Dreaming of the Next Adventure – Introducing the Bibbulmun Track

I am just a wee bit excited. After being locked down and locked in Australia for the past +18 months, I finally have an epic adventure on the horizon.

And it’s BIG!

Grab your backpack, tent, sleeping bag, dehydrated meals, maps and muesli bars, we are off on the Bibbulmun Track.

Bibbulmun Track Map - House On My Back
Source: House On My Back

While I would love to be sharing plans about more caminos across Spain, Covid19 in Australia is ensuring that life is still pretty fluid and home-based.  Our international borders are shut to movement in and out (except in very special circumstances such as movie stars, suspect politicians and Olympians) and will remain so until at least mid-2022. So, it is domestic adventure for me!

First off, if Bibbulmun is too much of a mouthful, refer to it as the Bibb and you will sound like a hip and cool hiker, and definitely in the know.

What is the Bibbulmun Track?

The Bibb is a dedicated walkers-only path that stretches 1 005km from Kalamunda, just East of Perth, finally arriving at Albany on Western Australia’s southern coastline.

How did it begin?

In 1969 the Perth Bushwalking Club came into being, and founding member Geoff Schafer was less than impressed by the facilities that the State offered for walkers in terms of long distance walks. In July 1972 he walked into the office of the then Minister for Forests with an idea designed to prompt urban people to go bush. The Minister listened, liked what he heard, and sent Geoff and his idea to the Forests Department with a green light to go ahead with his proposed Perth to Albany walking track.

When a name was being sought for a proposed long distance track in the south-west Western Australia many options were considered. It was Kirup forester Len Talbot who proposed that the Track be named to recognise the early indigenous inhabitants of the southwest, the Bibbulmun. It was known that the Bibbulmun people walked long distances through the forests for ceremonial gatherings, and although those precise travel routes were unknown, the name was adopted as being unique and appropriate for a trail on which it was hoped walkers would adopt the same feeling of oneness with nature of those people of long ago. Source.

To read even more of the history and the paths development over the past +52 years – click here.

Near Mt Howell on the Bibbulmun Track Source: auswalk.com.au
Near Mt Howell on the Bibbulmun Track Source: auswalk.com.au

Where does it go?

The path wends its way through national parks, Crown Reserves, railway verges, roadsides, towns and across privately owned farmland. It takes in the suburbs and towns of:

  • Kalamunda
  • Dwellingup
  • Collie
  • Balingup
  • Pemberton
  • Northcliffe
  • Walpole
  • Denmark and finally
  • Albany.
Near Kalamunda on the Bibbulmun Track Source: destinationperth.com.au
Near Kalamunda on the Bibbulmun Track Source: destinationperth.com.au

Where to stay?

The amazing thing about this track is the amount of infrastructure available for walker’s use. At regular intervals along the whole +1000km are shelters that sleep from 8-15 people, water tanks, tent sites, composting toilets and some fire pits.

Frankland River Shelter on the Bibbulmun Track Source: www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au
Frankland River Shelter on the Bibbulmun Track Source: http://www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au

Equally amazing is that this infrastructure is supported and maintained by a group of dedicated volunteers. Congratulations and much appreciation to them.

There are around 49 three-sided shelters (dependent on bushfire impact), some with views, some without fire pits and you can adjust your walking plans/distances to coincide with the next best shelter.

To preserve the beautiful environment you are walking through the Bibb Foundation strongly recommends that you do not camp at random locations and only pitch your tent on the cleared tent sites adjacent to the shelters (if the shelters are full).

What to take?

Everything! There are stretches of the track – anything up to 10 days – where you do not enter a town or any sort of ‘civilisation’. You must carry everything you need:

  • Tent, mattress, sleeping bag
  • All your food and chocolate supplies
  • Maps and directional equipment
  • All your clothing, first aid kit etc

The Foundation also strongly recommend you take a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) as mobile phone service is non-existent in some of the remoter areas.

The Waugul. Source: www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au
The Waugul waymarker. Source: http://www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au

Waymarking

The Bibb Foundation and their wonderful volunteers have developed and maintain the path, including the display of the Waugul. The Rainbow Serpent from the Aboriginal Dreamtime, the Waugal is pictured on the triangular markers which appear on the Track.  Apparently the Waugal markers are place every 500m or so subject to trees falling down, bushfires and idiots stealing them.

