Latest News

Find out the latest news about the Track and the Foundation before you set off for your next walk.

  • Lotterywest grant to boost cultural awareness on the Bibbulmun Track

    23 August 2022

    The Bibbulmun Track Foundation’s efforts to increase awareness and understanding of Nyoongar culture on the Bibbulmun Track has been given a boost by a Lotterywest grant of $10,600. The presentation was made by Matthew Hughes MLA, State MP for Kalamunda at the Northern Terminus of the Bibbulmun Track. 

    Foundation Executive Director, Linda Daniels said that the grant was for consultation with aboriginal artists to create a design representing the 1000-kilometre Track which stretches between Kalamunda in the Perth Hills to Albany on the South Coast. 

    "The route of the Bibbulmun Track has been overlaid onto the AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia” she said. “While boundaries are not finite, the Foundation has been able to identify which of the eight language groups to acknowledge at each of the 49 campsites along the Track and wishes to use the artwork on the signs and interpretation booklets which will be placed in the shelters.”

    The Foundation is also working with an Aboriginal tourism business to develop and promote guided experiences on the Track.  The inaugural walks will give Foundation staff and volunteers the opportunity to learn more about Nyoongar culture and bush interpretation.

    Watch a short video clip here.

    Photo: At the Northern Terminus of the Bibbulmun Track.  From L to R: Matthew Hughes MLA, State MP for Kalamunda with the Foundation’s Executive Director, Linda Daniels and Marketing Manager, Ash Gibson. 

  • Walpole Wilderness Experience

    19 August 2022

    Hamish Gibson, of WFB Cape to Cape Explorer Tours, has sent us this account of walking the Track in the Walpole-Nornalup Conservation Park, famous for its towering karri and tingle trees. The park is part of the larger Walpole Wilderness Area that was established in 2004.  

    As I listen to the red-tailed cockatoo’s "karack!" call high in the canopy, green against the azure sky, a grey fantail flirts dangerously, almost hitting me in the face, showing the forest’s awareness of my presence. The petrichor accentuates the smell of peppermint leaf between my fingers, awakening my senses like an espresso. I hear the rustle of one of the forest’s marsupials, a beautiful quenda. Stepping into such a landscape for the first-time bombards us with different shapes, colours, textures, sounds, smells and tastes. It feels as if the land is inviting us to be part of its story, asking us to dive a little deeper to discover its secrets. It’s a rare privilege in this fast-paced existence to feel the primordial force that this wilderness represents—a reminder of our own need for biophilic relationships, a world away from Covid dominated conversations and the busy dynamic of modern life. 

    Walking the Bibbulmun Track in the Walpole-Nornalup Conservation Park is a perfect place to observe the intricacy of interconnections in the natural environment and escape from the pressures of our working and family lives.   

    Much of the flora and some of the fauna originated on the vast supercontinent of Gondwanaland. As the continents of South America,  Asia, Australia, and Antarctica split apart so too did the distinct but related plant groups. Geologically speaking the separation occurred a relatively short time ago, approximately 50 million years. Since then, the stability of the region has led to the further diversification of plant species and the development of a myriad of symbiotic relationships between, plants, fungi, mammals, and birds. When we immerse ourselves in an environment as isolated as the Southwest corner of Western Australia and the Greater Southern region we really are stepping back in time, to an island within an island, bordered by the ocean to the west and south, and desert to the east and north.  

    Perhaps like me you’ve been hanging out for a change of pace, a chance to take in some new scenery and find yourself a comfy cabin or secluded campsite nestled in nature. So, a hike with friends or on your own, winding through massive stands of eucalypts, or meandering through wattle and banksia country towards the spectacular coastal vistas, might be just what the doctor ordered. I am fortunate enough to work as a forest guide for Bibbulmun Explorer Tours that offers that very experience. We are based at Coalmine Beach, within walking distance of the Walpole township. Here the Caravan Park is meticulously kept by Phil and Cathy, providing a range of accommodation options from two-bedroom self-contained cottages and safari style eco-tents to roomy powered sites for caravans and tucked away corners for vans, camper trailers and tents. A stone’s throw away from the inlet, it is an ideal location in which to unwind. 

