Northcliffe

Northcliffe to Walpole | Distance: 142km

Along The Track

Between Northcliffe and Walpole, walkers heading south will once again reach a few milestones; the diverse ecosystems of the Pingerup Plains, the last of the campsites with campfires allowed and, most significantly, the first encounter with the wild southern ocean. This is the most wilderness section of the southern part of the Track, with fewer bitumen roads and almost no civilisation for eight days.

Find out more in Along the Track.

Highlights

  • The Gardner, Shannon, Deep and Walpole Rivers are highlights for walkers on this section. The Track meanders along their banks and offers cool and shady spots for a rest.
  • Lake Maringup - one of the largest fresh water lakes in the south west.
  • Shannon, D’Entrecasteaux, and Walpole-Nornalup National Parks.
  • Rocky domes and peaks with fantastic views over the extensive Broke Inlet and the southern ocean from Mt Pingerup, Mt Chance, and Woolbales.
  • Chatham Island views - the first real sign for southbound walkers that they have reached the coast.
  • Mandalay Beach - see if you can see the remains of the Mandalay, a three-masted Norwegian Barque which was beached on the 15th of May 1911.
  • Nuyts Wilderness walk trail - a diversion off the Bibbulmun Track in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park.
  • Tingle forest at Mt Clare - a relic of the Gondwanan era some 65 million years ago, when Australia was joined to Africa, India and Antarctica. These trees occur nowhere else in the world!
  • The John Rate lookout is located amidst the Rates Tingle tree - found only in the area.
  • Great views across the Walpole Inlet welcome walkers into town.

Interesting Places

  • Northcliffe Visitors Centre and Understorey Art Trail - enjoy the art work and audio tours including stories for children.
  • Go back in history at the Northcliffe Pioneer Museum.
  • Northcliffe Forest Park - with several marked walking trails, bbq and picnic spots.
  • Windy Harbour - pristine beaches, surfing, fishing, walking trails along the cliff-tops.
  • Mt Chudalup - a 45 minute walk to the top of a 1300 million year old granite dome with views of the surrounding forests, sand dunes and the southern ocean.
  • Great Forest Trees Drive - 40km drive through karri forest; tune in to the pioneers on your car radio.
  • Lane Poole Falls - a 2km walk trail down to the Canterbury River to see the tallest waterfall (15m) in the region (in winter and spring).
  • Picnic on the shores of Broke Inlet - or perhaps bring your kayak and go for a paddle.
  • Look for the shipwreck at Mandalay Beach and lookout.
  • Hike through the Nuyts Wilderness - a special conservation zone in the Walpole Wilderness.
  • Camp overnight at Crystal Springs campground while exploring the area.
  • Great views of the area at Mt Clare summit walk.

