Saturday, May 15, 2010

Peaceful Bay to Walpole, Bibblimun Track

A three day taster of the Bibblimun Track, near Albany

Peaceful Bay to Walpole, Bibblimun Track

On Wednesday I drove over to Walpole, checking out some of the local beaches along the way. Leaving my car secure at the caravan park in Walpole, I rode my bike some 32 kilometres back down the road to Peaceful Bay. It was quite an enjoyable ride through the forest, and there was not much traffic around. I camped at Peaceful Bay and was treated to a nice sunset, followed by hours of intense rain. I was pretty thankful I had brought my four-season tent along with me. The following day the rain had eased, and I set out on a three day trek along a small section of the Bibbulmun Track.

The Track stretches some 1,000 kilometres from Albany in the south to near Perth in the north. I walked 60 kilometres, a mere three percent of the track. The section I covered was through the Walpole-Nornalup National Park and included some coastline consisting of beaches, dunes and clifftop walking and some forest walking. It reminded me, as many hikes somehow tend to remind one of another hike, of the beech forest walking of Victoria's Great Ocean Walk.

The second day I walked through the Valley of the Giants - the forest dense with tall red tingle trees and karri trees. It is not uncommon to see tingle trees with hollow bases, the centre of the trunk being burnt out by bushfire, but the outer living bark layers remaining. The trees are up to 60 metres tall and some hundreds of years old. It cant all be believed though, I pondered, as I walked past the site known as Douglas' Lookout with nothing but very dense forest to see. I skipped the Tree Top Walk as it sounds far too much like a scheme designed for me and my money to part ways. Much nicer to walk through the forest by oneself for three days.

The campsites are very well set up and I enjoyed staying in one at Frankland River, which included a pergola looking out over the river. This walk is detailed in Lonely Planet's Walking in Australia, but is included as a four day walk - 12km-18km-13km-18km. I walked 22km, 21km and 13km (the last day would have been longer only I miscalculated).

I didn't see or talk to anyone for these three days, which is quite an odd experience - especially in an eerie forest. A couple of times I was scared half to death by large, rapidly moving forest creatures, only to discover them as passing cars on nearby parallel roads. I would have liked to have someone else to walk with, if only to walk ahead of me thereby clearing all the spider webs.

On the final day I caught a few glimpses of patchie sun in the forest as the sun struggled to shine through the clouds. Walking into Walpole it finally shone brightly for the first time in three days.

Three days on the Bibblumun Track

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