• Grose Valley (NSW) - Acacia Flats to Blackheath

    July 10, 2019
  • Badjirrajirra Trail (Cape Range National Park)

    September 30, 2018
  • Frenchmans Cap (TAS) - Lake Vera to Lake Tahune

    December 22, 2018
  • Mokine Walk GPS Route (Mokine Nature Reserve)

    May 5, 2019
  • Tarn Shelf Circuit (Mount Field National Park)

    April 22, 2018
  • Plateau Loop Trail (Coalseam Conservation Park)

    September 28, 2018
  • Snorkeling the Ningaloo Reef (Ningaloo Marine Park)

    October 3, 2018
  • Le Grand Coastal Trail (Cape Le Grand National Park)

    April 21, 2019
  • Werribee Gorge Circuit Walk (Werribee Gorge State Park)

    March 23, 2019
  • Hakea Trail (WA) - Hamersley Inlet to Quoin Head

    April 23, 2019

Recent Articles

Monday, 12 December 2022


Readers of the Long Way's Better will likely have noticed a significant reduction in the frequency of posts over the last couple of years, and it has now been over half a year since I last posted a new trail write up to the blog, with that post itself being a long overdue write up about a walk I did two years earlier in the before times. While this was not something that happened by choice, the time away has afforded me a lot of space to think about the blog, what hiking means to me and re-evaluate what I want out of it. 

While the pandemic years limited my options, I feel like I really made the most of 2020. The relative freedoms afforded to us in the COVID-free 'island within an island' that was Western Australia may have seen my hiking opportunities limited to a state I've explored extensively, but I found new ground by switching to bikepacking the Munda Biddi Trail. Breaking it up into pieces to last most of 2020, it may not have had the breadth and depth of 2018 (my greatest year of adventure), but the newness of bikepacking and seeing familiar landscapes from a different perspective made it an exciting and fulfilling year. 

I can't say the same about 2021. In July, Alissa and I could see the slow train wreck that was the Delta outbreak unfolding, and tearfully had to cancel a Thorsborne Trail trip we've been trying to do every year since 2017 just a week out from departure after a lockdown was declared. Having put aside September for non-hiking reasons (more on that later), our next planned trip was for the Christmas holidays. 

Obligated by Alissa's employment as a school teacher to always travel during school holidays, the weeks leading to our planned departure on Christmas Day was an even more sickening slow motion disaster as we watched other state borders open, Omicron cases explode and the border conditions with WA worsen. Just three days before Christmas we had to make the painful decision to cancel a holiday Alissa and I had booked to celebrate ten years together, which was meant to include the Three Capes Track, Freycinet Circuit, and an anniversary present with a stay at Freycinet Lodge. 

At least with the July holiday, Alissa and I were able to find an alternative in the form of Electric Bikepacking the Southern Forests. While I generally love life here on the west coast, being stuck in Perth during what was a hellishly hot Summer meant there would be no hiking or biking alternative. As much as I agreed with the measures taken by the WA Government for the safety of the state's residents, I felt frustrated being stuck in a place with weather that is downright hostile to hiking during the Summer months, and I felt envious of friends and other hikers who were not tied to school holidays and thus did not have COVID fuck up their 2021 plans. And I felt particularly upset knowing that life circumstances meant we could not simply postpone our plans to 2022, with some aspects of our trip being a moment in our life that had now passed Alissa and I by. If 2018 was my greatest year of adventure, 2021 was it's antithesis. 

Of course, I know how lucky we have been in Australia. Western Australia in particular. Our experience of the pandemic was not the horror show of case numbers so high that people died waiting for ventilators, and we had the great fortune of a generally bipartisan respect for the medical advice that saved countless lives while we waited for the vaccines to be developed. But certainly the mental toll had an impact, and it took me quite a while to acknowledge how much the second half of 2021 had affected my mental health. 

