Jarrahdale to Dandalup
Munda Biddi Trail

Jarrahdale

Dandalup

32.9km

681m

2-4 Hours

The Ride - Day Three on the Munda Biddi and this would be another big day to try and hold pace so we had the chance of catching up to the planned itinerary before Nannup. Our stay at our last minute BnB in Jarrahdale had been very pleasant and thanks to a continental breakfast being provided, we could sleep in a little and enjoy a bite to eat while we readied our gear. The plan for today was to make it to Dwellingup where we had accommodation booked and hopefully the pub kitchen would be open, unlike the previous nights debacle. It had been recommended to us that it would be a good idea to grab a takeaway roll from the Jarrahdale General Store before departing town so that meant a later than anticipated start of 8am as we had to wait for it to open. 

Saying goodbye to the noisy but pretty roosters that lived at our BnB, we headed in the wrong direction for the end goal of the day to visit the General Store. It was a very brisk morning as we parked up and waited to be let in. After ordering our rolls we departed and found our way out of town via George St and then Curo St as it turns into Serpentine National Park. Unfortunately it was quite obvious as soon as we entered the national park that this area is ground zero for illegal dirt bike riding as the trail was heavily chewed up. This section leading all the way down to the Serpentine River would be the worst of the pea gravel thanks to the heathen on their dyrt boiks and the steep gradients being easily eroded after the rains. Ignoring the slow going in the pea gravel and focussing on enjoying the riding, it would at least be downhill after the first small hill of the day. I was impressed early on by the thick trees and ground cover wattle that was looking extra nice in the morning sunshine streaming through the canopy. Being so close to a town you can't expect the national park to go on forever and the trail does take you next to a cleared field that has views down towards Millbrook Winery. 

Around here I spotted my first Black Cockatoo for the day, keeping my streak alive at three days for seeing one of these magnificent birds. Reaching the descent, this wouldn't be as easy a task as I thought it would be as the vehicle tracks through here are some of the most eroded on the entire track and it takes a great deal of concentration and picking the right line to stay attached to the bike. With everything rattling and shaking around, it was a good test of the bags to see how they fared with what would be the most punishment they would cop over the whole trip. Successfully negotiating the downhill section at a much slower speed than expected, we reached the Serpentine River crossing and a sense of dread came over me. What goes down must go up on long distance cycling and river valleys, while pretty sometimes, often mean an immediate uphill climb. This big puppa was 150m of vert with some sharp gradients along the way, although at the time of writing the Munda Biddi Foundation is building a realignment that will make the whole experience much better. I let Aron go on ahead while I took off my jacket and winter gloves, psyching myself up for the biggest ascent of the day.

Eventually getting going, you ride along Scarp Road for the first of many times today as it starts climbing up into the forest. With my bottom climbing gear giving me some issues, I was hoping to get in a comfortable rhythm and dominate the ascent. Unfortunately the gradients reach into the double digits for the second half of this first section and I admitted defeat, joining Aron in pushing my bike up the hill. With a 30kg bike to push, it's not exactly the easy option but the saving grace was the scenery looking out over the valley was quite pleasant. After a chilly start to the morning, this was certainly doing its bit to warm us up and mercifully it flattened out a tiny bit as the trail heads off Scarp Road. I was kind of hoping this would be the end of the steep gradients but after pedalling around a corner, I was presented with another mean looking climb. I gave it a crack but the eroded sections and pea gravel thwarted my progress and I decided to cut my losses and walk the rest of the way. Aron was still a bit behind as I reached the top of the hill as he had elected to walk the whole thing.

 

I found a shady spot with a log to sit on while I waited and whipped out the map to remind myself of the elevation profile for the rest of the day. It wasn't looking so bad for the next section so I took a drinks break and Aron showed up a little while later. Riding along old vehicle tracks, the terrain isn't flat but a series of small ups and downs that are pretty fun if you can maintain momentum enough that not too much pedalling is required to get up the hills. Reaching Scarp Road for the second time, the wide and flat gravel track looked very appealing as it meant an uptick in pace, although this wouldn't last too long. A side road leads off to the left and if you aren't paying attention then it's easy to keep on riding. White gates stop cars riding along the Munda Biddi and it requires a small detour to get around them before you are riding along the gravel track again. While we had predominantly been in mixed Jarrah & Marri forest so far, it was nice to come across a patch of Bullich (Eucalyptus megacarpa) that seemed to love the wetter areas of the landscape.

