Cape Le Grand National Park was one of the first must see places we listed when we were starting to plan our trip due to its reputation as being a place of wonderful scenery. Well all the articles we had read and the photos we had seen of Cape Le Grand were no match for the stunning visual assault on the senses that this place delivers. These words and the photos to follow are an attempt to convey the absolute beauty of this area, but the experience itself is so much more and can only be appreciated by walking the trails and seeing for your self the wonders of Cape Le Grand.
An early start saw us arrive at the Cape Le Grand campground around 8am on a Friday and we were in luck as there were a couple of vacant sites to choose from. We chose a nice shaded, sheltered site behind the dunes. There are only 15 camp sites here so it can be hard to get a spot and soon after we had set up the other vacant site was taken and the campground full sign was posted at the entrance and stayed that way for the weekend.
The other campground in the national park is at Lucky Bay which has recently been upgraded and now has 52 sites. We chose not to stay at Lucky Bay due to it being fairly exposed to the wind and after driving there and coming over the hill and seeing what looked like a caravan show on display we were glad we didn’t. The place was full and it really detracted from the natural beauty of the bay and it surrounds. There was obviously a need for more sites, it is just a pity that the upgrade doesn’t blend in with environment.
The day we arrived the weather was overcast with brief showers on and off all day so we decided to tackle the climb up Frenchman’s Peak which is a 300 metre high mountain of rock. The climb is rated as hard and involves climbing up a steep rock face with no ropes, steps or any assistance so requires a reasonable level of fitness and no fear of heights. There are marker posts every so often to guide you in the right direction but no set path. The wind was reasonably strong but we were only exposed to it on one section of the rock face so it wasn’t much of a problem and the rain held off until we got to the top and took some photos. The views from the summit were great even though it was cloudy. We rested for a while in a cave just below the summit and watched the light rain come across and wet the rock face. It was very peaceful sitting in the cave mouth and the strangest thing was there was absolute silence here, no wind noise, no bird noise, no sound whatsoever. Luckily it was just a sprinkle as the downward journey would be treacherous if the rock got too wet. About half way down the rain started again and we had to be very careful of our footing as a slip here would be disastrous. We made it down safely albeit a little wet and cold and headed back to camp for a warm shower
The next day we walked the trail from Lucky Bay to Thistle Cove which takes you around the coastline with elevated views of the rocky headlands, offshore islands and beautiful coves. This walk is quite spectacular and is a must do if visiting Cape Le Grand. The other walk we did was from Hellfire Bay to Little Hellfire. Hellfire Bay is another crystal clear blue water, white sand beach which is a must see but Little Hellfire is even better and after walking here we had a swim and laid on the warm rocks to dry off before heading back.
On our last day here I got up early and went fishing off the rocks near the camp. The herring were on the bite in a big way and before long I had 18 of them in the bucket and also a nice flathead. We ate some of the fish that night for dinner and they were delicious. The rest of them gave us a few more meals in the following days. In the afternoon we drove along Le Grand beach for quite a long way. The sand on this beach is very firm and there is no need to let air out of the tyres or engage 4wd.
We stayed at Cape Le Grand for 3 nights and were going to stay an extra night but the weather forecast wasn’t good with rain and strong winds predicted so we made an early exit the following morning before the rain began. It would be easy to stay here for a couple of weeks as there is a lot to see and do. The scenery is unique, the camp ground is excellent and the jaw dropping vistas are everywhere you look. This place will be up there in the highlights of our trip.