Cape Naturaliste is naturally magnificent

There is some magnificent country in the south west corner of Western Australia, which is why it is a popular area for visitors.

Geographe Bay is one of the most popular regions in the south west, and is particularly highly-regarded for the quality of its beaches and bays, and for its excellent fishing and diving opportunities.

At the western end of Geographe Bay is a large headland called Cape Naturaliste.  Apart from a lighthouse, there has not been any development on the headland, and Cape Naturaliste forms the northern boundary of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.  It is also the start point for the Cape-to-Cape Track, which runs for 135 kilometres through natural bushland between the two capes.

The lighthouse is a  dominant landmark in the area.  It was built in 1903 in response to the 12 shipwrecks that tragically occurred around the Cape.

At 123 metres in height, it is quite an imposing building and its light can be viewed from 25 nautical miles out at sea.  Apart from the lighthouse there were a couple of lighthouse keeper houses built.  When the lighthouse did rely on humans for its operations (it’s been automatic since 1978), Cape Naturaliste was a very remote area.  With no paid annual leave or travel assistance, light keepers remained at their isolated stations for many years.

These days, the lighthouse is not considered to be remote, and some of the former houses have been turned into facilities which cater for visitors.  You can join organised tours of the lighthouse, and enjoy the 360 degree views from the top of the lighthouse.    

The lighthouse is surrounded by natural bushland within which there are many maintained walking tracks.  Cape Naturaliste is magnificent all year, but is particularly colourful during August and September when the wildflowers are in season.  At this time of the year you can enjoy the great carpets of colour from the wildflowers which cover the area.

At this time, and during the Australian summer, you can often see whales frolicking in the Indian Ocean waters.  Even out of season, the coastline offers up some stunning views, and when the seas are heavy and there are storms about the sight of huge waves breaking on to the rocks can be quite spectacular.

The nearest settlement to Cape Naturaliste is Bunker Bay, which has a rocky headland from which you can get great views over Bunker Bay.  The Bay itself has a lovely beach and the Quay West Bunker Bay Resort which is one of Western Australia’s favourite upmarket holiday resorts and a popular retreat for honeymooners.

From once being considered to be quite remote Cape Naturaliste is now well and truly part of the tourist trail, thanks to its proximity to the popular tourist towns of Dunsborough, Yallingup and Margaret River, the road to the Cape can get quite busy during peak tourist season.  There is a lot of parking available, and even though it seems you are sharing the Cape with a lot of people, it is still big enough for you to walk along its many trails and get the sense that you have it all to enjoy just for yourself.

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