20 Mar

Bibbulmun – S9 – Denmark

18 March – 20 March 2019 | Days 29 – 31

Kilometres 862.1 – 954.9 >>> 92.8 (57.7 mi)

Leaving Denmark, on has to follow the South Coast Highway for a few kilometres to get back to the trail.

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The South Coast Highway.

Ask any hiker and they will tell you that they generally hate rod walks. I’m no exception. However, today I was in a really good mood and I actually enjoyed it. I had music on followed the road.

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Following Eden Road towards Rock Cliff Circuit, where the official trail continues.

I made it up to the Nullaki shelter and decided to stay the night there.


In the morning I was up early and watched the sunrise from the trail.

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Just south of the Nullaki campsite.

It was another sunny day and it was tremendous to wander through the green dunes.

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There’s always some blue to be seen.

I stopped at the West Cape Howe shelter for about an hour to fill up on water and snacks, and to marvel at the cool cloud formations over the bay below.

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Hanging out at the West Cape Howe campsite.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on some of the most beautiful sections of the trail.

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South-east of Shepherds Lagoon Road.

I arrived at the Torbay shelter at three thirty. I checked the distance to Albany and realised that it was almost another 36 kilometres. The next shelter down though was only about twelve kilometres away, leaving 24 for the last day. Much better. So onward it was.

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Looking down to Dingo Beach.

And boy am I happy that I kept on moving. The evening was about to become one of the most spectacular sky spectacles of my life.

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On Muttonbird beach.

It started off with some harmless looking thunderclouds and rain, just out to sea.

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It’s raining.

Looking in the other direction, there was still sunshine and a rainbow.

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Small rainbow poking out.

And then things went completely mental. There were the towering dark thunderclouds to the east of me, fully lit by the setting sun in the west.

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Fantastic view. No, this is not photoshopped. Although the rainbow was much more visible in reality.

The scene didn’t last too long, but it was spectacular. The view to the west was also very beautiful, if not quite as spectacular.

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Orange sunset.

I made it to the Muttonbird shelter by about six thirty and set up my tent under a bush and went to sleep.

The night ended up being a pretty miserable one. I ended up waking up in the middle of the night with hundreds of Millipedes crawling all over me. Somehow they’d found a gap in my tent and made their way in. It was a great reason for me to finally fix all the little holes in my tent with my Dyneema tape that I always carry. I killed all the Millipedes in my tent and went back to sleep. Shortly after I woke up again with more Millipedes crawling over my face. Apparently I’d missed something.

To make a long story short, I eventually found a large gap underneath the inside pocket of my tent (which is why I’d missed it before), taped it shut, and finally had peace inside my home.


In the morning I still had Millipedes crawling all over my tent and it took me a while to pack it up.

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Millions of them .

I walked back to the shelter and enjoyed a millipede free breakfast. I was on trail by eight thirty. 23.9 kilometres to go.

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Another misty morning.

It was another beautiful, cool and overcast day. The views down to the ocean were really pretty. The colours of the water were fantastic.

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Turquoise waters.

Even a couple of kangaroos came by to say goodbye from the trail.

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Hello Skippy.

Soon I could see Albany in the distance.

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Albany on the other side of the bay.

The last seven kilometres were a road walk into town. It was still nice enough though as it was going alongside the water front.

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The brig Amity.

I arrived at the trail sign at a quarter to two and had officially finished the trail. A cyclist had also just finished the Munda Biddi trail and we congratulated each other and took each other’s photo.

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Finished.

We said goodbye and then I went into town to check into my hotel.

The Bibbulmun had been a great trail that I wouldn’t mind to be doing again one day.

17 Mar

Bibbulmun – S8 – Walpole

13 March – 17 March 2019 | Days 24 – 28

Kilometres 740.0 – 862.1 >>> 122.1 (75.8 mi)

I ended up spending even more time in Walpole waiting for another phone call. I only made it back to trail at one o’clock.

Leaving Walpole I stopped at the Giant Tingle Tree, which was pretty impressive.

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The Giant Tingle Tree

The rest of the day was unremarkable, except for a bit more rain. Eventually I made it to Frankland River shelter by just before five.

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Frankland River shelter

Next morning I was on trail by eight, and it was a beautiful day. It started off with a forest section…

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It’s a forest.

