The Canal Rocks are a striking, dramatic geological feature on Margaret River’s Cape to Cape coast. It’s one of my family’s favourite places to visit on holidays Down South.
What are the Canal Rocks?
These massive banks of granitic gneiss have eroded along a dead-straight line running north – south, forming the striking “canal” feature. Several smaller canals cross perpendicular to the main canal.
An aerial view showing the canals between the rocks:
View Canal Rocks in a larger map
In wild and stormy weather, massive waves smash against the rocks and churn through the canals. It’s a spectacular sight to see! You can even walk across a wooden bridge over the turbulent white water to an island of more orange granite on the other side of the first canal.
Here’s a short video showing Canal Rocks in wild conditions, with waves washing under the boardwalk:
Things to do at Canal Rocks
- Walk out along the boardwalk and stand on the bridge as a big wave rushes underneath
- Explore away from the boardwalk, scramble over the rocks and check out the rock pools, which are home to crabs and periwinkles
- Marvel at the geology of Canal Rocks and the power of the ocean
- Rock fishing
- Swimming and jumping in off the rocks (in calm conditions)
- Snorkeling (in even calmer conditions)
- Scuba diving
- Watch the sunset
Exploring the Rocks
From the carpark, a narrow wooden boardwalk leads out over an expanse of orange granite. If you follow the board walk you’ll soon reach a bridge across the first canal, over to the next island of rock.
The view from the bridge is spectacular when the waves are big. Sometimes it’s even a little scary, if the white water is reaching as far as the canal under the bridge, like in the video further up the page.
The boardwalk ends after the bridge, but the rocks aren’t sharp at all and are fine to walk on. The next canal over is very shallow, more like a series of interconnecting rock pools, so it’s easy to step across. If you look carefully you should be able to spot some crabs in the rock pools.
At the end of the big rock island you’ll get great views of the big waves crashing. Be careful not to stand too close to the edge!
Visiting Canal Rocks
Canal Rocks is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Margaret River Region because it’s such a great spot to experience the wild fury of the ocean, and because it’s so easy to get to.
It’s quite a “touristy” sort of place, with a big carpark, a boat ramp, a toilet block and the board walks over the rocks. The pathway and boardwalk make the views of crashing waves accessible for everyone.
So if you’re after wilderness and solitude, then Canal Rocks might be a bit too developed and touristy for your liking. That being said, I’ve never seen Canal Rocks with more than 3 or 4 groups of people there.
Canal Rocks is definitely at its spectacular best in wild, stormy weather, when huge waves are crashing and the canals are awash with white water. Sunset is also a really good time to visit.
On calm days when the waves are small, the Canal Rocks are a lot less dramatic, but they’re still definitely worth a visit.
The orange rocks and ocean views are incredibly beautiful on days like these – just in a way that’s serene and idyllic rather than wild and tempestuous.
And you can go swimming and snorkelling in the canals!
Swimming and Snorkeling at Canal Rocks
If you’ve seen the huge waves breaking and swirling around the rocks and the canals, then swimming and snorkelling is probably the last thing on your mind when you think of Canal Rocks…
But on a hot, windless day in summer, Canal Rocks can be a paradise for swimming and sun baking. Beneath the surface, there’s plenty of marine life to see.
Canal Rocks Location, and Getting There
The Canal Rocks are located just south-west of Smiths Beach and Yallingup, in the north of the Margaret River Region. To get there by car, turn west off Caves Road onto Canal Rocks Road. This will take you all the way down to the carpark next to the rocks.
The Cape to Cape Track passes Canal Rocks, so walking is another way to get there. For a scenic half-day walk taking in Canal Rocks, it’s about a 2 hour walk one-way from Yallingup town, along beautiful Smiths Beach and Smiths Point, 1 hour from Wyadup Rocks, or 1.5 – 2 hours from the southern end of Injidup Beach.
View Canal Rocks in a larger map
Last Updated: 24th June, 2014.
First posted on 15th October, 2013 by Bonny.
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