The Bibbulmun Track is one of the world’s great long distance walk trails, stretching 1000km from Kalamunda, a suburb in the hills on the outskirts of Perth, to the historic town of Albany on the south coast. It passes through the heart of the scenic south west of Western Australia.
The Track is for walkers only and is signposted with yellow triangular markers symbolising the Waugal, the rainbow serpent of the Aboriginal Dreaming. Trail markers are spaced up to 500m apart. They are more frequent when there is an intersection with other tracks or when the Track takes a turn.
The Track takes walkers through towering karri and tingle forests, down mist-shrouded valleys, over giant granite boulders and along breathtaking coastal heathlands. It passes through many of the most beautiful national parks of the south west forests and coastline. The Bibbulmun Track offers a wide range of experiences, from a gentle stroll to enjoy the peace and beauty of the natural environment, to an epic eight week adventure. Those that walk every step of the way can be registered as end-to-enders.
You can make it a wilderness experience by camping out, you can join a guided group, a tour, or you can do it in comfort by staying in the towns along the Track and enjoying day walks in the area. The Track passes through Dwellingup, Collie, Balingup, Donnelly River Village, Pemberton, Northcliffe, Walpole, Peaceful Bay and Denmark. www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au
My Dad, brother Ian and I had done some hiking in the Albany region and decided to tackle the Collie – Balingup section. After some googling and trawling over maps we planned our trek. We would be dropped off just outside of Collie to meet up with the spur line which detours off the track, through Wellington National Park then back to the track. This is an easy starting off point from Collie. Best road is easily found off Mungalup Road. Turn at Collie Caltex petrol station and follow out of town for approximately 10 – 15 minutes. Keep an eye out for Best Rd on your left. A short drive brings you to the spur line.
Excited by the start of the adventure we bid our driver farewell and set off. Before long we reached the Yabberup campsite. After short rest and a few photos, we then join the Track proper. Following the yellow Waugul markers we wander through the gorgeous Aussie bush. A good time for some banter and catch up with the old man and my brother.
After our 8am start at the spur line, we estimated we should arrive at the Mungalup Tavern by lunch. We had arranged with the publican to leave our car there the previous night, so we could easily return to Collie after our trek. He informed us the car would be quite safe and it was very common for people to do the same and they never had any issues in the past.
The track winds through the bush, is fairly flat in most places and doesn’t provide any difficulty to us. The trick is to keep looking for the yellow markers. Saying that – we never had a problem spotting or following them. They seem to turn up just as you start wondering where the next one is!
A true highlight on the walk is the sight of the shimmering Glen Mervyn Dam, it marks the 3/4 point of our journey and is popular with campers and water skiers. The dam is a welcome sight and provides a glorious setting for morning tea. A sandwich and a bottle of water were enjoyed and then we follow western bank of the dam south, towards the dam wall. It isn’t long until we reach the “Mumby Pub” where we are greeted with a cold drink and the lunch menu!
The Collie – Mumbalup Tavern section is a great introduction to walking the “Bib Track” – It may become addictive as it isn’t long before you’re left wondering, what’s the next section you might tackle! Collie is well set up with services to cater for hikers. With multiple accommodation options to choose from, two laundromats, 7 day trading from both supermarkets, it’s an ideal stop over point for a longer Bib Track trip or a great spot to start your adventure.
A hundred years ago The Colliefields Hotel would have been “The Place” to stay when travelling through Collie and it still is today for the many mountain bike riders and bush walkers who visit every week. The Colliefields is a member of both the Bibbulmun and Munda Biddi Track Foundations and offers clean single, twin, double, ensuite and dorm rooms at prices you can’t go past. With breakfast and secure bike storage included and trail transfers available, what more do you need? Maybe somewhere to have food and clothing parcels delivered to? No Worries, they can handle that as well. Just ring ahead to let them know!
We thoroughly recommend hikers take some time to visit bibbulmuntrack.org.au and familiarise yourself with the Track prior to setting off. Safety advice can be found here – www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au/trip-planner/health-hygiene-safety/
You can plan your Bibbulmun Track walk here – https://www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au/trip-planner/track-sections/collie/