Canal Rocks Boardwalk: My Experience 2024

As a Perth local, there is one South West attraction that I keep returning to – Canal Rocks (or Winjee Sam as it was initially known).

Canal Rocks is a testament to Mother Nature’s sheer power and artistry. As you step onto the wooden walkways that wind through the rugged terrain, you’ll be surrounded by raw coastal splendour.

The sight of the foaming waves rushing through the narrow channels between the ancient granite rocks never fails to stir a sense of wonder within me. With each visit, I’m captivated by the ever-changing landscape and colours.

The area surrounding Canal Rocks is excellent for scenic bushwalking and fishing (salmon catches are a big attraction around Easter time when the salmon run is on).

Canal Rocks Summary

  • Free
  • 30 – 60 minutes
  • Open 24 hours
  • Easy
  • No Wi-Fi
  • Photos & Drones allowed – see drone regulations
waves and rocks at canal rocks wa

Canal Rocks Location 📍

Canal Rocks is located in Western Australia, near Yallingup and Dunsborough. It is a popular natural attraction along the coastline of the Margaret River region.

map of canal rocks with location

How to Get to Canal Rocks 🗺️

The easiest way to reach Canal Rocks is by car, allowing you the flexibility to explore the surrounding area – the drive from Perth is around three hours.

Head south from Perth: Follow the signs to the Kwinana Freeway (Route 2) and continue until you reach Bunbury. From Bunbury, you’ll head west on Bussell Highway (Route 10) towards the Margaret River region.

Turn right on Wildwood Road, right onto Caves Road, then immediately left onto Canal Rocks Road (Cape Lavender is on the corner and is a beautiful place to stop for morning or afternoon tea).

Features of Canal Rocks

Canal Rocks gets its name from the remarkable rock formations shaped over thousands of years by the powerful forces of the Indian Ocean. The rocks are composed of ancient granite, eroded and carved by the crashing waves, creating a series of narrow channels and canals between the rocks.

close up of rocks near canal rocks western australia

Geology of Canal Rocks

The geology of Canal Rocks is fascinating and plays a significant role in shaping the unique rock formations found in the area. Canal Rocks is part of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, a geological formation that extends along the southwestern coast of Western Australia. This ridge is composed of ancient granite rocks that formed more than 1.5 billion years ago.

The rocks at Canal Rocks are primarily of the Cape Leeuwin Granite, a coarse-grained igneous rock. The granite was formed through the cooling and solidification of magma deep within the Earth’s crust. Over millions of years, the overlying layers of sedimentary rocks were eroded, exposing the hard granite beneath.

waves splahing against canal rocks south west wa

History of Canal Rocks

The history of Canal Rocks is not only geological but also ties to human activity and the region’s development. Indigenous people, specifically the Wardandi (or Noongar) people, have a long and rich history in the Margaret River region, including the area around Canal Rocks. They have lived in harmony with the land and sea for thousands of years.

The Cape Leeuwin region and the surrounding coastline were treacherous for early European settlers, with numerous shipwrecks due to the rugged and dangerous terrain. Canal Rocks, with its narrow canals and channels, was a particularly hazardous area for maritime navigation.

In the early 20th century, Canal Rocks began to increase in popularity for its fishing and recreational area. A road through to the site was constructed in 1907.

Today, Canal Rocks is a popular destination for tourists, nature enthusiasts, and photographers, drawing people from all around the world to witness its breathtaking natural beauty. The Western Australian government now manages and protects the site to ensure its preservation for future generations.

people on canal rocks walkway bridge

Best Time to Visit Canal Rocks

The best time to visit Canal Rocks is during the shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May). During these periods, you can expect more pleasant weather conditions and fewer crowds compared to the peak summer months.

Western Australia is known for its stunning wildflower displays during spring, and the surrounding landscapes may be adorned with colourful blooms.

Autumn is the season when humpback whales migrate along the coast of Western Australia. If you’re lucky, you may spot these majestic creatures from the viewing platforms at Canal Rocks.

Summer attracts more visitors due to school holidays and warmer weather, making it busier, especially on weekends and public holidays.

Despite winter being cold and wet, it’s still worth seeing Canal Rocks if you are in the Margaret River region. It’s an incredible view with the huge swell crashing over the rocks during stormy conditions.

canal rocks boardwalk walkway

Canal Rocks Wooden Walkways

To provide safe access for visitors, wooden walkways and bridges have been built, allowing you to walk over the rocky outcrops and observe the fascinating rock formations up close. These walkways make it easy to explore the area while protecting the sensitive coastal environment.

Along the walkways, you’ll find well-positioned viewing platforms that offer breathtaking panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. From these vantage points, you can witness the dramatic waves crashing against the rocks and see the intricate patterns created by the water in the canals.

Canal Rocks is set against the backdrop of the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean and the rugged coastal cliffs, making it a visually stunning location for photography and a serene spot to take in the beauty of nature.

