FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
MARGARET RIVER, THE CAPE TO CAPE & THE GREATER SOUTHWEST
Where is the Cape to Cape?
The Cape to Cape is a 135 km long stretch of coastal north-south trail from one end of the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park to the other. In Spring, the track is alive with native wildflowers and the Indian Ocean hosts migrating whales. Google it!!!!
The track is typically seen to start at the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and end at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse or vice versa, depending on the direction you are travelling. It follows quite closely the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge and covers a diversity of sandy coastal terrains, coastal heath, limestone outcrops and granite paths, beaches, coastal woodlands, and old Karri and Marri forest.
How difficult is the track?
It is a magic walk that anyone with moderate fitness can do given enough time. There are some sections that are moderate to strenuous – with some hilly parts going up and down the ridge but generally it’s moderate and we are there to make sure that you do it at your own pace.
Beaches are the challenge for most people but (unless requested) we tend to walk in a north-south direction so that by the time you get to the long beaches, your body is already pumping for it!
Is there a lot of beach walking (i.e. walking on sand)?
When you walk the whole track, there is a total of approximately 25 km of sandy beach, the longest of which is 7 km. Sometimes the wetter areas are firm and easy to walk on, often the sand is loose and fine well, like a beach…just think of it as a great glutes workout with incredible views of turquoise coloured ocean.
You can take your time, maybe slip off your boots and enjoy the ocean, the sand between your toes and the tranquillity – there is rarely anyone around and the beaches are stunning!
How much am I expected to carry each day?
You can carry as much as you like but you only really need to carry a small day pack with water, the lunches we give you, and any personal items you would like to carry like camera and rain weather gear, for example. You probably would not need to carry more than 4kg - but it is up to you!
How do we get to Margaret River?
Margaret River is 290 km southwest of Perth. Most people drive the 3-hour journey and stop to check out the Busselton Jetty along the way. It’s an easy drive – pretty much a straight all the way with well sign-posted directions all along…all in English.
If you are coming on one of our multi-day walking tours then we will be picking you up and dropping you off, unless pre-arranged, so you can just sit back and enjoy the ride…but Google it so you can get an idea of where it sits on the WA coast.
You can also catch local public transport. There are two coach companies Southwest Coaches and TransWA and they both take about the same amount of time to get down and cost about the same too, about $50. Please check their timetables
Where is the Fitzgerald River National Park?
The Fitzgerald River National Park sits within the UNESCO listed Fitzgerald Biosphere and is a natural heritage site.
It is approximately 460 Km (5-6 hours) south-east of Perth between Albany & Esperance.
What is the terrain like?
There are two main trails in the Fitzgerald River National Park: the Hakea and the Mamang trails. They are both coastal trails spanning a variety of coastal heath, beach, coastal scrub and some woodlands.
What if I'm a slow walker?
Our aim is for you to spend time in nature reconnecting and exploring the beauty of the places we walk. So, you need to walk at a pace that is suitable to you and we support you to do just that. In a group people will always walk at different paces, you can walk at your own pace and we’ll make sure nobody gets left behind!
What if I need a day off?
We have had occasions when people have felt they needed time off to recover. You can do that by staying at the accommodation and relaxing, or heading into town to sit at a cafe. There are always ways to support you, whatever you need to do.
What happens if I am injured or sick?
All our guides have first aid training and some remote wilderness first aid to treat minor injuries. If there is an injury and you need to come off the track we carry a satellite phone and will call for emergency services. If you are sick we will call for someone to come and take you off the track and drive you back to our accommodation.
How much walking do we do each day?
We walk between 15 to 24 kms a day. Usually no more than 5 - 6 hours with plenty of breaks for snacks, water and lunch.
Are there snakes or other dangerous wildlife?
We have many poisonous snakes in Australia and they do not generally mind us walking through their natural habitat and they are usually very shy and keep well away from us. From time to time we see kangaroos, whales, dolphins, foxes, different lizards, and may birds and insects, like flies… none of them are dangerous … the flies are a pest sometimes but do no real harm!
What time of the year is the best to see wildflowers?
The wildflower season starts in late August when we can start to see a few species starting to flower. The season really kicks off in September with many species flowering then. The season goes through to the middle of November. In the Fitzgerald River it starts a little later: half way through September.
There are many local orchids that flower seasonally, so we can find them from April right through to November.
Where are retreats held?
Most of our retreats are held in Margaret River.
Where do we stay? What’s the accommodation like?
