I have been wanting to put my new Tubus Swing front rack on my Giant XTC 2 to the test and also to try out the Extrawheel Voyager behind the XTC 2 so I took the opportunity to revisit the Waterous Trail in October 2012 with rifraf from the Australian Cycling Forums. We completed the trail over two days, overnighting at the Bidjar Ngoulin campsite on the Munda Biddi Trail. In all honesty the Waterous Trail could be completed as a one day ride of about 63 km.
Day One on the Waterous Trail – Lake Navarino to Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite on the Munda Biddi Trail
As per my first ride of the Waterous Trail we drove down to Lake Navarino (we camped on the banks of the lake, not at the resort) (about two hours from Fremantle) and camped there Monday night in preparation for the ride on Tuesday. There are plenty of good camping spots at Lake Navarino with fire rings and toilets, but no picnic tables or one can opt for a touch more luxury at the resort.
On the Tuesday we left Lake Navarino heading in a anti-clockwise direction around the Waterous Trail. Not much has changed since my first ride other than the track being a bit more overgrown, a lot of trees down across the single-track section between Waterous and where the Waterous Trail joins the Munda Biddi Trail and a diversion in place due to Alcoa mining operations. The diversion takes the Trail down Nanga Road a bit before cutting across to join the King Jarrah Form and the Munda Biddi Trail just to the south of the Bidjar Ngoulin campsite. The Waterous “stop” on the Waterous Trail is still there, providing a toilet albeit one in need of some tender loving care and a picnic table in the middle of nowhere.
The only downside with this section, which has some fun single-track is the number of trees down across the Trail meaning one had to stop and portage the bike and trailer. I reckon we did this at least 10 times which really disrupted the flow of the ride and diminished the ride experience. It seems that the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) hasn’t been out for a year or two to check the Trail which is disappointing.
Other than the climb Scarp Road climb (average 14.1 % grade over 900 metres of climb) the ride through to Bidjar Ngoulin campsite is a fairly easy ride, one good for those wishing to get a taste of bikepacking for example.
Total riding for the day was 30 km in a time three hours averaging 9.7 kilometres per hour.
Camping at Bidjar Ngoulin campsite – Munda Biddi Trail
Bidjar Ngoulin campsite on the Munda Biddi Trail is one of the nicest campsites and it was good to see it in good condition. Just remember to bring your own loo paper and keep in mind that there is no mobile phone reception here.
Day Two on the Waterous Trail – Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite on the Munda Biddi Trail to Lake Navarino
The next day saw us break camp around 8:30 AM for the leisurely ride through to Nanga Mill and on back to Lake Navarino including passing the Waroona Dam. The riding today is again easy with the first section completing the descent to Nanga Mill camping area and the Murray River.
It then toughens up for a moment for the lovely climb up Nanga Road (average 7.2% grade over 1.8 km with a nice dose of pea gravel to ensure the back wheel spins sweetly ). Much to my frustration I had to walk the last 50 metres failing short of my objective of riding the hill. Still it is an improvement on my last effort which had me walking 250 metres.
From the top of the Nanga Road hill the Waterous Trail drops out on to the bitumen for a fair bit before again becoming single-track for the last dash to the dam. During this section I had my only fall for the ride, just catching the sight of a blue sign on a bit of single track off to the right which I tried to catch; of course the front slide out in the pea gravel. No damage to me or the bike thankfully. From here we came to a three cornered intersection sans a trail marker and I made the wrong call going left when we should have gone right. Not a big issue but it added about 1.5 kilometres to the ride. Something to watch for in case DEC don’t sort it.
From Waroona Dam the reminder of the ride is back on the bitumen.
Overall once the Nanga Road climb is over the Waterous Trail really looses it appeal along this section. In hindsight I think riding it clockwise might be more fun. Something for next time. That said, the section from Bidjar Ngoulin campsite to Nanga Mill campsite on the Munda Biddi Trail is differently a nice bit of muddy clay “road” to play on … time to hammer it here
Total riding for the day was 34 km in a time of four hours averaging 11.6 kilometres per hour. Overall we rode 64 kilometres in seven hours.
Your Turn To Talk About the Waterous Trail
I hope you found this ride report of the Waterous Trail a good read. Please do share your thoughts on Waterous Trail or this section of the Munda Biddi Trail with the rest of us by leaving a comment below How have you found the Waterous Trail? Have questions about riding this Trail? Leave a comment below.