Marine Life at Canal Rocks

The surrounding waters of Canal Rocks are teeming with marine life, and if you’re lucky, you might spot some marine creatures such as fish, crabs, and possibly even dolphins or whales swimming offshore.

Accessibility at Canal Rocks

Canal Rocks is easily accessible; the car park is close to the path with an ACROD Bay.

Coastal Walks near Canal Rocks

Besides exploring the rock formations, you can walk part of the Cape to Cape track to see more of the area’s natural beauty.

Canal Rocks Safety Tips

When visiting Canal Rocks, it’s essential to prioritise safety.

  1. Stay on the Walkways: Canal Rocks has designated wooden walkways and viewing platforms for visitors to explore the area safely. Avoid wandering off the designated paths or climbing on the rocks, as they can be slippery and unstable (although many people do).
  2. Beware of Waves: The Indian Ocean can be unpredictable, and king waves can surge suddenly, even on seemingly calm days. Stay safe from the water’s edge, as large waves can sweep over the rocks and pose a danger.
  3. Supervise Children: If you’re visiting with children, keep a close eye on them, especially near the water and walkways. Children should be instructed to avoid the edges and not climb on the rocks.
  4. Sun Protection: Western Australia experiences strong sunlight, even during cooler months. Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.
  5. Respect Wildlife: While you may spot marine life around Canal Rocks, maintain a respectful distance and avoid feeding or disturbing the animals.
rocks ocean and jetty at canal rocks western australia

Canal Rocks Facilities & Amenities

Canal Rocks is a relatively natural and unspoiled coastal attraction with limited on-site facilities. No food or drink is available.

Parking – there’s a designated car park available for visitors.

Toilets – basic toilets are available near the car park.

Information Boards – Signage by the car park provides insights into the geological history and significance of Canal Rocks.

Boat Ramp – There is a small boat ramp near the walkway.

turquoise ocean and foam at canal rocks margaret river region wa

Who is Canal Rocks for?

  • Nature Lovers 🌳
  • Photographers 📸
  • Anglers 🐟
  • Hikers 🚶‍♂️

What To Bring

  • Comfortable shoes with grip 🥾
  • Camera 📸
  • Water & snacks 🍌
  • Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen) 🧢

Pros

  • Stunning scenery
  • Easy access
  • Great fishing

⛔️ Cons

  • Lack of facilities (but that’s what I like about it)

Nearby Attractions

The Margaret River region offers a variety of attractions and activities near Canal Rocks. Here are some of the top places you can explore during your visit:

yallingup beach at sunrise
Yallingup

1. Yallingup Beach

Located nearby, Yallingup is a popular destination for surfing, swimming, and sunbathing. It’s a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy the coastal scenery.

people in injidup spa on a calm day with rocks either side
Injidup Natural Spa

2. Injidup Natural Spa:

A short drive from Canal Rocks, Injidup Natural Spa is a natural rock pool formed by the crashing waves. It’s a unique spot where you can relax in the calming waters while taking in the breathtaking views of the coastline.

3. Ngilgi Cave

Located in Yallingup, Ngilgi Cave is a fascinating limestone cave system open to visitors. Semi-guided tours take you underground to explore impressive stalactites, stalagmites, and chambers.

4. Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse

Visit the historic Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and enjoy panoramic views of the coast and Indian Ocean. The lighthouse offers guided tours and a chance to learn about the maritime history of the region.

sunset over sugar loaf rock off the coastline
Sugarloaf Rock

5. Sugarloaf Rock

This iconic rock formation is a short drive from Canal Rocks and offers fantastic photo opportunities. It’s particularly stunning during sunrise and sunset.

people realxing on meelup beach in summer
Meelup Beach

6. Meelup Beach

A bit further south, Meelup Beach is a beautiful sandy beach known for its clear waters, making it an excellent spot for swimming and snorkeling.

interior of wills domain winery with table and chairs looking out onto the vineyards
Wills Domain Winery

7. Wineries and Breweries

The Margaret River region is renowned for its wineries and craft breweries. Take a tour or explore some of the many establishments offering tastings of award-winning wines and local beers.

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FAQs for Visiting Canal Rocks

Are dogs allowed at Canal Rocks?

Dogs are not allowed at Canal Rocks as the area is part of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, which has strict regulations to protect the natural environment and wildlife.

Can you swim or snorkel at Canal Rocks?

Swimming and snorkelling are popular activities at Canal Rocks. However, it’s important to exercise caution and be aware of potential hazards, as the ocean can be unpredictable.

Has the Canal Rocks Bridge been repaired?

The Canal Rocks bridge and walkway have been repaired and have reopened following the August 2021 storm.

Can I launch my boat at Canal Rocks?

There is a small boat ramp at Canal Rocks.

Can you fish at Canal Rocks?

Fishing is allowed at Canal Rocks as it is part of the general use zone of the Ngari Capes Marine Park.
Follow local fishing regulations and guidelines, including catch limits, permitted fishing methods, and size restrictions, to ensure sustainable fishing practices and to protect the marine environment.