We stay in selected holiday homes that are nothing short of deluxe. Large, spacious and perfectly suited to all our retreat activities and sleeping comfort. The accommodation will also depend on the number of people attending each retreat.
Is Mongolia in China?
No, Mongolia is a sovereign state and a country in its own right - its capital is Ulaan Baatar. There is a region in China called the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region that used to be part of the Mongolian territory until 1947.
How do we get visas?
Visas are available from the Mongolian consulate in Canberra. They cost $230 and are usually delivered within a week. You simply download a form from their website, fill it in, send them your passport with a stamped & self-addressed envelope (all registered mail, of course) and a post office order for the visa fee.
How safe is the area where we are walking?
The region of Mongolia we are walking in is very safe - we are walking through a region that is only kilometres from Russian and Chinese borders so there are some military posts where we stop and check in and where they keep tabs on any irregular activity.
As there are hardly any people through the Tavan Bogd National Park, mainly nomads and their families with their animals, crime is also not an issue.
In terms of the geography, we are walking through remote wilderness and up mountains - and we respect that. We take precautions during any river crossings and make sure that everyone gets enough time to acclimatise to the altitude.
What equipment do we need?
You will receive a list of suggested items to bring when you book into the tour. You DO NOT need a tent.
Will we be carrying our own packs & how heavy will they be?
While walking we will be carrying only a day pack, so a small pack that will carry our food for the day and snacks, water and whatever items you want to carry on you while walking like your camera or your sunscreen. You can make them as light as you like.
Do we have to know how to put up tents?
No, you will not need to get involved in the setting up of the camp every night. This task will be professionally carried out by the support crew, including our expedition cook, who is coming along on the walk with us. They will be walking ahead of us with the camels and horses and setting up camp before we arrive every afternoon.
Where... you know... will we go to the toilet?
In nature for number 1s and if you need to number 2s (we will be carrying a small shovel) but there will also be a campsite drop-toilet set up every evening in a separate spot from the campsite for a bit of privacy.
Are the flights there and back included in the price?
No, you have to get your own return ticket to Ulaan Bataar, but once you are there we take care of everything else including in-country flights, meals, accommodation, transport, all activities and material for activities and us 24/7 at you service.
What level of fitness is required?
This hike is a level 5 walk so some level of fitness is needed. However, you do not need to be an athlete to enjoy and complete this amazing adventure. Moderate fitness will do and we will give you some suggestions for training 3 months before the walk. Obviously, the fitter you are the easier some sections will be, but we have people of all levels of fitness complete this expedition. We are there to support you and encourage you during the more difficult sections, whihc you can do at your own pace.
Will I get altitude sickness?
Probably not. But everyone is affected by altitude in some way regardless of fitness level.
What happens if I get injured or sick?
We require everyone to have fully comprehensive travel insurance for this reason. It is an extremely remote region of the country and while we have sat phones and all the first aid equipment necessary to treat minor injuries or temporary ailments. If any serious injuries occur, we will get the injured person out of the National Park on horse and then by car.
How do I know if the Walking & Writing Retreat is for me?
Our Walking & Writing Retreat is generally attended by individuals who want to start a writing project. They might want to start a blog, write short stories or their life story, sometimes they are simply looking to start a regular writing journal to access great self-knowledge and motivation in other areas of their lives.
How do I know if the Creativity Retreat is for me?
If you are looking to have a greater connection to nature and/or reignite or start a more creative and self-expressive life, but you don’t know where to start or you just don’t seem to be able to sustain your effort, then this retreat is for you.
We spend 4 days exploring, both individually and as a collective, what is stopping us, where we are exactly and where we want to be. We rehearse actions that will get us there and we do it all in a safe and very playful way using storytelling, theatre, writing, movement, painting and of course walking and immersing ourselves in the creative power of nature.
What is the methodology used?
Dr Erika Jacobson is a theatre based practitioner whose doctoral research and work with communities and organisations has given her insights into the benefits of using arts-based, theatre and aesthetic techniques to access deeper insights and ways through blockages and obstacles in order to access greater creativity, self-expression and wellbeing.
Creativity and self-expression are an integral part of our wellbeing and human experience. Aesthetic (through our senses) & embodied (through our bodies) practices and techniques can give us access to ideas, solutions and breakthroughs that lie beyond our intellect. Playful and fun, these techniques allow us to work on both individual and collective stories, often giving us access to transformative breakthroughs and insights, always giving us access to fun and creative expression.