Wungong to Jarrahdale
Munda Biddi Trail
The Ride - With a lovely and a little bit tough start to day two on the Munda Biddi, I had left Aron to continue on towards Jarrahdale while I took the spur trail to check out Wungong Campsite. As I said in my previous post, this is a really nice location in the forest and I hope to come back one day to spend the night. After getting some extended solo riding under my belt between the Canning River and Gleneagle rest area, I was looking forward to some more while I caught up to Aron. With the time taken to get to Wungong making it almost impossible to reach Dandalup Campsite today, I was mentally prepared for an easy ride into Jarrahdale.
Transferring some water between my Sea to Summit water bladder to my water bottles and adding some Staminade powder, I gathered up my bike from the shelter and headed off down the same spur trail I came in on. On the way in I spotted a really nice sundew but decided it was best to photograph it on the way out so I didn't have to stop. The forest is really lush thanks to the creek running through here and it was a pleasure to saunter along taking it all in. Reaching the trail junction, I headed towards Jarrahdale on what would be a gentle incline for the next 12km or so. Riding along single trail, the excellent forest continues and it clicked that this was the spot where Donovan and I had our promotional shoot for Feed the Hike (use PY5 at checkout for a 5% discount). I remember it being a great section leading all the way to the crossing at Jarrahdale Road and this was true all the way from the trail junction to the road. Being summer on my last visit, it was great to see the area in late winter with wildflowers around and experience a much cooler riding temperature.
Reaching Jarrahdale Road, I loved seeing the wattle that is like a gateway on the edge of the trail. Crossing over, it was a funny thought that there was a very direct route to Jarrahdale by taking the tarmac but the Munda Biddi goes in a big semi-circle into town. I do not mind at all as it means more riding and much better scenery than passing cars so continued along the official route. Switching from single trail to wider vehicle track, this was an area I could put the jets on and make up some time on Aron. The increased speed on the relative flats was cancelled out by stopping a fair bit for photographs including a little wander around a creek crossing. This was fine with me as the solo riding was agreeing with me and I had all afternoon to catch up to my riding partner. I knew the vehicle tracks through here would take me towards roughly where Sullivan Rock was as the Munda Biddi meets up with the Balmoral Track that run from Jarrahdale to Sullivan Rock (one I will be doing in the future I think). It was nice to stretch the legs a bit when I wasn't stopping to photograph a wildflower or intriguing scene that caught my eye.
The slight uphill was noticeable in places as I was pedalling at a good speed but the speedo on the watch wasn't reading speeds that would be normal on a flat section. After weaving through some short and scrappy forest where I got some fleeting views of nearby Mount Randall on the other side of Albany Highway, the forest greatly improved thanks to some nice older trees and a denser feel. Finding the remains of an old railway station near a large cleared area, it's always nice to see the railway heritage even if the purpose of them was to cart the chopped down forest away. It was around this time that I was beginning to wonder if Aron had taken the highway shortcut into Jarrahdale as I still hadn't caught him and I was averaging a decent pace. It wasn't a big worry as one way or the other I would be seeing him in Jarrahdale but as with every time we separated, I really hoped that I didn't get a puncture as he had the tools to change tubes and the pump. A couple of smol puppa hills were ahead of me and would mercifully be the last hills until the very end of the day.
They were soon dispatched and my reward was a really enjoyable downhill run into the Balmoral POW Camp. Being on vehicle tracks, you have options for the path of your descent but it requires a bit of concentration to get your line right as some of the eroded sections can catch you out at high speed. In the distance I could hear the sound of chainsaws at work and wondered if some locals were out collecting firewood illegally but it turned out to be what I assume was DBCA officers clearing a fallen tree off the track. Finally reaching the signage near Balmoral, this is a really lush part of the day as you cross a creek before turning into the main visitor area. Here I found Aron's bike leaned up against the toilet and he soon popped into view after checking out the area a bit closer. I parked up my bike and we had a chat about that last section and the lovely riding we both enjoyed. The significance of Balmoral is that it was an interment camp for Italians during WWII and the remnants of the old buildings can be found in the area. It's a really shameful part of Perth history that never gets lumped in with the similar camps for Japanese people in America during the same period.
