This is a tourism challenge to enjoy before it gets too busy.
ALMOST a year ago, I was lucky enough to do a five-day trek between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste, something of a bucket list item I was glad to tick off.
I had walked half of it previously, camping along the way. That was hard yakka on several levels compared to the more recent ramble, which, although it provided comfortable beds and good food, was certainly a challenging physical journey.
I was part of Perth-based charitable organisation zero2hero’s Cape to Cape charity walk, a 135-kilometre hike I thought offered the best way to do this kind of adventure.
After a long day in the elements, a shuttle bus took us to comfortable accommodation, where we shared experiences over generous amounts of food and beverages.
Balanced with that was a fundraising requirement and the opportunity to listen to stories from some of the kids who have engaged in zero2hero’s real work: giving young people tools to recognise and help redirect the trajectory of their peers with mental health issues, especially around suicide.
While some of that is confronting, the environment is conducive to engaging in that kind of interaction.
A long day’s walk, without electronic interference, certainly makes you more receptive to hearing such stories.
Many on the walk had experienced those issues on a personal level, often with a close family member, so the fundraising and challenge that came with it offered a unique connection between memories and the desire to do something about it.
I have followed the personal journeys of many who do the Ride for Youth charity cycle for Youth Focus, another event coming up soon, and I feel there is a similar undercurrent for many participants.
That is quite a commitment for anyone running an organisation, even if the event is part of its charitable efforts.
And it should not be forgotten that the Cape to Cape is really one of the great tourist opportunities Western Australia has to offer.
The route can be achieved by the modestly fit within a week – especially if you are not carrying food and accommodation on your back – offering a variety of terrain that is really the best in the state.
The coastline changes dramatically from cliffs to beaches and the route diverts through the amazing Boranup Forest, partially burnt out when we traversed it, a lunar-like landscape that provided something not often experienced by normal tourist endeavours.
You also visit some of the best locations in the region. If you time your trek right, you even get coffee service along the way on a couple of days.
A significant part of the group on my trek were part of a corporate team: colleagues from companies, if you will.
While a week without any formal time for the typical corporate activity might seem a big ask, I believe there is room for this kind of exercise in the corporate schedule.
Whether thrown together with strangers and expected to make do in challenging circumstances, or as part of a team, there was nothing fake or artificial about the experience.
As someone who has participated in all manner of corporate activities, I think it is a rare achievement.
Forgive me for this nostalgic viewpoint but I got a lot out of that week, and learned a lot about people; a surprising discovery when you are in your 50s.
Given COVID has reoriented Western Australians from holidaying elsewhere, it seems apt that the appetite for spending more time, at personal and business level, engaging in such activity locally has increased.
But the world will catch on as flights to the state’s South West increase, so perhaps this is the time to take advantage of what we have while it is still achievable.
The Cape to Cape should be on everyone’s bucket list, and you really ought to take advantage of it before it becomes a little too popular.