Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Heat, flies and double hutting - Denmark to Albany

From Denmark the Bibbulman Track requires a water crossing of the Inlet. The sandbar is open, and crossing there is somewhat hazardous and a lot longer route than paying for a ride across from the caravan park. But the boat ride costs $160, which for most walkers is too high a price to pay, so the usual method of crossing the inlet is to get a lift around by car. I am initially concerned about keeping to the "true" track, but since this route is merely the latest in a list of ways to get across (there used to be a cheaper boat option, the sandbar crossing has now been signposted, and getting a car around also seems to be legitimate) I decided to take the car.

Day 57 - Denmark to Nullaki (2.5 km)

It was a filthy hot day and not the sort of day to go exerting oneself walking a snake infested swamp just to prove a point. So I didn't. At 2:00 pm after yet another wonderful cooked breakfast and coffee at the many choices for cafes in Denmark, I got the hostel owner to drive me around to the other side of the inlet and I walked a few hot sweaty kilometres to the hut. I planned to start early the next morning.

Day 58 - Nullaki to Torbay ( 33.6 km)

Nullaki campsite was a March fly and mosquito infested hellhole. My saviour was my mosquito net, the only place of refuge from the biting demons. I was woken before dawn by the deafening whine of those little bastards so I dressed, hastily breakfasted and got the hell out of there by 5 am.

It hasn't been my practice to get up early on this walk, but with temperatures now rising in late November, and the arrival of the March flies, there's no longer any joy to be had mooching around a campsite having a leisurely breakfast with espresso coffee. Instead it's a single shot, a gulped down muesli and onwards to Albany ....

The walk from Nullaki to West Cape Howe campsite takes me a little over 4 hours. Not bad for 17 km. The vegetation is the same old dune heath, with some very healthy banksias not affected by dieback, but there are few views except back over the inlet to Denmark. 

It's a grey, overcast day, perfect for walking, so after scoffing 2 muesli bars at the hut and chasing away those green eyed monsters I decide that another 16.6 km needs to be walked to the next hut. It's only 9:30 am and those March flies are killing me!!

Walk it I do. The first 10 km is as boring as the last 17, but in the final 6 km comes beautiful views and pretty beaches. But I am whacked! Too whacked to walk down the hill then up again for a swim, I admire the azure waters and golden sand from a distance.

Torbay campsite is in a gorgeous location, overlooking some small islands and a huge bay with wind turbines turning in the distance, my destination for tomorrow.

Day 59 - Torbay to Sandpatch (24 km)

I am not attacked quite as ferociously here, so manage to enjoy my muesli and single shot espresso before breaking camp just after 6 am. It's going to be a warm one however.

Today I must cross the final inlet, after walking along the beach for a few kilometres. I am looking forward to wading across the small Torbay inlet, supposedly knee to waist deep depending on the tide. I am happy to see that the tide is quite low as I head off from Cosy Corner.

I am devastated to discover that the inlet is closed. No wading, no wet feet! Somehow I don't figure I could just take my shoes and socks off anyway. I walk off the beach and leave that opportunity behind!!

I arrive at Mutton Bird campsite at 9:30, and again scoff a muesli bar, sign the register and keep going. But not before being attacked by mosquitoes. It's only been 12 km, and there's 12 more to do, and the temperature is rising. I need to keep going.....

The walk now hugs the cliffs, looking down to some beautiful surf beaches, and up to the huge wind turbines that line this section of the coast. As they gently turn I am awed by nature and how we can harness it for our use.

The heat and lack of shade is getting to me. I am protected from the myriad bush flies by my face net, but I am no longer enjoying this walk at all. At last the observation deck at the end of the wind farm comes in to view and I stop for a while to watch dolphins surfing and to contemplate.

Another 3 km and I am at the campsite. I cook my final supper and go to bed before dark. I wake at 11 pm and notice how light it is, only to realise it is the light pollution from Albany.

Day 60 - Sandpatch to Albany (12.5 km)

It rains overnight, just like it rained on my first night. The flies and mozzies aren't so bad first thing so I have a leisurely cooked breakfast and two shots of coffee before farewelling my final hut and marching in to Albany.

I arrive at 9 am, almost in time to jump straight on the Perth bound bus, but I've yet to sign the final register or take the most important photo of all!

I did it! I walked 1000km from Kalamunda near Perth to Albany on the south coast. And it is possibly one of the best experiences of my life. 

I am elated, but sad it is over. For the last 60 days I've had little else to do but walk eat and sleep. I've met so many wonderful people, not only my fellow Bibbulman walkers, but tourists, locals, hostel owners, track volunteers and DPaW staff, who have all added to the experience of walking the Bibbulman Track.

Anyone can walk this track, there's even a wheelchair accessible section. It's 100% free, and not at all difficult, though tackling the whole thing does take some preparation.

But in the end, it really is as simple as hoisting a backpack on your back and putting one foot in front of the other....


  1. I have enjoyed every step of your journey. Thanks so much for sharing it.