Bibbulmun Track

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Bibbulmun Track
Bibbulmun Track through Karri forest near Pemberton, Western Australia.
Bibbulmun Track through Karri forest near Pemberton, Western Australia.
Length1003.1 km (623.3 mi)
LocationSouthwestern Western Australia, Australia
Established1972
Began construction1979
Completed1998
DesignationLong-Distance Walk Trail
Trailheads
UseHiking
Hiking details
SeasonAll year, but spring is best
WaymarkBright yellow Wagyl trail marker
Hazards
  • Summer heat,
  • Fire danger
Right of wayPedestrian
Maintained by
  • Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions,
  • Bibbulmun Track Foundation
Websiteparks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/know/bibbulmun-track
Trail map
The Bibbulmun Track, shown in red, is a long-distance walk trail between Perth and Albany. Also shown, in yellow, is the Munda Biddi Trail.

The Bibbulmun Track is a long-distance walk trail in Western Australia. It runs from Kalamunda in the east of Perth to Albany, and is 1,003.1 kilometres (623.3 mi) long.[1]

It is managed by government agencies, and has a foundation.[2][3][4]

It traverses the Darling Range and has inspired reflections about the state of the Western Australian environment by William J. Lines in his book A long walk in the Australian bush.[5]

The name comes from the Bibbulmun, or Noongar people, Indigenous Australians from the Perth area.

History[edit]

Bibbulmun track where it crosses the upper reaches of the Canning River.

The route has been changed twice, partly due to it passing through a significant section of forest that was at risk to change from either forestry, bauxite mining or dieback.

The track was suggested in 1972. The groups that had suggested and also who were involved in planning with the then Forests Department of Western Australia were:

  • Perth Bushwalkers
  • Western Walking Club
  • Youth Hostels Association
  • Scout Association of Australia (W.A. Division)
  • The Speleological Research Group of W.A.

The track was first opened in 1979 but the third and final alignment and extension through to Albany was opened in 1998 and retains less than 10% of earlier alignments.

The Bibbulmun Track is a walker-only trail. No wheeled vehicles of any kind are permitted. It has a parallel long distance cycling trail – known as the Munda Biddi Trail – that opened all the way to Albany in April 2013. This trail is generally situated to the west of the Bibbulmun Track.

Track sections[edit]

The bright yellow sign with a symbol of the Wagyl that marks the Bibbulmun Track.

The track consists of 58 sections and is marked at regular intervals with triangular signs, most of which have a symbol of the Wagyl.[2] The Wagyl, or Rainbow Serpent, is a snakelike Dreamtime creature that is a common deity in Noongar culture.[6] Each section is approximately one day's walk, except for the northernmost 150 kilometres (93 mi) or so, where the sections consist of half-day walks. At the end of each section is either a town or a purpose-built campsite. Each campsite consists of a three-sided shelter with wooden sleeping platforms, a water tank, a pit toilet, picnic tables and cleared tent sites. In the northern half, most campsites also have a barbecue pit and plate (open fires are banned in the southern section).

The Bibbulmun Track is almost all through state forest, national parks and other reserves, with only a few small sections of farmland. The first half of the track is through the Jarrah forests of the Darling Range. It then moves through flatter tall Karri forests until reaching the coastline near the town of Walpole. The remainder of the track is through coastal forest and scrub along the south coast, in some sections routed along sandy beaches.

The towns the track passes through are Dwellingup, Collie, Balingup, Pemberton, Northcliffe, Walpole and Denmark.

View of the south coast of Western Australia from the Bibbulmun Track, between Denmark and Peaceful Bay.

Highlights of the track include:

  • Mundaring Weir
  • Monadnocks area and Mount Cooke
  • Murray River Valley
  • Karri Forests between Donnelly River and Denmark
  • Tingle forest near Walpole
  • Coastal scenery along the south coast
  • Wildflower displays, birdlife and other Southwest Australian flora and fauna.
  • Marine mammals along the south coast such as seals, dolphins and whales

The Bibbulmun Track is managed by the Western Australian Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and The Bibbulmun Track Foundation – an incorporated not-for-profit community-based organisation established to provide support for the department in the management, maintenance and marketing of the track to ensure that it remains a "long-distance walk trail of international significance and quality". The foundation sells maps and guide books, offers trip planning advice, offers equipment hire and runs courses on camp cooking and navigation.

