Home' Traveller : Scoop Traveller WA 019 Contents 292 Scoop Traveller December-June 2011
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Michael Wise, of Cape Kayaks, shares his favourite places to access
the water right across the region.
Insider secret | There’s about 3.5km of coast that’s inaccessible to cars
between Dunsborough and Cape Naturaliste. I run my kayak tours along
that stretch. I can leave Meelup, where there are 1200 people, and make
my first stop at an empty beach. There are five or 10 bays that are empty
most of the time. You can get to them on the coastal walking trail between
Dunsborough and the lighthouse.
Salmon run | Around April and May the salmon run in huge schools about
300 tonnes in size. It’s amazing to see that volume of fish swimming
through the water. They’re spectacular game fish, they leap out of the
water and dance on their tails. The water boils and bubbles – they really
put on a show. They bank right up against the coastline so you can see
them from a boat, a canoe or just the rocks. On my tours we sometimes
end up with fish dancing beside our kayaks.
Nibbled digits | At Hamelin Bay we have population of stingrays that hang
around the boat ramp. Stand shin-deep in the water and they’ll come
and suck on your toes. It takes courage for people to let them do that,
but they’re harmless. Hamelin Bay has beautiful islands for paddlers. The
first is only about 400m from shore. They’re very nice islands with bird
sanctuaries on them. The fishing is also good.
Sheltered bays | Geographe Bay is the pick when the south-westerly is
blowing. It’s completely protected between Busselton and Dunsborough,
and it’s gazetted for all watersports, even jet-skiing. The Margaret River
mouth is another good place. Sand banks form across it in summer, so
it’s safe for canoeing, surf lessons and all kinds of activities. At Gnarabup
there’s the outer reef and a lagoon on the inside, so it’s protected for
snorkelling, fishing and sailboarding. Jays Beach and Flinders Bay in
Augusta are the places to head in northerly winds – when Geographe Bay
is choppy, it’s clean, beautiful ocean down there.
River time | The Blackwood comes out at Augusta – it’s got beautiful
glassy conditions for paddling, and the trees almost engulf the river – you
just see a narrow strip of sky through the middle. It’s a great place to
get back to nature. You can see giant sea eagles and kingfisher birds. It’s
protected because of the forest, and when you get far enough up the river
there are no motor boats.
John O’Connor runs Wine for Dudes – a wine touring outfit that also takes in
the wider sights and experiences of the region. He shares some of his favour ite
places to visit when he’s not on the wine trail.
Sunset views | Watching the sunset at Surfers Point is definitely a must.
You can take a cheese platter and enjoy a nice little glass of wine or beer
while you watch the surfers and kite-boarders.
Capturing the forest | There’s a great spot for photographing the trees in
Boranup Forest on Caves Road. It’s just south of Mammoth Cave on the
left as you’re heading down, and it has a car park and viewing platform.
There’s a lot of big trees there, and because of the way the light comes
through and catches on the trees, you get some amazing photos. It’s nice
in the morning, but the light changes through the day so you can get a
range of photos with the changing light. I like to stop there on the way
down to Boranup Beach for a surf, which you can only access with a 4WD.
Cliff climb | One of the best things to do is rock climbing at the Wilyabrup
cliffs. You can go with climbing guides for five hours or so. They teach you
the basics so you can climb the granite cliffs overlooking Wilyabrup Beach.
Roo spotting | Watching the kangaroos on the Margaret River Golf Course is
awesome. They’re used to people so you can get up close. It’s a good place
to see joeys hopping around. Go early in the morning before it gets too hot.
Margaret River Golf Course.
Sunset at Surfer’s Point.
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