… but soon opened up to gorgeous views out to the ocean.

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Looking towards Peaceful Bay from the corner of Nut and Plot Road.

It was a beautiful, sunny day and I was walking around with a perpetual grin on my face. It was great to walk on the beaches.

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In the weeds at Conspicuous Beach.

Eventually I arrived at Rame Head shelter at a quarter to five. I was all excited, because the location is stunning. Up on the dunes, with views over the ocean.

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At Rame Head shelter.

It was windy and cool, but I persevered as long as I could, sitting at the outside bench. Eventually though the cold drove me into my sleeping bag for the night.


I was a bit slow to get up in the morning. I wasn’t on trail until twenty past eight. It was another warm and sunny day and as I was reaching the beaches by about ten, I suddenly felt compelled to throw myself into the waves.

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Going for a swim at The Gap beach

It was fabulous and refreshing and washed out my clothes as well. It would dry out in no time anyway.

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Waves breaking.

Around three in the afternoon, I arrived at the boat house at the Irwin Inlet. It’s the only permanent water crossing on the Bibbulmun and the trail provides yellow plastic canoes for the purpose. To ensure that there are always canoes available on both sides of the trail, you need to paddle across, paddle back with a second canoe in toe, and then go back a third time.

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Not just a hiking trail.

It was great fun and a nice change to walking.

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Crossing the Irwin Inlet.

Eventually I finished my crossings and continued on the trail.

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In the Quarram Nature Reserve.

The trail meandered away and back to the beaches and it was really pleasant to hear, smell, and see the ocean so close by.

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Little Quarram Beach.

Because I was enjoying the beaches so much, I’d been dawdling, and was therefore running late. Sunset was at 6:31 pm and I didn’t make to Boat Harbour shelter until seven. It allowed me to watch the sunset from the trail though and it was beautiful.

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Watching the sunset as I’m approaching the Boat Harbour shelter.

The next morning I was even more lazy and wasn’t back out walking until a quarter to nine.

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Following the beach east of Boat Harbour.

At first the trail followed the beach, but quickly moved up into the dunes that offered some fantastic views.

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Looking back towards Boat Harbour.
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North west of Point Hillier.

Eventually the trail descends towards Perry Beach and then follows the beach for eight kilometres out to Greens Pool.

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Gotta love the ocean.

From there the trail moves up into the dunes to William Bay shelter. Even though it wasn’t even three in the afternoon, I decided to stay. It was such a beautiful place. The town of Denmark is only twelve kilometres away and if I’d have kept going I would’ve reached it probably only at around six in the evening.

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View from William Bay shelter.

The next morning was cold and foggy, but I actually managed to get up before eight.

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It’s a bit misty, just outside William Bay shelter.

The trail briefly made its way back down to the beach, …

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Looking out over Nudie Beach.

… before climbing up to Mount Hallowell.

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In the clouds on Mount Hallowell.

It was cool climbing Mount Hallowell in the fog and rain. Not that I could admire any of the views, but the trail was fantastic nonetheless.

Eventually though, the trail descended down towards Denmark. I booked myself into the Denmark Hotel and River Rooms Motel on Hollings Road and enjoyed a joyful afternoon in town.

Denmark is really pretty.

12 Mar

Bibbulmun – S7 – Northcliffe

9 March – 12 March 2019 | Days 20 – 23

Kilometres 612.7 – 740.0 >>> 127.3 (79.1 mi)

For once I was up early and had everything packed up by ten to six. The weather was overcast and foggy and I definitely expected rain for the day.

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Misty morning

Shortly after I’d left my campsite, I came across a beautiful field, full of red bottlebrush.

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Red Bottlebrush

Around noon I briefly stopped at the Lake Maringup campsite to fill up with water, but didn’t stay for lunch.

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Approaching the Lake Maringup campsite

I felt really good and marched on. The weather was perfect for hiking. Intermittent rain, overcast, and cool. It made for a beautiful landscape as well.

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Near the Deeside Coast Road

I stopped for camp at twenty to six at the Dog Pool shelter. I’d done 48.8 km (damn, so near to doing a fifty). Amazingly, I actually ran into another hiker. Phatmandu was an older chap in his sixties and we ended up chatting into the evening. Eventually though we disappeared to bed.


