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Baie Des Deux Peuples Heritage Trail

Baie Des Deux Peuples Heritage Trail

Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve

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 penciled 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. 

What made this part memorable were the granite boulders in the water, the biggest (Fairy Rocks) being a highlight of this section as it towered above the beach. A kind of mini version of Elephant Rocks near Denmark, they provided a nice subject to photograph and with the vegetation around them growing quite tall, it was a really cool spot. At the end of the beach it takes a little bit of searching but there will be an obvious trail taking you into the bush and up the hill to complete the first half of the loop section. You will know you're on the right path if you start climbing up wooden steps set into the sandy ground. The trail makes its way past the biggest of the granite boulders and it's a magnificent sight to stare down and admire all the little nooks and cranny's where life has found a way to exist. Climbing up the steps introduces you to the coastal vegetation that thrives here and thanks to it being the middle of spring, the wildflowers and orchids were amazing. One early orchid that was showing up quite frequently along this part was the Purple Enamel Orchid that are easy to spot thanks to their shiny petals. 


Reaching the junction where the loop trail meets the path leading towards Little Beach, I was getting excited because I knew the quality of the scenery at Little Beach was going to be world class. From where the loop trail heads back to the visitor centre, it's a 4km return trip out to the furthest of the beaches you can explore so there was still a lot of hiking to enjoy. Even though the anticipation was building, the trail along the coast here was pretty special so I made sure I took my time to fully appreciate it. Wildflowers of all varieties were popping up, mixed in with Grass Trees, She-Oak, thick coastal eucalyptus trees that have thrived in these tough conditions and a good variety of banksias that were luckily in flower. Meandering along the path, I was enjoying the lovely filtered light that comes with slightly cloudy conditions but was secretly hoping it would blow over by the time I got to Little Beach. The combination of turquoise waters, white sands and dark granite looks infinitely better when the sun is shining bright and I really wanted the photos to showcase this area properly.