14 June 2021
Walkers travelling between Denmark and Albany frequently consider using an alternative route across the sandbar between Ocean Beach and the Nullaki Peninsula. While popular and efficient, this route has never been formalised and is currently discouraged by DBCA and the BTF.
We are only recently aware that the northern shoreline near the end of the peninsula is covered by a Priority 3 Threatened Ecological Community (coastal saltmarsh). In trying to find an informal path along the shoreline, walkers risk damaging the TEC. Skirting the TEC to the north by wading for an extended period is obviously not a preferred option. Until an alignment south of the TEC can be approved and formalized, walkers are asked to avoid this area. This part of the peninsula is a reserve vested in the City of Albany (see map).
In addition, there are reports of hikers trespassing onto private properties to the east of the reserve. Some walkers are using the beach on the ocean side of the peninsula for a short distance, then cutting up through the private property to find the west end of Nullaki Drive. The property owners are concerned for walker safety, as they employ shooting to control feral animals and use vehicles on the narrow, winding farm tracks without expecting to come across hikers. Understandably, they ask that this trespassing cease. There are signs at various points on the property boundary prohibiting entry, and CCTV footage of trespassers is collected and has previously been provided to Albany police.
The route across the sandbar is not officially part of the Bibbulmun Track, although it has been indicated as an alternative route in the past. The path along the southern shore of the inlet is a public access way which uses the Wilson Inlet foreshore reserve (City of Albany) and borders the private property. It has not been marked nor maintained by either DBCA or the BTF, and walkers should note that any coverage of the route by mapping apps (Guthook, etc.) is not authorized by DBCA nor endorsed by the BTF. Information on our website for the current options to get across/around the inlet can be found at https://www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au/trip-planner/track-sections/denmark-albany/s-crossings/.
The BTF are currently working with the Nullaki landowners, City of Albany and DBCA to develop the most practicable solution for this part of the Track. The official route of the Track between Denmark and Nullaki campsite has previously been the subject of a review prepared for DBCA.