Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bibbulmun Track: Trail towns

Terminus in Albany
 Knowing that another good hiking friend of mine will hike the Bibbulmun Track soon, I want to write something about the trail towns. It will give you a good idea about what to expect when you hit civilization after a week in the bush:

Albany: Southern Terminus of the Bibb with 3 cheap and good backpacker hostels. My favourite one (because it is the quietest) is the YHA. There is a big IGA supermarket very close and it is open every day. Internet is available at all the hostels. There are two daily connections from Albany to Perth.

Walpole: Free showers in the toilet block next to the Visitor Centre. Two good backpacker hostels, my favourite is the Walpole Lodge. Decent IGA that is open every day. Very expensive internet in hostel and Visitor  Centre.

Gloucester Tree
Pemberton: YHA hostel, but it is always full with workers. Book ahead or stay at caravan park either in a chalet (expensive if you are on your own) or camp. Good IGA that is open every day. Expensive internet in Telecentre. I stayed at a rather obscure Christian place, the Karriholm Christian Centre. I nearly left when they started praying for the unborn life threatened by abortion, but other than that people running it are extremely friendly, albeit a bit zealous. They try to bring the word of God to street kids, homeless people, prostitutes and drug addicts. If you don't like weird places, don't go there. Outside Pemberton is the Gloucester Tree drawing big crowds of tourists during holiday season.

Buddhist pagoda at Origins
Balingup: Best place for accommodation is the Origins Centre right on the trail 2 km out of town. It is a Buddhist retreat centre and you pay by donation. Very nice, clean rooms, fantastic communal kitchen and interesting library. Very relaxed people, no proselytizing. There also is a backpacker hostel next to the post office and you can camp for 10 AUD near the town oval. There is a small and very expensive supermarket open every day. Going north you only have to buy food for a couple of days which is doable. Expensive internet at visitor centre.

Collie: My favourite trail town!!!! Two big supermarkets (Woolworth and Coles), but they are closed on Sundays. Laundromat and nice cheap public swimming pool in city centre. Go for a swim!!! Plenty of accommodation, but all rather expensive and no backpacker hostel. Easy to camp 4 km out of town though. Nice and big museum with lots of bric brac.

Store in Dwellingup
Dwellingup: Free cold showers in toilet block next to visitor centre. FREE internet in visitor centre!!!!! Small supermarket with small selection and rather expensive. Going north you have to resupply for 6 days there. It is doable, but will not be great and rather expensive. No hostel, but easy to camp just 1 km out of town (South!).

Kalamunda: Buses every half hour back to Perth, takes 30 minutes. Big supermarket right next to terminus, in case you can't wait till Perth.

Perth: You will probably start and end in Perth. Before starting a thruhike I recommend visiting the office of the Friends of the Bibbulmun Track. It is open on weekdays only and stuffed by volunteers. Here you can buy the guidebooks and get the latest info on trail conditions, especially the situation of the inlet crossings. The office is located directly above a big outdoor shop so in case the office is closed you could get the guidebooks there. 

Donnelly River Store
There are tiny little shops in Donnelly River Village and Peaceful Bay, but there is hardly any selection and they are outrageously expensive. Only buy there in emergencies. No decent food or resupply at North Bannister roadhouse and according to last hiker info they do not accept resupply packages mailed to them either (not that you would need it).

All above mentioned towns have gas cannisters!!!!!! Enjoy your hike!!!!

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