Grab your jacket and explore the walking tracks in Yallingup and Dunsborough.
The Japanese have a word for time spent in the forest for de-stressing and mood-boosting. Shinrin-Yoku literally means forest-bathing. Scientific field experiments across Japan have proven that spending a day in the forest lowers concentrations of cortisol, and lowers pulse rates and blood pressure.
We’re so fortunate to have swathes of natural beauty on our doorstep, from the coast to the forest, and the cooler months provide the perfect opportunity to walk in nature and experience the mental and physical benefits. Here are a few of our favourite spots for walking in Yallingup and Dunsborough, mixing it up between coast, forest and bush.
Dunsborough Beachfront to Castle Rock and Meelup Beach
Start from the beachfront, enjoying the protected shallows as you head west to the edge of Meelup Regional Park. From here it’s an easy 3.7km walk one-way along a well-maintained trail through peppy trees, red claw flowers (Calothanmus graniticus) and WA Christmas tree groves. There are great ocean lookouts and plenty of birdlife along the way and you’ll be rewarded with the beauty of Curtis Bay, Castle Rock and Meelup Beach. Enjoy a swim, coffee or ice cream as a reward. For a taster, do Castle Rock to Meelup. It’s one of the most picturesque sections, looking out over limestone outcrops onto turquoise ocean.
Meelup Brook Walk Trail
If you appreciate a reward at the end of a hike, try the Meelup Brook trail. Start at Meelup Beach and the 1.2km trail is largely uphill, but once you reach Meelup Farmhouse at the top and have lunch or a bevy it’ll all be worth it! Start on the grassed area of Meelup beach between the car parks and follow the path towards the bush to the under-road tunnel. The path is universal access until you reach a timber deck overlooking Meelup Brook which will be flowing in autumn and winter. Continue upstream along a gravel firebreak. Meelup Farmhouse is signposted.
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse Walk Trails
There’s nothing like a bracing ocean breeze to make you feel alive! Enjoy a choice of three scenic walks from Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. There’s the 3.5km Access for More track suitable for walkers of all abilities and wheelchairs. The 4km Cape Naturaliste Track is a loop walk with great views of the dramatic coastline around the north-west tip of the Cape. Winter is the best time to enjoy the 2.4km return Whale Lookout Walk for the opportunity to spot humpback and southern right Whales, and the 3.6km Bunker Bay Loop finishes on the majestic cliffs over Shelley Cove and a stunning view looking across to Bunker Bay.
Yallingup Beach Walks
A choice of walks from Yallingup beach cater for all levels of ability and wildflower lovers. The Quenda Trail (brown markers) is a loop which can start and finish at either Rabbits carpark or Smiths Beach and includes a 4km section of the Cape to Cape Track. The Torpedo Trail (blue markers) is perfect for those staying at Caves House, Seashells, Caves Caravan Park or Yallingup Beach Holiday Park as they are close to the 3km loop walk to the beach, along Yallingup Brook and back up the hill.
If driving, park in the Torpedo Rock car park at the top of Yallingup Beach Road, or at Caves House and enjoy a pub lunch after your walk. The Ghost Trail is a short but pretty section of the Torpedo Trail from the heritage gardens of Caves House to Yallingup Beach. The 6.3km Wardanup Trail (orange markers) circuit starts and ends at the Rabbits carpark at the northern end of Yallingup Beach, or alternately Ngilgi Cave. It covers a variety of terrain from beach to heath, hills, peppermint forest and valleys, and it’s a terrific way to acquaint yourself with the Yallingup coast and town. For a short 600m walk try the Caves Trail starting near the entry of Ngilgi Cave looping around the cave system under the peppermint trees.
Smiths Beach to Canal Rocks
Start at Smiths Beach car park and walk to the southernmost point to join the Cape to Cape track. This is arguably one of the best sections of the well-known hike to do in a couple of hours. Walk along cliff edges, around rocky outcrops and through coastal bushland with amazing views along the way. Be prepared for some rock hopping. Finish at Canal Rocks or return the same way. For a bigger challenge, continue on the track to Injidup Beach car park.
Yelverton National Park
This is a lesser-known but beautiful walk through unspoilt bushland, which is stunning in wildflower season to spot some lesser known species. We took about three hours to return to our starting point on Abbey’s Farm Road. There’s a small sign to show the walk trail. It’s a bit overgrown in parts but if you’re up for an adventure it’s a great walk.
For more information visit trailswa.com.au and meeluppark.com. A really useful guide is Jane Scott’s Walking Round in Circles or the Cape to Cape Track Guidebook for detailed maps and descriptions. For guided walks contact Koomal Dreaming, AdventureWorks WA, South West Eco Discoveries, Margaret River Exposed, Edgewalkers, Margaret River Discovery Co, Cape to Cape Explorer Tours or Bike Swim Hike Dunsborough.
Looking for more walking and hiking trails in the Margaret River Region? Here are some tour operators and trails to inspire you.
