Quinninup to Pemberton
Munda Biddi Trail
2nd September 2021
The Ride - Another day and another town to town ride on the Munda Biddi to look forward to. Having split this section into two 40km rides with a stop in Quinninup, we would have another leisurely pedal into one of my favourite towns in the South West. With no café to enjoy a bite of breakfast at, we had a bit of a sleep in and then packed up our gear ready for the journey ahead. It's probably a good thing we didn't take a rest day in Pemberton today as the forecast was for cold and wet weather after a night of decent rain. With a maximum temperature of 12C, it was one of those cold snaps in the South West where it snowed on Bluff Knoll.
Rugged up and ready to go, we said good morning to the local kangaroos at the Eco Tourist Park main lawn and rode up to the Quinninup Tavern. I didn't really feel like riding back up to the official start so I fired up the Strava at the tavern and we headed off along Wheatley Coast Road. Riding down towards the idyllic farmland scenes, this was a familiar spot for me as I'd walked this route getting to the King Karri Trail in 2015. An iconic feature of Quinninup and one I really love is the wooden sculpture as you enter town, the Quinninup Eagle. At the bottom of the hill you will see a wooden sign pointing you to a walk trail along with more colourful Munda Biddi markers. Since my visit in 2015 they have installed a large metal sign at the entrance to the King Karri Trail, which is fantastic to see as the trails in Quinninup used to be hard to find unless you happened to grab a pamphlet at the community centre. This was my first interaction with the Munda Biddi outside of the Perth Hills area and at the time it was slightly inconceivable how someone would ride for day after day with all their gear but now I know it's not as daunting as I thought it would be (actually quite relaxing).
With mostly sunny conditions to start our ride, I knew it wouldn't last so I focused on enjoying the clear weather while it lasted. The overnight rains and wind had made a bit of a mess of the trail with branches and fallen trees blocking the way in parts. It was only a minor inconvenience in what was a lovely area leading towards the crossing of South Western Highway. With the beautiful Karri forest of Greater Dordagup National Park providing a great backdrop, the riding was super enjoyable as we rolled over the highway and started climbing. The ominous dark clouds had joined us and the heavens started to open up right after we entered the forest again. With a light sprinkle falling, it started to get heavier so I searched for a thick boi Karri to take shelter under. With the forecast for rolling showers, it would be over soon so I huddled under my raincoat while admiring my bikepacking setup that had taken me this far. While it was cold and wet, standing under that tree was one of those moments where you take stock of where you are and how good life can be.
Aron was not too worried about getting wet while riding as he had no camera to keep dry so put on his horrible fluro yellow backpack cover and rode off into the distance. As expected it was a brief shower so when things cleared up I resurfaced and got back in the saddle to warm up. Continuing to climb, the forest through here was pretty good thanks to the occasional giant Karri and a smattering of wildflowers brightening up the scene. Running parallel to Wheatley Coast Road, you would never know it thanks to the thick undergrowth and given this was a Thursday morning, we were unlikely to hear much traffic. The wide trail soon turned into fantastic single trail as the descent started and I had good fun catching up to Aron. With the forest constantly changing, we reached a spot where I had a bit of a laugh. We could see a tree had fallen over up ahead but on closer inspection there was a trail cut to go around it. As we re-joined the proper trail, it appeared that one tree had already been cut in two right next to this new tree so perhaps they decided a trail around was easier than cutting up every tree that falls in this area.
Continuing along the single trail, the rainfall overnight had created a large puddle that was unavoidable so I volunteered as tribute to see how deep it was by riding first. It wasn't so bad so I stopped at the end and turned back to photograph Aron enjoying the splash. Reaching Wheatley Coast Road once again, this would be the last time we would see this road until Northcliffe and the Quokka sign intrigued Aron. It's a common misconception in WA that Quokkas only live on Rottnest Island but there is a mainland population in the Karri forests stretching from Walpole up to Pemberton. Our chances of seeing one in the wild were slim, especially as we were whizzing past on bikes but nonetheless we would be keeping an eye out. Heading along a sandy vehicle track, we encountered another piece of farmland where a kangaroo had decided the grazing was better than the surrounding forest. Taking a hard left, we started climbing up a smol puppa hill and into some regrowth Karri that was a sign of things to come. Having ridden through the lovely forest of Greater Dordagup earlier, this was a step down in terms of quality so I used it as a chance to get a move on.