Tagon Coastal Trail
Cape Arid National Park
Directions - Cape Arid National Park is located about an hour and a half east of Esperance. Take Fisheries Rd north out of town and keep following this east for 100km until you reach the turnoff for Tagon Road. Take a right here and follow it all the way into the park towards Thomas River Campground. The trail head is located on the road leading towards the beach and you can park on the edge of the road.
The Hike - The Tagon Coastal Trail is one that has been on my list ever since my podcast partner visited in 2019 and raved about how fantastic the scenery was. With my Spring 2020 Road Trip taking me to the Esperance area to explore some of the remaining trails in the area, I decided that this would be the day that I would drive out to Cape Arid NP and tackle this coastal trail. Unfortunately the weather was still forecast to be cold, wet and windy but I was here so rain, hail or shine, I would be doing this walk.
Staying at Lucky Bay Campground in Cape Le Grand, I had great memories of this place from a trip here in 2018 with Caris. This time I was not blessed with great weather but I made the effort to wake up for the sunrise and managed to get onto the beach for a few minutes before it started to bucket down. I found refuge in a gazebo near the beach waited out the shower in the freezing cold but at least I got some moody morning light from this iconic WA location. With the shower over, I retreated to my tent and had a bit of a lie down and some breakfast before packing up my gear (I would return later that day but wasn't leaving my Nemo Hornet there all day). With this trail being the only thing I had to do today, I enjoyed a leisurely drive out to Cape Arid NP after making myself a nice cup of Earl Grey for the journey. I've only just realised this as I started writing this post but I ended up taking the worst route possible along Merivale Road, which is all gravel and was a bit muddy and corrugated. Instead I should have taken a left turn at Jim Ovens Road and then right onto Fisheries Road that is all tarmac to the Cape Arid turnoff and runs parallel to Merivale Road, just further north.
Mistake made but I still managed a good pace and the car would have ended up filthy thanks to the entry road into the Thomas River Campground being a light coloured mud/loam combination that stuck everywhere to the underside of my car (as per the gallery above). After driving around the campground like an idiot trying to find the trail head, I eventually found it on the road leading to the beach (that was closed during my visit thanks to the Thomas River being a bit full). While I was driving into the park there was a shower passing through so by the time I had my gear together, the sunny skies had returned and I was free to walk in beautiful conditions. The first challenge was getting onto the beach at Yokinup Bay because the Thomas River was blocking the way and I didn't really want to wade through the waist deep water 30m into the hike. There was a goat track to the right where people had ventured to go around the stagnant water but it wasn't easy to find a way through the scrub. Eventually I dropped down onto the beach and was presented with a pretty special scene thanks to oodles of white sand, wild surf washing in and the distant peak of Mount Arid. It felt very much like the view you get at Point Ann at Fitzgerald River with the Mid Barrens providing some hilly features in the distance and a wide bay of perfect white sand giving off an idyllic holiday vibe.