    The region is rich in European and indigenous history. The best way to learn about its cultural and biological diversity is to step aboard a WOW tour with Gary Muir who takes you on a journey reminiscent of a romantic scientific voyage, moving from the micro view of the botanical grim reapers, Heartleaf poison and Dieback bacteria to the macro perspective of anthropogenic factors impacting climate change. Delivering a rich silk tapestry of precise nomenclature, cheeky wit and humour and quizzing guests with infinite amounts of information, Gary and his crew use photographs and props to provide interesting facts and explanations from multiple scientific disciplines, unique historical stories and occasional dissertations and translations in a foreign language. Stimulating even the most curious minds, Gary imparts an intimate sense of place with countless insights about the Walpole region, where five generations of his family have grown up in a place they love dearly, 

    So, what’s stopping you from experiencing this magical place? Maybe the logistics of organising accommodation, meals and transport to and from the sections of track or feeling you’ll be roughing it in order to get the hiking job done?  Think again. Our crew, along with the extended team in Walpole, take care of every detail, down to sourcing beautiful local produce including wine, cheese and preserves as well as a visit to a local restaurant, the Nornabar. All manner of dietary requirements for breakfast, lunch, dinner and track snacks are fully catered for and hikers of all ages and a wide range of abilities are encouraged to participate.  

    The Bibbulmun Explorer Tour is the opportunity you’ve been looking for to reconnect with nature, flip the script and do something that truly nourishes the mind, body and soul.  So, no excuses, get your hiking gear ready and we’ll see you in the green room. 

    Your trusted forest guide, on behalf of the Bibbulmun Explorer team,  

    Hamish Gibson. 

  • First visit for new BTF volunteers to their section

    11 August 2022

    It was a baptism not of fire but water, when new maintenance volunteers David Miller and daughter Jonica made their first full visit to their section in the Pingerup Plains.

    Very soon after David signed up for the section from Pingerup Road to Mount Chance campsite, the annual Frankland District Field Day was held at ‘his’ new campsite. Only able to make a quick trip down at that time – and having recently brought Jonica on board – they braved the recent rough weather to get their first full look at the section.

    Jonica and dad David exploring their very wet Track maintenance section for the first time
    Jonica and dad David exploring their very wet Track maintenance section for the first time

    Having scheduled the trip, the forecast of hail, winds and thunderstorms was taken with a spirit of adventure and they decided to go ahead [Ed. Volunteers are always encouraged to have a safety mindset and make sensible choices!]. Driving down late on Friday and planning to camp out, they fortunately found a sheltered spot off the highway south of Manjimup, and continued on to Pingerup Road early the next day.

    The original plan to drive along Pingerup Road to the Track intersection was stymied about 2kms in – water everywhere! They turned around, and continued down the highway to the Mount Chance access track. With a gate to prevent vehicle access, walking the 3km in to the shelter (and back, later) added to the challenges of the day.

    Going no further this way…
    Going no further this way…

    After attending to shelter checks and tidying, they set out up the Track for the 7km walk to Pingerup Road. Fortunately, the water from the sky was everywhere but where they were – apart from 15 seconds of hail. Given the weather, they hadn’t intended to do a lot of work, but to give themselves an overview of the Track in the area. They now plan to go back down in a few weeks and make a start at clearing regrowth and updating the Track marking. Seen with fresh eyes, the water on the Track seemed an interesting challenge – what can volunteers do about that?! As David commented, the 40mm of rain received in the Walpole area the week prior had “trickled out of the plains on to the Track” – and this is what makes it a Class 4 walking trail!

    Contemplating the options
    Contemplating the options

    Our maintenance volunteers make a huge difference to the walking experience. We congratulate David and Jonica for their positive spirit and resilience – and welcome them to the team!

  • Boat Harbour rehabilitation

    4 August 2022

    A major project to prevent further erosion and encourage revegetation in the dune stretches along the south coast is progressing well.  

    On the third campaign this year, our volunteers were pleased to be joined by rangers from the Binalup Aboriginal Corporation who are keen to learn about the techniques we are using to stabilize the Track in these sandy conditions and rehabilitate badly eroded sections near Boat Harbour.

    Binalup Rangers with BTF Maintenance Manager, Sue Morley and BTF volunteer Ross Simpson.                                 From L to R:  Darren Hardy, Neil Williams, Sue, Ross, Grant Hardy, Shawn Colbung.
    Binalup Rangers with BTF Maintenance Manager, Sue Morley and BTF volunteer Ross Simpson. From L to R: Darren Hardy, Neil Williams, Sue, Ross, Grant Hardy, Shawn Colbung.

    We look forward to building on this partnership and learning from the rangers about how they care for country. 








    View the above video produced by DBCA to find out more and see the spectacular views from this section of Track!

    BTF volunteer, Ross Simpson, passing on techniques developed to manage erosion on the south coast.
    BTF volunteer, Ross Simpson, passing on techniques developed to manage erosion on the south coast.

  • Focus on volunteer roles

    18 July 2022

    The core purpose of the Foundation is to enable and guide the contribution of the walker community in supporting the management, maintenance and marketing of the Track (you can read more about our purpose from this perspective in a previous article in our members’ magazine Bibbulmun News, Issue #83, page 18.).

