As you approach Sugarloaf Rock you will instantly see why this towering, sea-scultpured rock that emerges from the Indian Ocean is one of the most photographed coastal landforms in the region. Sugarloaf Rock and the sometimes treacherous seas that pound it are best viewed from the platform. With its ever-changing colour, it is difficult to decide when it’s best to see it. Perhaps it is when the weather is stormy with crashing seas, perhaps it is when it is calm sunny and the water is crystal clear or perhaps the greatest sight is when the sun sets over the Indian Ocean and the colour of the rock changes every minute. If you wait long enough at sunset, you can even see the working Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse light up!
Sugarloaf Rock is one of the region’s most spectacular coastal landforms and unique environments. It is no wonder that it is one of the hallmark images of Australian Landscape Photographer of the Year, Christian Fletcher and it has graced the cover of the Australian Geographic magazine.
It is a gigantic towering granite rock that emerges from the Indian Ocean extremely close to the mainland. The rock is situated within a designated nature reserve in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park just off Cape Naturaliste near Dunsborough.
Its ocean side is battered by treacherous seas and the rock is separated from the coast by just a narrow channel of wild water. This has created a unique environment which is home much wildlife
More informationThe best place to view the rock and the crashing seas is from the elevated lookout. It is easy to get to the top with only 20 steps (approximately). Due to the narrow channel of water you are quite close to the rock. But you can even get a good look from the car!
Take a closer look. Sugarloaf Rock is a bird watchers and nature lover’s paradise. As a nature reserve it is a haven for nesting sea birds and is home to the geographically restricted and graceful red-tailed tropic bird which nests here from September to February each year. But that’s not only the wildlife you may see. Playful bottlenose dolphins can often be seen leaping through the surf break close by, sometimes together with the surfers. Humpback and southern right whales are often seen wallowing, breeching or just cruising by on their migration (best time July-October)
Spend a little more time and walk on the Cape to Cape Track towards the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse which is only three kilometres away. It is a spectacular walk along the cliff tops looking up to the lighthouse with the Indian Ocean, stunning surf and beautiful bays on one side and native Australian coastal bush complete with Australian wildlife on the other side. This area provides a great example of Western Australian wildflowers which are gorgeous and plentiful in season (September – November) making for even more stunning photographs. The path itself is an easy walking path of hard limestone which then becomes a sealed path and then then turns into an amazing boardwalk. Conveniently placed benches allow walkers to sit and gaze at the ocean, dolphins or migrating whales, or spy on fluttering wrens. (If you walk on the Cape to Cape Track coming the other way from the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse it is wheelchair and pram accessible for most of the way and offers great views of Sugarloaf Rock)
As this is a wild environment please heed the Department of Parks and Wildlifesigns and guidelines.