Not being able to travel obviously entailed a curtailing of blog writing out of literally having nothing to write about, and I feel like the complete loss of momentum meant that I needed to either call an end to The Long Way's Better or make some serious changes if it was going to continue. Not writing for so long has given me the opportunity to ask myself many questions that I don't think I ever fully interrogated.  What do I want out of a hike? And what do I see as the purpose and future of the Long Way's Better?

The Bibbulmun Track is my hiking origin story, with my first serious hike being walking the section from Walpole to Denmark in 2003. While I consider long, multi-week trails like a thru-hike of the Bibbulmun Track a different genre of trail, the section hike served as the blueprint for the type of hiking I love the most - a multi-day destination hike of less than 8 days through spectacular scenery. To this day, the most pleasure I get hiking is when I get to walk a great multi-day trail in the 3-8 day range. I have no preference for scenery type; if I have a week of leave and I can go complete a 4-5 day hike or if over our Christmas break Alissa and I can use the extended time to either do a couple of shorter multi-day hikes or a longer 8 day stretch, those are the weeks I look forward to all year.

Which is not to say a great day walk can't be almost as satisfying, but I've always felt the fact they are generally easier to make means there are a lot more day walks of a mediocre nature that are less about the extraordinary and more about the everyday. There are certainly plenty of boring, unworthy multi-day walks too, but generally speaking, there are probably more day walks of an uninspiring nature than there are multi-days. Some people hike and see the scenery as a bonus, for some it is all about the challenge. For me the aesthetics are the primary draw; if it is not magnificent I don't see the point.

Which brings me to the purpose and future of the Long Way's Better. I started The Long Way's Better with the purpose of 'providing a photographic narrative of each of the trails we walk, while also giving a detailed breakdown of the track's grading under the Australian Walking Track Grading System'. The goal has always been to give people a realistic sense of what to expect on a trail, for better or worse. 

If the 2021 experience taught me anything, it is the value of my time, and I want to concentrate my efforts on the things that actually make me happy and are satisfying. Too often I've written up trails that I've thought were not worthy of anyone's time for the sake of creating content for the constant pipeline of relevancy and the 'encyclopedia' approach of being a go-to guide for trails. There is of course merit to that approach, but as a result I felt the blog was at times heading away from the type of hiking I actually wanted to do. 

Even before COVID I was finding the process burdensome. Even though I keep it 100 and I'm pretty honest in my appraisals of poor quality trails, I nevertheless felt like a fraud platforming a new write up of a mediocre trail in Perth hoping to get some page views when the average hiker was probably better off just sticking to the 5-8 great day walks in the Perth area (plus an additional handful of good ones with minor flaws) and just doing Eagle View or Kitty's Gorge for the 10th time rather than wasting their time on the bogan rubbish tip that is the Channel 10 Tower Walk or the burnt, scrappy Jarrah of the Carmel Walk just to do a 'new' walk. I actually have a few walks and rides that I've completed and photographed in the last two years that I will never be writing up, as I'm done with writing just to produce content. 

Beyond personal preference, on a practical level I just don't have the time for that anymore. You see, since 2018 Alissa and I have been trying for a baby. When I said earlier we put aside September 2021 for non-hiking purposes, it was because during that month we went through IVF, and we are very fortunate to have welcomed our son Miles into our family this past June. This is why we couldn't simply postpone our 2021 plans to 2022, and while having Miles has brought Alissa and I immense joy, the fact is it changes a lot about how and when we will be 
doing certain trips and how we live our day to day lives. 

Having a child really crystallised many thoughts I've had about the Long Way's Better; how can I spend nights during the week racing to quickly turnaround a subpar walk into a blog post I don't really care about when I should (and would prefer) to spend time with my family? I don't want to burden Miles or Alissa with having to spend weekends doing some obscure, unspectacular walk I'm doing out of a misguided obligation to review it when we could spend that time doing fun and enjoyable things together. Like any parent, I want to give Miles the world, and part of that is creating fun hiking and outdoors experiences as part of his childhood memories. 

