Denmark to NUllaki
Directions - Leaving Denmark can be done three ways, the first is to head south towards Ocean Beach and walk across the sandbar if the Wilson Inlet is closed, the diversion that takes you along the highway or to be dropped off at the Eden Rd Gates by one of the service providers in the area.
The Hike - After finishing a day and a half between Parry Beach and Denmark, it was time to embark on the completion of my sectional end to end. I had deliberately chosen to finish with the Denmark to Albany section because I wanted it to feel like if I was completing a thru-hike end to end, plus I wanted to ring the bell at the Visitor Centre to mark the occasion. After a lovely sleep at the Blue Wren YHA, I saw Riley and Mon heading out to breakfast and asked if I could join. My plan was to head to Ravens again for some Truffle Mushrooms but they only opened at 8am so we headed to the aptly named Bibbulmun Cafe because how can you walk through Denmark and not eat there.
This was the only lengthy period of time I spent with Riley and Mon so we had a chat about hiking, their thoughts on the Bibb and the usual get to know you kind of things. What they didn't let slip was that Riley had proposed to Mon at the Blackwood Campsite, which I thought was a pretty special spot to have that moment happen. Despite saying to myself while planning my end to end that I would be slowing down and enjoying the journey, a combination of factors led me to schedule in this last section into three days. That meant I would be doubling each day and covering the most kilometres per day of my entire end to end (still a very manageable 25-29km per day). Riley and Mon, finishing their thru-hike of the Bibb were powering through and doing it in two days so they wouldn't be staying at West Cape Howe with me tonight. I had a lift organised around the Peninsula to the Eden Rd Gates so Riley and Mon joined me at around 8am and we left to navigate around the awkward start to this section. Officially the Bibbulmun has you take the ferry from the Denmark River mouth to a point on the Nullaki Peninsula called Pelican Point Jetty but the cost ($160 if you're the only one) and irregular running means it's not really feasible for most hikers. The alternatives add a lot of kilometres to the day, either walking south across the inlet if the sandbar is formed or east along the highway that is horribly boring so the preferred method is to be dropped off by car.
Jacko from Case Libelula offers this service or Mark from the Blue Wren YHA is another option. With big kilometres to cover over the next two days, Riley and Mon were dropped off at the end of Rock Cliff Circle. which is only about a kilometre from the Nullaki Campsite. I was hoping to do as much of the Nullaki Peninsula as I could and in the end was dropped off right at the Pelican Point Jetty, the spot where you would disembark if you took the ferry option. Happy with this, I then realised it added another 4km to my day compared to if I was dropped at the Eden Road Gates and it was already getting late in the morning. Wandering to the end of the jetty, I simulated being dropped off and starting my final section. The inlet here is very pretty with calm waters and views across to the hilly country near Denmark. The Nullaki Peninsula deserves a bit of an explanation here as it is an interesting bit of land. Called the Nullaki Estate, the whole peninsula has been divided up and sold off for people to build houses on. There are rules about what you can and cannot do and what makes it different is that there are no boundary fences between properties so the wildlife is free to move around. I don't quite agree with a wilderness area being treated like this but at least it isn't divided up into smaller chunks with fences everywhere.
Finally getting going, the walking is very pretty as you make your way along the edge of the inlet but somewhat of a stressful experience. It was quite a warm day already and being September on the south coast, the presence of danger noodles aka nope ropes aka snakes should always be in the back of your mind. The issue along here is that the track is essentially grass that is slightly shorter than the surrounding grass so where you are stepping can hide some surprises. Far from being a carefree hiking experience, I was really careful to make sure to step deliberately and loudly to give prior warning to any locals hiding in the grass. While I didn't see any snakes through this section, there was definite movement in the grasses ahead of me on quite a few occasions. Taking photos was a case of checking my surroundings first rather than my usual method of thinking about a shot while I'm still walking. Apart from the extra precaution though, this was a really nice section to walk through with plenty of small jetties dotted along the inlet from the private residence that provided a gap in the Paperbarks to experience the full width of the huge inlet.
Another pleasant aspect to the walking were the large Karri trees that popped up every now and then. Far from being a swampy section full of Paperbarks and reeds, the forest on your right is quite mature and full of amazing wildflowers. While the undergrowth and grass is still quite thick right up to the Eden Road gate, you can still admire the splashes of colour from the safety of the track. As you walk further on, the orchids start to appear and this location is one of the best I've seen just for the pure volume of orchids around. After heading up onto the road and passing through the Eden Rd gate (there is a pedestrian door in the middle of the gate) you quickly re-join the track as it heads along the inlet. Here I witnessed a crazy amount of Donkey Orchids in one spot with roughly 50-70 within a couple of metres, ludicrous considering on most of the forest sections of the Bibbulmun I am happy to see a couple during a full day. I estimated that the number of Donkey and Cowslip Orchids I saw over this first day would run easily into the thousands. Instead of becoming rare objects I really enjoyed seeing, they were like a weed (not really though) but that didn't stop me taking a million photos of them.