Bibbulmun Track | WA, Australia, 2010

Distance : 597 miles (961 km)img_4592

Avg. Time : 40 – 45 days

Start / Finish :

  • Kalamunda – Albany
  • Click here for transport details to and from the trailheads.

Season :

  • All year. Can be scorching in summer and bushfires are not uncommon. Best seasons are spring and autumn.

Maps / Info :

  • Whilst on trail you have two choices: Guidebooks (2 books) or Map set (8 maps). Carrying both is probably overkill.
  • The guidebooks contain topographical maps, trekking notes, town maps, basic camping and hiking information, an overview of the track’s history, and insights into the flora and fauna you are likely to encounter along the way. There are two guidebooks: one for the northern section from Kalamunda to Donnelly River and one for the southern section from Donnelly River to Albany. The guidebooks are small, compact  and although a little heavy, are able to fit into most pockets.

 

  • The Map set consists of eight 1:50,000 Topographical maps which are water resistant, tearproof and provide greater navigational detail than the guidebooks. They are also significantly lighter and easier to carry.
  • In addition to the guidebooks and map set, the Bibbulmun Accomodation and Services Guide is a great source of information for anything and everything you need to know about the villages and towns you will pass along the way.


Route / Conditions :

  • The Bibbulmun Track is very well signed and easy to follow. Nonetheless, taking both map and compass is (as always) recommended.
  • Relatively speaking, there is very little in the way of altitude gain and loss and I can’t think of any section which I would term difficult. Perhaps the most challenging sections are some stretches of soft sand walking along the southern coast.

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  • Whilst the terrain is generally mellow, the Bibbulmun cannot be termed an “easy” track for the following reasons: 1. It is 961km in length; 2. With the exception of winter, the temperatures, particuarly in the northern parts of the hike, can get very hot; 3. Did I mention how long it is?
  • There is water at all the campsites, however, very little in between. When I hiked the Bibbulmun in November, 2010, virtually all the creeks were bone-dry. Before hiking, check with the Bibbulmun Track Foundation (www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au) in regards to the latest available water information.

 

  • Officially speaking it is recommended that all water be treated. Unofficially, after listening to the advice of locals and fellow “End-to-End” hikers, I found the water from the campsite rainwater tanks to be fine to drink untreated.
  • A good range of supplies can be found in all towns along the trail. That being said, if you prefer buying your food in advance and mailing it ahead, this is also not a problem as there are post offices and/or other establishments where you can receive mail. See the Accomodation and Services Guide for details.

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  • You are likely to encounter more than a few snakes along the track. The most common of which is probably the Tiger snake. Although classified as one of the most venomous snakes in the world, they do not present a danger to hikers as long as they are left alone. Try to be aware, without being paranoid whilst you are walking. See Animal Encounters in the HEALTH & SAFETY section for tips and advice regarding snakes.
  • Not so easy to avoid are ticks. On the northern-most section before the town of Dwelingup, I encountered scores of the little blighters. Check yourself regularly and don’t forget the tweezers! Once again see Animal Encounters for more information.
  • Click here for an overview of the flora and fauna you are likely to encounter on the Bibbulmun Track.

 

Sleeping :

  • There are some 48 official campsites along the track. All of these have a three-sided shelter (lean-to), tent sites, potable water and privy.
  • In the north, where most people begin the hike, the shelters are situated closer together with sometimes as little as 10km separating them. Further south, the distances between shelters are greater, generally averaging between 15 and 25km.
  • As the lean-tos can sometimes be full, it is wise to bring along a lightweight shelter such as a bivy sack, tarp or single wall silnylon tent (see Shelter in the GEAR section).
  • Inexpensive accommodation is available in all of the towns. See the Accommodation and Services Guide (listed above) for details.

 

Overview :

  • With it’s regularly spaced shelters and town stops, the Bibbulmun Track is Australia’s answer to the Appalachian Trail.
  • Although less crowded than its American cousin, as with the AT a huge part of the Bibbulmun’s charm lies in the regular interaction you will have with fellow hikers. Seemingly everyone has a story to tell and interesting characters abound! If you are looking for a solitary wilderness experience, this is probably not the trail for you. However, if you enjoy chatting to like-minded outdoorsy folk around a camp-fire or shelter, than chances are you will love the Bibbulmun experience.
  • In regards to scenery, there are some beautiful areas along the Bibbulmun, however there are also some pretty ordinary ones. Personal highlights were the sections around Donnelly River, Walpole, Pemberton and the coastal stretch between Conspicuous Beach and Peaceful Bay. Lowlights were some of the burned out stretches around White Horse Campsite and the town of Collie.

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