So going forward, I will no longer be writing heaps of posts for the content mill. The encyclopedia approach is over. Instead, the Long Way's Better will really focus on being about destination trails and will be released in a more manageable 3-4 themed 'seasons' a year, either focusing on the very best day walks in a particular region or a multi-day walk that is worthy of being a hiking holiday. So I'm not chasing my tail, each season will be released in the next year, so I will have an average of nine months to put it together; ample time to work around the unpredictably busy schedule of my day job as a transport consultant and my duties as a father. When I'm not working towards one of that years' series, I'm gonna leave a lot of adventures and hikes unwritten too so I can just do Kitty's Gorge for the 10th time and be present in the enjoyable experience. 

And excitingly, a planned Munda Biddi End to End documentary (which I had to unfortunately postpone for two years due to being too ambitious for Alissa to be running support for with a newborn) has kickstarted the most significant upcoming change The Long Way's Better has ever undertaken. As of 2023, The Long Way's Better will transition to a channel on YouTube; some readers would have already seen a taste of this with the Bald Head video that was released to coincide with the reopening of the recently upgraded Bald Head Walk Trail in Torndirrup National Park. You can see that video below:

All-nighters editing experimental films and losing hours of work due to computer crashes for my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree had made me very hesitant to return to video (even though I do actually have an IMDB credit as an editor for an independent short film), however technology has really improved in stability, quality and price since my uni days in the mid 2000s, and having shot the first two seasons of episodes I'm really excited to share the results. 

Some videos will be redos of blog favourites, which I was feeling might be due a refresh anyway given the earliest blog posts are from 2015 and in some cases the walks have changed drastically, however it will also include new trails that have never appeared in the pages of The Long Way's Better. Each season will be tight and focused on trails that I think are really great/enjoyable rather than trying to cover too much ground for the sake of content. While the channel will be the main focus, the blog will continue in some form, likely focusing on overviews and guides to trails and as supporting documentation for the videos for those who want further information. 

I'm pleased to announce that Season 1 is due out in April 2023. Going back to basics, it is titled Day Walks of the Perth Outdoors and will focus on eight on the best day walk trails in the Perth region, while the eight episode second season (due out in June 2023) will focus on Days Walks of the Great Southern. A third season focusing on a multi-day trail will round out the three season run for 2023, but having not yet been filmed and having the COVID experience of trip cancellations, I'm hesitant to go too far into the details.

I want to thank everyone who has read the Long Way's Better for all these years. It means a lot to know that something I've written on my humble blog has inspired someone to go out for their own adventures, and I look forward to sharing this next phase of the Long Way's Better journey with you.

Monday, 11 April 2022

Tongariro Northern Circuit (NZ) - Waihohonu to Whakapapa

The final day of the Tongariro Northern Circuit, the final day takes walkers from Waihohonu to Whakapapa Leaving Waihohonu Hut, the track follows a series of streams and watercourses through open plains and heathlands with views of Mts Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. Wide side trips to the Tama Lakes and Taranaki Falls, this is a fittingly enjoyable and scenic conclusion to one of New Zealand's most famous Great Walks

Monday, 28 March 2022

Yaberoo Budjara Heritage Trail (Neerabup & Yanchep NPs)

A dual use trail, the Yaberoo Budjara Heritage Trail explores a narrow corridor of remnant bushland in Perth's north. Starting at Lake Joondalup, the trail initially follows paved paths before entering wilder trails through heathlands and bush. Continuing northwards, the trail reaches its destination on the shores of Loch McNess in Yanchep National Park. A mixed trail with some excellent sections let down by some uninspired riding in its third quarter

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Port to Point Trail (City of Albany)


