I rode the Munda Biddi Trail from Mundaring to Collie in April 2008 with Perry. My ride of choice, was Julia, my Giant XTC 2 hardtail and I pulled Bob my BOB Ibex trailer. Perry rode his 2007 Giant XTC 2 with panniers, so this gave us a chance to compare the different set-ups. This is my reflection on the ride which I hope you find useful and encouraging. Photos from the ride can be found in the photo album.
When reading this journal please keep in mind I rode the trail in April 2008 and the Trail alignment and condition does vary, so one should use the latest maps and check the Department of Environment and Conversation website for the latest updates.
Finally, at the time of undertaking this ride, I had ~ 5,000 km of road riding experience and had virtually no mountain biking experience and limited experience touring with a mountain bike having only completed the Waterous Trail in October 2007 on Joe my 2002 Giant Boulder SE (with panniers). I found the weekend tourer of the Waterous Trail a worthwhile learning experience and I am glad I did it before taking on the Munda Biddi.
GPX Files for some sections are available for download:
- Mundaring to Carinyah – No file 🙁
- Carinyah to Wungong
- Wungong to Dandalup (GPX file)Â – Map of this section – Department of Environment Track Status
- Dandalup toÂ Bidjar Ngoulin
- Bidjar Ngoulin to Lake Brockman Caravan Park
- Lake Brockman Caravan Park to Yarri
- Yarri to Collie
Day 1: April 13, 2008 – Mundaring (Sculpture Park) to Carinyah – 45 Km (Touring Route)
On this section my moving average was 10.00 km/h and my overall time six hours. I was not able to getNext G phone coverage at the campsite.
Our first day on the Munda Biddi Trail (Trail) was off to an auspices start. A misunderstanding as to where we were meeting meant an 11:30 AM start, instead of the planned 10:00 AM start. We then missed the turning just pass Maddock Street adding a couple of extra kilometres to the day’s ride. After this it was nice easy riding to the Mundaring Weir, before we got a real taste of the Trail and what was to come on most days.
From the Weir we hit our first hard climb (a push in reality) as we pulled away from the pipeline. At the top of the climb we followed the touring route before re-joining the Trail at Hackett Road. From there it was just a “slog” battling pea gravel. We both fell a few times. Myself by the far the worst, falling at least six times on this section. This was a result of a combination of poorly set clipless pedals, gravel and a lack of skills. Perry on the other hand had a pretty clean run, only having problems with his handlebar bag. While we took longer than expected, it was, overall a good days ride and a good start to the adventure.
At Carinyah we had the pleasure of sharing the camp with a group of seniors from the Handlebar Harriers who where over from Victoria completing the Trail. A great bunch of inspiring folks, some out for their first time mountain bike touring!
Day 2: April 14, 2008 – Carinyah to Wungong – 36 Km
On this section my moving average was 9.6 km/h and my overall time five hours 15 minutes. I was not able to getNext G phone coverage at the campsite.
My first activity Monday morning was to adjust Julia’s pedals. It pays to make sure they adjusted properly! Perry also did some adjustments to his handlebar bag. All this meant we didn’t get away until 9:30 AM.
Overall an essay to medium day, with some steep descent into the Canning River. The Trail was in good condition with a lot less pea gravel to contend with. All this meant little pushing today, one fall for me and two for Perry.
We arrived at Wungong with plenty of time to get some washing done.
We enjoyed another pleasant night, sharing the camp with the Handlebar Harriers, John and a family of four who rode in from Albany Highway.
Day 3: April 15, 2008 – Wungong to Dandalup – 62 Km (Touring Route)
On this section my moving average was 10.1 km/h and my overall time eight hours and 45 minutes. I was able to getNext G phone coverage at the campsite and I believe John had 3G coverage.
Today was the first of two longer days on the Trail. We got off to a good start today, not. Muggins here misread the trail diversion map at the campsite and had us reversing the end of yesterday’s ride. Thankfully only a 1.2 km extension. Back on track, the ride from Wungong to “The Balmoral” was sweet riding.
