Bibbulmun Track

Bibbulmun Track

The Bibbulmun Track is a long distance walk trail in Western Australia. It runs from Kalamunda, east of Perth to Albany and is almost 1000 km long. The name comes from the Bibbulmun, or Noongar people, Indigenous Australians from the Perth area.

History

.

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 bicycle trail - generally to the west - known as the Munda Biddi Trail - which currently only goes as far as Collie.

Track Components

It consists of around 50 sections. Each section is approximately one day's walk, except for the northernmost 150km 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 BBQ pit and plate (open fires are banned in the southern section).

The 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 major towns the Track passes through are Dwellingup, Collie, Balingup, Pemberton, Walpole and Denmark.

Highlights of the track include:
* Mundaring Weir
* Monadnocks area and Mt 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 Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) and The Bibbulmun Track Foundation - an incorporated not-for-profit community-based organisation established to provide support for the DEC 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. 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 anytime from March to December.

Track maps

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

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.

See also

* Cape to Cape Track
* Long distance trails
* Munda Biddi Trail

External links

* [http://www.trailjournals.com/bib Trailjournals.com - a personal account of one person's end to end journey on the Bibbulmun Track]
* [http://aushiker.com Aushiker.com - Comprehensive coverage of bushwalking in Western Australia]
* [http://www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au/ Bibbulmun Track Foundation]
* [http://www.naturebase.net/content/view/1269/770/ Bibbulmun Track press release from DEC]


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