South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

Been out walking for the last couple of weeks. Had the urge to fly somewhere… somewhere over east or overseas to go walking, and walking, and more walking. And then, as walking will do, I had a different angle and a different idea to pursue. More walks in the south west of Western Australia. I drew up this mud-map that someone might find useful one day.

The image shown is indicative. The black line is the Bibbulmun Track. The red line on the left is the Cape to Cape. The other lines are walk ideas I’m hoping to scope out over the next twelve months. In my opinion, there is a strong desire to boost walking infrastructure at regional levels.

  1. There has almost always been talk of extending the Bibbulmun to Esperance. The red line going to Esperance is there to show that extension. I’m going to see who I can rustle up to walk that with me. (I’m not a fan of coastal and/or beach walking, so I’ll be looking to get off the beach as much as possible.)
  2. A circuit from about Walpole heading up the Shannon River and then heading east over the Stirling range and then following one of the rivers down (Palingup?) to a small town like Wellstead to link back up with the extended Bibb track to Esperance. Walkers can then walk back to Albany if they want.
  3. Extending the southern end of the Cape to Cape to join the Bibbulmun track, probably at Karri Valley resort.
  4. Extending the northern end of the Cape of Cape following a disused rail line into the Ferguson Valley and then up to meet the Collie River at Birkup, from Birkup follow the Collie River to the Wellington Dam and join the Wellington Spur trail that already comes off the Bibbulmun track. [The latter part of this walk I have done three times now and it is excellent]
  5. Extend the northern end of the Bibbulmun track from Kalamunda and connect up with the old walking track that goes to New Norcia via Bells Rapids. From New Norcia follow the Moore River to the coast. Huts along here would be good.
  6. Create a loop from North Bannister where the Bibbulmun crosses Albany Highway and take walkers out to Narrogin where the Avon River starts. Follow the Avon river through York, Northam and Toodyay and ultimately meet up with the extended Bibbulmun track from Kalamunda.


If anyone out there finds this post and is inspired, please get in touch. I am always interested to hear from other walkers.


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7 thoughts on “South West Walking Masterplan Ideas

  1. Hi James, got some thoughts and links for you on this with indigenous crew who have been working on Albany to Experence track
    Talk soon

    1. Great. I went to New Norcia during the week and was reminded of the Salvado trail from Subi to there. This could be added to the plan. This could also provide an access route to the centre of the city instead of trying to figure out a way from Kalamunda to the city. See this link:

      A walk along the Moore River from New Norcia area to Guildetrton would be wonderful in winter…


  2. Hi i’m currently walking to Kalgoorlie in sections. I am using the following Swan Heritage Trail, Railway Heritage trail and Kep track. This gets you to Northam and is quite achievable via public transport. From here my husband and i are car hopping. Donkey (our car) gets shuffled along for 2kms at a time while we walk back and forth from point to point. After Northam i roughly did the following: Golden Heritage trail along Goldfields Road and pipeline access trail. This gets you to Southern Cross. From SC we are following the original road to Coolgardie. This follows small roads and the now 4wd track to just outside Coolgardie. Pipeline access when that is in better condition. Yet to do coolgardie to kal due to work 🙂 love to turn this into a proper heritage trail.

      1. Not at the moment. I want to write something about it and would like to garner some support for the idea of a trail. There are Indigenous tourist groups out there as well as local museums who maybe interested

      2. Well the KEP track is already doable. The problem with a walk out to Kal as far as I see it, is water. Could you walk there without a support vehicle?

        In any case, a track removed from the road with small shelters and a water tank would be cool. Did you visit any notable landmarks? Then of course from Coolgardie back to Broomehill is another walk. And maybe through the great western woodlands to Esperance. Then a great big circuit from Esperance to Albany to Perth to Kal – I’d love that….

      3. HI yes there are significant sites along the way. Some we walked past (art and significant sites) and later went back to them via a tour with a Aboriginal tour guide from Merredin. The guide also got us permission to see original gnamma holes that had not been destroyed during exploration. Other sites are of course the various museums along the way. Then there are the various Hunt’s wells, the mine out of Westonia, to the various granite rocks with water channels. The actual Goldfields Road was once the Aboriginal walking route that Hunt followed from York. It meets GEH at Tammin. Past Southern Cross there is the 4WD track that once formed the original road to Coolgardie. This is littered with debris including horseshoes and power lines. And then the original train route is still there. There is a lovely couple living at Boorabbin who have a great place to stay and can show you around the area out there. They also can get permission from the Dogger to go along the State Fence.Staying with them was a highlight of our trip. Took us right out to see nature untouched inc 400 yr old sandlewood trees, clay pans etc. They can give walkers some support and info. (They used to run walking retreats out in the woodlands and have maps etc of use) As to water. That is the biggie. For the most part a very fit person could walk between towns in a day up to Merredin. Formal accommodation can be a bit tricky as in winter all the work crews are out. Need to book well ahead. After that you really need support. We scoped out walking from Boorabbin to Coolgardie via the woodlands. It is do able with a car but we came across active dogs. I was a bit wary i can tell you and carried a pipe. If there were water tanks set up along the way, via the pipeline, past merredin they maybe pretty dry regardless. It would need a trial. :)The loop you suggest is pretty much how i was thinking 🙂

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