Amazing how quickly you can plan and undertake an adventure when your friend gets unexpected holidays. As I work for myself I can take time off pretty much when I want as long as I have reliable staff to work the couple of shifts I do each week. The work I do in my home office such as accounts, administration tasks and management can be attended to as required, irrespective of where I am.
As we had an incredible experience the last time we did an Adventure in Margaret River, a return trip was an obvious choice. Once again we were able to get reasonably priced accommodation through Jill’s Union. This time we weren’t as organised and didn’t book our activities before we left, but we had an idea of what we wanted to do.
We left Perth around 9am and had a leisurely relaxed drive, stopping at Cowaramup for some tasty supplies from the deli. We visited the Margaret River Tourist Bureau to book a couple of activities namely Paddle Boarding and another abseil adventure with Mick. The Margaret River Tavern was a good choice for dinner and we planned our next day’s trek along a section of the Cape to Cape. We arranged for my friend Graham to meet us at 9am Tuesday morning at the start of the Cape to Cape Track which is close to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse so we could leave my car at the completion of our planned walk and for him to drop us off at Cosey Corner. The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is located on the headland of Cape Leeuwin and it is the most south-westerly point on the mainland of the Australian Continent.
Graham meet us at the carpark at the start of the track and then drove us to Cosey Corner to commence our days trek. It was raining lightly when we started but a little rain wasn’t going to dampen our spirits. We were dropped off on a gravel road where we sighted a sign post indicating where the track crossed the road. Assuming the track would continue opposite this we commenced walking along what appeared to be a track. Of course we started to doubt ourselves when the track ceased to be a track and retraced our steps. Not seeing any indication of where the track could possibly start we decided to persevere on what we thought was the track and ventured through some overhanging bushes and shrub. Realised this couldn’t possibly be the track and once again backtracked and searched for a sign post further along the gravel road. Success at last when we found that familiar sign post and we commenced our day’s trek. Pleased to report we didn’t venture off the trail again that day as this section is well sign posted. We had previously been told this was one of the prettiest sections of the track and the photos show it clearly is. A relatively easy 21 km walk along a limestone ledge overlooking the beach, a long stretch of beach with soft sand which is about 6.5 kms long, before heading inland through wooded forest. Every so often we would catch sight of the Leeuwin Lighthouse which gradually got closer and closer. Along the limestone ledge we saw a number of blowholes and had to navigate some narrow sections which certainly make the trek interesting.
We meet our guide and instructor at the Margaret River Tourist Bureau for Stand Up Paddle boarding and traveled in his vehicle to a secluded picnic/campsite in the National Park. This was the same location we kayaked from with Paul from Surf n Dirt Adventure Tours on our first Epic Adventure last September. We started in one of the tributaries to the Blackwood River to learn the intricacies of Stand Up Paddle Boarding. Standup Paddle Boarding or SUP for those in the know was a little challenging initially, as you need to gain the confidence to stand up and balance yourself. Certainly works your core as you have to constantly work to stabilise yourself. Jill was a natural and more confident than I was however I eventually stood up and paddled around. I alternated between standing up, kneeling and sitting on the board during my time on the water.
You are certainly thrown in the deep end as once you gain a little confidence it is straight out onto the Blackwood River for a paddle upstream. Slower going than kayaking however we both managed to handle the boards. Jill was definitely more confident and skilled than I was, however I was pleased to have another challenge or skill under my belt. We managed to stay aboard our boards right up until we turned and commenced entering the tributary. I would have stayed on except Jill crashed into me and took us both down. This necessitated us having to master climbing aboard our boards, very difficult to do. After struggling initially we were both aboard and ventured forth without any further incidents.
Our afternoon adventure was catching up with Mick Dempsey again for another abseil into a cave. Mick’s suggestion was to abseil into an open cave and climb out via a wire ladder, sound fine. Jill went first and descended easily and waited patiently at the bottom surrounded she keeps reminding me with snakes for me to descend and join her. As usual I over analyse and worry about what happens next instead of concentrating on the task in hand ie the abseil down. Once down you obviously have to get out and as Mick kept reminding me climbing the wire ladder which is tiny wouldn’t be difficult and he was there to pull us up if necessary. Three times I managed to get over the side only to come back up again and no amount of coaxing could get me to commit to the abseil. Really must get over my irrational fear of heights as once I commit and am on my way I am fine. Unfinished business and next trip to Margaret River I will do this abseil. Jill still reminds me that I left her alone and abandoned in the bottom of the cave. Mick climbed down to meet her and they explored inside the cave and then he ascended the wire ladder ready to assist Jill. It was a difficult climbed for her and Mick practically dragged her up, she was covered in bruises after her ascent but enjoyed the experience. www.margaretriverclimbingco.com.au
We had a relaxing evening reclining in bean bags, snuggled up in our jumpers, coats and a blanket at Cape Mantelle winery
Jill only wanted to do a short walk today so we intended walking from Yallingup to Smiths Beach and return a relative short distance. I never like backtracking and as it panned out our plans changed over the course of the trek. Once through Yallingup we commenced the beach section of our walk. Stunning outlook once we got back onto solid ground and climbed up a very steep ascent. As usual we took a wrong turn and realised our mistake quickly when we were atop a large hill with no descent paths. Not deterred we took the opportunity to have a snack break. Not sure if it was the spectacular scenery, serenity or feeling at one with nature but it became a spiritual break. Jill and I talked about her husband Justin who died a few years ago after a long battle with cancer. Jill saying that she pushes herself to experience our adventures not only for herself but because Justin didn’t get the opportunity. We retraced our steps and found the right path and continued walking along the cliff top path. We decided to keep walking until we reached a certain car park and then get a taxi from Dunsborough to come and pick us up and drive us to our car. However the car park we intended walking to was not on the Cape to Cape Track and we ended up walking a few kilometres further. We googled taxis and a very friendly lady answered our call and said she would be with us in ten minutes. Enjoyed our taxi ride with her as she was very knowledgeable and friendly and will certainly use her services again.
The day concluded with a late lunch at a nice restaurant and a visit to Lavender Cottage for scones with lashings of lavender jam and cream.
I got up early and packed my things and cleaned up some of the apartment whilst Jill was still sleeping. Decided to walk into the main street of Margaret River to fill in some time before we packed the car for our return to Perth. We had a leisurely trip back to Perth and Jill managed to attend her Personal Training session at her local Gym in the afternoon whilst I went to Yoga. Another great adventure completed and looking forward to the next one.