Baie des Deux Peuples Heritage Trail
Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve
Two Peoples Bay
Directions - From the centre of Albany, find your way to Ulster Road heading north and keep following this as it becomes Lower King Road. Keep going until it becomes Nanarup Road and then Two Peoples Bay Road, following the signs all the way into the nature reserve. After paying the entry fee, take the turn-off for the Visitor Centre and the trail head is located at the back of the building.
The Hike - The Two Peoples Bay Heritage Trail or officially known as Baie des Deux Peuples Heritage Trail is a hike that I had pencilled in on my 2020 Spring Road Trip and was really looking forward to it. My podcast partner had done this one back in 2017 and ever since it had been on my radar as one I'd like to do. My last trip to Albany in September 2019 involved some car troubles and I couldn't risk being stranded out there so this trip I would be making a point of hiking it. With the weather during my stay in Albany not looking too flash, this day was the best it was going to get with the morning looking like the perfect time to do it thanks to sunny skies and a little bit of cloud.
The drive out from the centre of Albany takes about 45 minutes through some lovely scenery and when I reached the entry to the Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, I let out a little giggle of excitement. The area has been made famous on Instagram thanks to the white sands, turquoise waters and idyllic bays of Little Beach and Waterfall Beach but there is so much more to this location than that. Being a nature reserve, this area was deemed of significant value in the 1960s when the Noisy Scrub-Bird was rediscovered here and the spot saved from becoming another township. Since then a colony of Gilbert's Potoroo was discovered and the importance of this area once again confirmed. The name Two Peoples Bay comes from a chance meeting between French and American vessels in 1802 and thus it was named Baie des Duex Nations (Bay of Two Nations or People). Previous to colonial occupation the area was home to the Minang people who called it Yilbering. It was their home during the warmer months as during the cold winters they headed inland to hunt kangaroos. I imagine this was a very plentiful area for them to live off with the protected bays provided a good mix of seafood and the hills full of kangaroos to hunt. In the current day, I arrived at the visitor centre car park to find it suspiciously empty, odd considering it was a nice sunny day during the school holidays.
The reason for this was that the visitor centre is only manned between 10am and 4pm in the summer months and it appears that no one was keen for a BBQ at 9:30am in the morning. With the whole place to myself, I wandered down to the impressive visitor centre and sought out the trail head for this 6km loop/return walk. The trail combines a loop section close to the visitor centre and a Hobbit walk (there and back again) to Little Beach so promised to be a very picturesque experience based on the description. It felt right to me that I start the loop going in a clockwise direction (the trail notes have it the other way round) so I headed off into the wildflower filled Peppermint thicket leading towards the formal BBQ area. I was amazed at the girth of some of the trees around here and as I reached the grassed picnic area, I was still amazed that no one was around. I located the wooden trail board near the path leading to the toilet block and followed it down to the beach. The reason for the lack of people became apparent with the beach buried under a thick layer of seaweed and it didn't look like an idyllic spot to lounge around at given the proximity of Little Beach. I battled through the seaweed, hoping that where I was stepping wasn't a super deep part and arrived at the end of the beach with slightly wet and smelly shoes thanks to a couple of boggy sections of seaweed.