Bikepacking the Munda Biddi Trail in WA - by Craig Jones
During October my brother Brett and I managed to get away to ride the Munda Biddi Trail in WA, which at over 1000km is billed as Australia’s premier off-road cycling trip and one of the longest of its type in the world.
The trail starts from just west of Perth and meanders south through the beautiful southern forests and farmland, interesting small towns and isolated and spectacular coast off the Southern Ocean to Albany. There is very little paved road, with around 25% of single trail and the remainder on narrow gravel roads, dirt tracks and railtrails from abandoned logging railway lines.
Having not been to that part of WA before, I was amazed how magnificent the tall jarrah and karri forests are and how lush and green the farmland is, and how cool it was even in October. It was an ideal time to go, after the winter rains and in the peak of the (spectacular) wildflower season.
We did the ride over 3 weeks with 18 days of riding averaging about 60 km a day, but with an average speed of only 12-14 km/hour. Overall, I found the ride tougher than I was expecting, given the amount of winding single trail and undulating country, despite a lack of many serious hills. The southern part of the trip is the most spectacular, with the most magnificent forests and amazing coastal scenery.
We travelled unsupported with a camping gear and a couple of days food, which made organizing very easy with no need to pre-plan each day’s trip and book accommodation. The trails generally goes through towns every 50-100 km and there is also a network of purpose built huts in the forest between the towns with a free place to sleep or camp and good drinking water. We ended up having a mix of accommodation including pubs, caravan park cabins, camping and staying in the huts.
We normally passed about 4—6 other rides each day, usually stopping for a chat. Most people were doing the full ride over 2-3 weeks. There was a wide variety of bikes and riders – with demographics ranging from the usual “older man” to couples, ladies, fast young guys travelling light on gravel bikes but also a surprising number of very capable young ladies riding alone. We also met quite a few European riders who had come to WA just for the Munda Middi.
One very useful piece of technology was the “must have” Munda Biddi App which provided amazingly good offline maps including showing current location on the map, details on towns, huts, distances, points of interest and even recommendations on bike preparation and what gear to carry etc. It made planning for the next couple of days super easy. The trail was also very well signposted with consistent trail marker arrows at all junctions or turnoffs – an impressive achievement over 1000km. Locals along the trail “adopt” their own section of trail and help with maintenance and upkeep.
Apart from some trouble with Brett’s front suspension (sorted at a bike shop on day 2) our bikes performed perfectly with not even a puncture for rest of the trip.
Looking back it was a great trip – beautiful scenery (particular the southern half) with many fond memories of the interesting people we met along the way and the great sense of community and comradery between riders. Highly recommended!
Click here to see the photos