The Swan Walking Challenge uses WA’s own Bibbulmun Track, from now to be referenced as’ the Track’, as the basis for walking milestones. I have been lucky enough to have actually explored this amazing stretch of Western Australia and thought I could add further insights into the Track. If you haven’t already, you can follow my Ramblings from the beginning:
The Final Chapter : Peaceful Bay – Denmark – Albany
This final stretch is roughly 150km, filled predominantly with coastal walking which has its own diversity
- White sandy beaches
- High, exposed, long limestone ridges
- Sand dunes with differing passages
- Spectacular coastal and inland views
- Granite Pockets
- Beach entry & exits
- Abundance of wildflowers with huge variations dependent on season
Between Peaceful Bay and Boat Harbour lies the Irwin Channel Inlet, a 200m stretch crossed using canoes. There are generally 5 canoes and when crossing you need to remember that people walk the track in both directions so at least one canoe must always be left available for use on each side. Depending upon the size of your group, and the canoe configuration when you arrive, this can mean multiple crossings sometimes towing a boat to ensure this setup remains.
The Showgrounds, part of the Quarram Nature reserve, is a unique part of the Track, open grassland, kind of wavelike, full of undulations with lots of sometimes steep but gentle curved hilltops
Mazzoletti Beach and the Parry Inlet Channel
The day between Boat Harbour and William Bay huts includes the 7km stretch of Mazzoletti beach. This beach is crossed by the Parry Inlet Channel. Depending upon time of the year this stretch may be:
- Unbroken beach forming a definite barrier between the ocean & the inlet
- Water running between the inlet and the ocean but shallow enough to wade through
- Impassable and alternate route must be taken which adds 10km to what is already a 20.4 km day
I have crossed this stretch twice and the experiences differed dramatically
- The first time was a warm, cloudless day, the sun was inescapable, the sand soft underfoot, we reached the end of the beach and dropped into the welcomed relief in the shadows of the trees. The final kilometre of the day ahead and we had little to no water; a drink was on the top of the list when we reached camp.
- More recently we traveled during stormy weather, the sand firm, the wind blowing with intermittent showers. The channel had broken through, the water reached the top of my legs but was deemed passable. The water was refreshing and with boots off and hanging around the neck, bag still on but with the straps unclipped we waded across.
The Track offers many high ridge vantage points, I always look and hope to see whales, but to date haven’t been lucky enough
Close to Denmark , the Track once again crosses huge granite mounds, these form parts of Mt Hallowell; Monkey Rock along the trail, provides a great vantage point. Granite can be hard work and sometimes it can be difficult to determine where the Track is, look out for not only track markers but also rock cairns to guide your way.
I did not enjoy walking between the wind turbines along the coastal ridge stretching from Mutton Bird to Sandpatch hut. I used to feel a sense of freedom and enchantment watching them, but the low humming frequency did not sit well with me and I no longer feel the peace I once did watching them.
The final part of the Track follows Frenchman Bay road, it hugs the edge of Albany’s Princess Royal Harbour
The Southern Terminus stands just outside the Albany Visitors Centre
I am not certain how many taking part in the Swan Walking Challenge have followed these Track Ramblings. For any that have read until the end I hope you have enjoyed the journey and when COVID-19 has passed that you are inspired to check out even just a small section of Western Australia’s world class Bibbulmun Track. The Swan Active family would love you to share with us any adventures you do have out on the Track.
Local Walking Trails
Eagle View Trail: John Forrest National Park, 15km loop trail
Walyunga National Park :10 marked trails of varying lengths and difficulty
Signing off for the last time
Blue Eyed Babe