A 24 kilometre return ride in the City of Albany, the Port to Point Trail takes riders from Albany Port to Emu Point. Heading along the granite-dominated coastline, the trail has spectacular views of King George Sound, the Vancouver and Flinders Peninsula and the Point King Lighthouse on the way to Middleton Beach. Continuing on, the trail finishes at the popular Emu Point at Oyster Harbour. A fun, easy cycle perfect for the whole family

Sunday, 13 March 2022

Harewood Forest Walk Trail (Harewood Forest Conservation Area)


A short 2.8 kilometre loop in Harewood Forest Conservation Area, the upgraded Harewood Forest Walk explores a stretch of forest along the Scotsdale Brook. Starting on Scotsdale Rd, the trail crosses a bridge and follows a well formed track along the brook, before rising up the hill to explore the higher reaches of the Karri forest. A brief but faultlessly constructed loop, this is a fantastic family and dog friendly forest walk

Sunday, 6 February 2022

10 South Coast Alternatives to the Bald Head Walk Trail

The Bald Head Walk Trail in Albany's Torndirrup National Park explores the rugged and wild Flinders Peninsula, and is easily one of Western Australia's best coastal day walks. While it was once one of the South-West's best kept secrets, recent increases in numbers has stood as a testament to the trail's spectacular beauty, but has also put greater pressures on the trail itself. This has resulted in severe erosion and blowouts, particularly along the trail's second half.

From February 2022, the Bald Head Walk Trail will be closed for maintenance works and upgrades to address these environmental issues. The works will include the installation of some boardwalks similar to that found on the similarly popular Royal Coastal Track in New South Wales as well as revegetation. More information can be found at Trails WA's Projects website, however the closure is expected to be in place until August 2022.

With the trail closed for half the year (and potentially longer), here's a list of alternative coastal walks in along WA's South Coast that are well worth checking out.

Near Albany

Already booked a trip to Albany? No problem, there are many excellent options in the Albany area:

Peak Head Walk Trail (Torndirrup National Park)

Bald Head's nearby neighbour in Torndirrup National Park, the Peak Head Walk Trail explores the national park's southernmost point. Starting at Stony Hill, the trail descends steeply through heath before rising up the summit of Peak Head itself. With spectacular wildflower blooms in late Spring and breathtaking coastal scenery, this offers a similarly rugged experience in a shorter package. Read More.

Point Possession Heritage Trail (Quaranup)

Another nearby neighbour to Bald Head, The Point Possession Heritage Trail leads walkers to the northernmost point of the Vancouver Peninsula. Passing through heathlands, the trail features two short beach walks and features the historical Point Possession where Captain Vancouver claimed the west coast of Australia for Britain. With interesting granite headlands and the particularly lovely Barker Bay, this is an easier alternative to the Bald Head Trail - and is dog friendly too! Read More. 

Torbay Head and West Cape Howe (West Cape Howe National Park)

For experienced and self-reliant walkers looking to get off the beaten track, the wild West Cape Howe National Park is a must do. This route follows a mix of walking and vehicle tracks and explores the wild coastline of Western Australia's southernmost promontory. Starting at Shelley Beach, the track heads deep into the park to explore Torbay Head - the southernmost point of the state - and the stunning sea cliffs of West Cape Howe itself. Let down by sandy 4WD track walking, the spectacular scenery makes it worth the effort. Read more.

Baie Des Deux Peuples Heritage Trail (Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve)

Located half an hour east of Albany in Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, the Baie Des Deux Peuples Heritage Trail explores a series of beaches that regularly feature on shortlists for the most beautiful beaches in Australia. Starting at the visitor's centre, the trail provides excellent views along the coastal ridge of Two Peoples Bay before follow the wild, rocky coast to the stunning Little Beach and Waterfall Beach. An excellent shorter walk with surprisingly wild views. Read more. 

