrtle in such an exposed environment was great to see. Reaching the top of the hill where the tallest of the granite extended up into the sky, you are treated to some lovely views over to the next highlight of the track, Canal Rocks. This was another opportunity where I thought there would be whales in the sheltered bay below but a quick scan revealed nothing so I moved on towards the Peppermint thickets that are home until you reach Canal Rocks Road. The return to the somewhat sheltered confines of this type of coastal scenery was a welcome relief and I always enjoy the gnarly look of the grey trunks as they grow wherever there is room. Reaching a cool lookout, this was another spot to check for whales and just take in the beauty of the turquoise bay that was looking a million dollars in the morning sun.
With an absence of whales I continued on through the thickets of Peppermint and Honeymyrtle towards Canal Rocks Rd. Much like Sugarloaf Rock, the track doesn't actually take you directly to this landmark. Figuring I wasn't going to be back for a while and with the road leading not looking too long, I made the easy decision to go visit this WA icon. All up this adds about 1.6km to your day but it is worth it just to get up close to the impressive rock formations right on the edge of the ocean. This is another popular tourist spot that I'd not visited before so was keen to check it out and see if the bridge had been replaced after a violent storm destroyed it back in May 2020. Spotting a large bus in the car park, I was a little worried that it would be overrun with tourists and I wouldn't be able to get a clear shot of the new bridge that has now been built. Apart from a couple of well dressed elderly gentlemen, the place was deserted so I got my wish and just had to wait for the clouds to clear. Luckily they did and I got several snaps of the lovely colour match between the wood of the bridge and orange of the granite.
Dreading that climb back up the hill, I dragged myself away from Canal Rocks and began the journey up the pavement. It was starting to get a bit warm in the exposed sun so I was happy to be back in the relative shade of the track once I reached the top. The track does keep climbing from here so my legs had to absorb a bit more work as I headed up more wooden steps and then a set of metal stairs attached to the edge of a limestone cliff. This is a nice feature and something different that leads to the Rotary Lookout and a bench seat donated by the Dunsborough Rotary Club (hence the name). Again, you get nothing but lovely views from up here so I had a bit of a sit and enjoyed some dehydrated strawberries (still no whales). With a little bit of climbing to go (it's a 90m ascent from Canal Rocks to the top of this hill), I soldiered on and was soon descending down towards the coast again. As I was heading down and stopping a lot to photograph the wildflowers and ocean views, I heard some walkers behind me so stopped to let them through.
The Cape to Cape is very popular with tour groups given the ease of access for daily drop-off and pick-up. It didn't end up being a tour group but a large number of cadets undertaking a day hike. Given their younger legs and lighter packs, they would be overtaking me without my stopping for photos all the time so every time a new group came through I found a spot to move aside. In between doing this I enjoyed photographing the stunning scenery as you descended down the steep hill and on towards the limestone coast. At some points you are staring directly down at the water but then the trail takes a sharp left and you start following the contours again. This was a pretty special section with all the sharp patterns of the eaten away limestone and the rocky beach that you eventually arrive at. In the distance I could see a farm and while out of place based on what I'd experienced so far, it had a comforting feel about it. Perhaps that was just because I was near people again but whatever it was, I was really enjoying this bit. The cadet leaders eventually passed me as I reached the rocky creek crossing (no wet shoes here) and we had a bit of a chat about their group and what they were doing today. Not long after the creek crossing you reach the border of the farm that I deduced that it was private property for raising horses (the horses in the paddock gave it away).