Day Walks

  1. Wheatley Coast Rd to Gardner campsite and back (23.4km). The Wheatley Coast Rd access point is 3.5km south of Northcliffe.
  2. Chesapeake Rd (west) to Chesapeake Rd (east) via Lake Maringup campsite one-way (17.2km). Take Deeside Coast Rd from the South Western Highway until you reach Chesapeake Rd (32km). Turn right and drive approx. 14.7km until you reach the bridge (closed to traffic) over the Gardner River. Note that you will pass the Chesapeake Rd (east) Bibbulmun Track crossing about 5-6km from Deeside Coast Rd. No access to Chesapeake Rd from Windy Harbour Rd.
  3. Chesapeake Rd (east) to Lake Maringup campsite and back (18km).
  4. Dog Rd to Dog Pool campsite and back (9.8km). Take Deeside Coast Rd (approx 26km) from the South Western Highway until you reach Dog Rd. Turn left into Dog Rd until you reach the Track coming in from the right.
  5. Mt Chance access fire break to Mt Chance campsite and back (approx. 8km). Drive down South Western Highway to the Shannon Nation Park camping ground (old town site). From there drive a further 33.4km to the Mt Chance access. If you reach Ordnance Rd come back 2.9km. 
  6. Mt Chance access fire break to Mt Pingerup spur trail (South Western Highway) including Mt Pingerup summit one-way (approx. 18km). 
  7. South Western Highway to Mt Pingerup and back (approx. 5km). The Mt Pingerup access is off South Western Highway 2km past Ordnance Rd. Watch for signs.
  8. Broke Inlet Rd to South Western Highway via Woolbales campsite and Woolbales track one-way (approx. 18km). From Manjimup drive along South Western Highway for 95km. Turn right into Broke Inlet Rd for 3km to the Track crossing. 
  9. South Western Highway to Woolbales campsite and back (approx. 6.5km). From Broke Inlet Rd on the South Western Highway, drive south for 7.7km.  Watch for a gate across an old 4wd track on the right. Follow this 4wd track for a little over 3.2km to the campsite. When you walk to the Bibbulmun Track turn right. Straight ahead will continue onto Mandalay Beach. 
  10. Mandalay Beach to Long Point campsite and back (14.6km). From Manjimup drive along South Western Highway for 107km. Turn right at Crystal Springs on Mandalay Beach Rd and follow 8km to the end.
  11. John Rate lookout to Mt Clare campsite and back (8.6km). From Walpole travel 5.5km along the South Western Highway to John Rate lookout.

Overnight Walks

  1. Northcliffe to Gardner campsite and back. (30.4km, two days, one night).
  2. Northcliffe to Deeside Coast Rd (48.2km, three days, one night).
  3. Deeside Coast Rd to Broke Inlet Rd (37.9km, three days, two nights).
  4. Northcliffe to Broke Inlet Rd (86.1km, five days, four nights).
  5. Broke inlet Rd to Mandalay Beach (21.9km, two days, one night).
  6. Mandalay Beach to Walpole (29.3km, two or three days, one or two nights).
  7. Northcliffe to Walpole (137.3km, seven or eight days, six or seven nights).
  8. Walpole to Mt Clare and back (20km, two days, one night).

Getting There

Northcliffe is located 357km south of Perth. It is a drive of approx. four hours and 15 minutes from Perth via South Western and Vasse Highways (through Pemberton). 

TransWA operate services most days from Pemberton and Perth.

TransWA also operate daily services to Walpole.

Walpole is 97km south-west of Northcliffe by road via Middleton Rd and South Western Highway.

Some accommodation providers will transfer you to the Track, provided you are staying with them.

Reflections from the Register

Gardner campsite

Hmmm…bare feet, wet T-shirt, sitting on a log across the river in the shade to keep cool. This is what summer’s all about and I’m loving it! Weather aside, this campsite is just gorgeous. All the insect noises, the sound of the little waterfall, the trees reflected in the river. So peaceful. My soul is singing. I’ve only shared one shelter since Walpole and the solitude has done me good. For the first time in ages I’ve been able to feel however I want to feel, do what I want to do and take full responsibility for my achievements and my failures along the track.
Karin (end-to-end S-N) 13/02/06

Lake Maringup campsite

Nice to see kanguruhs and emus with me on the way from Gardener to this lovely place on the Lake Maringup. This hudge trees seems to be a favourite place for the kokkoburra. Sunset is amazing over Lake Maringup. I feel so comfortable here it gets hard to start my walk to Dog Pool.
Christine (from Switzerland)13/08/01

Arrived yesterday about 2pm. Unpacked and soaked in this marvellous vista before us. Nineteen types of birds identified while we sat. The walk here was overcast with cool wind, perfect. This morning clear skies and sunshine. Can it get any better than this? Thank you to those who chose this site, and those who built the shelter. We will definitely return someday.
Eric and Claudette 04/10/98

A trip to WA wouldn’t be complete without a walk on the Bibbulmun Track. Arrived here mid-day yesterday, enjoyed the walk, the vegetation is incredible with lots of bird life. Views from the hut fabulous. Not many places where you can lie in bed and watch the sun rising over a lake.
Sue and Terry O’Brien ACT 28/04/99

Dog Pool campsite

Lucky this place has been named Dog Pool and not something like Paradise Cascades – which is surely more fitting – otherwise everyone would be down here!
Wildgoose.

