Wadjemup Bidi Project

Wadjemup Bidi Project

International Standard Eco Tourism Accreditation

The Wadjemup Bidi Project aims to protect, preserve and raise awareness of both the environmental and cultural values of Rottnest Island. As a major tourism and conservation initiative, it will involve the development of a trail network that will provide an exploratory narrative for visitors, connecting Rottnest’s beautiful natural features to its cultural history in an environmentally sustainable manner. It should set the benchmark for sustainable coastal interpretation.

The project will allow visitors to traverse the Island’s unique landscapes along the Wadjemup Bidi; a series of walk trails that will take you across spectacular coastal headlands, past stunning inland lakes and encounter both natural and man-made attractions along the way. The 45 kilometre Wadjemup Bidi will be made up of 5 sections, with each unique section displaying culturally and environmentally significant landmarks to interpret and experience. "Bidi" in Noongar means "trail" or "track". The Whadjuk Noongar are the Traditional Owners of Rottnest Island.

The project has been designed in a manner that allows for the majority of the trail to be constructed in small stages, utilising efforts from volunteer and community groups, and Aboriginal youth training schemes.

Other more complex sections may need to be constructed by contract labour adhering to engineer designs. 

Gabbi Karniny Bidi

The 5 sections of the 45km Wadjemup Bidi are:

  • Ngank Yira Bidi (9.4km/ one way approx. 3-4hrs): Completed in December 2013, this section traverses the south east corner of the Island - Thomson Bay to Oliver Hill. Approximately 9.4km in distance, you'll explore the remnants of Coastal Defence systems installed during WWII.
  • Gabbi Karniny Bidi (9.7km/ loop approx. 3-4hrs): Starting from Thomson Bay Settlement and heading west out of Digby Drive, this section meanders through the lake systems including a magical stroll along the Lakes Boardwalk which provides the façade of “walking on water”.
  • Wardan Nara Bidi (10km/ one way approx. 3-4hrs): Walk along the coast of Salmon Bay and then cross through to the middle of the Island to explore the WWII guns and tunnels. Take in panoramic views from Wadjemup Lighthouse and then continue west to the world class surf break at Strickland Bay. Learn a bit more about Rottnest Island's surfing history by watching a short documentary accessed by scanning the QR code located on the informative sign or inside the surfing hut at this location. The Wardan Nara Bidi was proudly supported by the Rottnest Foundation working in partnership with BHP Billion.
  • Karlinyah Bidi (5.9km/ one way approx. 2-3hrs): Beautiful long sandy beaches and calm swimming lagoons within the
    reef; there will be a favourite spot for everyone. Enjoy the excitement of rugged sections of trail, but be aware of seasonal access in high seas.
  • Ngank Wen Bidi (7.6km/ one way approx. 3-4hrs)1 km walkable - full trail coming soon! A marine wildlife haven! New Zealand fur seals can be seen from the viewing platform at Cathedral Rocks. The West End boardwalk is a great place to spot dolphins, and the seasonal migration of humpback whales!
Funding is still required for the southern coast of the Ngank Wen Bidi – if you are interested in supporting the Wadjemup Bidi project please contact the Rottnest Foundation www.rottnestfoundation.org.au

    The development of a cohesive network of walking trails aspires to control and manage the access of visitors traversing the Island, while encouraging visitors to appreciate the cultural significance, multiple histories and environmental dynamics of the Island. This is key to ensuring the reduction of ad hoc access which has caused significant environmental degradation of the surrounding coastal formations and vegetation. The integration of interpretation and trail design must communicate the diverse values of the Island to ensure visitors continue to respect and protect the Island.

