Bibbulmun Track

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.

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.

History

Bibbulmun track 01 gnangarra
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

Bibbulmun Track Markings
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.

Bibbulmun Track WA south coast
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"

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

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

  • 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

Notes

  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

  • 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

Albany Wind Farm

Albany wind and Grassmere farms are two a wind power stations near Albany, Western Australia, owned by Bright Energy Investments. They are adjacent and are often considered a single facility. They have 18 wind turbines, with a maximum generating capacity of 35.4 MW of electricity. The original Albany Wind Farm was commissioned in October 2001, after ten years of planning. The wind farm has the capacity to produce 80 per cent of the electricity requirements of Albany.Originally commissioned in 2001 the farm was the largest of its kind in Australia.

The farm originally had 12 wind turbines, with 6 extra turbines installed in 2011 as the Grassmere Wind Farm. The original Albany Wind Farm turbines are ENERCON model E66, each with three 35 metres (115 ft) long blades made from fibreglass and kevlar (making them very flexible in order to withstand any conditions) and are fitted to 65 metres (213 ft) towers. The nose cone which the blades attach to weighs around 14 tonnes. At the time of construction these turbines were the largest installed in the southern hemisphere. The turbines operate automatically, with the three blades adjusted to make best use of power output from any wind direction or strength. They have been designed to withstand the strongest winds likely in Albany and incorporate special lightning protection. Each turbine has a rating of 1.8 MW and is able to produce electrical energy at wind speeds of 7–130 kilometres per hour (4–70 kn) at which the turbines are shut down. Maximum output is achieved at a wind speed of 50 kilometres per hour (27 kn). The 6 new turbines installed in 2011 are ENERCON model E70 with a rating of 2.3 MW. The turbines were made in Germany.

The Albany and Grasmere wind farms are situated on the coast about 12 kilometres (7 mi) south-west of the city. They are in an elevated position at approximately 80 metres (262 ft) above the Southern Ocean. The height and locality is designed to maximise exploitation of local wind conditions, and combined with the short distance to the main electricity transmission system make this an outstanding wind farm site.The farms also acts as a tourist attraction in Albany. When built A$200,000 was spent on board walks, viewing towers, interpretive displays and picnic areas on and around the site. The road to the site underwent a A$400,000 upgrade for better access for visitors. The Bibbulmun Track also traverses the site and had to be re-aligned toward the cliffs and stabilized.

Balingup, Western Australia

Balingup is a town in the South West of Western Australia, 241 kilometres (150 mi) south of the state capital, Perth, and 31 kilometres (19 mi) southeast of the town of Donnybrook.

The town takes its name from Balingup Pool, located on the Balingup Brook which flows through the town. The name was first recorded by a surveyor in 1850, and is said to be derived from the name of Noongar warrior, Balingan. Other research by Noongar academic and researcher Len Collard has shown the name derives from the language, meaning "one that is situated there at this place".The town is on the South Western Highway. It originally had a station on the railway line, opened in 1898, the same year the town was gazetted.

Balingup was known in the twentieth century for fruit and vegetable growing, and more recently for beef cattle and "magic mushroom" farming. There are two long-established religious communities.

Balingup hosts annual rural festivals, primarily the Small Farm Field Day (late April) and Medieval Carnivale (August).

Nearby are found mushroom varieties of interest to both drug users and law enforcement agencies.Balingup is also one of the few towns through which the Bibbulmun Track passes. Balingup is also the home of local artist Sally Darling, who specialises in portraits and Japanese paintings. The historic Southampton homestead is nearby.

A bushfire swept through the area in 2013 reducing the Southampton homestead to ruins.

Bornholm, Western Australia

Bornholm is a small township in the Great Southern region of Western Australia located between Albany and Denmark on the Lower Denmark Road.

Situated along the railway between Albany and Denmark, the town formed around the railway siding. The surrounding area has been allocated into many small farms with areas mostly between 30 and 100 acres. Mixed farming predominates the area with fruits, vegetables and raising stock being commonplace. The area had been settled prior to 1912.In 1923 the Bornholm Hall was officially opened by John Scaddan, the MLA for Albany.

