Cape Naturaliste Coastal Landforms

Demonstrating a rich diversity of pure white sandy beaches, steep cliffs, hidden bays, and rugged offshore rocks, the Naturaliste coastline packs a punch in the "wow" department.  You'll be swept away by it's sheer beauty, and if you slip over, by it's powerful waves.

Canal Rocks.

Canal Rocks.

The striking rocky outcrops found along the coastline  are composed of granitic gneiss.  They were once part of an ancient granite mountain range that formed along the lower coast of Western Australia 1100 million years ago.  The huge pressures and temperatures generated by continental drift, altered the structure, and mineral composition of the granite into gneiss.  Gneiss is a metamorphic rock.

Granitic Gneiss.
 

Granitic Gneiss.

Canal Rocks.

With all that pressure around, the rocks became layered, and folded, resulting in bands of varying hardness.  These bands had a habit of forming parallel to the coastline.  Gradually the bands of weaker rock were eroded by coastal wave action, to create the stunning formations we enjoy today.  Canal Rocks is an example of this process.  The weaker rock bands have been eroded by the surging ocean, creating a spectacular series of canals.

Canal Rocks.

 

Coastline surrounding Canal Rocks.

Canal Rocks and the surrounding coastline.

Nearby Sugarloaf Rock is another example of granitic gneiss.  It has been weathered into a rather striking shape, and is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel of water.  Sugarloaf Rock is a popular fishing location, nesting place of the Red-Tailed Tropicbird, and is also known for it's treacherous king waves.

Sugarloaf Rock.

 

Sugarloaf Rock.

Coastline around Sugarloaf Rock.

Coastline around Sugarloaf Rock.

Castle Rock.

Castle Rock is also worth a visit.  When viewed from off shore, it resembles a castle, complete with turrets.  These days tourists breach it's defences daily, as it is fairly easy to climb.  Back in 1845, the Castle Bay Whaling Company was established near the rock.  During rough weather, Castle Rock was used as a safe refuge for the whaling ships.  Whaling ceased in 1872.

Castle Rock as viewed from the shore.

 

A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE:   Armed with the trusty disposable camera, we jumped into the water and swam off shore from Castle Rock.   The old whalers were right. The rock loses it's sloping appearance, and definitely becomes more "castle like" when viewed from the ocean.

Swimming by Castle Rock.
 

Swimming by Castle Rock.

Another perfect beach between Cape Naturaliste and Dunsborough.

Between Dunsborough and Cape Naturaliste you'll find an abundance of pure white sandy beaches, nestled among rocky granite outcrops.

The boardwalk at Canal Rocks.

Steep coastal limestone cliffs near Canal Rocks.  The limestone has
facilitated the formation of many impressive caves.

Looking down on Canal Rocks.

Looking down on Canal Rocks.

Eagle Bay.

The clear blue waters of Eagle Bay.

Coastline near Sugarloaf Rock.

Rugged coastline near Sugarloaf Rock.

One of the great features of the Cape, is it's diversity.   These two beaches are only 5km apart, and amazingly both photos were taken within 10 minutes of each other.  The unique shape of Cape Naturaliste, blocks the impact of the prevailing wind, so there is always a calm white beach waiting for you somewhere.

Bunkers Bay.

The protected sands of Bunkers Bay.

NEXT STOP:  THE CAPE NATURALISTE LIGHTHOUSE

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