At the Balmoral POW camp, Perry managed to break his saddle. Now, only Perry would be carrying a spare saddle! Once all was fixed, we continued our ride through to Jarrahdale where we stopped off at the general store/cafe for an early lunch. The food is nice but the service slow, re-supplying here is really not an option and is also very expensive. They do carry some bike spares (e.g., spotted a 6,7 & 8 speed chain, brake pads, and tubes).
From Jarrahdale we continued on to Dandalup campsite. This was anticipated as being a hard section, but we found it easier going than expected. Maybe taking the touring route helped here. There was lots of pea gravel and a few serious climbs (walked three times) but otherwise good riding. The first walk was on the second stage of the climb out of the Serpentine Valley (managed to ride the first stage!).
We shared the campsite with John and the “Axe Murderer”, a mystery tent camper who did not make himself known. We got our first rain overnight at the campsite. As rain was expected I chickened out of the tent, sleeping in the hut. I had forgotten why I prefer my tent!
Day 4: April 16, 2008 – Dandalup to Bidjar Ngoulin – 72 Km (Alternate Route)
On this section my moving average was 11 km/h and my overall time nine hours. I was not able to getNext G phone coverage at the campsite , but I got coverage at Dwellingup.
Wow! What a day. A watershed day fro me, yet a personal best. Longest day in the saddle mountain biking, best moving average, yet at Dwelling up I was emotionally and physically drained. Spoke to Anne, had lunch and decided to battle on to Bidjar Ngoulin. I am glad I did as this was by far the best section so far in my view.
Stepping back, myself, Perry and John left Dandalup at ~ 7:30 AM and quickly spread out with Perry and John travelling faster than me. It was clear that today was to be more of a solo ride for me with Perry enjoying/taking up the challenge of John’s pace.
The ride through to Dwellingup is not inspiring in my view, the alternate route in place due to the Oakley Dam area being closed.
Early into the touring (alternate) route I discovered I had lost a screw out of my left cleat, the one I normally release first. Once I overcame a battle with my shoe (had to release my foot from the shoe to get it off the pedal), I replaced the missing screw and got going again, the others long gone. I eventually caught John who was also having mechanical problems with his RD shifter which had decided to give up the ghost.
Reaching Dwellingup, no sign of Perry or John. Took the opportunity to phone Anne, during which Perry and John appeared outside the cafe across the road from the supermarket. Caught up with them to have lunch which was not too bad. After lunch John headed to Dwellingup Adventures who where happy to assist with a replacement shifter. Myself and Perry headed on to Bidjar Ngoulin.
I was still not physically good, feeling tingling in the legs but at least no chest pains. After awhile Perry, moved out, and I continued at my pace, pushing up the harder hills. We met up again briefly a the Lane Poole Reserve entrance and for a kilometre or so before Perry moved out again and I tackled the immediate section at a slower pace but firmly committed to riding all the climbs, which I managed to do. We re-grouped at Nanga Mill with John catching us up. John can sure hurtle along on his dualie and is a demon heading down hills.
From Nanga Mill it is all easy to the campsite, about 12 km on. It was great to see the spur trail to the campsite posted this time around.
Bidjar Ngoulin is one of the best, if not best campsites on the this section of the Munda Biddi Trail in my view, with the creek flowing even in April and with a platform on its banks, it is a magic spot.
Coped thunderstorms during the night which gave me a chance to try out the Big Sky International Evolution 1P in the rain. It performed well.
From a riding perspective, I started to feel some numbness in my left hand in the evening (palm and fingers (palm side) and weakness in my grip. Interesting I didn’t feel it whilst riding and I continued to get this feeling for about two weeks after the ride ended.
Another day free of chest paid and a personal best, albeit a watershed. What more can one ask for (beside Anne and the kids sharing the experience)? Oh also discovered Ice Tea – lemon – yummy – so refreshing. Thanks Perry!
Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite
Day 5: April 17, 2008 – Bidjar Ngoulin to Lake Brockman Tourist Park (Lake Brockman) – 35 Km
On this section my moving average was 10.2 km/h and my overall time four hours 30 minutes. I was able to getNext G phone coverage at Lake Brockman.
