Bibbulmun Track Update – Map 8a Torbay Inlet Opening May 2013

Bibbulmun Track Waugal trail marker

Bibbulmun Track “Waugal” Trail Marker

The Department of Environment and Conservation has advised that the Water Corporation will be opening the Torbay Inlet Monday May 6, 2013.  With the opening of the Inlet the crossing may become more difficult, i.e., no sandbar.

Torbay Inlet Diversion - Bibbulmun Track

Interactive Map at RidewithGPS

The Department of Conservation line on the inlet is …

Torbay Inlet channel is rarely more than a knee-deep, however it can reach 1m deep during peak flows. For many months of the year it is easily traversed as the channel is blocked completely by a sand bar. When the channel is open the crossing can be waded using extreme caution. If on inspection the water appears to be flowing too swiftly you may seek an alternative crossing point further upstream where although deeper the current may not be so strong. If you have any doubts at all about the depth of the water and wading across then you should take the alternative route, marked in light green [red] on the map by walking around via lower Denmark Road.

The diversion can add up to 20 km to the days walking, depending on your direction of travel and where you choose to re-join the Bibbulmun Track.

I have less than fond memories of attempting to cross the Torbay Inlet in my end-to-end walk of the Bibbulmun Track in 2003. I revisited my notes from the day we attempted the Torbay Inlet crossing. I had noted that

The 1998 edition [and it seems nothing has changed] of the guidebook underestimates the potential impact of the Torbay Inlet crossing. Upon my last visit to this campsite [Hidden Valley] in October 2003, a review of the register indicates crossing was not possible on many occasions going back to July 2003 due to water levels and the strength of the current in the channel. The winter of 2003 was an average rainfall winter.

On the day we attempted to cross, I managed to get less than half-way into the inlet before the current was doing its damnedest to push me over. We could have maybe swam the channel starting at the wide end to compensate for the flow but in the end decided to attempt a walk around which proved unsuccessful and we eventually bailed to the road and got a lift around to the other side of the inlet.

It is amusing to read in the November 1998 “A Guide to the Bibbulmun Track – Southern Half” (page 273) that “it is very likely that in the future a bridge will be constructed over Torbay Inlet.” I guess the future is still coming.

I hope that your experience of the Bibbulmun Track and crossing of the Torbay Inlet is as good as the one shown in this photo 🙂

Whilst every attempt is made to keep this blog up to date with the state of play on the Bibbulmun Track walkers of the Track should also check the Department of Conservation Trail conditions and updates page before walking the Track.



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