    We achieve this support as a formal partner of DBCA, with the relationship and division of responsibility articulated in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). As identified in the MOU, we are solely responsible for being the primary public contact point and the community driver, providing for community engagement, events, and merchandise and guidebooks.

    DBCA is solely responsible for being the land and track manager, providing visitor risk management, public liability, managing track conditions and diversions, and maps.

    Both organisations share the responsibility for funding, marketing and promotion, track improvement and maintenance.

    The contribution of all our wonderful volunteers fulfils our core purpose. To illustrate this, let’s consider each volunteer role in turn – from that most clearly associated with the Foundation alone, to the work which is more interrelated with DBCA management.

    Some of our volunteers at a gathering to celebrate their contribution
    Some of our volunteers at a gathering to celebrate their contribution

    A small group of volunteers (seven at any one time) fulfil a critical role in ensuring sound strategic management and financial stability of the Foundation by serving as elected members of our Board. The Board meets every two months to discuss current issues relating to the management of the Foundation and the Track. They provide strategic direction, decision making and advisory functions.

    We also have a few volunteers who participate in specific projects by way of serving on committees. At the moment there are two such groups – one developing our reconciliation and indigenous interpretation materials; the other planning the 25th anniversary celebrations.

    Next, our events program, which is designed to encourage a wider use of the Track by people of all ages, socio-economic groups, and fitness levels. All events are led by one or more of our volunteer guides, who donate their time, knowledge, and energy to optimising the experience for participants. There are currently 20 guides in the program, each working at three or more events each year.

    Guides Ian and Patrick enjoying a break
    Guides Ian and Patrick enjoying a break

    In the office, so many different things happen that a summary is difficult! Of the myriad tasks performed by our office volunteers, many help the Foundation provide the services for which it is solely responsible. These include handling walker enquiries, merchandise sales and orders, equipment hire, trip planning and managing directory listings for the Calendar of Events. Other important tasks performed by the office volunteers include general admin, processing memberships, stock control, accounts book-keeping, copy writing and editing. Meanwhile, our office volunteers also contribute to the areas of work which we share with DBCA – map sales, processing and following up maintenance reports, processing NOIs for groups on the Track, managing campsite logbooks, marketing and promotion, and volunteer management. We have at least two volunteers in every day and currently have 14 general office volunteers.

    Office volunteers Cleve and Sue help a customer
    Office volunteers Cleve and Sue help a customer

    The marketing and promotion of the Track is another key function that we share with DBCA. Volunteers assist to promote the Track as widely as possible, provide information to prospective walkers, publicise our Calendar of Events, manage our social media presence, support the engagement of the tourism industry, run member events, and share the work of the Foundation with the walking community. These tasks are completed by roles of community events, brochure distribution or specialist office volunteer. Numbers vary; we currently have about 35 people distributing brochures and four office volunteers dedicated to marketing.

    Both the Foundation and DBCA use the analysis of campsite usage records to support strategic planning and resourcing decisions, and for funding applications. The data comes from the green logbooks and is transferred to the digital format by a dedicated group of data entry volunteers, who work at home. We currently have nearly 40 data entry volunteers. Several more people check digital track counters once a month and provide the numbers directly to DBCA’s Recreation and Trails Unit.

    Daphne working on her data entry
    Daphne working on her data entry

    As the Track Manager, DBCA has the ultimate responsibility for the route, infrastructure and maintenance of the Track and campsites. Our role is in coordinating the volunteers who carry out the routine inspections and baseline maintenance and, in recent years, specific projects as resources permit.

    Our sectional maintenance volunteers – currently numbering around 360 – have always been at the core of our maintenance contribution. The Track is divided into around 150 maintenance sections that vary in length depending on access points; most are around 5 to 10 kilometres long. About one third of all sections include a campsite.  Volunteers adopt a section of the Track and are trained to look after it.  Each section is maintained by a team that may consist of one person working on their own, or a group of friends, family or workmates who work together. Their place in reporting issues which need follow up is especially important. Sectional volunteers can develop a real sense of ownership of their section and spend many years caring for it.

    Over the last few years, we’ve expanded our maintenance contribution beyond the sectional program.  The team known as the support volunteers (SVs) was established in 2014 and has been involved helping sectional volunteers with tasks, assisting at Field Days, constructing realignments, and some impressive repair and upgrade projects. This role is now being further expanded and redefined to provide a broader range of support to the sectional maintenance program. Although there are nearly 50 SVs now, many of whom are also sectional volunteers, we expect to increase the number working in this role in the near future.

    Maintenance volunteers Hedley and Lari working on their section near Dwellingup
    Maintenance volunteers Hedley and Lari working on their section near Dwellingup

    Whatever their contribution – big or small – every single volunteer is valued for their role in the work we do to support the Track. We thank them all!