The next morning was still overcast, but it was clearing up and there was no more rain either. Phatmandu had left camp before me. I didn’t even hear him leave.

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A bit west of Pingerup Road.

I was walking through an old burn and it was beautiful to see all that fresh green sprouting out again. I also ran into Phatmandu again and hiked with him to the Mount Chance campsite, where I left him behind. It had been nice having a fellow hiker around for a change.

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New green in an old burn

I made it to the Woolbale shelter by twenty to five. Although I was tempted to move on and have another night in the bush, I decided to be lazy and just stay there. It was nice to just sit and watch the sun going down.

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Woolbale Shelter

The next morning I got up all excited, because I knew I’d finally get to the ocean. The weather was still variable and I started with an overcast sky.

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On Wool Bale Road

It wasn’t long until the scenery changed and I could tell that I was getting very close to the coast.

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It’s raining once again.

And finally I saw the ocean in the distance.

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Finally open water

I was supremely happy and it was beautiful to wander on the coastal dunes.

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Getting closer

As I was approaching the beach area, the weather cleared up as well, and the clouds were breaking up.

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Blue ocean, blue sky

It was beautiful as the sun came out and I stopped frequently to look around and marvel.

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Beautiful beaches.

The afternoon was so pleasant. It was fantastic to walk with wide sweeping vistas by my side.

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The sun is slowly setting.

I made it to Mount Clare shelter by six and had an early night. I wanted to get into Walpole for coffee the next day.


I was up shortly after seven and did the 10.4 km into town in just over two hours

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The trees are big around here

I arrived in Walpole a little after nine.

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Approaching Walpole

I went straight for muffin and coffee at the local cafe.

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Breakfast

I hung out in town for a while, because I was waiting for an important phone call. Around lunch time I ran into Phatmandu, who’d skipped ahead, and a biker that was doing the Munda Biddi Trail (the bike version of the Bibbulmun). We hung out for a while and chatted. Eventually we went our own ways, because we’d organised accommodations separately, and were staying in different places.

I got a single room at the local YHA, which was almost completely empty, and enjoyed the luxury of hot running water before turning in for the night.

08 Mar

Bibbulmun – S6 – Pemberton

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7 March – 8 March 2019 | Days 18 – 19

Kilometres 553.5 – 612.7 >>> 59.2 (36.8 mi)

It was great having a lazy morning. I enjoyed a bit of a lie in. Eventually though, hunger drove me out of bed. I packed my bag and left the motel. It had been raining over night and it was still drizzling.

I walked back into town and went for a resupply at the IGA supermarket. I finally managed to be back on trail by twenty to eleven.

It was nice walking in the coolness of the rain and the forest smelled wonderful.

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Just outside Pemberton on the way to the Gloucester Tree.

Shortly I arrived at the Gloucester Tree. It’s a giant Karri tree that’s been used as a fire lookuout and is the second tallest in the world, at 58 metres (190 ft). There’s a platform one can climb to. I was keen to climb it, but the area was shrouded in clouds and fog and I wouldn’t have been able to see anything. I decided that I would climb it on my way back (my plan was still to hike the Bib yo-yo).

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The Gloucester Tree with the platform at the very top.

In the end I was lazy and only made it to the Warren campsite and settled down for the evening at night at ten to three. It continued to rain and it was really rather nice and cozy lying in my tent.


The next morning I was up just after eight was keen to put in a few miles.

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Crossing the Warren River via the River Road Bridge.

In the early afternoon I entered a large burn area that offered a pretty astonishing colour theme to walk through.

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Incredible orange colours after a bushfire.

I made it into Northcliffe at twenty past four. I stopped at the Northcliffe General Store for a quick resupply and some cold drinks.

I emptied a 1.5 litre bottle of ginger beer on the chairs outside the store, while I repacked my freshly acquired food. A small group of young local lads, probably 10 -12 years old, came by and they were curious what I was doing. We chatted and joked for a while, after I’d convinced them that I wasn’t completely mad. It was nice having some company for a change, even for just a few minutes.

Eventually I said goodbye to the boys and I made my way back into the bush. It was already ten past five and I wondered how far I’d walk today.

