Monday, 12 January 2009

Bibbulmun Track: The Trail

The Bibbulmun Track is generally very well marked. You do not need a GPS or a very detailed map set to hike it. There is a great guidebook in two volumes for the whole containing trail descriptions and maps which is more than sufficient. If you do not see a trail marker for more than 10 minutes that usually meants that you are lost. The only sections that are difficult to navigate is walking along the beaches where there are of course no trail marker, but you have to find the right "exit" through the dunes.

The trail very often follows old logging roads or tramways - but do not picture German or American forest highways now. These old roads have not been used for decades and look more like trail than roads. But some of the bridges still remind you of the logging history and are actually quite impressive.

Bridges are often very creative - several blown down trees have been converted into bridges by adding railings and smoothing the surface. That gives you an idea of how big and tall the eucalyptus trees can grow! Other interesting trail sections include the crossing of an inlet with a boat and sandbars that might have to be crossed in waist deep water - all depending on the season and tide. Always inquire before the start of a trip whether the ocean inlets are passable or not - there are alternate routes available.

Mining conveyor belt
Beside impressive forest and spectacular coastline you will also encounter man-made "attractions" like water reservoirs and mines. You will even pass under a huge mining conveyor belt whose low rumbling you will hear for hours! You will pass through enough trail towns to make re-supply easy - there is no need to mail resupply boxes ahead. As almost all the trail towns are former logging towns they are very welcoming to hikers now that logging has been substituted with tourism. Even gas cannisters are easy to find! Also public transport is available from almost every trail town making section hikes very easy.

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