The Wilyabrup Sea Cliffs, one of my favourite places on the spectacular Margaret River coastline, are not a particularly well known landmark or tourist attraction, which makes them all the more peaceful and natural. The cliffs are well worth visiting to watch for whales (during their spring/summer migration), do some rock climbing and abseiling if that’s your thing, or just explore around and admire the incredibly beautiful and dramatic coastal views.
Visiting the Wilyabrup Cliffs
The Willyabrup Sea Cliffs are located north of Gracetown on a rugged and difficult to access section of coastline. Although you can drive to within a reasonably short distance of the cliffs in a 2-wheel-drive or 4-wheel-drive, visiting them always involves a bit of a bush walk, whether that be the short 1km walk from the Wilyabrup Road carpark (as described below), or a longer and more scenic walk along the Cape to Cape Track.
No matter which way you choose to walk there, your efforts will be rewarded by one of the most dramatic views on the Cape to Cape coast.
The craggy cliffs of ancient granite-gneiss rock extend along the coast for about half a kilometre, looming up to 40-50 metres high above the ocean. The views are especially impressive on a stormy day with heavy grey clouds and massive swells rolling in and crashing just before the base of the cliffs. Between September and December you’ve got a good chance of spotting whales out to sea, and no matter what the time of year keep an eye out for dolphins in the surf below. See this article for an amazing example of what you could spot from Wilyabrup Cliffs if you’re lucky!
Late in the day close to sun set is my favourite time to enjoy the views from the cliffs because by then the climbing and abseiling groups are usually gone and the sun lights up the bright orange lichen on the rocks.
Rock Climbing and Abseiling
The Wilyabrup Sea Cliffs are a top destination in Western Australia for rock climbing and abseiling, with a good variety of climbs and plenty of bolted sections. The Wilyabrup Cliffs were where I first had a go at outdoor rock climbing and abseiling, on a school camp. After attempting some beginner climbs on one of the lower cliffs (which I was not very good at!), we went on to abseil down two of the tallest crags.
The Base of the Cliffs
You can get to the base of the cliffs quite easily in several places, and I recommend you do so even if you’re not rock climbing because the views looking up at the cliffs are even more spectacular than the views out over the ocean from the top! If you walk in from the Wilyabrup carpark as described further down the page, the best way is probably to walk down around the southernmost crags.
You’ll need to watch out for king waves near the waterline, and stay well away from climbers and abseilers unless you’re wearing a climbing helmet to protect against falling rocks.
The Quickest Way to Get to the Wilyabrup Seacliffs
The Wilyabrup seacliffs are a little way off the beaten track and there is no road leading directly up to them, but you can drive up to within a reasonable walking distance from the cliffs.
Part One: Driving from Caves Road
From Caves Road, turn west onto Wilyabrup Road, a small gravel road about 5km north from the turn-off to Gracetown. Continue along, taking a right turn and then a left, and stop where the road broadens into a small carpark. Don’t try and go any further, as the road swings away from the cliffs and becomes a rough 4WD track through some farmland.
Part Two: Walking Down to the Wilyabrup Cliffs from the Carpark
The walk from the carpark (blue marker on map) to the cliffs (red marker) is an easy and pleasant one. At a guess, I’d say it’s about 1km.
From the carpark, climb over the paddock fence using the step. Find the path leading through a shady valley and across a stream (Biljedup Brook) where you might find some arum lilies growing.
The route continues through an open paddock to another fence-crossing stile, and then through coastal heath all the way to the edge of the cliffs.
Last Updated: 4th February, 2015.
First posted on 17th February, 2014 by Bonny.
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