Want to know more?

There are some fabulous resources available to help you plan your own Bibb:

  • The Bibbulmun Foundation: Annual membership is $55 and this gives you access to a whole range of insider information, discounts, expertise and support. Check out their website for an excellent overview of what awaits us.
  • Maps & Guides:   If you are an old-fashioned traveller like me, you love having a map or guidebook clutched in your sweaty hand. Each of the stages is covered in detail in both documents, including terrain, elevations and shelter facilities. They are expensive to buy, but very comprehensive. Buy them from the Foundation and all the money goes towards their ongoing work.
  • Facebook: Join up to the Foundation’s Facebook page (@bibbulmuntrack) and Bibbulmun Track Hikers (@bibbulmuntrackhikers) for a tsunami of support, information and inspiration.
  • YouTube: For waaaaay too much temptation and a whole lot of dreaming (and lost workday productivity) search for Bibb inspiration at Great Walks of the World and The Museum of Us. There are plenty others there too although why anyone would want to carry a drone for +1000km, I would never know.
  • Apps: Apparently there are a large number of map apps that cover the Track. I haven’t looked at these in detail yet, but Guthook seems to be mentioned quite often. I will let you know what I find out as my research continues.

So now all that remains is to ask you the big question…

Have I tempted you to plan your own epic adventure??

East of Dingo Beach. Source: www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au
East of Dingo Beach. Source: http://www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au

The Basics

What: An epic stroll through the Aussie bush with native blooms, soaring trees and the odd snake.

Where: East of Perth, South, South, South until you hit the water and then East again until you hit Albany.

When: Aiming for Springtime mid-September 2022 for approximately 48 days.

Why: For  big injection of Mother Nature and a long, long opportunity to stretch my legs.

How: By foot, car, plane, foot, plane, foot, foot, foot, foot, foot, etc, plane, car, foot.

Who: Myself and a couple of best friends.

Related Posts: To read about another epic walk I completed way back in 2018 when international travel was a thing, check out my +40-day stroll through Italy here.

Related Blogs: For a really handy introduction to the Bibb, check out Going Solo and their experience on the trail, also back in 2018.

Read About it: And if you prefer an armchair adventure instead of actually slogging along a long distance walk, grab a copy of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. He captures the beauty of remote America on the Appalachian Trail with a fair dose of humour too. Available from Book Depository.

#travelinspo #bibbulmuntrack #bucketlist #adventurebeforedementia #longdistancewalks #australianbush #westernaustralia #bushwalks #greatoutdoors

40 thoughts on “Dreaming of the Next Adventure – Introducing the Bibbulmun Track

    • Life...One Big Adventure August 25, 2021 / 12:44 pm

      I’d suggest you guys come walk it with me, but I am not sure that is going to be an option even 12 months down the track! 😦

      Like

  1. Priti August 25, 2021 / 9:48 pm

    I guess it’s a beautiful place for adventure! Well expressed 🤗🌹❤️🍫

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Toonsarah August 25, 2021 / 11:29 pm

    Long distance hiking isn’t for me but I’ll enjoy following in your path virtually 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Diana August 26, 2021 / 10:25 am

    Sounds like an ambitious but fun undertaking, I can’t wait to virtually follow along!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure August 26, 2021 / 12:51 pm

      I may have to learn how to do handstands so I can share a few photos with you! Now, that would REALLY frighten the wildlife!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Diana August 27, 2021 / 12:52 pm

        Oooh yes, I fully support this and expect to see some handstand photos 🙂🤸🏼‍♀️

        Liked by 2 people

  4. rosemaylily2014 August 26, 2021 / 6:34 pm

    Very interesting post – I found out a lot even though I live here in Perth! Very best wishes with your trip when you do it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure August 27, 2021 / 9:10 am

      Many thanks. I too wondered why it took me so long to discover this gem. But now it is on my radar, look out! 🙂

      Like

  5. wetanddustyroads August 26, 2021 / 6:51 pm

    Oh my … this looks like an epic adventure! I’m also a wee bit excited for you 😁!
    We have just done a hiking trail in the mountains close to our house (only 23km and one day), but it was enough to make me realised just how much I miss long distance hiking!
    You’ve got an amazing adventure to plan for! In the meantime I will scroll through your Italy adventure and read my new Camino book 😁.

