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