Bibbulmun Track

Albany serves as the Southern Terminus for the Bibbulmun Track, and there are great day and overnight sections along the Denmark to Albany stretch of the track. With a car shuffle, Cosy Corner to the Sandpatch car park features a walk under the turbines of the iconic Albany Wind Farm, or for those with more time why not stay overnight at Sandpatch campsite to either walk back to Cosy Corner or the rest of the way to the Southern Terminus in Albany? Read More about Cosy Corner to Sandpatch and the Bibbulmun Track.

Fitzgerald River, Cape Le Grand and Cape Arid

Looking to stretch out a bit further and explore the wild South Coast east of Albany? Fitzgerald River, Cape Le Grand and Cape Arid offer hiking trails to rival the best that Albany has to offer. 

Point Ann Heritage Trail (Fitzgerald River National Park)

A very short but enjoyable 1km walk in Fitzgerald River National Park, the Point Ann Heritage Trail explores the landscape of Point Ann while engaging with its heritage values. Starting at the Point Ann car park, the trail passes by a section of the infamous Rabbit Proof Fence before heading back along Point Charles Bay taking in spectacular coastal views. Featuring wildflowers blooms in Springtime, this short trail is well worth checking out in spite of its meagre length, but let's face it 1 km isn't a complete replacement for Bald Head. Given its short length, it can easily be done in the same day as a walk up to the summit of wildflower-filled West Mt Barren which also features spectacular coastal views. Read More about Point Ann and West Mt Barren.

Mamang Trail (Fitzgerald River National Park)

A long day walk or an easy overnight, the Mamang Trail explores the western side of the park and leads to Fitzgerald River itself. Along the way, the trail features outstanding walking along bleach white sand beaches that would give the more famous Cape Le Grand National Park a run for its money. Heading inland through heath, the trail provides exceptional views of the park's lake system and features beautiful wildflowers during wildflower season. Read more about the Mamang Trail and overnight hikes in Fitzgerald River National Park.

Hakea Trail (Fitzgerald River National Park)

Considered one of Western Australia's Top Trails by Trails WA, the Hakea Trail is the longest trail in Fitzgerald River National Park, and provides a grand tour of the stunning coastline on the park's eastern side. From its eastern trailhead at Cave Point to its western terminus at Quoin Head, the trail explores the rugged beaches and coastal cliffs that dominate this side of the park, and it features one particularly awe-inspiring kilometre of coastal walking that has to be seen to be believed. Add to it an exceptional quality hut and water tanks at Whalebone Creek and you can see why this is one of the state's premier hiking trails. Read more about the Hakea Trail and overnight hikes in Fitzgerald River National Park.

Le Grand Coastal Trail (Cape Le Grand National Park)

If there is a coastal trail in WA that is even greater than Bald Head, this would be it. One of Western Australia's greatest day walks, the Le Grand Coastal Trail is a suitably grand tour of the spectacular coastline in Cape Le Grand National Park. Starting at Rossiter Bay, the trail alternates between rugged, granite headlands and some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia. A truly outstanding bushwalk, this is a must do in spite of the somewhat challenging logistics as a long there and back trail. Read More.

Tagon Coastal Trail (Cape Arid National Park)

An excellent coastal walk in Cape Arid National Park, the Tagon Coastal trail explores the coastline between Thomas River and Tagon Point. Starting at the sands of Yokinup Bay, the trail winds its way over dramatic granite headlands and sandy beaches as it makes it way south-west to the dramatic view of Tagon Point. With rugged walking and views of the wild Southern Ocean, this is an outstanding trail worth the detour if in the area. Read More. 

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Yonga Trail (Lesueur National Park)

An overnight or long day walk in Lesueur National Park, the Yonga Trail explores offers an extended exploration of Lesueur's varied landscapes. Starting near Mt Lesueur, the trail leaves the shorter day walks to explore a mix of Wandoo Woodlands, sandy open heathlands and the heath covered laterite ridges. Featuring a lovely campsite halfway, the Yonga Trail is well worth exploring during the wildflower season