I loved seeing horses along the Bibbulmun Track as you passed farms but these ones weren't as curious about walkers as others I'd come across. With the warm conditions and long grass either side of the trail I was cautious through here just in case I surprised a sunbaking danger noodle. While I would have loved to have seen one, it wasn't meant to be so I moved on to Injidup Natural Spa. One of the most loved Instagram locations in all the South West, you'll see many a manufactured photo from this spot typically showing a #wanderlust scene with a girl wearing a sun hat and flowing dress that really isn't suited to the windy coast of WA. Reaching the car park, the cadets were all there looking a little knackered so I left them to it and went off to search for the famous Injidup Spa location. After heading down towards the rocks and to the left, I found a wild bay that looked a bit too dangerous to have Instagrammers swarming it. Eventually though I realised it was off to the right and was joined by the cadets as they picked out their lunch spot. The area is famous because of the sheltered lagoon and the gap in the rocks that creates a cool effect as the incoming waves surge through from the ocean side. Even with a light easterly breeze and flat waters, I was treated to a nice show in the midday sunshine.
After a ten minutes or so of scrambling to different places for a better angle, I was confident I'd snapped enough photos to get something good out of the bunch. Leaving the cadets to their lunches I pressed on and tried to put some distance between them and myself. Heading back towards the car park, I found the official track again and pressed on. Snaking it's way along the coastline, this next section to Indijup Beach was yet another stunningly photogenic section of the track. The contrast between orange granite, turquoise waters and deep blue sky is always a highlight to me and with some clouds on the horizon, it made for a very nice looking scene. Exploring the rocky areas every now and then added another element and the views down to the water are something else when you get a jagged section of the coast. Add in a bevy of wildflowers including my first Blue Squill sighting of the track and a bunch of white and yellow daises sprouting out from a gap in the rocks and I was in hiking heaven. When the Cape to Cape gets called world class, I believe it is thanks to sections like this. Meandering along the top of the granite rocks, it remains this way for just over a kilometre before you reach the descent down to Injidup Beach.
Spotting some surfers from high above, it was nice to see some sets rolling in despite the flat ocean conditions. Another postcard perfect beach that WA is famous for, this will be home for the next kilometre and with no creek crossing, is the perfect opportunity to take your shoes off and enjoy a bit of grounding. Definitely feeling the heat of the day, it was nice to be close to the edge of the water and the cooling effect that has. As always on these beach sections, I was scanning the sand for anything cool poking out and also admiring the rock shelves just offshore that were exposed in the mid tide conditions (no swell also helped out). One exposed section had a really cool covering of seaweed that clings to the limestone and just looked completely foreign to anything you'd get on land. Little things like that really fascinate me and it's one of the reasons I love exploring rock pools and hidden areas along the coast. Reaching what I assumed was the exit point for the track on the beach, a large set of stairs leads you up into the dunes and to the car park. Not having my guidebook readily available, I didn't see the option to continue on for another 100m and take the second exit that cuts out the unnecessary climb. It was a bit more work for the legs but I got some views looking back to where I'd come from and off to Cape Clairault.
The less obvious second exit does take away the climb but I enjoyed the gnarly row of trees reaching out onto the trail as if they are either trying to protect you or steal your soul. What you cannot escape leaving the beach from the second/correct exit is another climb up some wooden stairs but thankfully these don't last long. On the sheltered edge of the cliff here there is a nice bench to sit on that at the time of my visit was occupied by two northbound walkers. We had a good chat about the track and how they'd fared over the last few days. Turns out they were doing a full end to end going the other way but pulled out due to the weather and had returned to complete the section they missed. Knowing what was coming my way in a couple of days time, the weather was front and square on my mind. With so much to see during the morning, I was aware that I still had a bit of ground to cover for the day (as did this couple) so wished them well for their final leg and moved on. I soon reached a vehicle track that would make covering some distance much easier but as I had been warned by the couple I'd just met, was also not a very interesting stretch of walking. While vehicle tracks aren't necessarily the best option for walkers, the nature of the terrain around this point means that taking it onto single track further to the east would probably result in less enjoyable walking.
