Donnybrook to Nala Mia
Munda Biddi Trail

Donnybrook

Nala Mia

43.3km

510m

3-5 Hours

The Ride - I love the South West of WA and when I was planning out this Munda Biddi E2E, this next section was one that I was really looking forward to. While there had been some town stays in the first week, the next seven days would see us ride from town to town as we criss-crossed the heartland of this stunning region. Making this day a little bit special was getting to see our partners, who were driving down to meet us in Nannup for our first rest day. Having slept like a log the night before, I was up around 7am and began packing my things together before meeting Aron for breakfast at the Big Apple Bakery.

With another long day of riding ahead, it would have been nice to start early but our bikes were locked up in the storage area of the Donnybrook Hotel and as there is no one living on site, we had to wait for someone to arrive before we could get going. After breakfast we eventually located someone but the old bloke wasn't in a rush so by the time we loaded up and departed, it was closer to 8:30am. This wasn't such a big deal as I was no stranger to this section given I had ridden it as an overnighter the previous year with my podcast partner. The hills weren't that difficult and it was a much cruisier ride than what we had tackled in the last week so I was confident we would be in Nannup by mid-afternoon. The weather for today was looking like a chance of a shower so perfect riding weather as we left Donnybrook and headed along the spur trail out of town. We passed the guard doggo we saw the previous afternoon and were soon at the trail junction where we would head left to go towards Nannup. 

 

I absolutely loved the riding from this point on during my last visit, despite riding a heavy and almost un-rideable mountain bike. Once you enter the forest there are plenty of wildflowers, orchids and one of my favourite plants in the South West, the Pineapple Bush. The combination of wide gravel roads and enclosed single track (without being overgrown) makes for a really enjoyable ride and the cloudy weather gave some great lighting conditions. I was stopping quite a bit and then catching up to Aron as we both bumbled through the mixed forest and towards the first of many farmland sections for the day. I love that this area has a good variety of farm and forest with the vast land clearing not as apparent when you arrive at the edge of a paddock thanks to swathes of forest in the distance. Reaching the first medium puppa climb of the day, you traverse the edge of a farm that switches between open paddock and tall Marri/Jarrah forest with the State Forest on your right providing the opportunity to spot more wildflowers. I kept my Black Cockatoo streak alive with an early spotting, although the lighting wasn't very good for photographing them. 

Leaving the farm views behind, we headed back into the forest for some lovely single track riding. It's this kind of variety that I love about the first half of the ride to Nala Mia as you are never too far away from something different. This bit of forest felt a lot older and more mature than anything we had ridden through this morning thanks to some thicker trees and a heavier canopy. Riding along a downhill section I had to slam on the brakes when I caught sight of what looked like grass growing on the top of a large fallen log. I knew it wasn't grass but had to confirm and was pleased when a closer look revealed a mass of Snail Orchids. Given the log would have been a fairly recent deposit (2-10 years at a guess), I found it fascinating that there would have been enough time for the Snail Orchids to spread there in such numbers. If you're a botanist I would love to hear why this might be as this was the first of two sightings where this had happened (second one was further south near Fernhook Falls). Moving on, the wildflower finds continued with some colourful Coconut Ice on the side of the trail and we entered a nice stretch of forest containing some tall and flowering Kingia Australis. 

Reaching Goodwood Road, this would provide an opportunity to get some speed up and really make up some time. Travelling along this paved road, the first run is downhill all the way to the bridge over Capel River North. It only took us five minutes to cover two kilometres as we both tried to go as fast as we could down the hill. I clocked out at 64.5kmph as I got into an aero position and listened to the air rush past my helmet and smash into all my various bags. It was good fun but reaching a river almost always means travelling uphill again and this run was no different. It's only a smol puppa hill before another fun ascent down towards Capel River South. Only getting up to 50kmph this time, we had a medium puppa hill to negotiate after than so after taking some shots of the nearby farmland and chuckling at the name of this location (Paynedale), I continued along the paved road. Thankfully you aren't on the road very long as it is the main thoroughfare for travellers between Capel and Donnybrook so I was happy when the Munda Biddi markers pointed us left and onto a long gravel road to continue the climbing.