The temperature dropped noticeably through here and there were some muddy bits that required a bit of careful riding to avoid getting bogged or overly dirty. While I had stopped to take some photos, two riders heading in the other direction stopped to have a chat. They were just out for a day ride and we talked about how lovely the area was, the dirt bikes ripping up the hills and our plans to ride all the way to Albany. I caught up to Aron and we continued along at a reasonable pace with me stopping quite a bit for photos of various wildflowers or interesting scenes. Reaching Kingsbury Road, it's always a bit of a shock to come across paved roads when doing these long rides as they feel a bit unnatural and exposed. Lining the trail after the crossing and providing a splash of colour some Blue Boy, something the community on iNaturalist helped identify (love that site and you should join up too). It started what was an enjoyable section on open gravel tracks where we passed several granite boulders and ancient trees. 

 

After a lovely downhill section, we reached a turn onto a wide gravel road and continued to descend. At the bottom of the hill we came across a bit of a problem with some severe flooding of the track that given the look of it was probably more than crank deep (didn't get any photos unfortunately). At this point we had caught up to another rider going in the same direction, a solo female rider that was doing Jarrahdale to Dwellingup over a couple of days. We all did a bit of bush bashing, following a line that many riders had taken to shortcut the giant puddle but it was still a little inundated itself. Back on track, the solo rider looked to have something caught in her bike but we would later surmise that perhaps it had developed into a more serious problem as we didn't see her at Dandalup despite staying a long time for lunch. We pressed on and came across a farm that contained some lovely Kingia on the fringes before reaching a pine plantation that required a diversion around it. At least it was quick thanks to more enjoyable downhill, although some rough patches did make it a little sketchy in places. 

After some more flat riding we reached a wide gravel road that would become home for the next little bit as we started climbing a medium puppa hill. An old bridge over a creek provided a nice photo opportunity before I started the climb that turned out to be mucho steepo to begin with. Settling into a rhythm, I soon reached the farm section and stopped to take some photos of some pretty horses in the distance. While riding along these wide country roads is not always pleasant, especially when they are a little exposed, it sure beats the eroded and steep climbs of earlier in the day and pretty soon it was all over. Happy to have my bluetooth speaker attached to the handlebars, it meant sections like this are more bearable when I can stick a podcast on (Friendship Onion in this case) and power along. At the top of the hill I waited for Aron while having another drinks break. He eventually appeared and we continued on towards one of the best sections of the whole day. I almost skipped it as I was looking at a nice looking tree and missed the trail marker before Aron asked where I was going. Making this section so great was the flowing single track, downhill nature and the explosion of wildflowers that lined the trail. 

 

With the first half of this section feeling a bit like you were getting from A to B, this was like riding on a trail that felt purposeful. Aron had stopped ahead next to a log that had a jump built into it and I decided that I may as well cut a full sick nuts over it. With a fully loaded bike this wasn't the best idea but I survived and it was a fun little moment. Reaching a clearing on the edge of the hill, you get a glimpse of the Perth Coastal Plain as it looks over to the Rockingham area. The Grass Trees through this area are stunning and the new varieties of wildflowers meant I was stopping every 50m or so. Spotting my first Kangaroo Paw of the trip brought a smile to my face and seeing a Petrophile and Hakea variety just made it better. A small climb was followed by more downhill through really special forest until we reached Boyd Road and the start of another small puppa climb. Being on paved road this wasn't too bad and I got back into a rhythm. The climb eased off as you leave the tarmac and continue along a wide gravel road. I waited for Aron at the large arrow markers and was beginning to get concerned that our current pace would mean getting into Dwellingup after dark. He eventually joined me and we cycled past a white fenced farm before a fun little dip and rise up towards the second last climb of the section. It wasn't too bad and reward at the end was a long stretch of tarmac that was downhill, allowing us to pick up speed as we raced past the entrance to the Alcoa facility.