Sunset was at 6:44 pm today and that’s when I decided to stop. The next official campsite (Gardner), was still a little over 8 km (5 mi) away and I didn’t want to do any night hiking. So I found a sandy patch on the side of the trail and set up my tent. It was a bit slopy, but the sand made for soft bedding.

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“Stealth” camping about halfway between Pemberton and Crowea.
06 Mar

Bibbulmun – S5 – Donnelly River

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5 March – 6 March 2019 | Days 16 – 17

Kilometres 475.0 – 553.5 >>> 78.5 (48.8 mi)

I woke up reasonably early and was on the trail by a quarter to eight. The forest here is beautiful, lush, and dense. It’s Karri tree country. Karris are Eucalypts and are among the tallest trees in the world. They can grow up to 90 metres tall. (Despite the similarity in name, they have nothing to do with the giant Kauri trees in New Zealand.)

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A bridge from a fallen Karri tree.

The trail meandered through the thick forest and I was seeing mostly green all day. Definitely green tunnel out here.

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Crossing the Donnelly River.

I reached Beavis campsite by five past five. I lingered at the camp table for a while, had dinner, and listened to the sounds of the forest around me. Once it was dark though, I went to bed quickly and fell asleep.


The next morning I got up even earlier and was going at half seven. Maybe it had something to do with Pemberton, my next town stop, beckoning at the end of the day. However, town stops have been plentiful over the last few days and I don’t think I was desperate for yet another one.

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On the Steep Road, a bit east of Beedelup Falls.

The forest was even prettier than the day before and I absolutely loved the sight of the Karri trees towering above me. Their trunks are surprisingly slender, considering the height of the trees. However, once you stand close to one, you realise that they are indeed massive trees. Absolutely beautiful.

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Giants of the forest.

The weather was gorgeous as well and I loved looking up into the blue sky.

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Gorgeous canopy.

Just before noon, I arrived at Beedelup Falls. The falls were basically dry , because: summer, and looked less than impressive. I’m sure it’s quite a sight when it’s going.

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Looking towards the Karri Valley Resort and Lake Beedelup.

There is a resort at the nearby Lake Beedelup, but I didn’t walk over there. I did make good use of the drop toilet at the trail head car park though. Then it was back on the road.

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Good place to stop for a break.

I hiked for another six kilometres (3.7 mi) and moved into more built up country, with more road crossings and homesteads visible from the trail.

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Crossing Channybearup Road.

I had a thirty minute lunch break before continuing my way out to Pemberton.

In the afternoon, as I was getting closer to civilisation, I got phone reception and stopped briefly to book a hotel room. I found the Gloucester Motel, which has reasonable prices and is actually situated right on the trail.

As it stated on the confirmation email that check-in was only open until 6 pm, I got worried that I might not make it in time. Even though I was probably a bit overly anxious, I decided to take a little short cut into town. When I reached Stirling Road, just south of Channybearup, I left the Bib and instead followed the Stirling Road into Pemberton. This cut out a bit over three kilometres (1.9 mi).

I reached Pemberton at a quarter to five and still had time to go to the supermarket and load up with supplies for the evening before checking in at the Motel. I probably would’ve made it in time, but I might not have had the time to go to the supermarket. So I didn’t regret my decision.

Check-in was easy and uncomplicated. The man was very nice and quite happy that I’d arrived before six, since I was the last guest he was waiting for and he wanted to go home.

I moved into my room, had an extensive shower, and then snuggled up in bed and enjoyed a peaceful night.

04 Mar

Bibbulmun – S4 – Balingup

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3 March – 4 March 2019 | Days 14 – 15

Kilometres 389.5 – 475.0 >>> 85.5 (53.1 mi)

The next morning I felt much better and I was packed up and going at a quarter to eight.

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A board walk near Jayes Road, east of Balingup.

I came across a sign, saying that this section was a partner trail with the Bruce Trail in Canada. Thanks for reminding me that there are other awesome trails out there I haven’t walked yet.

Joking aside though, it was nice to think that, maybe there’s another sign just like it somewhere on the other side of the planet. And maybe, another hiker might just be reading it at the same time as me and is thinking of the far away Bibbulmun. Made me feel all close and connected with our awesome hiking community. (Sorry for being a bit dewy-eyed here. Sniff.)

