To give a flavour of the Bibbulmun Track we describe a 6 km section near Pemberton in south west Western Australia, of which about half is on railway formation. The return walk is 12 km. The walk features the Gloucester Fire Tree and a series of waterfalls. There is also a tourist railway nearby.
The Bibbulmun Track is Australia’s major long distance walking track. It runs from Kalamunda, near Perth to Albany, a distance of 956 km. Like the Munda Biddi long distance cycling trail, sections of the Bibbulmun follow old tramway formations. (Tramways are lightly built railways, mainly used for industrial use such as for logging or mining.) However, in the case of the Bibbulmun, many of the tramway sections are quite short.
This walk starts 3 km south of Pemberton at the Gloucester Fire Tree in Gloucester National Park. The Gloucester Tree is a 60 metre karri tree with pegs hammered into its trunk to form a spiral ladder to a platform at the top. It was originally among eight trees in the area pegged to allow fire spotters to climb and scan the surrounding area for bushfires. Today it is popular with tourists who can climb to the top. (Note that climbing the tree can be dangerous, please note the warnings displayed at the base.) Car parking and picnic facilities are available here.
From the tree, follow the Bibbulmun Track markers south east to Burma Road. After crossing East Brook, the track turns right and joins the route of a tramway which ran beside the brook, recognisable by its well-formed shape. After about 3 km, the Bibbulmun turns to the left. If you continue along the tramway a short way you can view a railway bridge, where the existing railway runs over the top, and the tramway formation passes underneath.
Continuing along the Bibbulmun, you will come to a turnoff to the Cascades. The Cascades are a series of small waterfalls. A loop trail allows you to walk right around them and connects with the Cascades car park and picnic area.
Return by the same route. Alternatively, catch the tourist train from Pemberton one way to the Cascades and walk back along the Bibbulmun (9 km walk). For a longer walk, continue on the train to Gloucester Road (12 km walk).
The Bibbulmun picks up tramway formations in the area twice more as it heads south. At the Warren River, it crosses the river on a long timber trestle bridge. You can reach this bridge by car using dirt roads as shown on the map.
For more information on the Bibbulmun track, see the Bibbulmun Track guide books (see link below).
Details of rail trail manager: Bibbulmun Track: http://www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au/
Gloucester National Park http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/component/option,com_hotproperty/task,view/id,88/Itemid,755/
Pemberton Tramway (Tourist Railway) http://www.pemtram.com.au/Pemberton%20Tramway%20Company.htm
- Gloucester Tree to Cascades
- South of Pemberton, 340 km from Perth
- Surface – Compacted earth
- Terrain –
For more information and a location map please visit RailTrails Australia.