Trip Planning

I highly recommend you use the official Munda Biddi maps when riding the Trail- they contain far more info than the gpx files you can get from my website or the Net. The maps are available at many bike shops, visitors centres in towns along the route, or  DPaW (https://shop.dpaw.wa.gov.au/maps/tracks-and-trails ). As of August 2016, they are not available from the Munda Biddi Trail Foundation.  They are made of a shower proof material that is virtually rip proof.

My website is aimed at providing a more detailed trail guide than the maps alone provide as well as all essential information on what to take, when to ride, what you will see and lots of historical info to help you research your ride. Research your ride at home on your computer, before you leave. You can use my route sheet summaries and gpx files on your smart phone to compliment the Munda Biddi maps and Trail markers while riding - See Using my Route Sheets here.

If you want GPS back up, see the separate article here. I can provide GPX files to convert your smart phone into a GPS, but there are several things you need to know. Please read the article.

Planning your ride

Munda Biddi Trail riders seem to fall into two groups. The first is the "light and fast" riders who use expensive, ultra light gear in their bike packing equipment, and will often "double hut" (riding double the suggested daily distance), with daily rides reaching 100km. The larger group is the riders who use more spacious panniers or trailers on their bike, use ordinary camping gear, carry extra items that keeps them comfortable when in the huts and tend to ride the recommended daily distance of 30-40km. They are also out to enjoy the experience of the ride, rather than just complete it.  I would call these riders "comfortable and steady" - I think "heavy and slow" is a bit offensive! I consider myself a  "comfortable and steady" rider, especially as I stop a lot to take photos and video.

The Munda Biddi Foundation indicated ride itinerary on their website maybe too long for many experienced riders, but combining two days (double hutting) maybe too much for one day. Pea gravel (mainly map 1 and 2), coupled with heavy loads, lowers your speed, tires you out and makes days longer than you may have planned. Opt for shorter distances if your time allows - it may be the difference between a "Loving this Ride" feeling and the "When will this day ever end" pain. Allow flexibility in your planning - a shorter day with a proper meal, a night in a real bed and a hot shower can reinvigorate your enthusiasm for the trip.

If you have not encountered pea gravel before, it is loose and hard to ride, especially if you are carrying a load. Are you a first time Munda Biddi rider? Then I suggest following the Trail Foundation's recommendations on distances to ride (about 30-40km per day). Save the "double hutting" for after Dwellingup, when the trail is more rideable. Try riding in late Winter or Spring, when pea gravel is more compact. Better still, ride map 1 in one long weekend, map 2 in another, then you can tackle the rest later.  It is generally firm in Winter and Spring, and softer in Autumn and Summer. If you are a local, I suggest riding map 1 over a long weekend, then ride map 2 over another long weekend, then you can ride map 3 onwards. Or you maybe able to break Map 1 and 2 into day rides (eg four day rides will cover most of the first two maps - Mundaring to Brookton Highway, Brookton Highway to Jarrahadale, Jarrahdale to Dandalup Dam, and finally the Dam to Dwellingup).

I think a lot of cyclists ride on Map 1 & 2, then think the Munda Biddi is not for them. I think the pea gravel, combined with big hills, lack of experience  and fully loaded bikes, puts riders off. In the spirit of "forewarned is forearmed", I have made this video. I hope it is viewed as positive and realistic commentary, not critical and negative.

Distances:

Planning how far between points using the map is a bit painful, especially if your mental arithmetic is not as sharp as it used to be. Have you seen the Munda Biddi Trail Foundation's distance reckoner here? With over 200 points along the Trail to select "from" and "to", you can quickly work out distances. Keep in mind, it does not take in to account diversions, but it will really assist your planning.

Which direction - North to South or South to North?

I have generally ridden from the South to the North because I can book transport to my start point ( via car, bus, Munda Biddi Shuttle Service or a train), then ride home or to a point where I can catch a train home. I have completed and recorded the route North to South for this mapping exercise as this is a way many tourists/visitors seem to ride. I have now started re riding the entire route again in the South to North direction to record the markers for the opposite direction.

The northern end seems to have the more challenging cycling so it may be better to have that at the end when you are fully fit and have the experience of the rest of trail behind you. You are not as locked in with time heading North to South - you can ride off the Scarp and catch a metro area train home if you are running late for that plane ride home.

How long will it take to ride the Munda Biddi?

