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School Challenge: 25th Anniversary of the Bibbulmun Track

Follow the Journey of our 25th Anniversary end-to-end walkers

Schools were invited to join in the 25th Anniversary celebration through a physical activity challenge in Term 3 (17 July to 22 September). The aim of the challenge was to undertake some type of physical activity to progress along the Bibbulmun Track and keep up with the progress of the end-to-end hikers.

Let’s dive into the journey of our end-to-end walkers along the Bibbulmun Track.



Our End-To-End (E2E) Walkers at the Northern Terminus before they embarked on their journey to the Southern Terminus.

Kalamunda to Dwellingup

Starting their adventure at Kalamunda National Park, our walkers immersed themselves in a picturesque landscape of majestic jarrah and marri forests. Nature’s palette delighted them with pockets of vibrant sheoak and banksia tree. 

Hewett’s Hill shelter served as their sanctuary for the night, offering an idyllic retreat amidst rocky outcrops and a gentle, fleeting watercourse. This campsite was named after Peter Hewett, a true legend and instrumental figure in the early days of the Bibbulmun Track. 

On this leg of their trek, our walkers had the pleasure of passing by the renowned Mundaring Weir and Lake C.Y. O’Connor.

As the sun set, our weary walkers found solace at the Helena campsite. Nestled amidst nature, they settled into a rebuilt rammed-earth shelter that offered them a comfortable respite. But what truly captured their attention was the breathtaking view of the Helena River Valley. Imagine waking up to that beauty!

​​Our intrepid walkers have tackled the peaks of Mt Dale, Mt Cuthbert, Mt Vincent, Mt Cooke, and Boonerring Hill. Last night, they found a respite in the only fully enclosed hut on the Bibbulmun Track, perched atop Mt Wells. This special hut holds a unique story, as it’s a replica of the original watch-tower-man’s house that tragically succumbed to a devastating fire in 1961.

When they reached their first town along the Track, our walkers were greeted with a lively parade to the Dwellingup Trails and Visitor Centre, where the community surprised them with the warmest welcome.



Our E2E walkers arrived [GU1] at Dwellingup

Dwellingup to Balingup

During their adventure, our walkers encountered the new Bilya Djena Bidi Swing Bridge. This impressive structure replaced the beloved Long Gully Bridge, which tragically succumbed to a bushfire in 2015. The Long Gully Bridge held a special place as one of the largest and most significant wooden trestle bridges in the jarrah forest. But out of adversity emerged the Bilya Djena Bidi Swing Bridge, a testament to local ingenuity and resilience. Designed and built by skilled locals, this remarkable bridge spans an impressive 82m and boasts two magnificent 12m towers. 

Despite the wet weather, the spirits of our walkers remained undampened as they were greeted with a heartwarming reception at the Energy West Social Club Hall. At this point, our end-to-end walkers had clocked up 342 kilometres on their 20-day journey from Kalamunda.



Featuring the Medieval Festival King and his knights for the parade all the way to the Balingup Recreation Centre.

In Balingup, our end-to-end walkers received a warm welcome parade featuring the presence of the Medieval Festival King, his knights, and the enthusiastic participation of Balingup Primary School students, who accompanied the walkers all the way to the Balingup Recreation Centre.



Balingup Primary School students welcomed our E2E walkers.

Continuing through the Greater Preston National Park, the walkers discovered numerous serene spots ideal for quiet and reflective rest stops. Perhaps they even encountered the massive marri tree, standing tall for over 400 years, offering a glimpse into the enduring beauty of nature’s legacy.

Balingup to Pemberton

After leaving Balingup, they ventured through the enchanting Golden Valley Tree Park and the rolling green hills, enjoying the views over the Blackwood River valley.

The end-to-end walkers received a warm welcome as they reached Donnelly River Village, looking forward to the halfway-point Party! The party was held at the village clubhouse where the band got everyone up and dancing and they had an absolute blast! The walkers had a spring in their step as they headed off toward Pemberton on the next leg of their journey. When they reached Pemberton, they had spent just over a month on the Track!



St Joseph’s School Students, Pemberton

Pemberton to Northcliffe

In Northcliffe, the walkers were greeted by about 20 students from the Northcliffe Primary School who joined the walkers for the last 600m into town. Some of the kids tried to carry their backpacks, which were very large for their small bodies!

Once the finishing point of this epic trail, Northcliffe now serves as a gateway to the magnificent D’Entrecasteaux National Park and the charming fishing village of Windy Harbour. The road to Windy Harbour leads you past the majestic Mt Chudalup, a granite monolith that towers above the surrounding karri forests and coastal heathland. It’s a sight to behold, showcasing the diverse beauty of Western Australia’s wilderness.



