Cape Liptrap, Waratah Bay

Cape liptrap geological timescale.png

Cape Liptrap is a significant geological site in Victoria, in fact anyone who has studied geology at university would be lying if they said they didn’t know each fold inside-out. I’ve uploaded my very-own first year sketch of the fold stack.

View of chevron (very tight) folds from cliff top
View of chevron (very tight) folds from cliff top

The entrance to the beach is a steep drop. From the top of the cliff you should be able to see the NNE striking, south plunging near-vertical chevron (really tight) folds of the Lower Devonian (500 Ma) Liptrap Formation (turbidities). Turbidities are inter-bedded quartz-rich sandstones, thin mud stones and massive sandstones. Cross-bedding, flute clasts, hummocky bedding, ancient ripples and graded beds can be seen in the alternating layers. These structures tell you which way the beds were deposited, because when they’ve been folded this much you can’t tell!

Cape Liptrap, chevron folds
Cape Liptrap, chevron folds

There are also Slickenlines at the site of the fold stack (just near the center). The steps – which are like Lego blocks – indicate the way the rocks have moved past each other in the bedding planes. Quartz veining can also be used to indicate the movements.

Cape Liptrap, foliations
Cape Liptrap, foliations

This map shows how this location relates to Kitty Miller Bay – they are the same age (Waratah and Philip Island) and both greenstones.

Cambrian to Late-Neoproterozoic
Cambrian to Late-Neoproterozoic, Geology of Victoria (2003)

There are a number of hikes and bush tracks which take you over wave-cut platforms and provide plenty of outdoors adventure (i.e. Cape Liptrap to Venus Bay, 19km). Make sure you are aware of the low tide times and take precautions. There is a small camping area near the car park (no facilities).

Tip: Behind the fold stack, if the tide is low enough is another cool fold to look out for… but you have to slide on your stomach to get to it.

This is probably one of the most beautiful coastal areas in Victoria, up there with Wilson’s Prom and The Otways – and highly underrated. I’d definitely recommend a weekend or day trip here.

Fold stack: Upright, slightly plunging (SW) anticline (sketch)
Fold stack: Upright, slightly plunging (SW) anticline (sketch)
Cape Liptrap, recumbent fold
Cape Liptrap, recumbent fold
Sketch of fold behind fold-stack (crawl on your stomach at low tide)
Sketch of fold behind fold-stack (crawl on your stomach at low tide)
Behind fold stack (crawl to get to it) - right hand side
Behind fold stack (crawl to get to it) – right hand side

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