Location: Vancouver Peninsula, Whalers Cove Carpark
Distance: 5km loop
Trail Marker: Informative trail head and directional markers
Duration: 2 - 3 hours
Cost: $0, free entry
Toilet Facilities: Yes, at start/finish
Dog Friendly: Yes
Date Hiked: 26th March 2019
Without a doubt this is my favourite trail in Western Australia. It's the perfect trifecta offering a great balance of bush, beach and granite. The start of the trail is easy to find, parking is available at the Whalers Cover carpark with toilets available before you head off. An informative trail head sign talks a bit about the heritage associated with the trail and provides a map of the trail. The initial part of the trail takes walkers through a beautiful section of coastal forest providing some of the most beautiful views of King George Sound and looking back to Whalers Cover and Fishermans Beach. If timed right (Spring) the forest is a colourful playground filled with wildflowers. The trail opens up a little and continues on through exposed heath, over a wooden bridge that has been put in place to reduce erosion.
Emerging from the heath-land, walkers are then greeted with the best view of the whole trail as you walk along flat granite rock. The dramatic coastal escarpment is nothing short of breathtaking and puts the whole trail into perspective as shown on the trail-head sign. The pure white sands & turquoise coastal blues of King George Sound from Outer Brambles Beach on the right, and the seaweed strewn beach with slightly murkier waters of Princess Royal Harbour from Inner Brambles Beach. The thought of descending down through the health-land, on to the beach and then up to Point Possession really added excitement to the experience. A plaque on a rock talks about 'The Isthmus', also known as a tombolo which connects Point Possession to the Vancouver Peninsula, formed by wave action depositing sand between the island and headland. Additional sand has been deposited to form the steep sand-hills that cover it and these are subject to occasional heavy erosion on the eastern side.
Directional signage points walkers to continue on across the flat granite descending down to the isthmus. The loop from here can be done either way although the trailhead does say to turn right and head along Outer Brambles Beach first so that's where we go. The beach stretch ends at the granite headland which has some wonderful stark contrasts of colour bursting through. Stairs direct walkers up to the top of Point Possession. The trail curves around the peninsula across sections of dense bush and exposed flat granite. Another plaque can be seen on a tall rock highlighting the view of King George III Sound. Captain Vancouver entered and named the King George III Sounds in September 1791. However, he had been preceded by Pieter Nuyts and Francis Thyssen in the 'Gulden Zeepardt' in 1627. Vancouver also names the rocky island to the east Breaksea Island, the high bushy one also to the east Michaelmas Island, Mt Gardner and Seal Island.
The trail continues right around and up to the summit, the Vancouver Cairn. It is at this point that Captain George Vancouver took possession of the land north-west of Cape Chatham in the name of King George III. During his stay Vancouver names Princess Royal Harbour to the west, Oyster Harbour to the north-east and King George III Sound to the east. The views from Point Possession look over to the Port of Albany, back to Vancouver Peninsula with Camp Quaranup out to Geake Point and then over the Attaturk Channel to the Point King Lighthouse sitting below Mount Adelaide. The trail descends from the Vancouver Cairns back down the other side of the point and on to Inner Brambles Beach. It is quite steep so shorten your steps to reduce the risk of injury. The stretch of Inner Brambles Beach ends with a left turn on to sandy tracks and continues up to the first loop you encountered when coming down from Quarantine Hill. From here, you simply retrace your steps back along the trail to the start.