Location: Frenchman Bay
Distance: 1.8km loop
Trail Marker: Unmarked but easy to follow
Duration: 1 - 2 hours
Cost: $0, free entry
Toilet Facilities: Yes
Dog Friendly: Yes
Date Hiked: 18th June 2019
I stumbled across this trail by accident as I stopped in a parking bay on Vancouver Rd in Frenchman Bay to have a look at the lookout, having absolutely no idea that it was linked to a trail. With a bush type setting overlooking coastal views I grabbed the camera and water bottle and began a new adventure, a little excited at my new found discovery. It seems to have been a community centenary project trail from 2001 in partnership with the City of Albany, Frenchman Bay Association and Waters and Rivers Commission.
Making my way along the track, interpretive signage provided an insight into the discovery of the area, telling the tale of Capt George Vancouver accompanied by Whidby and Archibald Menzies who rowed towards 'the second sandy beach on the southern side of the sound' as described in his log. It didn't take long for Vancouver to start mapping and naming the features of the land and water around him after his arrival. The Sound itself he named in honour of His Majesty King George III. The two islands guarding the entrance to the Sound were named, one 'Breaksea' and the other to commemorate the day of discovery 'Michaelmas'. With the sound chartered, and it's features named, Capt George Vancouver left notes of his visit sealed in two bottles, one which he left in a cairn at Point Possession, the other containing a similar memorandum was likewise deposited on the top of Seal Island with a staff erected to conduct any visitor to it; on which was fixed a medal of the year 1789. On October 11th, fourteen days after his arrival, he sailed away eastward to continue his exploration on the far western coasts of North America. Following his departure the peace of the harbours did not last long. Once discovered, King George Sound was visited by white men more and more frequently.
The trail heads right down to the beach passing by the back end of homes winding down via steps and narrow trails. The first glimpse of those beautiful turquoise waters, granite rocks and white sand is nothing short of beautiful. POints of interest include the Wreck of the "Elvie", Vancouver Spring and the Ruins of Norwegian Whaling Station. From the beach I made my way up some stairs, through a fire break, and follows the power-lines back to the start. There are some more interpretive signs telling the tail of the Wreck of the Elvie and a lookout platform is provided for those wanting to take in the views a little more with a short trail leading past to the edge of the ridge. I passed a few other interpretative signage, one telling how King George Sound was visited one year later by the biggest and most adequately equipped scientific expedition yet mounted to explore the Australian coasts. A survey sketch made by Louis de Freycinet shows watering streams used by Nicholas Baudin and other visitors to replenish their ships fresh water tanks.