    Like

    • Life...One Big Adventure August 27, 2021 / 9:15 am

      Thanks for your best wishes. Yes, the sooner we can get back on the trail, the better. I have been watching YouTube clips again and it has given me a serious case of wanderlust! Have a great day. Mel

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The Travel Architect August 27, 2021 / 8:46 pm

    Hey! Congratulations! It’s nice to have something to look forward to, isn’t it? That’s pretty major, walking all that way. I’ll look forward to your posts about it. By the way, I had to reread your sentence that said, “Aiming for Springtime mid-September 2022 . . .” a few times because I was confused. Then I remembered that September is your springtime. Mindblowing!
    Yours truly from the Northern Hemisphere,
    The Travel Architect

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure August 28, 2021 / 2:19 pm

      Yes, I am always envious when you are posting beautiful Summer pictures and stories, I guess it is my turn now as we are about to launch into Spring. Enjoy your last days of Summer…

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Travel Architect August 30, 2021 / 11:38 am

        Thank you. Yep, it still feels like summer, but not for long. It truly is my last day of summer. Back to school tomorrow morning. Ahhhhh!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Life...One Big Adventure August 30, 2021 / 2:04 pm

          Ugh! Reality? Thud! All our schools are closed at the moment due to Covid19 and are not talking about getting back to ‘normal’ until late October. I am not sure I could all that remote teaching…

          Liked by 1 person

          • The Travel Architect September 2, 2021 / 8:03 pm

            That’s interesting. Here, we’re acting like, except for masking, we’re basically back to normal at school. Yet cases are surging around the country. Hmmm… I wonder if there’s a connection… (And I wonder how long it’ll be before I catch the Delta variant in school.)

            On a related note, I saw a hilarious meme recently. It said something like “Gosh, there are all these epidemiologists, infectious disease experts, and doctors telling me to mask and socially distance, but then there are all these people who didn’t pass high school science telling me I don’t need to do those things. It’s so hard to know who to trust these days.”

            Liked by 1 person

          • Life...One Big Adventure September 3, 2021 / 8:05 am

            We have just hit 70% of our State’s population having had the first dose vaccination. Aiming for 80% full vaccination before life will return to any sort of normality. We have to mask up whenever we leave home and everyone is in lockdown. It is pretty tough, but we still seem to be getting 1200+ cases a day. Obviously someone out there is not doing what they are told and of course, there is a lot of chatter from the anti-vaxxers. If nothing, I am learning patience! 🙂 Take care over there.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. pam@ichoosethis August 29, 2021 / 4:26 am

    GET OUT! This looks amazing!!! I am so, so happy for you friend! Enjoy every dang second of it ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Annika Perry August 31, 2021 / 1:27 am

    Mel, this looks amazing! What a fantastic and very long, trail and have a fabulous time! Here at home I’m still traipsing along on virtual Conqueror Challenges and longing to try one for real. Maybe one day!😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure August 31, 2021 / 8:12 am

      I’m with you! I have about 60km to go on my Camino Frances challenge! I did the real thing in about 30 days, but the virtual one has taken me nearly a year! What a shocker. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Heyjude September 1, 2021 / 10:58 pm

    This looks like an amazing hike. I wonder how strenuous it is? I’d walk more if our trails were better kept (uneven ground, loose scree, blocked by brambles and nettles) and usually going across farmland (often with cattle in the fields) with poor directions or stiles to clamber over. I would love to do the Bibb if I was 40 years younger, I no longer have the strength to carry all that equipment or the suppleness to sleep on the ground.

    I had to chuckle over the “All your food and chocolate supplies”

    Here’s hoping that you will be able to do this next year without any covid interruptions. I shall be avidly following you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure September 2, 2021 / 5:42 pm

      From my research, I think the strenuousness stems from the fact that you need to carry everything some distance. Certainly the terrain doesn’t look any harder than what I experienced on my last walk in Italy – bloody Alps and Apennines!!! Of course, these could be famous last words! 🙂

      Like

  10. The Year I Touched My Toes September 5, 2021 / 9:17 am

    Hi Mel, We are definitely going to have to look at some of these locations but I’m just not a carry heavy packs and camping type. Well yet, I guess. I didn’t think I was a trekking type either, once. Timing is everything with going anywhere at the moment. Louise

    Liked by 1 person

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