If you are a tour operator and hold tours on the Bibbulmun Track or are thinking of setting up such a business, this page will assist you with the basic elements that you need to consider.
DEC tour operators licence
If you wish to become a tour operator on the Bibbulmun Track (or any other DEC managed land), the first thing is that you will need is a commercial activity licence. You will receive a handbook which will detail the criteria you will need to meet.
Access and disease risk areas
Please help stop the spread of Dieback, which is killing our forests. If there is no red or green car on the road shown on the Bibbulmun Track Map, then you are not permitted to drive on that road. You may be prosecuted and your licence revoked if your vehicle is found in Disease Risk Areas (DRA) - read your map carefully. If you have any doubts contact us. Note that green cars mean that you must walk to the Track from an access road.
People are often not aware that they are in DRA. As a guide (but not limited to) check the tables on our website. Remember, no red/green car = no access.
Note that no vehicles of any kind are permitted at any Bibbulmun Track campsites or on the Bibbulmun Track. There are no exceptions for tour operators.
Leave No Trace Principles
Tour operators will need to adhere to the LNT principles and Code of the Campsite.
Notice of Intent
Whilst at this stage commercial operators are not legally required to complete a Notice of Intent (NOI) form, we ask that operators take the time to advise DEC of their intentions.
The NOI provides DEC with information regarding your planned group activity, which helps to sustain the biodiversity and conservation values of the diverse environments that the tracks and trails traverse. The NOI also assists in considering the needs and enjoyment of other Track users by preventing overcrowding in campsites and/or potential clashes of expedition dates of groups.
Maximum group sizes
The maximum group sizes for the Bibbulmun Track are as follows:
- Overnight at campsites - 17 total
- Day walks - 20 total
Operators that exceed these numbers must split their group and use different locations.
Camping is only permitted at the designated Bibbulmun Track campsites. The Bibbulmun Track passes through twelve harnessed water catchments between Kalamunda and Collie, and even more, further south. The supply of clean water is crucial. All walkers must observe rules and regulations designed to protect our water supplies. Walkers are not permitted to 'free' camp on the Track.
Groups of eight or more are always expected to carry and use tents, and in general commercial operators are encouraged to use tents for all groups staying at campsites, regardless of their size.
Cooking and campfires
Campfires are a tradition in Australian bush walking. However, the environment is becoming less and less tolerant of campfires, particularly in the surrounds of the Bibbulmun Track campsites.
Fires, if lit at all, should be kept to a minimal size. There is no point in having a raging fire when a small one provides more than enough warmth. Remember the old Aboriginal saying: "White man make big fire, sit far away - black man make small fire, sit close”.
Campfires may be lit only at approved campsites. The Blackwood and Yourdamung campsites, and all the campsites between Albany and the Shannon River, are designated as no fire zones. They do not have fireplaces, and in these campsites, fuel stoves only must be used. See also fire survival measures.
All walkers must take care with fire. No one is permitted to light a fire on days of very high or extreme fire danger. Under these circumstances, fuel stoves only should be operated at campsites. Under no circumstances should a fuel stove be used in, or near a tent. Check the current fire conditions as fire bans usually exist between December and March each year. All fires must be totally extinguished before the last person leaves.
Commercial operators are certainly welcome to carry in food and other hiker-appropriate supplies in to campsites or to meet clients at designated access points. All walkers are discouraged from burying food or leaving food unattended on the Track or at campsites.
If you are transporting clients for a fee to and/or from the Track, you are required by the Dept of Transport to have a licensed tour/charter vehicle and an F or T class driver's licence.
If you are going to offer advice to people doing self-guided walks, then we strongly suggest that you contact us at the Foundation so that the advice you give is not only correct, but also aligned with the advice the Foundation gives about the Bibbulmun Track. The client will benefit from accurate, non-conflicting and up-to-date information which will result in a satisfactory and enjoyable trip which in turn could lead to repeat business for you.
If you have any questions at all we are more than happy to assist - just drop us a line!