Day 38 on the Bibbulmun Track
The day the flies made their attack,
The buzzing clouds, like swarming bees,
They fell upon us from the trees.
On body limbs and round the face
On pack and clothes they danced and raced
At last at night at nightfall they withdrew,
Replaced by mozzies, shoo, shoo, shoo!

J.S.Bark   27/10/06

Mount Chance campsite

Came here
Pitched tent
Got wet
Went

Anon  12/10/99

Woolbales campsite

Walpole to Northcliffe. Was thinking today how this track must have come from a dream in someone’s head to reality. A massive dream, a massive plan and a lot of work to be done. A lot of reasons not to do it, but here it is, and it is awesome. It is so good to sit and read of other people’s adventures especially when hiking alone.
Jules 05/05/00

I hope some wind comes up today
And blows these bloody flies away!

Anon 13/11/00

Well, been down in Walpole for two weeks with the wife, four kids, the dog and the parents—now I’m here overnight on my own—all on my own!! It’s bloody brilliant; the bush never ceases to amaze me. To all the whingers: “The only trips I regret are the ones I never did…happy walking!”
Mark Stafford (Kalamunda) 25/01/01

Long Point campsite

Ahhh… the first day of June. Twas exactly two years ago that I quit my cushy corporate job and sold up everything I owned. Destroyed my career? Probably. Worth the view at Mandalay? Absolutely!
Robbie McKinney (aka Snarf) 01/06/08

Mt Clare campsite

This evening will bring a moon full and bright
So we’ll carry on walking on into the night
If we become lost while we stumble around
We’ll holler and hoot and hope to get found
But if everything works and all goes quite fine
We’ll be at the pub well before closing time!

Red Dog & Chunky Monkey 13/11/08

Great walk, great campsites, great views, great fun. Pemby to Walpole completed (nearly). Here’s to the next time.
Jeremy Bishop 31/08/01

Arrived last night (day7) from Northcliffe. A long hard slog for me but the constantly changing scenery made it well worthwhile. Wonderful coastal views in bright sunlight one day, followed by cloudy days when the hills were shrouded in blue haze. A great group, expertly led by Bonnie and Steve,
Thanks to all 

Sue 02/06/02

Track Towns

  • Northcliffe

    Located 360km south of Perth, Northcliffe has the unique distinction of being the only town founded in WA specifically for the First World War Group Settlement Scheme. There is an old fashioned country, community spirit that is still alive in Northcliffe, which has existed since the early settlement days.

  • Walpole

    Located an hour and a half’s drive from Albany in the east and Pemberton in the west, Walpole is an ideal place to base yourself to explore the region and for walking on the Bibbulmun Track. The tiny town, which has a population of about 500, is located in a rather picturesque region of Western Australia where the cool waters of the Southern Ocean meet the tall, majestic forests of the southwest.

Weather

Full weather details available from Northcliffeand Walpole.

Maps and Guides

Parks and Wildlife Service

Donnelly District

Willow Springs (Gold Gully Rd) to Pingerup Rd
Including Tom Road campsite to Dog Pool campsite

Contact: John McKenzie (john.mckenzie@dbca.wa.gov.au)
Telephone: (08) 9776 1207

Opening times: 8am - 5pm, Monday to Friday

Address:

Kennedy Street
PEMBERTON WA 6260

Frankland District

Pingerup Rd to Denmark River Mouth
Including Mt Chance campsite to William Bay campsite
 

Contact: Chris Goodsell (Frankland.district@dbca.wa.gov.au)
Telephone: (08) 9840 0400

Opening times: 8am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday

Address:

South Coast Highway
WALPOLE WA 6398