Discover the Wilyabrup Cliffs

 

Discover the Wilyabrup Cliffs

One of Margaret River's best-kept secrets just got easier to discover.

You never forget your first glimpse of the Wilyabrup Cliffs. Standing 40 metres proud, they glow red against the whitewash of the surging ocean. The amazing thing is few people know they exist.

The cliffs are naturally stunning, and it’s easy to see why Natalie Imbruglia chose to spend her one day off in the South West here, why Jeremy Clarkson didn’t want to leave, and why it’s the place to propose…

Here are five ways to experience the incredible Wilyabrup Cliffs for yourself.

Warning: the cliffs are 40 metres high and can be dangerous, especially during winter when gusty winds make it risky at the top. Visit with a professional guide who can help keep you safe. Stay clear of the edge, and please don’t bring children.

Get on a Discovery Tour with Margaret River Discovery Company

Sean Blocksidge has been taking his wine and adventure tour guests to Wilyabrup for years, with his tour company Margaret River Discovery Company.

“It’s my favourite place in the world. So much so, I got engaged out there! It’s thrilling on a winter day when the storms are blasting off the ocean and wind roars up over the cliffs” says Sean.

Sean takes guests to the north side of the cliffs for a spectacular view. This section lights up with wildflowers during spring and makes for an epic whale and dolphin spotting point with cliff top views.

I asked Sean about memorable moments at the cliffs. “I once flew over it in a helicopter and watched a Southern Right Whale giving birth and being harassed by a Great White Shark. We herded the shark off with the helicopter and then a pod of dolphins turned up to manage the maternity ward for the night.“

“I once had Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear out there and he refused to move for about 30 minutes. Just sitting watching dozens of passing whales while he was sucking up the fresh air and purifying his cigarette filled lungs.”

Image (below): supplied by Sean Blocksidge.

Go Abseiling with Margaret River Climbing Co

Experience heart-pounding heights by lowering yourself backwards over the edge with the abseiling experts. I loved that white-knuckle minute as you go from upright to horizontal, when the roar of the ocean is amplified as it echoes off the rock face.

Mick Dempsey from Margaret River Climbing Company takes groups climbing and abseiling at Wilyabrup Cliffs, and beginners are welcome. Starting at the bottom, you’ll climb four routes on the wall, then hike up and abseil down – once, twice, maybe three times if you’re keen.

Asked about unforgettable moments, Mick recalls the day Natalie Imbruglia came for a private tour and taught him to take a selfie. “Nat was challenged and sweating and swearing at me, but she triumphed and had a ball.”

Mick also helped Sean Blocksidge (above) propose to his now-wife, Erin, midway through an abseil. Stranded on a ledge on the pretext of getting a photo, Sean popped the question. “Of course, trapping her on a ledge was a pretty good way to ensure he got the answer he wanted!” laughs Mick.

Image (below): supplied by Sean Blocksidge.

Join an 8 Day Guided Tour with Cape to Cape Explorer Tours

Gene Hardy from Cape to Cape Explorer Tours offers an 8-day guided Cape to Cape Track walk with accommodation, meals, cave and winery visits. Guests see the cliffs for about 3 hours, as they hike in from the north.

I asked Gene what he loves best about the Wilyabrup Cliffs; “I actually love the staircase that heads up the north end of the cliffs, the way the stainless steel and jarrah construction complements the granite and the lovely outlook from there. We sit and have morning tea on the staircase and just take it all in.”

Surprisingly, Wilyabrup’s not Gene’s favourite part of the Cape to Cape; “My favourite part of the track is between Redgate Beach and Boranup Forest. The amazing beach, cliffs, caves and forests combine to give an incredible diversity in this walk, no kilometre is the same!”

Gene and his team picked up a swag of awards last year in ecotourism and Chinese tourism, and it’s easy to understand why.

Image (below): supplied by Rhonda Oshanek

Get an Exhilarating Aerial View with Scenic Helicopters

Hands down the most exhilarating way to check out this glorious coast line is from a helicopter. It’s even more fun with the doors off – better photo opportunities, too.

Jackson McLeod from Scenic Helicopters takes guests over the Wilyabrup Cliffs most days. “You can usually see a team of abseilers or rock climbers testing their skills against the rock as you fly over. Nearby Wilyabrup beach is a hangout for pods of local dolphins, which are also amazing to see from above, playing in the surf, cavorting and rolling belly side up or herding schools of migrating salmon to feed on.”

Sadly, Jackson McLeod’s R44 helicopter is in Broome during winter, ferrying guests to and from Willie Creek Pearl Farm. He’ll be back in Margaret River in spring, so put this at the very top of your list come September.

 

Image Credit (below): Paul Morton

DIY the Cape to Cape Track

Another great way to see the Wilyabrup Cliffs – and the whole 135km stretch of coast – is to do your own Cape to Cape Track walk.

There are two excellent resources both with detailed maps and instructions. The Cape to Cape Track Guidebook which you can buy at Visitor Centres in Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River and Augusta and both the Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin lighthouses. Secondly, the Cape to Cape Track Guide app on the App Store and Google Play come in more than handy – it’s the one with a white boot on an orange background.

App co-founder Rhonda Oshanek says the Moses Rock to Gracetown section is one of the most picturesque, a great reward after a challenging beach walk. “If you can time your hike to be at the Wilyabrup Cliffs for a nice sunset, the change in colour on the orange cliff faces is really special.”

Image (below): supplied by Sean Blocksidge.

This blog has been adapted from an article written by Lizzy Pepper entitled ‘Wilyabrup Wonderland’, which was originally featured in Your Margaret River Region Magazine’s Winter Edition.

Lizzy Pepper

About Lizzy Pepper

After living in Melbourne and London, Lizzy meant to have a summer in Yallingup before getting a “serious” job in Perth. Nine years on, and she loves Dunsborough too much to return to city life. Lizzy works as a marketing consultant in the tourism industry. She’s taken helicopter rides along the coast, distilled her own batch of gin and put in the hard yards tasting wines to help tell her clients' stories. Whether she’s paddling her wave ski on Geographe Bay, swimming at Castle Rock Beach, brunching at a favourite café or drinking local wine on the deck, Lizzy is always on the lookout for new tastes and experiences to share with visitors. Instagram: @lizzy.pepper.marketing / Web: lizzypepper.com

One Comment

  • Great article Lizzy!

    Sooooo many special places along the Cape to Cape Track. This is definitely right up there in my top three. Not an easy place to locate without a guide and very very easy to get seriously bogged in a vehicle if you don’t know where you are going/doing.

    Fabulous recommendation to buy a copy of the Cape Track guidebook or App. Essential reading.

    Can’t recommend highly enough the climbing experience with Mick Dempsey from Margaret River Climbing Co. Awesome experience ….. ask him about getting bogged with Natalia Imbruglia 😉

    Cheers Sean – Margaret River Discovery Co

Leave a Reply