In 2010, the community was menaced by a bushfire that burnt through 12 hectares (30 acres) of bushland near the beach, closing parts of the Bibbulmun Track, the fire was contained the following day.

Donnelly River, Western Australia

Donnelly River Village is a former timber mill town and present-day holiday village in the Shire of Nannup, in the South West region of Western Australia. The Village is located at a point between Nannup, Bridgetown and Manjimup on the Donnelly River, a small, seasonal river at this point, which flows into the Southern Ocean at 34°29'02.4"S 115°40'27.8"E. The name also applies to a winery downstream on the Vasse Highway and the township's cottages are sometimes confused with cottages built on the lower reaches of the Donnelly River at 34.482273S 115.683438E.

Irwin Inlet

Irwin Inlet is an inlet in the located on the Great Southern region of Western Australia.

The inlet receives water from two main sources; Bow River of the North West and Kent River to the North East. The inlet itself discharges into the Southern Ocean via Foul Bay.

The inlet is approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) East of Walpole and 30 kilometres (19 mi) West of Denmark. The South Coast Highway is found about 3 kilometres (2 mi) North of the inlet.

A sandbar across the entrance to the inlet on the ocean side, but this is often breached during the winter. The inlet cuts Peaceful Bay beach in cut in two.

The inlet is a wave dominated estuary has a total area of 13 square kilometres (5 sq mi), it is estimated that 30% of the catchment is cleared.The inlet is slowly turning into swampland as a result of its high sediment loading and shallow depth. The basin supports large seagrass meadows and is used as a commercial fishery.The Bibbulmun Track crosses Irwin inlet and canoes are provided in sheds on either side of the track for hikers to make the crossing with. The channel is 150 metres (492 ft) wide at the point where it must be crossed.

Jennifer Pharr Davis

Jennifer Pharr Davis is a long distance hiker from the United States of America, author, speaker, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, and Ambassador for the American Hiking Society. She has hiked over 14,000 miles on six different continents, including thru-hikes on the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail (three times), the Colorado Trail, the Long Trail in Vermont, the Bibbulmun Track in Australia, and numerous trails in Europe and South America (e.g., the Tour du Mont Blanc, West Highland Way, Laugavegur, GR 11 (Spain), GR 20, and the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Cotahuasi Canyon and the Inca Trail.

Pharr Davis lives in Asheville, North Carolina with her husband Brew and their daughter Charley. She attended the Asheville School. She first hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2005 after graduating from Samford University. To prepare for her initial hike, she attended a class taught by Warren Doyle at the Appalachian Trail Institute. In 2008, she set the record for the fastest Appalachian Trail hike by a woman, in 57 days and 8 hours, an average of 38 miles (61 km) per day. She had previously set the Long Trail trail record in 7 days and 15 hours in 2007. She also established the fastest known time on the Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia in 2008.In 2011, Pharr Davis held the fastest known time on the Appalachian Trail completing it in 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes. In 2015, Scott Jurek finished 3 hours and 12 minutes faster..

Pharr Davis has written a number of books: She has written two guidebooks about hiking in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, and one about hiking near Asheville, North Carolina. She has also written two memoirs- 2010's Becoming Odyssa, about her 2005 Appalachian Trail thru-hike, and 2013's Called Again, about her record setting A.T. hike. Jennifer has also written 2017's Families on Foot and 2018's The Pursuit of Endurance. As a member of the National Speakers Association, Pharr Davis has shared her trail lessons hundreds of time all across the country, including presentations to Fortune 500 companies, trade organizations, colleges and universities, K-12 schools, libraries, festivals, churches, and other non-profits. She has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR's Talk of the Nation, and The Early Show on CBS. Her articles have appeared in print and online editions for Outside Magazine, Trail Runner, and Blue Ridge Outdoors, and she has contributed to articles in Men's Journal, National Geographic Adventure, and Backpacker.

