In Australia, bushwalking covers a range of activities from short walks on flat, well-formed trails to multi-day expeditions for fit, experienced and appropriately skilled bushwalkers.
Many trails in Western Australia have been classed according to the Australian Walking Track Grading System to help you decide if a trail is one that you can enjoy safely and whether it offers the experience that you're looking for. Some trails have not yet been classified to these standards, but they do have similar descriptive information.
Plan and prepare
It is recommended that you inform friends, family and/or police of your travel dates and the locations you plan to visit (your itinerary) during your travels into parks and reserves in Western Australia. Provide them with regular updates to ensure they know where you are. Agree on what they should do if you are overdue or do not return when you said you would. Use this Trip Intentions form and provide sufficient detail so that they have the information needed to get help if required.
Some parks and trails have self-registration stations and in some remote parks, visitors should register with the local Parks and Wildlife Service office. These registrations should be completed in addition to informing your own trusted person or persons, not as an alternative.
Research your walk to make sure everyone in your group is comfortable with the planned route. Go to the dedicated websites for the Bibbulmun Track and the Cape to Cape Track, for more detailed information on our two longest walk trails or Trails WA for information on most of the popular trails in WA.
Always take a map and a compass and know how to use it. Also don’t rely on trail markers as they sometimes go missing!
Plan your walk for the most suitable season and/or daily weather conditions. Check weather forecasts prior to departure but be prepared for sudden and extreme weather changes that might not be forecast. Have a bushfire survival plan.
If you are bushwalking on lesser used or remote trails, consider carrying a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or a satellite phone with you and know how to use them in the event of an emergency.
For longer walks always take extra food and water.
- Walk in groups of three or more – in an emergency one might need to wait with the injured person while someone goes for help. Always walk to the pace of the slowest person in your group.
- Stay on the trail. If you get lost stay where you are. You’ll be found sooner if you don’t stray from the trail.
- Bush walking is not recommended in hot and windy due to the risk of bushfire or other extreme weather conditions, including severe winter storms.
- To protect yourself against heat stroke, wear a hat and loose protective clothing, as a minimum carry and drink drink 1 litre of water per hour of walking per person and walk in the cooler times of the day.
- Check out the Outdoor Council of Australia’s Guidance for day and overnight bushwalking and orienteering.
- Check the Fire Danger Rating and do not go on or remain on the trails if the forecast is Very High or above.
- Do not do extended multi-day trips as it is not possible to keep up with changing conditions (extremely limited mobile phone coverage) and it is difficult to self-evacuate from the trail at short notice.
- Avoid remote sections of the trail where there is limited vehicle access.
- Abide by all trail closure signage, and any instructions from Parks and Wildlife and other emergency staff.
Trails and parks may be closed on days when the Fire Danger Rating is Very High or above. Check these websites when planning your walks:
- www.emergency.wa.gov.au – information about Fire Danger Ratings, current warnings and incidents
- www.bom.gov.au – for weather forecasts and Fire Danger Ratings
Download 'Are you bushfire ready?'