If you’re going on one of our urban trails, then these tips won’t all apply - but they will help you to prepare for a day out or extended trip on our nature trails.
Trail users heading out on any of the long-distance trails are requested to contact the local Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) offices for current Track conditions. This is especially important if you are planning to walk in a group or are undertaking a long journey. Local DPaW Rangers have the most up-to-date information on Track conditions, which you may need to know about.
If you're venturing out overnight or longer we highly recommend you get in touch with the 'friends' group associated with the trail for some trip planning advice.
Western Australia’s weather conditions can change quite rapidly so always check local conditions and plan ahead.
What to Take:
Daypack with comfortable shoulder straps (with hip belt preferably) containing:
Group A (Urban trails or short trails near facilities)
- Full large water bottle per person.
- Sun hat or bike helmet (compulsory in WA).
- Sunglasses, sunscreen (30+) and insect repellant.
- Clothes to suit the activity and potential weather conditions (See suggestions below).
- Binoculars and camera (optional).
Group B (Bushwalks and/or longer trails)
- Group A items plus
- Plenty of drinking water (minimum 2 litres per person per day, 3 litres per day in hot weather and longer day walks).
- Compass, pen and paper.
- Map and guide book where suggested.
- Trail Mix to keep your energy levels up on longer walks. Try different combinations of nuts, dried fruit, seeds, chocolate and jellybeans.
- Your lunch if you are going for a longer day.
- Plastic bag to remove all your rubbish.
- Reference material such as wildflower and bird spotting books.
- Whistle (for emergencies, six short blasts per minute).
- Pocket knife (useful for cutting cheese at lunch time!).
- Small plastic trowel for toilet emergencies, affectionately known as ‘Doug’, and a few sheets of toilet tissue in a small plastic bag.
- Medical kit with: heavy crepe bandage (for sprains and snake bite), antiseptic lotion, insect repellent (non aerosol), personal medication (including pain killers), blister kit and fixomull.
For multi-day walks or rides
Group C (Mountain bike trails)
- Group A and B items plus
- A good quality helmet is legally necessary.
- Spare inner tubes or puncture repair kit, pump, tool kit.
- Mountain bike shoes and clipless pedals are recommended.
Group D (Drive trails)
- Research your trip well in advance. Good preparation is essential as distances in Western Australia are huge and facilities are limited. Visit the website associated with each drive trail for in-depth travel information.
- Carry maps, spare parts, a first aid kit and plenty of food and water to last your journey
- Visit the Travelling in Outback Western Australia website for information regarding travelling in the Outback. Permits may need to be arranged in advance to enter into some areas which are on private property.
Group E (Trail bike trails)
- Full faced helmet.
- Full protective riding jacket, pants, gloves and boots etc.
- Plenty of water and energy foods to last your trip.
- Tools, spare parts, mobile phone and first aid kit.
- Read the 'safety on the trail' and 'trail etiquette' sections below.
Group F (Paddling trails)
- Full large water bottle per person.
- Sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen (30+).
- Clothes to suit the activity and potential weather conditions.
- Lifejacket or flotation device.
- Leg or paddle leash if paddling in the ocean.
NOTE: The above lists are for general information only and are not intended as advice and must not be relied upon as such. You should make your own inquiries and seek independent and/or alternative advice prior to undertaking your trail journey.
What to Wear
- Strong shoes or boots with ankle support.
- Long socks or gaiters help prevent scratches and keep sand out of shoes, they also help protect against the risk of snake bite.
- Hat with wide brim.
- Loose fitting, breathable fabrics.
- Fly veil in summer.
- Some walkers find two pairs of socks (thick outer, thin inner) helps to prevent blisters.
- Beanie and gloves if it’s cold.
- Extra clothing including a water/windproof jacket, (even if it’s a clear day). This can also keep you warm if it turns cooler.
- Using a walking stick will reduce the chance of injury from stumbles and also give your upper body a work out as well as your legs!
- Cycling shorts and tops (optional).
- Gloves all year round to prevent blisters.
- Mountain bike cycling shoes and clipless pedals are recommended.
- Long pants such as jodhpurs.
- Safety helmet.
- Don’t forget rugs for horses in winter!
Safety on the Trail
- Tell someone at home (or the Ranger) exactly where you are going and what time you expect to be back.
- Notify them of your safe return.
- Make sure your water is easy to access and drink regularly to prevent headaches and dehydration.
- On longer or gorge trails, check weather and track conditions before going and take a map.
- If you are lost retrace your route to the last trail marker.
- Don’t drink untreated water from streams, pools or water tanks. Always treat ‘wild’ water by boiling or using a water treatment device.
- Don’t go alone! Have a least four people in your group so if an incident occurs two can go for help and one can remain with the injured person.
- Don’t overestimate your abilities. Choose a trail suitable for the least fit or youngest member of your group.
To avoid blisters always stop when you feel a ‘hot spot’. If the blister hasn’t formed, cover the area with a big piece of fixomull (available on a roll from pharmacists). If the blister has formed, use a blister kit (also available from pharmacists). Avoid using band-aids as these can make the blister worse by rolling up at the edges and rubbing the area.
