Yanchep Coastal Plain Walk Trail - Take 1

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

Oh dear howdy, was this experience bittersweet. Many mixed emotions.


HIKE QUICK SUMMARY:


Length: 54km/ 2 days (3 days would also be sensible)

Difficulty level: Challenging - you better believe this! Even though quite flat, the loose sand eats your feet. Basically, to illustrate the point, take your pack on the beach, away from where the water laps the edge then walk like 35km. F**&#.


Starting Point: Neaves Road (about halfway between Seismic Rd and Old Will Road) - Recommended as ends by the Tavern and in Yanchep National Park.

Terminus: Yanchep National Park - Yanchepp Inn.


Overnight Stay: Ridges Hut (for 2 day hike)

Time of Year: Late September (if doing again would do early September or August - it was rather toasty). The track is almost 90% in the sun/exposed, so slip, slop, slap and hydrate.


Dangers: Snakes + tick + Getting lost around the rifle club + Sore feet + Spikey/sharp bushes on your skin.


Gear I wish I had: A compact sleeping mat, HIKING POLES (I just used sticks). *Long pants/shirt (maybe, *I really like short sleeves - it was pretty hot, but the bushes were rather scratchy and the sun did burn a tad).

Gear I was glad to have: Ankle gaiters (I did not have to stop once for sharp bits or sand in my shoes. 10/10 would recommend), long merino top and long tights + sleeping socks (even though it was Spring time, the evening still got cool)


Water: None at Ridges Hut, fill up at Moitch if starting at Neaves Road. Also needs treating, I just used 5 drops of plain bleach in 1litre of water.


Would I do it again?: Maybe (Probably because overall I really enjoyed it despite the pain). I just ended up with blisters on all four corners of my feet, I would either need to sort out my shoes or something, or the trail would need some maintenance.


Navigation: Required around the rifle club, and a few *other points. I used my phone GPS, with a google map downloaded of the area, alongside screen shots of the trail from the website below. I also take a picture of the map at the start of the trail.

https://trailswa.com.au/trails/coastal-plain-walk-trail

Make sure to download the map/screen shot in satellite mode - it will make life easier.

Follow the blue emu foot print markers.


Phone reception: yes, most of the way, not great 3G though. Makes you feel good since snakes around haha.


The worst parts: Creeping along the edge of the rifle club - no trail in spots, and no markers. Also, most of the way between the Perry Road car park and Ridges Hut is extremely loose sand (I am suspecting very strongly, this is because of illegal dirt bike use of the trail).


The best parts: The secontion directly before the Ridges Hut and the 1.5hours after it - the spring flowers were beautiful.


Flora and Fuana: 5 x snakes (1 very large, 4 babies), 4 x kangaroos, 1 x bobtail lizard, 5 x other small speedy lizards, 1 x evidence found of a scroggin nibbler (rat?), many x birds, copious wild flowers (smoke bush was my favourite), no humans found for 49km (only on the popular Ghost House Trail).




MY HIKE EXPERIENCE


Like I have already said, so bitter sweet this was. Actually, to be perfectly honest if it wasn't for my feet that suffered so badly it would have rated this hike at moderate difficultly, and a great time, 10/10 would do again. I don't know if it was my new hiking boots fitting poorly, even though I have hiked with them and they felt fine, or if my socks were too loose, or just purely the sand underneath foot. But, my bilsters were pretty bad, and I walked about 30km with time, leading to some serious pain towards the end. I have never had blisters on all four corners of my feet, I tent to get a blister if it going to happen on my heel or maybe my big toe.... AND THESE WERE MONSTEROUS BLISTERS TOO.


Anyway, it was the first overnight hike I have done in a while, and I had a great time. The shelter was atop a small hill, looking far into the distance with only forest to be seen, with a foreground of smoke bush. It had a fire pit, in which I made a small fire (there was not wind), to enjoy and warm my toes up as the sun set and the stars came out. I listened to a podcast as a I ate cooked and dinner, texted my partner, and journalled. It truely was a very relaxing and enjoyable evening. To top it off, the sleep was very comfortable.





I hiked in my regular "car camping" mattress, which had to strapped to the pack of my pack. So a little heavier than needed to be, but I have yet to order my sleeping mat. The only drawback to this sleeping mat I hiked with this time, was the odd spot it had to be strapped on, for backpack weight distribution, and also being outside the pack it picked up tick nymphs. Otherwise it wasn't excessively heavy and it was comfortable.




As far as the sections of the hike goes, from Neaves Road to Moitch Hut, was over all quite pleasant. Except the ~10km, ended up taking me 3 hours. Mainly, because the markers are a bit evasive around about when you start hearing the rifle club, this made me miss a couple of markers and needing to back track. Also, I had to take out my phone in this section a more than a few times because the trail dissapears for a while... and there is a very soft sandy, full sun, road you have to walk on as well. Before the rifle club, there is honestly almost, dare I say it a perfect excess of markers to guid you. Around the rifle club, it also made me very sad to see illegal dumping.




After Moitch Hut, everything starts getting very sandy, except for a section where the track is firm and lovely to walk on and of course where you have to follow long Perry road. The road, I am pretty sure you may encounter some bogan looking places and the "Inghams" poultry sheds, but march on. Post perry road - there are a few section that are beautiful but mostly I just swore. This is where my feet started to hurt. It is difficult walking in the soft sand with sore feet inside hiking boots, I can not emphasise enough, ahaha. Also keep the map at hand, there are a few sections where you will need it. Once you walk through the second pine forest the Ridges Hut is not far.




In the morning, I planned starting at 5:30am to beat the heat, as I did not realise there would be no water at Ridges Hut, and wanted to avoid dehydrating since I did not have much water left. After a sleep in, and tea I didn't get away till 5:50am. Leaving at this time was a wonderful idea, it was so pleasant to walk in the cool, and honestly the section after the hut was very beautiful, particularly at this time of the morning.




From about 8:00am onwards it already started getting hot, this is when I started seeing snakes and really had to take care where to place my feet. All up, I spotted five, and I am pretty sure a couple where poisonous, so take care!! About 1 hour before and 1.5 hours after crossing the Indion Ocean Drive you have a lot of plants to deal with, some are scratchy (I swore at them), some are soft (I treasured their cool carress)... so maybe protect your skin a little better than I did mine. I only had shorts and a short sleeve cotton shirt on, and my skin was a little tender from a little too much sun the day before. Over all, the section between Ridges and Shapcott's Hut is pretty stunning. It also has a few more inclines and declines.


The last bit - following the Yanchep Ghost House Trail - it was evil. My feet were very sore. I have previously walked this with my partner so luckily got the experience without the pain. Finishing was awesome, I took my boots off, and inspected my blisters with a "yikes, I have really f*&%ed my poor feet", then lay down on the lawn relaxing while I waited for my partner to come and collect me. Bless his soul.


As far as hiking poles are concerned - I wish I had them. I just picked up some sticks in the first 1km, and ditched them on the last 200m. They saved my life by 100% functioning as crutches for I was crippled.



OVER ALL: It was a great but painful time, and I am thankfull for it. I am looking at hiking Te Araroa possibly some time and these are the kinks that need to be sorted out before I tackle an experience like that.






#Adventure #Hiking #Outdoors

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