Re-wilding in the southwest

There’s a local tradition that Cape-to-Cape hikers stick to, touching the cool stone of the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse before shouldering their packs and setting off south for Cape Leeuwin, 140km away on WA’s wild southwest coast.

Through flowering pink Pimeleas I walk that trail too, brushing past peppermint trees and following their heady scent up crumbling Tamala Limestone cliffs to peer into the turbulent Indian Ocean far below. I scoop freshwater from timeless coastal springs, pitch my tent on lonely, windswept ridgelines and end three blissful days of wild walking at Cowaramup by cooling my heels in a cerulean sea.

This precious time in southwest Western Australia is my chance to re-wild: to reconnect with nature and myself. To reclaim a sense of solace beneath towering karri forests, on silent, tannin-hued rivers and under the waves that crash onto Margaret River’s most secluded, tri-coloured beaches.

I wasn’t born into this cherished part of Australia but we have a history, this wilderness and I. Paddling its big rivers, standing atop lofty monadnocks and on countless, drizzly-day forest wanders, I find myself

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