Castle Rock BayGreat For: BBQ,Disabled Access,Fishing & Boating,Picnic Spot,Scenic Spot,Scuba Snorkelling & Diving,Stand Up Paddling & Canoeing,Sunny Day,Swimming,Walking & Hiking,Wildflower Spotting
Castle Rock Rd, Western Australia 6281
Meelup Reserve TrailOpen 24 HoursGreat For: Birdwatching,Free,Scenic Spot,Walking & Hiking,Wildflower Spotting
Meelup Beach Rd, Dunsborough WA 6280
Meelup FarmhouseMonday: 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM
Tuesday - Wednesday: Closed
Thursday - Sunday: 9:00 AM until 4:00 PMGreat For: Child Friendly,Dine In,Dog Friendly
54 Sheens Rd, Naturaliste WA 6281
Cape Naturaliste LighthouseCape Naturaliste Centre open 9.00am – 5.00pm. Fully-guided lighthouse tours depart every half hour from 9.30am - 4.30pm daily. Heritage Pass only (no tower entry) 9.00am – 4.30pm. Extra tours during peak holiday times. Closed Christmas Day.Great For: Picnic Spot,Rainy Day,Scenic Spot,Sunny Day,TWA Campaign,Wildflower Spotting
Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, 1267 Cape Naturaliste Rd, Naturaliste WA 6281
Cape to Cape TrackGreat For: Birdwatching,Free,Nature & Wildlife Spotting,Scenic Spot,Walking & Hiking,Wildflower Spotting
Cape to Cape Walk Track, Western Australia
Bunker BayGreat For: Birdwatching,Child Friendly,Fishing & Boating,Free,Scenic Spot,Scuba Snorkelling & Diving,Surfing,Swimming,Whale Watching
Bunker Bay Rd, Naturaliste WA 6281
Yallingup BeachGreat For: BBQ,Dog Friendly,Free,Outdoor Playground,Picnic Spot,Scenic Spot,Sunny Day,Surfing,Swimming
Yallingup Beach, Western Australia
Smiths BeachGreat For: Child Friendly,Dog Friendly,Free,Scenic Spot,Surfing,Swimming
Smiths Beach Rd, Yallingup WA 6282
Caves House Hotel - Restaurant, Bar & EventsMonday - Sunday: 7:00 AM until 10:30 PMGreat For: Dine In,Fireplace,Rainy Day,Sunny Day
18 Yallingup Beach Rd, Yallingup WA 6282
Seashells YallingupMonday to Friday - 8:30am to 5pm Saturday & Sunday - 9am to 4pm Public Holiday - 9am to 3pmGreat For: Disabled Access
1 Yallingup Beach Rd, Yallingup WA 6282
4.5 From $37
Caves Caravan ParkMonday to Sunday 9am - 5pmGreat For: BBQ,Child Friendly,Dog Friendly,Outdoor Playground
23 Yallingup Beach Rd, Yallingup WA 6282
Yallingup Beach Holiday ParkMonday to Sunday 9am - 5pmGreat For: Child Friendly,Dog Friendly
186 Yallingup Beach Rd, Yallingup WA 6282
Ngilgi CaveSemi-guided tours of the show cave. Ngilgi Cave Centre open 9.00am - 5.00pm. Tours depart every half hour from 9.30am - 4.00pm daily. Extra tours during peak holiday times. Closed Christmas Day.Great For: Rainy Day,Sunny Day,TWA Campaign
76 Yallingup Caves Rd, Yallingup WA 6282
Canal RocksOpen 24 HoursGreat For: Child Friendly,Free,Photography,Scenic Spot,Scuba Snorkelling & Diving,Sunny Day,Walking & Hiking,Wildflower Spotting
Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, Canal Rocks Rd, Busselton WA 6280
Injidup BeachGreat For: Fishing & Boating,Free,Scenic Spot,Sunny Day,Swimming
Injidup Beach, lot 6282/LOT 10 Cape Clairault Rd, Yallingup WA 6282
Koomal DreamingMonday to Sunday 9-5pmGreat For: Child Friendly,Sunny Day,TWA Campaign,Walking & Hiking
Yallingup Caves Rd, Yallingup WA 6282
AdventureWorks WAGreat For: Adrenalin Activities,Mountain Biking & Road Cycling,Nature & Wildlife Spotting,Scuba Snorkelling & Diving,Stand Up Paddling & Canoeing,Sunny Day,Walking & Hiking
90A Commonage Road, Dunsborough WA 6281
5 From $60
South West Eco DiscoveriesMonday - Sunday: 8:00 AM until 7:00 PMGreat For: Birdwatching,Nature & Wildlife Spotting,Sunny Day,TWA Campaign,Walking & Hiking,Wildflower Spotting,Workshops & Classes
2/9 Yale Cl, Abbey WA 6280
Margaret River ExposedMonday - Sunday: 9:00am until 5:00pmGreat For: Child Friendly,Nature & Wildlife Spotting,Photography,Rainy Day,Scenic Spot,Sunny Day,Walking & Hiking
Margaret River WA
EdgewalkersMonday to Sunday: 8am to 5pmGreat For: Nature & Wildlife Spotting,Photography,TWA Campaign,Walking & Hiking
8A McKeown Pl, Margaret River WA 6285
Margaret River Discovery Co - Wine & Adventure tourMonday - Sunday: 7:00 AM until 10:00 PMGreat For: Nature & Wildlife Spotting,Scenic Spot,Stand Up Paddling & Canoeing,TWA Campaign,Walking & Hiking,Wildflower Spotting
100 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River WA 6285
5 From $160
Cape to Cape Explorer ToursMonday - Sunday: 8:30 AM until 6:00 PMGreat For: Nature & Wildlife Spotting,Photography,Sunny Day,TWA Campaign,Walking & Hiking
1/24 Auger Way West, Margaret River WA 6285
Bike Swim Hike DunsboroughContactable Monday - SundayGreat For: Mountain Biking & Road Cycling,Sunny Day,TWA Campaign,Walking & Hiking