Another section, another day. We followed the Waterous Trail before heading south again. We stopped for lunch at the Logue Brook picnic area. Nothing special here that is for sure. We overnighted at the now closed Lake Brockman Tourist Park. The Park has closed as the lake is being converted to a drinking water source. At the time of writing the impact of this closure on the Munda Biddi is unclear.
In summary a pretty uninspiring section and one that can be easily forgotten. With hindsight I think it would have been better turning this into a long day’s riding and splitting up one of the earlier sections.
“Snow dog” at Lake Brockman Tourist Park
Day 6: April 18, 2008 – Lake Brockman Tourist Park (Lake Brockman) to Yarri Campsite – 48 Km
On this section my moving average was 10.5 km/h and my overall time five hours 10 minutes. I was not able to getNext G phone coverage at Yarri.
A very pleasant ride today, probably the second best leg in this stage of the Munda Biddi in my view. To keep true to the spirit of the ride I returned to the point on the Trail where I had left it the day before and then headed on south.
Leaving Logue Brook Dam I had my first “trailer” incident on the ride, where I nearly went over the handlebars. Bob connected with a fallen log which brought me to a complete stop. Thankfully I was hill climbing at the time so no damage to Bob or myself. My only other incident was an off in the mud later in the day, when I got a bit cocky and misjudged the route through. Thankfully it happened so slowly I had time for a swallow dive to the side therefore missing the worst of the mud!
At the time of riding this section, there where two diversions in place due to logging operations, but seeing an Echidna made up for the hassle of the diversions. Oh saw two Emus the day before as well.
From Stromlo Road the Trail follows various formations and roads through beautiful bush, which is great touring riding. All up a great section worth doing and one for the tourer more so than the single track rider.
Day 7: April 19, 2008 – Yarri Campsite to Collie – 46 Km
On this section my moving average was 9.6 km/h and my overall time four hours 45minutes. I was able to getNext G phone coverage at Collie.
This was our coldest morning start, not helped by the Trail south of Yarri being overgrown with water bush. First three or so kilometres was just cold and wet riding. My hands froze, I froze. Once I got out of the valley, it was pretty pleasant easy riding through to the outskirts of Collie.
Perry got a puncture just past the Redneck Holiday Villa, a campsite littered with beer cans and broken glass out of Collie. Once we got into Collie navigation was a bit more difficult with poor signage, but we found the trailhead eventually. Nothing inspiring that is for sure.
Once we hit town we headed up to Jimmendry’s for a well earned bacon and eggs brunch. Not a bad spot to visit for a hearty breakfast.
So ends our little sojourn on the Munda Trail from Mundaring to Collie. Would I do it again? No, limited time, other opportunities and I really don’t feel it warrants a second visit. I will however take on the next section for sure.
This gear list is splitinto two parts: the bike gear and the camping gear. The bike gear is included in this page, whereas the camping gear is more a list of my standard bushwalking gear taken on most backpacks and now MTB tours.
The bike used is a 2008 Giant XTC 2 a XC hardtail mountain bike, affectionately known as “Julia.” Julia pulled Bob, my 2008 Bob Ibex trailer which included the BOB Dry Sack. I had Julia’s tyre pressures set at 36 psi on the front and 40 psi on the rear.
- I carried four water bottles, two on Julia and two on Bob. I intend to upgrade Bob’s water bottle cages to Topeak Modula Cage XL as these will take water bottles up to 1.5 litres. I did learnt that it is important to secure the water bottles to Bob as a lost one on first day of the ride.
- Tubes: Two x 26″ for Julia plus one for Bob;
- Multi-tool, a Park MTB 3 Rescue Tool which includes a chain tool;
- Tyre levers – set of three;
- Cable ties;
- Spare brake and gear cables;
- Spare shoe cleat and screws;
- Garmin 60CSX GPSr with a Garmin bike mount.
- Carry a couple of spare spokes and a spoke tool;
- Carry spare clips for the trailer;
- Carry four spare chain links.
- Fit mudguards to the front and rear of Julia;
- Fit a handlebar bag with map case;
- Fit a decent light to Julia;
- Wear mountain bike shoes which have a decent grip.