Ngank Wen Bidi
Directions - The trail can be done in either direction, anti-clockwise by following the signs down to the beach from the road running parallel with Digby Dr or clockwise by walking south of the Roland Smith Memorial and locating the Ngank Wen Bidi trail markers leading into the bush.
The Hike - With the Wadjemup Bidi recently being finished off with the completion of the Ngank Wen Bidi (Sun Set/Down Track), I received an invite over to the island to check out the final trail before it officially opened and to finish off my experience on the now completed Wadjemup Bidi. Having completed three of the other walks on the island and finishing up the Wardan Nara Bidi last year in the start location for this walk, I was keen to explore the wilder western side of the island and enjoy some more of the ruggedly beautiful coastline. For the sake of logistics it was easier to walk the newer trail first and then finish the day off with the Karlinyah Bidi to complete my set of finished Wadjemup Bidi experiences.
Arriving on the earliest ferry possible to maximise time spent on the island and to take advantage of potentially empty trails, Wife of Py (Caris) and I stopped in at the bakery for breakfast before meeting up with our VIP lift organised thanks to Eilidh, the Wadjemup Bidi Trails Coordinator, that would take us to the start point. We met Jimbo, another Trails Coordinator, in the main settlement and he took us out in one of the big motorised golf carts to Narrow Neck so we didn't have to wait for the bus. The forecast was for light winds, some cloud and then sunshine later so that was going to be perfect conditions for the day. Light winds on Rottnest are a blessing given how exposed everything is so to not have to battle the elements today was a good bit of fortune. We arrived at the trail head and Jimbo wished us luck as we departed on the recently completed trail entrance (literally finished last week). The first section if you head in a clockwise direction like we did is a winding stroll through some scrub-lined hills, highlighted by some great views looking back towards Strickland Bay, Wadjemup Lighthouse and the southern coastline. With the sun occasionally trying to peak through the grey clouds I was hoping that these conditions didn't stay the whole day as the photos wouldn't make for a very appealing post.
As this is billed as the "wilder western side" it wasn't fazing me for this section of the walk and I actually preferred this to bright blue skies. There was always something to photograph on this section, even if it doesn't look very appealing visually, as you constantly change perspective winding around the hills and cliffs. Caris spotted an osprey nest on a small island and just as she pointed it out to me, an osprey flew off it with something grasped in its talons. That was nice little highlight that spurred us on through some fairly mundane scenery as the trail snakes in and out of the barren, windswept landscape. We were hoping for some wild quokka sightings and given how much evidence of their existence was deposited on the trail, it was a bit disappointing not to have a run in with one of the less tame locals. One bit of wildlife that couldn't stay away from us were the march flies that took a liking to Caris' pants and kept biting her. Purely for her wellbeing I was swatting them away if they landed on the bits I could reach, mainly around the rear section just between her lower back and above her hamstrings.