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Hello Canada. Kangaroos and Beavers are friends.

The trail continued to meander through rural farm land, with plenty of dirt road hiking. The views were really quite nice though and I didn’t mind.

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Looking down Spring Gully Road, west of Greenbushes State Forest.

There were even sections that went through private land. Thanks so very much to the owners for letting us cross your land. Much appreciated.

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Beautifully windswept tree near Hegarty Creek.

I made it to the Gregory Brook campsite by 6:30 pm and got settled for the evening. Funny, I’m almost half-way through and still haven’t met a single person on the trail. I’m enjoying it, but I’m questioning why not more people “dare” hike it in summer. It’s such a beautiful time.


Anyway, I got up at eight the next morning and made it into Donnelly River Village. It’s a nice little village that has a very rustic and historical charm about it.

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Welcome to Donnelly District.

I stuck around the general store for a while and enjoyed a few cold drinks and resupplied on snacks. The store is quite expensive, of course, but the guys running it are really friendly. Their EFTPOS machine wasn’t working that day, but they happily let me have anything I wanted, after I left them my credit card information, so that they could run through the amounts later on, when I was already gone again. I was there during lunch time and didn’t stay over night, even though they have a dedicated shelter for hikers in the village, and even offer shower and laundry services for a small fee.

I didn’t use any of it though and moved on quickly. I didn’t feel comfortable. The village is famous for its tame emus and kangaroos that roam around. One can buy feed for the animals at the general store and it’s great fun for the tourists that come through. To me though, it’s abhorrent to see wild animals so domesticated that they start pecking and grabbing into peoples pockets, without any fear.

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I did see some “wild” emus out of town. At least these guys ran away from me.

South of Donnelly River Village, I encountered my first diversion because of a bush fire. I was surprised to see it so well marked and easy to follow. Considering the complete lack of people on trail, I hadn’t expected the trail to be maintained this well. I’ve got to give it to the volunteers: you guys are incredible. Thank you so very much.

I ended the day just after five at the diversion campsite next to Paganini Road, west of Yanmah. There was a portable toilet set up, a bench and table to sit at, and a couple of jerry cans with fresh water.

Despite the site being next to a gravel road, it was perfectly quiet at night. It was nice and I slept well.

02 Mar

Bibbulmun – S3 – Collie

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28 February – 2 March 2019 | Days 11 – 13

Kilometres 318.2 – 389.5 >>> 71.3 (44.3 mi)

I slept in a little and was lazy lying in bed.

Eventually the thirst for coffee drove me out and I walked into town. I found the Wagon 537 at the Central Park, an old railway carriage that had been transformed into a cafe, and enjoyed a hot cup.

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The Premier Hotel from the Central Park.

I hung out for a while and explored the centre. Eventually though I just walked over to the supermarket, got some supplies, and then made my way back to the caravan park, where I spent the rest of the day.


The next morning I got up surprisingly early for town. I guess I was eager to get back to the bush.

First I walked the almost 3 km (1.8 mi) back to the main trail and then turned south. Shortly after I crossed the Collie River via the Mungalup Road.

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Remnants of an old bridge in the Collie River.

The scenery wasn’t very bush, but it was rural enough and most importantly: beautiful.

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Wait, what? There’s a hiking trail here?

I had quite a few road walks, but it was all quiet dirt roads, so not too painful. The best thing was that I was out of the densely overgrown bush I’d been fighting through north of Collie.

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Looking towards Mumballup from Clear Hill.

I reached the Noggerup campsite, just south of Mumballup, at 6:20 pm, had dinner, and went to bed.


I woke up in the morning and it was freezing cold. My thermometer on my watch told me that it was 5° C (41° F). So I snuggled up in my sleeping bag and slept in a little, until it had warmed up again. Didn’t make it on to the trail until almost half eight.

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Looking across a vineyard, north of Balingup.

The day was supremely unspectacular. Not that it was bad, but nothing actually happened, and none of the scenery was really amazing. It was probably just me though. For some reason I wasn’t in my happy place. I ended up cutting the day short and set up a stealth camp in the bush somewhere north of Balingup at twenty to five. I’d still managed to get 35.5 km (22.1 mi) in, so I guess it wasn’t that bad.