This stretch does last a significant part of the day at around five kilometres but this doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. As I mentioned, your speed certainly picks up and the wildflowers along here are still fantastic, it's just the exposed nature of the walking and the fact that the views don't really change much thanks to the straight coastline (which switching off vehicle tracks wouldn't solve). Plodding along, I was a bit worried when I went to take a drink and had the sensation that my water bladder was empty. While I had been making a concerted effort to stay properly hydrated given I usually arrive at camp with more water in my bladder than should be there, I didn't think I'd gone through 3L of water. I had hoped it was the same issue that I had going into Dog Pool on the Bibbulmun Track with the hose not properly connected. Checking the connection, it was fine and it appeared I had just drunk too much over the day and did not have much water left to complete the remaining 8-10km. While it wasn't hot, I made a note to slow down to reduce the effort and be mindful of how I was feeling for the rest of the day. With Quinninup Falls coming up, I figured I would see a few day hikers and could ask for a top up if required. At the time it didn't occur to me I could just fill up at the falls themselves because I'm an idiot.
The five kilometres did pass pretty quickly with the views not changing too much but it was nice scenery to look at for the best part of an hour and a bit. The only vehicles I saw on this stretch were a couple that passed through heading to one of the 4x4 spots above the surf breaks and one already parked up with the occupants enjoying a surf already. Finally reaching the descent down to Quinninup Beach, I was happy to be off the vehicle track and near a place I had been wanting to visit for quite a while. The beach starts off with a rocky section with some big boulders but as you round the headland you get soft sand leading towards Quinninup Brook. I crossed at the ocean side and could easily step over the small stream without getting wet shoes. I was joined by a Beach Chicken (seagull) and in a funny moment that I'd not seen before, it stuck its head down into the stream and had a drink as if to mock my lack of water. The thought crossed my mind to get down on my belly and join it but I still had my senses about me. Not long after crossing the brook you reach the beach exit and the signs pointing you to the side trip to Quinninup Falls. As I said before, this is becoming a very popular day hike in the area for good reason, it's a bit unique in this part of WA to get a decent sized waterfall a short distance from a beach. Only a 300m detour off the Cape to Cape, it's certainly an easy and rewarding side trip, even if you don't need it to refill your water bladder.
Interpretive signing can be found at key locations and it was disappointing to come across one sign telling you about the importance this site has to the first nations people and that it shouldn't be disturbed with moronic rock cairns. That hasn't stopped numpties from making themselves feel like they are "connecting with nature" by building these unnecessary piles of rocks. I may have been a little grumpy thanks to being thirsty but as I hiked up into the dunes and caught sight of the falls, the grump in me melted away. Being spring it was in full flow and a sight for sore, vehicle track walking eyes. I had the whole place to myself so first filled up my water bladder with a couple of litres so it had time for the water treatment tablet to work it's magic (just a precaution). Next thing was to dunk my hat under the falls to cool off before getting out my new ND filter kit that had arrived in the mail a couple of days before I departed for the trip. This being the first time I had used them, it took a bit of trial and error to get the right settings and also realise that the lens attachment let in a bit of residual light so had to be covered so the photos didn't have a halo effect from the reflection. While the long exposure shots were ok, I think I still have a bit of messing around to do before I fully figure it out.
After a few shots from a few different angles, I was joined by a couple of day hikers so thought I'd leave them to enjoy the falls on their own. Having a long drink was super refreshing and I could now enjoy the rest of the day without that issue hanging over my head. Doubling back to where the Cape to Cape continues on, I found a couple of cool looking butterflies that was not the typical Monarch variety you commonly see. Staying still for long enough so I could get a photo, this cheered me up until I saw the sand dune you have to take in order to reach the next section. It wasn't too bad in the end and soon I was on the trail shared by day walkers leading from Moses Rock Car Park to Quinninup Falls. This was a very lovely stretch of walking with a flat gradient, ocean views and a great number of different wildflowers including some Exotic Spider Orchids similar to the ones I found on the previous day. With the clouds rolling in the for the afternoon, the lighting for photographing the wildflowers was excellent. With the increased patronage of this section of the track, at several points there are boardwalks to help protect the grasses as casual walkers are not known for their willingness to walk through mud/puddles so instead walk around these obstacles and thus worsen the damage to the surrounding flora.
