Great Walk Trails of the World
World-Class Walking Trail
The Bibbulman Track is a world-class walking trail that stretches 1000 kilometres from the Perth Hills in Western Australia to Albany on its south coast. The Bibbulman passes through eight rural communities and crosses some of the most beautiful areas of Australia's south west. The Track is only for walkers. The trail is marked with yellow triangular markers embossed with the 'waugal'. The waugal is the rainbow serpent of the aboriginal Dreaming, a mythical creature which created the Swan River.
Following the development of the Bibbulman, cyclists are now awaiting the completion of the similar trail, the Munda Biddi (path through the forest) Trail.
The Bibbulman loosely follows the path taken by the aboriginal Nyoongar people who made the pilgrimage through their land on a regular basis. The path acknowledges and celebrates their spirit.
The idea for the track was born in the 1970s but it wasn't until 1998 that the path was opened for all to enjoy. One of the aims of the track was to encourage people to 'go bush' to discover the natural beauty of the state's south-west regions. Since it has been opened, thousands of locals and nearly as many tourists have taken advantage of the Bibbulman to see parts of Western Australia not accessible to many.
There are several ways to walk the track. You can stroll along parts of it, you can camp just for a night or two, you can join a guided group, you can rough it by carrying your supplies and camping needs or you can do it in comfort staying in towns along the way.
A self-guided walk is satisfying. If you take a backpack and camping gear it will also be inexpensive. Campsites have been established a day's walk apart. These are set in delightful locations. A three-sided shelter, toilet, water tank and picnic table is supplied at each campsite. There are also tent sites and some have fireplaces. Because of the danger of bushfires, the use of fuel stoves in encouraged.
The Bibbulman Track Foundation is an incorporated not-for-profit organisation. The Foundation has detailed maps and guide books. It will also advise on what to take. From time to time it runs courses on such subjects as navigation, first aid and camp cooking. If you're not into camping too often, you can hire tents, backpacks, stoves and sleeping bags. You can even hire 'epirb' devices which will help rescue teams find you should you have an emergency situation.
'Bibbulman Walking Breaks' are organised pack-free, stress-free packages based around one of the eight rural towns through which the Bibbulman passes. These 'breaks' enable you to walk independently but with the comfort of a hot shower, cooked meal and soft bed each evening. Each 'break' is a minimum of two days and two nights. Accommodation, food, walk transfers, maps and directional notes are included.
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The best times to walk are spring and autumn. Summer can be very hot and winter can be very wet! On the south coast the Track crosses a number of inlets. Sometimes these inlets are opened and flowing rapidly. In that case, diversions will be marked. In the northern section there is normally a total fire ban for several months from the start of summer. Wear stout boots and always take plenty of drinking water with you.
You should plan your trip carefully and always carry a map and/or guidebook. Stay on the track and camp only at the designated areas. Be aware of environmental issues. Don't use detergents or soap products. Take your rubbish with you unless there is a bin. Observe fire bans and restrictions. Don't take animals on the track and follow the 'Code of the Campsite' found at each shelter. It is always a good idea to let someone know where you are going and to give them an expected time-line. It is possible to walk for two or three days on the Bibbulman and only meet kangaroos and lizards.
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The northernmost point is in Kalamunda, a suburb of Perth.
By the time you reach Albany you will have walked through age-old jarrah forests, over huge granite boulders and along river valleys shrouded in mist. The track passes through the 'valley of the giants' – ancient towering karri and tingle trees – before coming to the heathland wilderness of the south coast. To really discover the true essence of Western Australia, you need to get out of the suburbs and into the bush. The Bibbulman Track will let you do that in safety.