Your first aid kit should contain the following basic essentials:
- Antiseptic cream
- Antiseptic swabs
- Band AidsTM
- Butterfly wound closures
- Dressings (sterile)
- Elastic bandage for sprains and snake-bite treatment
- Paracetamol or other suitable pain killer
International Mountain Bike Association Rules of the Trail
The way we ride today shapes mountain bike trail access tomorrow. Do your part to preserve and enhance our sport's access and image by observing the following rules of the trail, formulated by IMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association.
These rules are recognised around the world as the standard code of conduct for mountain bikers. IMBA's mission is to promote mountain bicycling that is environmentally sound and socially responsible.
- Ride On Open Trails Only
Respect trail and road closures (ask if uncertain); avoid trespassing on private land; obtain permits or other authorisation as may be required. The way you ride will influence trail management decisions and policies.
- Leave No Trace
Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Recognise different types of soils and trail construction; practice low-impact cycling. Wet and muddy trails are more Vulnerable to damage. When the trailbed is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don't cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.
- Control Your Bicycle!
Inattention for even a second can cause problems. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations.
- Always Yield Trail
Let your fellow trail users know you're coming. A friendly greeting or bell is considerate and works well; don't startle others. Show your respect when passing by slowing to a walking pace or even stopping. Anticipate other trail users around corners or in blind spots. Yielding means slow down, establish communication, be prepared to stop if necessary and pass safely.
- Never Scare Animals
All animals are startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement, or a loud noise. This can be dangerous for you, others, and the animals. Give animals extra room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Disturbing wildlife is a serious offense. Leave gates as you found them, or as marked.
- Plan Ahead
Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding -- and prepare accordingly. Be self-sufficient at all times, keep your equipment in good repair, and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. A well-executed trip is a satisfaction to you and not a burden to others. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear. Keep trails open by setting a good example of environmentally sound and socially responsible off-road cycling.
Cycling on the Road
Standard Road Rules
Most rules applying to car drivers also apply to cyclists riding on a road. A full list of these can be found in the Road Traffic Act 1974, Road Traffic Code 2000 and Road Traffic (Bicycles) Regulations 2000.
There are a few rules that only apply to cyclists and not other road users.
Road rules applying only to cyclists
- Must have at least one hand on the handlebars while in motion.
- Must wear an approved helmet while in motion (unless exempted).
- Must not ride within two metres of the rear of a motor vehicle, over a distance of more than 200 metres.
- Must not hold onto another moving vehicle or be towed by it.
- Must not ride a bicycle on a freeway or other road that has designated restrictions that prohibit riding.
- Must not be more than two bicycles abreast on a road. When riding abreast, the two bicycles must be no more than 1.5 metres apart.
- Must use the correct hand signals to turn left or right, and to stop.
- Can use the left lane of a roundabout when turning right, provided he or she gives way to all exiting traffic.
- Must not ride in a pedestrian mall.
- Cannot overtake on the left side of a motor vehicle if that motor vehicle is moving and indicating to turn left.
Trail Bike Riding Guidelines from the RTRA (Recreational Trail Bike Riders Assocation)
It's important to recognise the rights of other land users, including people who live near riding areas, bushwalkers, mountain bike riders, picnickers, horse riders and conservationists.
We already have an image problem, so we all need to be ambassadors for our sport.
Responsible Riding Guidelines
- Be aware of the laws and regulations relating to Off Road Vehicles and registration requirements.
- Wear appropriate protective gear at all times.
- Respect the environment. Stick to formed tracks and avoid sensitive areas such as wetlands and vegetated dunes. Treat native wildlife with respect.
- Don't ride when or where conditions are such that it will severely damage tracks, typically in wet or boggy conditions.
- Stay off designated walk and cycle tracks such as the Munda Biddi Trail and Bibbulmun Track. Trail bike tyres can damage these trails even if ridden gently and volunteers put in hundreds of hours to maintain them.
- Be considerate of other users of the bush. Keep to the left-hand side of any track and give way to horse riders, walkers and cyclists. When approaching horses on a track it is always best to pull over and cut your engine until the horse and rider has passed. Be courteous when talking to walkers - cut your engine and remove your helmet.
- Ride quietly and slowly through car park / unloading areas and past general recreational areas such as camping and picnic spots. Don't create unnecessary noise or dust.
- Ride at a sensible speed taking into account all the circumstances. Always ride in control with sufficient allowance for unexpected events such as fallen trees, rocks and other trails users.
- Ensure that any children riding with you are properly supervised at all times.
- Keep the noise down. If you have to take your baffles out to go faster learn to ride better instead! Avoid riding near residential areas early in the morning (especially Sundays!) and late at night. When passing properties along fence lines button off the gas and cruise through quietly. Remember: "Less sound, more ground!".
- Obtain permission from the relevant landholder before riding or camping on private land. Take extra care not to scare any livestock and leave gates as you found them.
- Don't wear a single line rut through drainage structures such as erosion control banks.
- Keep the environment clean. Take out what you take in and if possible do a little cleaning up while you're there.
- Ride gently on maintained gravel roads - try to avoid breaking traction when accelerating, braking and cornering. Power slides and roosting cut up these roads, which annoys the locals who use them and the councils who have to maintain them.
Above all, never do anything that would give a reasonable person grounds for complaint!
Up-to-date Conditions and Closures
Check the latest Track Conditions and park or road closures at the Department of Parks and Wildlife website.