Day nine of my 16-day/335km section hike from Northcliffe to Albany on the Bibbulmun Track.
Terrain: A bit of everything
I woke up at Frankland River campsite with the intention of making it to Giants, just 15km southbound on the track.
The German trio from the night before were still sleeping in the hut by the time I got up, so I made breakfast as quietly as possible. I’d diligently packed my food in the rodent box after reading reports of bush rats at the shelter, but I was surprised to find one of the water bottles I’d left on a picnic table chewed through. Given we were only 10 metres from a beautiful clean river, I thought that was pretty damn inconsiderate.
Fortunately it was only about 13km to the Valley of the Giants, where I could buy another water bottle. I packed up, left the Germans a note in the register, and headed off.
From the campsite the track winds its way along the bank of the Frankland River for a while, crossing it at the newly-rebuilt Sappers Bridge.
After crossing the bridge, the track led me through more tingle forest and into the Valley of the Giants – a major tourist attraction famous for its treetop walk.
I’d done the walk before so I opted not to pay for it, but I bought myself a new water bottle at the gift shop and ate lunch on one of the benches at the entrance.
Watching a bus pull up and offload a fresh batch of tourists, I couldn’t help but wonder at what a vastly different experience we were having in the same place. While they were mere minutes from their accommodation and all the comforts of civilisation, I was two days away from my next shower.
Giants campsite is barely half an hour’s walk from the visitor’s centre, and by the time I arrived it was barely noon. I took my pack off for a rest and a stretch, but decided I didn’t want to spend the whole afternoon loitering around the shelter. Knowing it was another 16km to Rame Head, I decided to saddle up and push on.
The next section is another major transition from forest to beach, passing some farmland before reaching the coastal scrub.
I descended from the tingle forest to cross the highway and join an old railway formation. After a few kilometres of flat walking, the track climbed another hill and offered the day’s first glimpse of the ocean.
The track reaches the coast at Conspicuous Beach, where I took another break and a hesitant paddle in rough water while a couple of fisherman watched on.
After a short beach walk, I followed the track up through the dunes to the crest of Conspicuous Cliffs. There were plenty of kangaroos out in the golden hour, and I made it to Rame Head campsite just before sunset.
Considering I’d just walked my first 20-mile day, I felt pretty good! I set up my tent in a nice sheltered spot, and took in the amazing coastal views as I made a dinner of powdered mashed potatoes and beans. Yum!