Arran P. rode the entire Munda Biddi in 5 1/2 days in June 2015 - read his story here. In May 2017,  Declan von Dietze  rode the entire Munda Biddi in 4 days, 6 hours and 39 minutes. Four months later, Jesse Carlsson took 3.5 days to complete the Trail! The Munda Biddi Trail Foundation guides you to about 28 days to "end to end" if you want to do 40-50 km a day. Many riders riding to Albany indicated at the first hut (Carinyah) they were planning on about 21 days end to end, depending on if they want to have any rest days along the way. Often the hut and town distance dictates where you stop for the night. I find the huts and towns a little close together for my liking, but to skip a hut or town doubles the day's ride (double hutting), and is a bit too far for me. This is especially true between Denmark and Northcliffe, where there are not many alternatives to the huts apart from camping. I prefer not to camp - it is extra gear to carry and I much prefer a hut with a table, chairs and bunks, or accommodation than sitting & sleeping on the ground. So I have to work around the accommodation provided.

(For a more realistic time frame, see this article by two young blokes from South Australia here. They took 21 days to E2E and seemed to have a blast the whole way. It is an entertaining article with great photos. They mastered the Munda Biddi selfie perfectly!)

For most of us workers, three weeks to ride the Munda Biddi is 75% of a year's holidays. That is why I have done so many rides of 3~5 days, as I don't have 3 weeks available, or a family who will let me go for that length of time. It has also meant that I have had to get myself to and from the Munda Biddi many times, usually without the benefit of a lift, especially on rides close to Perth. I hope my "Getting there/back" notes to and from the Munda Biddi help you as well.

I plan on riding at 1/2 to 1/4 the speed I ride on my road bike, occasionally even slower. I usually seem to average 10 km/hr average on most of my rides. That is, 10 km in 1 hour including short rest breaks. Then I usually have about an hour for a lunch break (often refilling water bottles, eating, toilet stop etc). So an 80 km day will take me 9 hours - leave at 8am, and finishing about 5 pm. More than 80 km requires an early start and will be a very long day.

Try to make your trip a journey, not a destination. When you plan to ride from A to B over a set time, you become a slave to a schedule and the "end" is your goal, be it the end of the day, the end of this map or the end of the ride. You have to focus on keeping to your time table, getting the kilometres up, and have no time to explore, relax or enjoy. You are focussed on the "end" and not the "here and now". When your trip becomes a journey, you have flexibility, a more easy going attitude and are more open to explore. I see a lot of riders who ride the MB in 16 days, but don't actually see much apart from the 5~10 metres of Trail in front of them. The closest I came to making my trip a journey was when I re rode it again, taking my time, logging all the markers and stopping and taking lots of photos and video for you!

Get the diversions here a few days before you go. Diversions are actually managed by Department of Parks and Wildlife. The link on the Munda Biddi Foundation website takes you to them, or you can go straight there on: www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/parks/alerts-and-updates To get warnings and alerts on the trail, download the app from DPaW at parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/alerts

Riding the Trail in sections, without a car

One of the common questions is how to ride "loops" on the Munda Biddi. Here are some suggested Munda Biddi rides you can do without needing drop off or pickups, from an over nighter to a 5 day trip, some using trains to and from Perth. Full directions including the road sections are available on my Route sheets.

Some suggested day rides:

Obviously you can find a place to park your car on the Munda Biddi (it is noted on the maps), ride in for a comfortable distance, then turn around and ride out. I have tried to come up with loops , especially car free loops, below.

1. Map 1: Ride Mundaring to touring route, but when rejoining Munda Biddi, follow it back towards Helena River, and eventually finish at Mundaring. About a 38km loop, with start/finish at Mundaring. 
Why - Start/finish in Mundaring, great intro loop to the Munda Biddi and is close to Perth.

2. Map 1: Four Trails- is a 67 km off-road trail ride near Perth I developed. It is made up of the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail, Kep Track, the Munda Biddi Trail for 31km, and Mason and Bird trail. Start and finish at a train station, so no need to use a car. See separate page under "Close Metro rides"
Why - How good is Four trails in one day! Also close to Perth, and no car needed

3. Map 8: Denmark - follow Munda Biddi North until you cross Denmark Nornalup Heritage Trail (DNHT) (30 km) then follow DNHT back to Denmark (19km). 
Why - ride the new WoW trail along Southern Coast, see Lights Beach and Green's Pool, karri trees etc.

4. Map 8: Denmark - follow Denmark Nornalup HT towards Walpole till cross Munda Biddi (19 km) then follow Munda Biddi North to Jinung hut, (19km) then on to Mt Lindesay Rd. TR (the MB will TL) to Scotsdale Rd (old logging train line), TL to Denmark (sealed road) (15 km). See Getting There/Back instructions on my Route sheet summary for Map 8.
Why - Jinung hut under the karri trees is beautiful, and even the ride back on Scottsdale Rd is nice.

Some multi day suggested rides:

Use my Getting There/Back instructions on my Route sheet summaries (downloadable by selecting the "Route Sheets" tab on the appropriate map page, and clicking on the download buttons for the ride route summary.)

