Wardan Nara Bidi
The Hike - During the summer months I tend to put the hiking boots away and concentrate on other things but with the opening of the Wadjemup Bidi in 2015, this doesn't always have to be the case. With a desire to get out and snorkel a bit more over the summer, plans were made with the Puma Bait Squad to head over to Rottnest Island for the day and take in the remaining walks on the Wadjemup Bidi that I had not had the pleasure of hiking yet. Having previously done the Ngank Yira Bidi and Gabbi Karniny Bidi on a visit last year, I was keen to explore the wilder western side of the island to see what was what. Taking advantage of the $39 Telethon Deal through Rottnest Express, we were at B Shed in Fremantle early on a Tuesday morning to begin our adventure. The forecast for the day was a chance of thunderstorms with strong winds but given this had been on the cards for a while, we weren't going to stay home for a bit of weather. Conditions when we left were a bit cloudy, which I don't mind as clouds add another interesting feature to the photos, and thankfully the wind wasn't too bad.
With a very full pack (flippers, snorkel, swimming gear, fluids, cameras and other essentials) we boarded the ferry and were soon at Thompsons Bay ready to explore the island. The Wardan Nara Bidi was the first planned hike of the day and that required taking the Island Explorer out to Porpoise Bay ($20 for a day pass). We had some time before the first bus of the day so headed into the settlement to check out the Wadjemup Bidi Trail Head that had not been installed when I last visited and to grab a pie from the bakery. With full bellies we headed to the bus stop just west of the settlement and hopped on the Island Explorer that loops around the island at fairly regular intervals. Just as we left, the rain arrived and we all jumped into our packs to get the wet weather gear out. Not the most ideal start to a long day of hiking but at least we came prepared. We hopped off at Porpoise Bay (#4 stop) and the rain had subsided so we stuffed our rain gear back into the packs and since the sun was now out, applied the sunscreen. The Wardan Nara follows the purple trail markers that are well placed at critical junctions so we started the trail by following the markers down Parker Point Rd.
In case you aren't familiar with the Puma Squad, joining me today is Aron, Tom and Mel and they led the way while I pointed the camera in every direction and started clicking. The road walking doesn't last long as you are pointed into the coastal heathland and up to the high points of the dunes. From here we were rewarded with views from the lookout to the raging ocean to the south and back towards the islands interior. We noticed that despite the fairly stiff wind that the wind turbine wasn't working. On the bus ride back to the settlement we found out that problems with the grid meant that they couldn't run the wind turbine and were shipping over extra diesel to run generators. Figuring something was up we moved on and towards the picturesque Parker Point. Before we reached the coast we passed through a thicket of spooky looking Rottnest Tea Trees where a group had gathered on the road. This usually means one thing on Rottnest - Quokkas are around and selfies must be taken. Sure enough there were a couple of the cute marsupials around and quite a crowd trying to photograph them so we had a look and then dodged all the bikes before moving on to Parker Point.