In 2008, Pharr Davis founded Blue Ridge Hiking Company, with the belief that "the trail is there for everyone at every phase of life" and with the goal of getting people outdoors on their own terms. The company leads half-day, full day and overnight trips in the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Asheville.Pharr Davis is an ambassador for the American Hiking Society, and she was featured as one of National Geographic's Adventurers of the Year in 2012. She was also named Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine's Person of the Year in 2008, and her record-setting A.T. hike in 2011 was named "Performance of the Year" by Ultrarunning Magazine.

In 2012, Pharr Davis hiked 600 miles while six and seven month pregnant with her daughter, Charley, and once her daughter was born, she hiked with her husband and young daughter, in all fifty states by the time she was two.

In 2017, Pharr Davis hiked the 1,175 mile Mountains to Sea Trail in partnership with the Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail. With the support of her husband, Brew, she was able to complete this hike while still nursing her one year old son, Gus, who was born in 2016. Pharr Davis is also hiking the Continental Divide Trail in sections through the Rocky Mountains.

Kalamunda National Park

Kalamunda National Park is a national park in Western Australia, 23 kilometres (14 mi) east of Perth, near the town of Kalamunda.

Mount Cooke

Mount Cooke, near Jarrahdale, Western Australia, is one of the highest points on the Darling Scarp at 582 metres (1,909 ft). It was named after William Ernest Cooke, Western Australia's first Government Astronomer.

Mount Cooke is well known for its walk track which is part of the Bibbulmun Track. The Bibbulmun walk track leads from a parking and picnic area, and goes thousands of metres through the Jarrah forest, coloured with a host of wildflowers in all seasons, to the summit of Mount Cooke.

Mount Cooke is within the Monadnocks Conservation Park and administered by the Department of Environment and Conservation.

Mount Dale

Mount Dale is a mountain in Western Australia about 25 km east of Armadale in the Shire of Beverley. At 546 m high, it is one of the highest points in the Darling Scarp.

It is best known for its walk track, which forms part of the Bibbulmun Track. The track leads from a parking and picnic area to the summit, passing through 500 metres of jarrah forest, which is coloured by a host of wildflowers in spring. South of Mundaring Weir, Mount Dale is visible when looking SSE from Glen Forrest outside Helena College on Bilgoman Road.

Mount Dale was once the site of a fire lookout tower as it provides almost uninterrupted 360° views over the National Park and surrounding State Forest areas.This has now been replaced by a communications tower which obstructs the 360° panorama, though the footings of the old lookout tower and associated equipment are still visible among the undergrowth and stunning panoramic views are available from the parking area just below the peak. It was named after Ensign (later Lieutenant) Robert Dale, who in 1829 became the first European explorer to venture into the Darling Scarp.

Mount Wells, Western Australia

Mount Wells is a locality and land feature located in bushland near Boddington, south-east of Perth. It is located on the Bibbulmun Track and is also known as Wourahming Hill.

Mundaring Weir

Mundaring Weir is a dam (and historically the adjoining locality) located 39 kilometres (24 mi) from Perth, Western Australia in the Darling Scarp. The dam and reservoir form the boundary between the suburbs of Reservoir and Sawyers Valley. The dam impounds the Helena River.

Pemberton, Western Australia

Pemberton is a town in the South West region of Western Australia, named after original settler Pemberton Walcott.

Southampton homestead

Southampton homestead is a Victorian-Georgian historical homestead located on the banks of the Blackwood River in the south west of Western Australia.

It was constructed in 1862 by Richard Jones(1795-1876) and his two sons Richard and William with mud-bricks fired on the site and took two years to construct. The heritage property sits beside the Bibbulmun Track, and located some 12 km (7.5 mi) south of Balingup in the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup.

At the height of the settlement's prosperity, the Jones family managed some 27,500 acres (111 km2) of land. The family and workers produced wine, wheat, fruit and ran 600 head of cattle. Infrastructure included the Homestead proper, kitchen/bakery, flour mill, Dairy, workshops, brick kilns, jetty, boat shed and workers cottages.

