I happen to have a very special interest in this as in 1974 when I began working at the *Forests Department in Como the Track was being developed and one of the gentleman directly involved with its development was one of my bosses. I remember doing a lot of typing for him about this track and realised what an exciting development it was.
The Bibbulmun Track is a long distance walk trail in Western Australia. It runs from Kalamunda (east of Perth) to Albany on the south coast and is 1003.1 kilometres ( 623.3 miles) long. The name comes from the Bibbulmun, or Noongar people, Indigenous Australians from the Perth area.
History: The route has been changed twice, partly due to it passing through a significant section of forest that was at risk to change from either forestry, bauxite mining or jarrah dieback.
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 Assocation of Australia (WA Division) and the Speleological Research Group of WA.
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 track. 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 opened all the way to Albany in April, 2013.
Track components: The track consists of 58 sections and is marked at regular intervals with triangular pointers, most of which have an image of the wagyl, a mythical creature from Aboriginal Dreamtime stores.
Each section is approximately one day's walk, except for the northernmost 150km or so, where these sections consists of half-day walks. At the end of each section is either a town or 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 barbecue pit and plate (open fires are banned in the southern section).
There are many highlights along the track which include:
Mundaring Weir; Monadnocks area and Mount 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 South-west Australian flora and fauna; Marine mammals along the south coast such as seals, dolphins and whales.
The Bibbulmun track is managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife and The Bibbulmun Track Foundation - an incorporated not-for-profit community-based organisation established to provide support 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 the track for one or a few days a a time. Hardy walkers who walk the track from beginning to end typically do so in 6 or 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 an be very hot and water hard to find except in the water tanks at the campsites. Winter can be wet, especially in the southern areas but people will walk the Track any time from March to December.
Leave No Trace: When walking the track walkers are encouraged to follow the 7 "Leave no Trace" principles, which are: 1) Plan ahead and prepare; 2) Travel and camp on durable surfaces;
3) Dispose of waste properly; 4) Leave what you find; 5) Minimise campfire impacts; 6) Respect wildlife; 7) Be considerate of your hosts and other visitors.
*While still working at the Forests Department the name of the department was changed to Department of Conservation and Land Management or CALM as it was known. Since then it became the Department of Environment and Conservation. A fourth change has it known as Department of Parks and Wildlife where my daughter has been employed for 30 years as a graphic designer whose section designs many of the education areas in the forest as well as other significant forest signs.