Most people choose to walk sections of the track for one or a few days at a time. Hardy walkers who walk the track from beginning to end typically do so in 6 to 8 weeks, although it has been completed in under 12 days.[7] The most popular time to walk the track is during the wildflower season of spring (September – November), going from north to south as the wildflower season starts later in the southern areas. In summer the weather can be very hot and water will be hard to find except in the water tanks at the campsites. Winter can be wet, especially in the southern areas but people walk the track any time from March to December.

"Leave no trace"[edit]

When walking on the Bibbulmun Track, walkers are encouraged to follow the seven "leave no trace" principles:[8]

  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimise campfire impacts
  • Respect wildlife
  • Be considerate of your hosts and other visitors

Track maps[edit]

Map Last updated Reference
Map 1 – Darling Range – Kalamunda to North Bannister January 2004 ISBN 0-7309-6064-1
Map 2 – Dwellingup – North Bannister to Harvey-Quindanning Road December 2004 ISBN 0-7309-6072-2
Map 3 – Collie – Harvey-Quindanning Road to Mumballup June 2006 ISBN 0-7309-6080-3
Map 4 – Blackwood – Mumballup to Brockman Highway January 2006 ISBN 0-7309-6088-9
Map 5 – Pemberton – Brockman Highway to Middleton Road December 2003 ISBN 0-7309-6059-5
Map 6 – Northcliffe – Middleton Road to Broke Inlet Road December 2003 ISBN 0-7309-6067-6
Map 7 – Walpole – Broke Inlet Road to William Bay December 2003 ISBN 0-7309-6075-7
Map 8 – Denmark/Albany – William Bay to Albany December 2003 ISBN 0-7309-6083-8

Awards[edit]

  • 2003 – Finalist – Major Tourist Attractions – Western Australian Tourism Awards
  • 2003 – Sport and Recreation Industry Awards
  • 2004 – Winner – Significant Tourist Attraction – Western Australian Tourism Awards
  • 2005 – Finalist – Significant Tourist Attraction – Western Australian Tourism Awards
  • 2006 – Winner – Significant Tourist Attraction – Western Australian Tourism Awards
  • 2006 – Highly Commended – Significant Tourist Attraction – Australian Tourism Awards

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Sertis, Steve; Clark, Steve (16 January 2014). "Bibbulmun Track reaches 1000km". Bibbulmun Track Foundation. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b "The Track". Bibbulmun Track Foundation. 2018. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Bibbulmun Track". Parks and Wildlife Service. 2017. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Bibbulmun Track, Kalamunda to Albany". TopTrailsWA. 2018. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  5. ^ Lines, William J (1998), A long walk in the Australian bush, UNSW Press, ISBN 978-0-86840-616-9
  6. ^ "Spirituality: The Waugal or Great Serpent-like Dreamtime Spirit". South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council. 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  7. ^ Tyrrell, Claire (25 April 2018). "WA runner Shane Johnstone breaks Bibbulmun Track record with 1000 km in under 12 days". The West Australian. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  8. ^ "7 Principles of Leave No Trace". Leave No Trace Australia. 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2018.

References[edit]

  • Forests Department Western Australia (1979) Guide to the Bibbulmun Bushwalking Track Perth, W.A. (Dated August 1979)
  • Keating, Annie and Shrimpton, Becky A dream realised – the Bibbulmun Track. Western Australian State Trails Conference : proceedings, 1999, p. 68–76.
  • Bonnin, Mylene (editor and compiler) (2004) Bibbulmun Track Accommodation and Services – a walkers guide Bibbulmun Track Foundation and CALM, Perth .W.A.

External links[edit]