    View the shipwreck at Henrietta Rocks on the Bickley Bay Walk
    Ngank Yira Bidi

    The Rottnest Island Wadjemup Bidi Project is focused on achieving sustainable management to facilitate the following objectives:

    • Reduce human impact on the coastal dune systems
    • Rehabilitate erosion areas
    • Create opportunity to improve visitor yield and numbers
    • Create opportunity to communicate educational and sustainable management messages
    • Protect the visitor from coastal risk issues
    • Enhance visitor experience
    • Create training, employment and business opportunities

    For information on how to become a sponsor or to donate to this project, please visit www.rottnestfoundation.org.au

    Rottnest Express Sponsorship Achievements in 2015

    Last year, Rottnest Express sponsored 443 return ferry fares for volunteers from 6 Community Groups to come to Rottnest and complete tasks associated with revegetation for the walk trail project. These volunteers contributed 4940.5 hours of in-kind labour to plant 6865 trees and conduct tree guard installation & maintenance. Funds saved through utilising volunteer support and not having to pay ferry fares to get the volunteers to the Island means more money could go directly into building the Trail itself!

    Thank you to Rottnest Express for their generous support of this significant conservation initiative and also to the community groups who contribute their time to help implement the trail project. View more information regarding Rottnest Express Sponsorship Achievements in 2015.

    2016 Premier Awards

    The Rottnest Island Authority has submitted an application to receive a Premier’s Award for the Wadjemup Bidi Project, under the ‘Managing the Environment’ category. Formal notification of whether the RIA's application is shortlisted will not be received until June 2016. If shortlisted, the RIA would need to conduct a 30 minute presentation about the Wadjemup Bidi Project to a Panel of Judges in July and winners would not be notified until November. Volunteer Groups associated with the Trail project and the Rottnest Island Chamber of Commerce are in favour of our application and have submitted letters supporting the Trail project and the RIA’s nomination for this prestigious award.

    These letters can be viewed below:

    Further supporting documents:

    View more information regarding Premier Awards

    Current Project Progress

    Gabbi Karniny Bidi (The Lakes Walk) – Project Sponsor and Partner, Department of Sport & Recreation, supported by Lotterywest and Rottnest Foundation.

    The Lakes Walk starts from Thomson Bay Settlement and heads west out of Digby Drive. Elevated panoramic views can be experienced from Vlamingh Lookout located only 500m from the settlement (accessed next to the European cemetery). The walk then continues past Lake Herschel and meanders through the lake systems. Visitors are taken across the southern edge of Lake Vincent via a 110m boardwalk that provides the façade of “walking on water” having been designed to be walkable during the highest winter water levels. Following Pink Lake Road, the walk heads for Little Parakeet Bay and continues along the coastline all the way up to Bathurst Lighthouse and then ends back in the main Settlement in a looped design.

    The Lakes Walk is a Class 3 trail, suitable for most ages and fitness levels. It is 9.2 km in length and will take an average user between 2-4hrs to walk. It is particularly attractive to day visitors due to its close proximity to the main settlement.

    This project was co-funded by a successful $100,000 grant received by the Rottnest Foundation volunteer organisation, from the Department of Sport & Recreation, supported by Lotterywest. The implementation of this project was a collaborative effort between the Rottnest Island Authority, the Rottnest Foundation and other affiliated Rottnest community groups, namely, Scouts WA, Rottnest Society, Winnit Club and Conservation Volunteer Australia who volunteered 984 hours to plant 4845 trees as part of this project. Passionate Rottnest Nursery volunteers helped to propagate these trees for use on the Island.

    Ngank Yira Bidi (The Bickley Bay Walk)

    The Bickley Bay Walk opened in Dec 2013. It takes you from Thomson Bay to Oliver Hill, traversing the Defence Heritage Trail at Kingstown, the picturesque Henrietta Rocks and experiencing the diverse birdlife, migratory and resident shorebirds, of Serpentine Salt Lake. The trail is 9.4km long and should take the average user from 2 to 4 hrs. In 2014 other sections of the trail will begin to link from the existing walk taking you further to outer parts of the Island.

    You will be able to walk from Thompson Bay to Oliver Hill in the morning,  where you can partake in a highly informative guided tour of the WW2 Guns and Tunnels. Following this you could head to Salmon Bay to have your picnic lunch, then work off the sandwiches with a cross country trail to Wadjemup Lighthouse (which you may climb if the Guides are on duty). To round off the day, make your way back through the Lakes Walk to catch the amazing colours of the dipping sun on the salt lakes before a well-deserved cool drink overlooking  the stunning Thomson Bay.