The homestead was destroyed by a bushfire in February 2013.

Torbay Inlet

Torbay Inlet is an estuarine inlet in the Great Southern region of Western Australia situated approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) east of the town of Denmark, Western Australia.

Torbay Inlet is a wave-dominated estuary that functions primarily as a result of wave energy. The estuary has been severely modified as most of the natural catchment cover has been cleared.

Covering a total surface area of 3.1 square kilometres (1 sq mi), 2.1 square kilometres (1 sq mi) of this is the central basin with the remainder being composed of saltmarsh and tidal delta. The lagoon is quite shallow and fringed with sedges and paperbarks.

The inlet outflows into the Southern Ocean and is part of the Torbay Inlet and Lake Powell Catchment Area.

Much of the land surrounding the inlet has an elevation of less than 1 metre (3 ft) so that under certain tidal and wind conditions the land is inundated with sea water that floods back up the estuary. As a result, in 1912, a barrage with floodgates was constructed to prevent this, but this proved to be unsuccessful.

A sandbar exists across the mouth of the estuary for most of the year, but it is often breached following significant rain events.

Trekkers on the Bibbulmun Track use the either the sandbar to cross the inlet or an alternative route using the Lower Denmark Road to go around the inlet.

Wagyl

The Wagyl (alternative spelling Waugl, Waugal, Waugyl or Waagal) is, according to Noongar culture, a snakelike dreamtime creature responsible for the creation of the Swan and Canning rivers and other waterways and landforms around present day Perth and the south-west of Western Australia.

The Rainbow Serpent, or Wagyl as it is known in the south-west of Western Australia, created many local landscape features between the Porongarups (Spirit (=Borong) gathering (=Gar) place (=Up)) and off the coast of Fremantle. It was delegated to protect the rivers, lakes, springs and the wildlife. Wagyl sacred sites tend to be natural sun-traps, located beside bodies of water. The Noongar people were appointed as the guardians of the land by the Wagyl. The Wagyl was seen by certain tribal elders who spoke to the dreamtime being.

The Darling Scarp is said to represent the body of the Wagyl, which meandered over the land creating the curves and contours of the hills and gullies. The being is strongly associated with rivers, lakes like Lake Monger, and is supposed still to reside deep beneath springs. As the Wagyl slithered over the land, his track shaped the sand dunes, his body scoured out the course of the rivers; where he occasionally stopped for a rest, he created bays and lakes. Piles of rocks are said to be his droppings, and such sites are considered sacred. As he moved, his scales scraped off and become the forests and woodlands of the region.

The Wagyl stories may represent the survival in oral tradition of extinct Australian megafauna, as there was a python-like snake, Wonambi naracoortensis, with a length of five or six metres.

Walpole, Western Australia

Walpole is a town in the south-western region of Western Australia, located approximately 430 kilometres (270 mi) south southeast of Perth and 66 kilometres (41 mi) west of Denmark.

Walpole-Nornalup National Park

Walpole-Nornalup National Park is a national park in the South West region of Western Australia, 355 km (221 mi) south of Perth. It is famous for its towering Karri and Tingle trees. Red Tingle trees are unique to the Walpole area.

The park is part of the larger Walpole Wilderness Area that was established in 2004, an international biodiversity hotspot.

West Cape Howe National Park

West Cape Howe National Park is a national park in Western Australia, 390 kilometres (240 mi) southeast of Perth. The park is found between Albany and Denmark within the City of Albany and in the Great Southern region.

Torbay Head, the most southerly point of the mainland of Western Australia, is situated within the park.

The park is abutted against the coast of the Southern Ocean and takes up approximately 23 km (14 mi) of the coastline between Lowlands Beach and Forsythe Bluff.

William J. Lines

William J. Lines is an Australian author.

He has written about the notable Western Australian botanist Georgiana Molloy., as well as walking the Bibbulmun Track.He has written about environmental change in Australia.He has also looked at the politics and dynamics of environmentalists and environmental groups.His Taming the Great South Land has elicited the most extended discussion and reviews to date.

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