Riding the Munda Biddi Trail from the coalfields of Collie to the orchards of Donnybrook sees my ticking off a section end-to-end of the Trail. My ride of the Trail from Collie to Donnybrook in November 2013 was the final ride in my effort to complete a section end-to-end of the Munda Biddi Trail. I first road the Mundaring to Collie section back in April 2008 when that was all there was of the Trail, and then I attempted to complete the Nannup to Collie section in July 2011 but only made Donnybrook. In July 2013 I headed off again to ride from Albany to Collie but only made Donnybrook! This time I have started in Collie riding to Donnybrook; I am not letting Donnybrook jinx me again!
(Updated July 25, 2014)
Day 1 – Fremantle to Collie – The Coalfields Trailhead of the Munda Biddi Trail – November, 2013
I made use of South West Coach Lines afternoon express service from Perth to Collie via Bunbury. They took my Giant XTC 2 mountain bike on the buses for a $20.00 charge. Not sure that is warranted but given I had to load and un-load the bike myself so not much was done for my $20. Also one thing to keep in mind is that South West Coach Lines luggage bins are lower (at least on the two busses I used) than Transwa ones I have traveled on so the bike has to be laid down. Maybe keep that in mind if you plan to load/unload it with the panniers on. Anyway it is a good quick non-stop service to Bunbury. There is even wi-fi on the bus and USB recharge ports. I swapped buses at Bunbury for the run out to Collie. They held-up the Collie bus until I arrived so no dramas there if the bus from Perth is running a bit late.
In Collie I stayed at the Collie River Tourist Park in a basic cabin ($75.00) as I was not taking the tent this ride. The cab in was basic but clean and without an ensuite. The caravan park is about one kilometre out of the town centre but an easy walk or ride.
Day 2 – Collie to Nglang Boodja Campsite – Munda Biddi Trail – November, 2013
The Munda Biddi Trail Collie trailhead is in the south-east corner of Soldiers Park on Steere Street. I found the Trail easy to follow out-of-town other than I initially missed the sign to direct riders over the swing bridge. From there is the normal town riding until Mornington Road North where the Trail hits the dirt and pretty much stays on the dirt for most of the way through to Nglang Boodja Campsite.
I did miss a turn just after crossing a creek to the north of Mornington Road (shared creek crossing with the Bibbulmun Track). I turned east instead of west after crossing. Seems I was not the first going by the camp register so watch for that.
Besides that the day’s riding was trouble-free. Just lots of serious climbing and descending (zigzags) after Coalfields Road. I was making good time until Coalfields Road and then the pain kicked in and my average speed dropped back to 9.35 km/h. The day saw 1,503 metres of climbing and I rode 53 kilometres. The Trail does take on through the Collie River Valley so chances to camp a swim if one wants to take a more relaxed approach to the Trail.
I decided this ride to take a photo every hour, to give a little taste of the changing nature of the Munda Biddi Trail on this section.
Nglang Boodja Campsite is similar in design and location to Yarri Campsite to the north of Collie. The campsite sits on the side of a valley over looking a creek. There is a track down to the creek so an opportunity for a wash if there is water flowing. The hut itself sleeps about 12 comfortably and there are three tent sites plus other places to put up tents. There is even a “romantic” picnic table hidden behind the campsite. Just follow the path to the tent sites. For those who like to stay connected Nglang Boodja has reasonable Telstra Next G coverage (I had voice and Internet here).
Day 3 – Nglang Boodja Campsite to the Orchards of Donnybrook – Munda Biddi Trail – November, 2013
The terrain today without a doubt favours the southbound rider; that said there is some balancing out moments. The ride from the campsite takes you through the Wellington Mill Campground (not marked on the map) before leaving the forest for the Ferguson Valley and lots of fast downhill mixed in with a little single track (shared walk trails near Crooked Brook Forest). From Joshua Creek Road it is all bitumen and fairly flat riding until one crosses the South Western Highway for the proverbial Contiki tour into Donnybrook … mainly fire trails through scrappy bush: not inspiring at all. There is also an opportunity to take a small diversion into Boyanup. The riding from Boyanup is bitumen until one crosses the South Western Highway.
At least through to Boyanup the riding is pretty good and overall this is a quick days riding, well for me anyway. I took just under five hours to tick off the 50 kilometres today. Happy with that and with that my Munda Biddi Trail journey comes to an end.
Would I ride it again? Not in a hurry at least. To me, there are other opportunities and in honestly this is not a world-class Trail; the southern section was rushed and it seems put together more for political purposes (Regions for? Funding) than actually good mountain bike riding. Maybe in time the alignment will be improved; I hope so. It has a long way to go to catch up to the Bibbulmun Track, that is for sure.