    West End Boardwalk - Project Sponsor and Partner, Rottnest Foundation

    The first segment of the Rottnest Island Wadjemup Bidi, the West End Boardwalk, was completed and opened by the Minister Hon. Dr Kim Hames in February 2012. The West End is a popular site for visitors to Rottnest Island. The project aim was to remove the old boardwalk and replace it with a low maintenance, low impact, and engineered design using sustainable materials including recycled plastics. The project minimises the boardwalk’s footprint to reduce impacts on nesting shearwater birds whilst providing a recreational experience. Interpretive signage, binoculars for whale and bird watching opportunities and lookouts were installed to meet visitor expectations.

    Little Parakeet Bay – Project Sponsor and Partners, Rottnest Foundation and Department of Environment and Conservation (Department of Parks and Wildlife, as of 1st July 2013)

    The work carried out at Little Parakeet Bay was designed to reduce impacts on coastal dunes and reduce visitor risk by formalising coastal access to the bay’s 2 beaches and through rehabilitation of the surrounding sand dunes with native vegetation. This was achieved by removing the old steps, creating a new formalised access route and installing 2 new sets of stairs. These were built using composite fibre and stainless steel materials. The composite was chosen as it offers high strength, low weight, and durability, as it is not prone to corrosion, rot or shrinkage as other more traditional materials used in the construction industry. This project was completed and opened in December 2012.

    Henrietta Rocks – Project Sponsor and Partners, Coastwest, Rottnest Society and The Winnit Club

    Henrietta Rocks is a popular site due to its vistas and snorkeling opportunity that allows for the exploration of the historical shipwreck just offshore. The once informal, highly eroded access way was formalised using a series of tiered composite and stainless steel stairs; which were designed to minimise impact on the fragile surrounding dune system. The area surrounding the stairs was revegetated and water re-direction and erosion control measures were installed. Interpretative signage was installed at 2 locations, displaying information on the “Shark” Shipwreck and the surrounding ecosystem. Additional facilities were installed, including: seating, new bike racks, an enclosure for waste and recycling receptacles, and vegetation screening to enhance visitor experience. This project was completed February 2013. These projects were greatly assisted by hundreds of volunteer hours and funding from project sponsors and partners.

    Rottnest Island Wadjemup Bidi Project Information

    An exciting opportunity exists for organisations to align themselves with the development of the most significant recreational opportunity on Rottnest Island in the foreseeable future. The Rottnest Island Authority, together with the Rottnest Conservation Foundation (The Rottnest Foundation), is seeking to partner with corporations to support the funding and implementation of this benchmark project. If you are interested in becoming involved please visit The Rottnest Foundation website.

    Rottnest Express 2014 Sponsorship Achievements!

    Rottnest Island Authority & The Rottnest Foundation co-signed a sponsorship agreement with the Rottnest Express ferry service provider to sponsor volunteer ferry fares to help build the Wadjemup Bidi in 2014. Rottnest Express Sponsorship covered 365 return ferry fares which enabled 6839 hours of volunteer support from 7 different volunteer groups to help implement the Wadjemup Walk Trail project.

    Volunteers participated in seed collection, plant propagation, tree planting, revegetation maintenance, dune restoration and fencing removal as part of the Wadjemup Bidi project. Volunteer Groups that Rottnest Express Sponsorship supported in 2014 include: the Rottnest Foundation, Rottnest Society, Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA), CVA Indigenous Green Corps, ScoutsVenturer Scouts & Nursery Volunteers.

    This contribution valued at $28,105 reduced the Rottnest Island Authority’s cost of hosting volunteers to Rottnest, freeing up funds to go directly towards implementing the Wadjemup Bidi for the Island. The Rottnest Island Authority, Rottnest Foundation and associated volunteer groups greatly appreciate the support that Rottnest Express has shown to this project.

    View a quick snapshot of what the Rottnest Express 2014 sponsorship accomplished.

    More Information

    For more information on the Wadjemup Bidi and ways to contribute to the project, please visit The Rottnest Foundation website.

    The following Wadjemup Bidi Project Documents can be accessed below: