Find out the latest news about the Track and the Foundation before you set off for your next walk.
13 September 2018
On 13 September 1998, Western Australia’s longest walk trail, the ‘new’ Bibbulmun Track, was opened by the Hon. Cheryl Edwards, the Minister for the Environment at the time. Stretching over 1000 kilometres from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills to Albany on the south coast the Track passes through some of the most beautiful and wild areas of Australia’s South West.
20 years later, the 2000th person to walk the length of the Track from end-to-end has just registered their achievement. Twynam Cunningham, who turned 60 halfway through the journey, walked from his mum’s place in Albany, to his sister’s house in Cottesloe via the Bibbulmun Track. “Every step of the way was a pleasure” he said. ”I’ve walked a bit through the world over the years and I would say the shelters and the raw beauty of this track has been an absolute stand out.”
18% of all registered end-to-enders are from interstate and 12% from overseas with British, German and American hikers topping the list – some returning multiple times.
Of course, the majority of hikes on the Bibbulmun Track are short walks from a day up to a week and walkers can either base themselves in one of the nine towns along the way or embark on a wilderness adventure staying in the purpose-built campsites.
Named in recognition of the first inhabitants of the south west region, the Bibbulmun Track was designed to draw city folk into the country and gain an appreciation of the bush. This original vision has certainly been fulfilled with walkers returning time and again to the Track and contributing over $13 million a year to the regional economy.
The Track is maintained in partnership between the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and the volunteer-based, not-for-profit Bibbulmun Track Foundation. In 1998, 32 volunteers signed up for the Foundation’s ‘Eyes on the ground’ maintenance programme. Now, around 400 volunteers contribute over 30,000 hours annually to help maintain the Track, run the busy office and guide events for all ages. 2500 members and a range of partners, including Newmont Boddington Gold, help support the work of the Foundation. This will include a major works programme over the next three years to upgrade the ageing infrastructure to ensure that the Bibbulmun Track remains a world-class recreational resource for another twenty years.
11 September 2018
As the weather becomes warmer, so the snakes will become more active along the Track. They can be seen almost anywhere, especially in late winter and spring, near the south coast and in swampy areas.
The heavy footfalls of a walker are usually enough to frighten them away before they are seen. An exception to this can be on unseasonably warm days in late winter and spring when any snakes, which curl up for a long sleep during cold weather, will be sluggish if they are around. In this state they are more likely to feel threatened and, if encountered, you should steer well clear of them. Tiger snakes, which are highly venomous, are fairly common near swamps, wetlands and karri forest while dugites occur in drier areas anywhere.
Avoiding snakebite really amounts to common sense: Watch where you are putting your feet, wear gaiters, especially in the southern section of the Track. Don't forage in the bush for things like firewood, take special care with small children and don't go barefoot. Take a careful look before you step over a log or sit down on one. Snakes are not naturally aggressive to humans and will only strike in defence. Don't leave food in the shelters. Food attracts small mammals; small mammals attract snakes.
Most bites occur on the ankle or lower leg, so wearing gaiters, thick socks and sturdy boots will help prevent envenomation from possible snake bites. Surprisingly, they’re often painless and may go unnoticed as tissue damage is mostly light – lacerations, scratches or light bruising along with some bleeding or swelling. Common symptoms include an unexplained collapse, vomiting and abdominal pain, bleeding or paralysis.
Snake bite first aid—the following information should only be used as a guideline and should not replace your first aid training!
- Immediately apply pressure on to the bite.
- Do not wash the venom off the skin, as this will assist in the identification of the snake.
- Keep the person calm and completely at rest.
- If the victim is bitten on a limb, apply a firm compression bandage over the affected area, roll it toward the extremities and then back up over the affected area, as close to the body as possible.
- The bandage should be firm but not tight.
- Put a mark on the bandage indicating the location of the bite.
- The limb should be immobilised with a splint or sling.
- Once applied, the bandage should remain in place until medical care arrives (try to bring transport as near as possible to the patient). Never remove the bandage. Trained medical personnel will do this.
The good news is that recent advances in medication mean any snakebite can be treated with a generic polyvalent anti-venom, so identification is no longer necessary.
Ensure that your first aid kit includes at least two snake bite bandages.
3 September 2018
At the start of January 2018, a deliberately lit fire near the Helena Valley swept through and destroyed the Helena Campsite.
While the Track is now open, Helena Campsite remains closed and will be for many more months while the site is rehabilitated and the campsite eventually rebuilt.
The fire was severe and many plants and trees have died.
A section of pine planation through which the Track passes, was completely destroyed and it is not a pleasant sight, for the time being at least.
For those plants and trees that did survive, recovery is slow but nature is doing its thing at its own pace.
Some areas were burnt hotter than others and this is indicated in the speed of recovery.
It is a good time to get out there and see first-hand how the bush is regenerating.
And right now, the waterfalls are fabulous!
On a walk last weekend, many wildflowers were spotted including some favourite orchids (Leaping Spider, Cowslips, Donkey, Bird, Pink Fairy, Jug, Blue China and Silky Blue orchids).
When we have more news about the rebuild of the campsite, we will post it on our Track conditions in the Section By Section Guide.
13 August 2018
The wildflower season starts in the north around early August and gradually blossoms from then on heading south. September and October tend to be the peak times but this can be earlier or later depending on the season in any particular year. The flowers vary along the Track in terms of variety, abundance and season. Experience a spectacle of colour and gain an interesting insight into this biodiversity hotspot. Over 2,000 species of plants can be seen along the Track.
Some of the first vibrant colours of the flowering season are the purples of hovea and the golden yellows of wattles. Donkey Orchids can start flowering as early as July (and have already been spotted!). They bloom in clumps of yellow and brown heads that appear to have large donkey-like ears.
Our current Calendar of Events includes wildflower walks and offers a variety of events for all ages and fitness levels. They are a great way to get out on the Track.
Don't forget your wildflower guide A Wildflower Guide of the Northern Bibbulmun Track & Jarrah Forests as well as a number of other handy bush books available from our webshop.
If you live on the south coast, check out the handy Flora of Albany - The Coastlands guide.
8 August 2018
We've been blessed with lots of rain recently - but be aware that this has caused flooding and other issues on the Track. We are aware of flooding south of Dwellingup and also that severe weather has impacted the Track on the south coast washing away trail markers and causing erosion.
We advise checking conditions with the local Parks & Wildlife offices in the Track towns as well as the Track Conditions on our Trip Planner Pages on our website. Click here to find the Track conditions on the section you wish to walk.
If you ever encounter deep water and are tempted to cross please remember that the water may appear to be calm on the surface, however currents beneath the surface can be strong. Entering floodwaters is extremely risky, and the more remote you are the longer it takes for emergency responders to attend. Always unbuckle the waist belt of your pack if water is deeper than shin deep and do not attempt to cross fast flowing flooded areas.
The Bureau of Meteorology has issued various flood warnings for a number of rivers crossed by the Bibbulmun Track including the Murray River, the Collie River and the Blackwood River.