Having completed about half of the section into Jarrahdale, it would be a nice flat second half that I was looking forward to riding. Mainly utilising the old rail forms running between Jarrahdale and Balmoral, this type of trail lends itself to easy riding thanks to gentle gradients. Leaving Balmoral, the riding is really pretty with a raised rail form taking you through some fantastic looking forest complete with beautiful Jarrah & Marri trees, Banksias and Bracken Ferns. I let Aron take the lead as I knew I was going to be stopping a lot through here and that turned out to be the case. My favourite sections through this part were the She-Oak groves as these creepy looking trees bend and stretch over the track, creating this moody tunnel. There were splashes of colour with plenty of wattle and the occasional wildflower that I stopped to photograph. Aron had stopped ahead of me and was doing a bit of trail maintenance as some branches had fallen over the track. It was nice to see him give back to a track he was having a love-hate relationship with and I assisted by taking photos and staying out the way. Continuing on, we reached the end of the rail form for now as the trail would now switch between vehicle track and old rail trail. It was becoming apparent a town was nearby with more and more farms popping up including one that had some kangaroos that were curious about the silly bike riders staring at them.
Up ahead I could hear the familiar sounds of dickheads on dirt bikes and Jarrahdale is one of those areas they love to ride near. The least self-aware trail users, we could hear the moronic drone well before seeing them and as we joined a wide road bordering some Water Corp land with clear no access signs, we could see them doing sick donuts and ripping up the area. Later as we reached a short section of tarmac, they all came ripping through, all riding bikes that weren't registered of course. I try not to let it affect me these days but I dislike their presence when I'm out trying to enjoy nature. With that annoyance over, we headed along farms and rail trail as we approached Mundlimup, a place I had visited previously to hike the Mundlimup Timber Trail. During that visit I spotted some people parking up to enjoy a ride along the Munda Biddi and thought that would be me one day. This was that day although we wouldn't take the small detour to do the 3km walk. Crossing Balmoral Road, I knew we were close to town and it wouldn't be long until we could rest up. The passage in and out of town is quite pleasant with mostly forest riding before you reach the main strip where the General Store is.
Our accommodation was set a couple of streets back so I stopped my Strava and we set about finding out what our rest stop for the evening. It was a BnB that is one house but each room has its own key and everyone has access to the main living room and garden. Luckily we were the only ones staying that night so had the whole place to ourselves. Aron had called his partner Jen earlier in the day and arranged for her to drive out to meet us as he had quite a bit of gear he wanted to dump. It turned out to be close to 5kg of weight he lost and I was hoping this would make a big difference to our average speed over the next two and a half weeks. After a nice hot shower, I joined Jen and Aron in the backyard where we discussed the first couple of days and admired the big roosters roaming around. Jen was kind enough to drop us off at the Jarrahdale Tavern on her way out of town but we picked the wrong night to visit as due to unforeseen circumstances, the kitchen wasn't serving food that night. It was a bit of a blow but we were told the nearby Post Office would be doing hot meals for the next hour so we made a beeline for it and ordered some burgers and chips that really hit the spot. Another enjoyable day on the trail and a comfy bed to sleep in that night.
Final Thoughts - Leaving early today was a good call as getting into Jarrahdale was the very least we had to achieve and it made pace a bit of a non-issue.
Wungong to Jarrahdale is a nice relief after the two hilly sections before it and a nice introduction to the rail formations that become more prevalent the more you head south.
Some of the forest can get a bit samey after crossing Jarrahdale Road but on the whole it's really pleasant riding for most of this section. Balmoral is an interesting piece of history and well worth the stop to have a look around.
Get out there and experience it!!!
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