1. Map 1: Mundaring to Jarrahdale - 3 days
1. Catch a train to Midland, ride the Railway Heritage Trail to Mundaring (uphill, 18 km), overnight at Carinyah hut (40 km)
2. Carinyah hut to Wungong Hut (34km). Overnight there or ride on to Jarrahadale (additional 28 km)
3. Be collected at Jarrahdale or ride to Byford via Nettleton Rd (30 km), on to Armadale and catch a train to Perth
Why - Close to Perth. An ideal way to complete map 1 on a long weekend
See diary Oct 2010 for a record of a similar trip

2.  Map 2: Jarrahdale to Dwellingup - 3 to 4 days
1. Catch a train to Armadale, ride to Byford then on to Jarrahdale via Nettleton Rd (uphill, 30 km). Join Munda Biddi and ride onto to Dandalup hut (34km)
2. Dandalup hut to Dwellingup (42km)
3. Ride on the road from Dwellingup to Pinjarra to Mandurah train station (43 km)
Why - An ideal way to complete most of map 2 on a long weekend

3. Map 1 & 2  Mandurah to Pinjarra to Mundaring and Midland - 3 to 5 day ride
1. Catch a train to Mandurah, ride to Pinjarra (19 km), ride up North Spur Rd  (quiet road but uphill, 17km). Join Munda Biddi and ride onto Dandalup hut (22km)
2. Dandalup hut to Jarrahdale (34 km) and stay, or onto Wungong hut (another 28 km)
3. Wungong hut to Carinyah hut (34km) (or ride to Brookton H'way (27 km) then down to Kelmscott train station (21 km)) (3 days)
4. Carinyah hut to Mundaring (58 km), then ride theRailway Heritage Trail to Midland (18km), catch train to Perth
Why - Close to Perth, ideal way to complete map 1 & half of map 2.
See diary May 2013 and April 2017 for a record of a similar trip

4. Map 3 Dwellingup  to Dwellingup -  2 days
1. Start Dwellingup or Nanga (11km later). 13km ride  into to Bidjar Ngoulin hut.
2.  Bidjar Ngoulin hut back to Nanga/Dwellingup
Why - North Junction Form is lovely riding, Murray River views are lovely and Bidjar Ngoulin hut is superb. From Nanga and back is ideal for competent child riders. Start and finish same place.

5. Map 3  Waterous Loop - 2 days. 65 km loop starting/finishing Lake Navarino Forest Resort.  28 km on Munda Biddi. Overnight in Bidjar Ngoulin hut, 33km into ride. See separate page under "Country Rides".
Why - a loop with a hut in the middle and good facilities at start finish, and still relatively close to Perth.

6. Map 3 & 4 Boyanup to Dwellingup - 4 - 5 days
1. Catch the Australind train to Bunbury (arrive around noon), ride to Boyanup (20 km) and join Munda Biddi. Onto Nglang Boodja hut (uphill, 27km)
2. Nglang Boodja hut to Yarri Hut (57km) (bypass Collie)
3. Yarri hut to Bidjar hut (77km) or stop in Logue Brook Dam on way
4. Bidjar Ngoulin hut to Dwellingup (27 km) for a pick up, or ride to Mandurah train station (43km).
Why - Riding through Wellington National Park is great (especially Honeymoon Pool). Yarri hut is so peaceful and quiet, and the jarrah trees along Zephyr Rd are superb.

7. Map 4 & 5 Boyanup to Manjimup - 4 - 5 days
1. Catch the Australind train to Bunbury (arrive around noon), ride to Boyanup (20 km) and join Munda Biddi. Ride to Donnybrook (22km)
2. Donnybrook to Nala Mia hut in Jarrahwood(45km).
3. Nala Mia to Nannup (27km). Alternatively, take Old Timberline Trail turn off (about same distance to Nannup but slower as more technical, but more scenic) and stay at Sleeper Hewers Hut (10km from Nannup).
4. Continue to Donnelly Mill (32km) (now in karri country)
5. Ride 47km to Manjimup (use Munda Biddi Shuttle Services or pick up to get home)
Why - Riding through karri forest is superb. Especially after Karta Burnu hut, this is a great ride.

8. Map 6 Manjimup to Northcliffe - 4 - 5 days
1. Start in Manjimup, 43 km to Quinninup
2. Quinninup to Pemberton (40km)
3. Pemberton to Northcliffe (45km) 
Why - Your support team can tag along (staying at Quinninup, Pemberton and Northcliffe with you) or base themselves in Pemberton, then drop you in the morning and pick you up at night (they will never be more than 40 km from where you finish).

My route sheets will detail all changes in direction, distances and road conditions on the routes getting to and from the trail.
Remember to check the conditions of using Perth trains (see here).

This page is the property of Follow My Ride, a website detailing off road cycle tracks near Perth and in Western Australia.