Northcliffe Primary School joined them for the last 600m into town.

During their adventure, our walkers had the pleasure of spending the night at Schafer Campsite, named after Geoff Schafer. It was Geoff who originally conceived the idea for the construction of what is now the Bibbulmun Track back in 1974. The campsite offers a picturesque view of a large dam, with a designated area roped off for swimming.



Northcliffe Community Celebration

Northcliffe to Walpole

After waving their goodbye to Northcliffe, the group reached the picturesque Mt Chance Campsite, nestled in a karri forest at the base of a magnificent granite dome. Mt Chance offered an irresistible challenge. The reward? Breathtaking 360-degree views over the plains that stretch as far as the eye can see. The stunning sunset from this vantage point was a sight not to be missed.

Along the way, our walkers passed by the serene Lake Maringup and Dog Pool Campsite, where another rammed-earth shelter awaited. From this vantage point, they enjoyed picturesque views of the Shannon River, with a deep pool that serves as a delightful swimming hole in summer.

They soon faced the challenges of sand-dune walking and were rewarded with breathtaking views over Broke Inlet to the west. They even stumbled upon Mandalay Beach, a place with a history dating back to 1911 when the Norwegian barque, The Mandalay, was foundered here. If they squinted, they might have spotted the remnants of the wreck not far from the shoreline!

Leaving behind the coastal vistas, our walkers ventured inland, crossing the suspension bridge over Deep River. Then came the steep ascent through the enchanting karri forest, leading them to Mt Clare Campsite. From here, it was a relatively gentle walk into Walpole, the next Track Town on their adventure.

Walpole to Denmark

Our walkers arrival in Walpole signified the start of their final two weeks on the trail. The splendid weather and the heartfelt welcome at Walpole Hotel Motel added an extra layer of warmth to the occasion!



North Pole, South Pole? Walpole!

The next stop was the picturesque Frankland River Campsite, nestled right on the riverbank. The adventure continued as they tackled challenging hills, marveled at the majestic tingle trees, and ventured into the incredible Valley of the Giants. Trekking along the coast, the group tackled the summit of Castle Rock, where they were rewarded with panoramic ocean and inland vistas that took their breath away. Next on their adventure was Peaceful Bay and the Irwin Inlet Crossing – a novel experience for many! Armed with canoes, paddles, and lifejackets, they navigated the water crossing like true champions.

From there, they embarked on a roller-coaster trail through the ever-shifting sand dunes, massive granite boulders, and towering karri trees leading them to Denmark. The walkers arrived in Denmark mid-afternoon and were treated to the most delicious soups and cake at the Community Resource Centre.



Splish, splash! Our walkers had to wade through the water in this section.

David King, CEO of the Shire of Denmark, spoke about the mental health benefits of time spent in nature – a message that resonated with all the walkers and volunteers at the event.

“It is critical for young children to interact with their natural environment, both to develop a positive regard for the environment and to flourish as healthy individuals” (WA Hiking Strategy: Bushwalking and Trail Running in WA 2020-2030, p.16)

At this point of their journey, the end-to-enders had walked 921km and with only 85km to go!



North Albany Senior High School students at Bayview Drive. They joined our E2E walkers for the last 12.5 km toward Albany.

Denmark to Albany

A few of the Bibbulmun Track Foundation crew walked out to Sandpatch Campsite with some treats for the 25th Anniversary walkers to help them celebrate their last night on the Track.



Spencer Park Primary School joined our E2E walkers for the parade up to the Southern Terminus

Over 140 people attended the final event in Albany to recognise and thank the many organisations and individuals who contributed to the development of the Track and those who continue to support and maintain it. The last-minute downpour couldn’t dampen their spirits as our walkers walked up York Street accompanied by the Albany Pipe Band and around fifty other walkers who joined them for the last leg.

The end-to-enders took a moment to celebrate their achievement with family and friends at the Southern Terminus before the official celebrations began at the Town Hall.

During the event, certain individuals were presented with Honorary Life Membership in recognition of their significant contribution to the Bibbulmun Track and to the Foundation. 



Our E2E walkers finally reached the Southern Terminus

Sincere thanks to the City of Albany for hosting this event and to everyone who joined us!

We also want to thank everyone who has supported us, with special recognition for our dedicated BTF volunteers and Lotterywest for supporting all the community events.

The School Challenge is supported by a Hiking Participation grant from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.