Need to know info
Distance: 6.6 km return
Trail Start: Conspicuous Beach car park, Conspicuous Beach Road, Nornalup
Time: 3-4 hours
Difficulty: Grade 3
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water, sturdy enclosed shoes, wet weather gear
Best time to go: Autumn and Spring.
Conspicuous: easily seen or noticed; clearly visible. It’s not a word you use everyday but it’s a great way to describe the cliff that is the highpoint of this Bibbulmun Track day walk.
This memorable name might have been the reason I was keen to complete this walk on our latest trip to Denmark. Or maybe it was the promise of spectacular coastal scenery. Or maybe even the walk’s proximity to the Tingles Bakehouse.
Whichever it was, we turned off South Coast Highway onto Conspicuous Beach Road and parked at the beach car park to begin the walk.
From the car park we followed the Bibbulmun’s familiar yellow Wagyl marker down a series of steps to the beach below. At the base of the stairs a wooden pallet offered a handy bridge over the small, fresh water stream that blocked our path to the beach front.
At beach level it was easy to see how Conspicuous Cliff got its name. Extremely noticeable, the jagged limestone cliff rises up out of the dense coastal heath and overlooks the beach below.
With our goal in sight, we turned left and headed down the beach. While the cliff was conspicuous, the next track marker was not. After walking back and forth along the beach a couple of times, we finally spotted the marker on a wooden post partly hidden by some wooden-coloured beach grass. Relieved by the fact that we weren’t blind, we made our way up over the dunes.
This short dune scramble was a hint of what was to come – a slow, steady climb up a zigzagging, sandy path. I usually find bushwalking easy (modest, I know) but I can’t claim the same for sand walking. As my boots sunk into the grey powder, my gait changed from a walk to a waddle. I was very tempted to go barefoot and use my toes for grip.
As we gained elevation the path hardened and my waddle subsided, leaving me to forget my feet and focus on the fantastic view. At the corner of each switchback, coastline appeared. Behind us, heath-covered dunes gave the appearance of a rolling green sea. But the most impressive of all was waiting for us at the top of Conspicuous Cliff. A 360-degree panorama of ocean, inlets, farmland and forest: the sort of view that reminds you that you are just a tiny speck in this incredible landscape.
After a few moments of oohing and aahing at the wonder before us, we continued over the ridge to the Rame Head campsite. Along the way, we encountered a number of nonchalant kangaroos. Redder in colour and much more chilled than their Darling Range cousins, they simply twisted their ears before continuing to munch on leaves as we passed.
At the campsite, we took a short break before turning back, conscious of the late afternoon light and darkening clouds. The return walk proved to be a lot easier, almost a tumble with some of the sandier slopes propelling us forward. At these moments I could see the value of hiking poles.
By the time we returned to the beach, the light was beginning to fade and the waves were growing louder. In the car, tired and covered in that fine coating of salt you get from coastal walking, we agreed the walk was a winner and worthy of its Top Trail status.
Next time you’re on the Rainbow Coast, warm up those legs for some sand walking and check out this trail.