Winter Walks in Yallingup and Dunsborough

 

Winter Walks

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.

Author Janine Pittaway

Janine Pittaway is a proud West Aussie, a food and wine lover, a 25-year communications professional and, for her sins, a passionate Fremantle Dockers supporter. When she’s not working for clients of her PR business, Bright Communications, she’s out and about experiencing the south west’s restaurants, coastline and attractions. Janine moved to Yallingup five years ago with her partner Stewart and cat Sago.

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