The trail continuing all the way to Moses Rock car park was rather enjoyable in the warmth of the afternoon and knowing that the finish was up ahead only made it better. Passing a few more walkers, I made a note to capture both directions of the trail as I plan to reverse engineer this into a separate post for the day hike sometime over the summer after I get through the large backlog of trails from this road trip. The wildflowers continued to be excellent and I spent a lot more time on my knees than I'd expected on this trip. At the car park there is a wooden lookout with stairs leading down to the beach but thankfully you just have to admire them instead of heading down for more beach walking. From here, you start heading uphill for the final section of the day through the coastal scrub. I enjoy the afternoons in this type of vegetation as the temperature cools down and the birds are more active. This area had a very lush feel to it and was an absolute joy to hike through thanks to an explosion of wildflowers unlike anything I had seen up to here. Pretty much every wildflower I'd seen over the past two days could be found in the next three kilometres including a good number of new varieties including a Kangaroo Paw and a different type of White Orchid that I cannot be certain of the name of.
While I was having a fantastic time photographing everything I could, in the back of my mind I was expecting the campsite to appear around every bend. This is because my GPS was already reading well over 20km and I had this day pegged at about 20km from the guidebook. I hadn't quite adjusted my day for the three side trips that I made plus the Smith's Beach diversion so all up it added an extra 3km of walking. Very much worth it considering the quality of those side trips but at one point I doubted whether I had passed an overgrown spur trail that led to the campsite. Eventually I popped out into an area where the ground under the trees was worn down and then I spotted the picnic table and water tank of Moses Rock Campsite. Having the place to myself, I dropped my pack and went about selecting a spot to erect my tent. Given the light winds and proximity to the nice views, I chose an open spot near the picnic table instead of one buried deep in the thickets of Peppermints. Setup didn't take long and given it was after 5pm by the time I had put up my tent, laid out my sleeping gear and sorted everything out, I decided against cooking up a dehydrated meal.
Instead I took a couple of protein bars, brewed up a cup of Earl Grey and went out to the lookout on top of the cliffs near camp. The couple I met earlier in the day had told me about it and if you're a southbound hiker then it's not entirely obvious there is a good spot to watch the sunset unless you go for a wander. I probably would have done that anyway as I do it at every campsite along the Bibb but it was nice of them to mention it. With a small amount of phone reception I sat on the bench on the edge of the cliff and gave Caris a call. I sat there until after the sunset, enjoying my tea and protein bars, thinking about what an epic day that had been as the sun slowly descended towards the horizon. I'd seen some pretty cool landscapes, more wildflowers than I could count and was enjoying what turned out to be a lovely sunset. Looking out towards the start of the following day, it looked promising with some high cliffs leading all the way to Gracetown, that is visible in the distance. No one ended up joining me at camp so once the post sunset light show was over, I headed back to my tent and enjoyed a very restful nights sleep, ready to do it all over again tomorrow.
Final Thoughts - There really isn't much to fault on this day at all. While I have slowed down in my later years thanks to taking a million photos a day (ended up with over 900 for the day, of which I edited up 294), the fact I took eight hours to complete this day is a good indication that there was a lot to see.
Right from the start you get a good variety of terrain ranging from coastal scrub to beach to impressive granite headlands. Apart from the five kilometres of vehicle track leading towards Quinninup Beach, it never feels like you're in one particular terrain type for longer than is necessary.
Add in several big ticket highlights including Canal Rocks, Injidup Spa and Quinninup Falls and this is just a quality day of walking.
While not my absolute favourite day on the track (stay tuned for an even better day), this easily tops any of the coastal days on the Bibbulmun Track.
Get out there and experience it!!!
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