The Bibbulmun Track

...It all began with a life journey, which went off track and lead me back on track, the Bibbulmun Track...

When you’re a kid from a working class family growing up in Perth, driving 5 hours down south for your holidays was very special. The thought of walking there didn’t enter your consciousness. So when one day you do and you discover it is possible. The moment you climb over the first dune and witness the south coast, it is an exceptionally special and emotional moment. I will never forget.    

There is a lot online about the Bibbulmun Track, this magnificent long-distance trail, that we here in Perth call “The Bibb”.

This is my perspective on how this hiking trail has affected me, along with some track info that I’m often asked about.

I grew up as a teenager hearing about it, I didn’t really know where it started or ended or how long it was. I used to spend my time hiking around Jarrahdale. 

The Bibbulmun Track is 1000km (620 miles) long between Kalamunda a hills suburb east of Perth and Albany on the south coast. 

My first genuine exposure to the track was a visit to the Dwellingup Visitor Information Centre in July 2015 which the track walks right passed, approx day 12 if you began at Kalamunda. Dwellingup is one of 11 towns the track goes through. When you’re completing an end-to-end which is walking literally from one end to another. Another term you may hear is a “through-hike” which they use in the US.

You have the option of stopping at a town having a zero-day which is a rest day, time for a shower or two, enjoy a lot of food, restock your pack with food. By picking up your food box which you posted ahead or finding something in the local supermarket or general store. 

Towns vary from 4 to 8 days apart, depending on how far and fast you walk each day. 

Many people will tell you that the first several weeks is all forest, which is really missing something. You can walk all-day and move through a forest with an abundance of grass trees and then 30 min later, you’re surrounded by ferns and palms, then suddenly it will change again. The track also passes through several plantations and private properties. 

I have fond memories walking passed a Pecan Nut orchard, the kind farmer planted one of his trees on the fence for hikers. Walking across a high paddock or grazing cows, large mushrooms which apparently could be picked and eaten. Meeting two huge Italian sheep dogs on a couples farm who had lost their property only two years before and lost everything. 

You will not see another person for days 

Walking an end-to-end

In June 2016 I completed my own solo end-to-end of the Bibb which changed my life, like nothing else. 

The biggest challenge I faced before I started was no my extra weight, lack of fitness, but giving myself permission to disappear for a couple of months. 

I always wanted to do it alone, a solo journey. I was surprised in my first week on the track after departing Kalamunda not to see another human being for 5 days. 

The track takes a dramatic turn left at approximately the 800 km mark when it reaches the south coast which is such a huge achievement in itself.

When you grow up In Perth, driving the 5 or so hours down south for your holidays is something you do. You never imagine walking there in million years, so when you do it can be spectacularly emotional. 

 

World-renowned campsites 

You can find 49 campsites along the track with different sized and designed shelters/open huts which are mostly simply known as Bibb huts. They have three walls, so they offer enough protection from elements and still allow you to feel part of the beautiful environment that surrounds you.

You will also find one or two large rainwater tanks with rainwater that has not been treated and a recommendation to treat your water first. When I guide people I allow them to make up their own minds whether to treat or not, but I have never treated the water. I once met three elderly gentlemen who have been walking the Bibb for many years and they have never treated the water. 

There are also drop toilets, campfire pits and tent areas. There are total fire bans during most of December to March and further down south, there are no fires allowed on the track at any time. Which I missed as I love my campfires.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions – Parks and Wildlife Service, manages, maintains and protects the track. But there are also a large number of Maintenance Volunteers directed by the Bibbulmun Track Foundation that keep the Bibb maintained, safe and tidy.

Didier Walks donates 4% of each hike booking to the foundation which is used directly in the maintenance of the track. 

Follow a Waugal

These days with technology there are several methods to ensure you are heading in the right direction. There are eight official Bibbulmun Track maps, a choice of GPS apps but the only sure way is to follow the Waugals, the yellow snake markers.

The Waugal represents, the rainbow serpent of the Aboriginal Dreaming. Unless they are missing which is very rare as the track is very well maintained by local rangers and the amazing volunteers.

One reason is at times during the year, there may be a reason for the track to be detoured slightly due to bushfires or another safety issue.

Bibbulmun Track waugal, didier walks
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