Manjimup to Quinninup
Munda Biddi Trail
1st September 2021
The Ride - Riding through the heart of the South West, this lovely stretch of town to town bikepacking saw us wake up in Manjimup with another semi-wet and chilly day ahead of us. Initially I had this day planned as an 80km Manjimup to Pemberton ride, with a rest day in Pemby as the reward but after the first day shortcomings, Aron twisted my arm and we split the journey into two days and sacrificed our rest day in Pemberton. With a leisurely 40km to pedal today and a relatively flat profile, we had a late start made more enjoyable by breakfast in town. Grabbing some toasties and coffee at Southern Roasting Co, we spotted a familiar face as the rider who had overtaken us heading up the hill from Nannup also chose this spot as his morning fuel stop.
After an enjoyable and warm breakfast, we eventually decided to head out into the chilliness so prepared the bikes for departure. Making our way to the railway station that serves as the trail head for the Munda Biddi, I opted not to take the off-trail detour to the King Jarrah Tree that is located north east of town along Perup Road. My podcast partner made it a mission to collect all of the Kings along the trail and so far I had visited the King Jarrah before Bidjar Ngoulin and the King Karri before Donnelly River but with the cold weather and heavy rain forecast for the afternoon, I decided the Manjimup King Jarrah wasn't on the cards. Leaving the railway station, you head down past the Manjimup Farmers Market and cross South Western Highway, immediately entering some enticing looking forest. It was nice that so close to town you enter into another world but after a brief downhill through the trees, Hibbertia and Hovea, you arrive back in the suburbs of East Manjimup.
It was a bit of a let-down to be back riding along the backroads after a lovely start, with an uphill ride past the primary school and on towards Muir Highway. Passing the Manjimup HQ of the Forest Products Commission, I gave them my thoughts towards their work in the state with a polite hand gesture and found a safe shoulder of the highway to ride along. Getting out of towns can sometimes be a tricky affair and Manjimup isn't ideal in this sense as you ride along a highway where large trucks frequent. Luckily heading south it is 1.5km of mostly downhill with a small shoulder to ride along but heading north, it looks to be a bit more dangerous. The end goal of this stretch is to take you to Dingup State Forest, where you turn off onto Kurandra Road for some quieter riding. Initially you continue along paved roads, past what looks like plantation timber where they have previously logged before reaching a pleasant rail form that takes you on a narrow path through the forest.
This was much more enjoyable riding with long corridors, wildflowers in bloom and eventually we were caught by the rider we saw in Manjimup. I rode with him for a while and we talked about the trail and where he had been instead of the Munda Biddi, before he scooted off into the distance while I stopped to take photos. Catching up to Aron on an old vehicle track, the pleasant morning we had been experiencing, weather wise, was about to change. I could see the grey clouds rolling in and soon it started to sprinkle and then a medium shower rolled through. Coincidently we arrived a fallen tree over the road so I got my bike over and then waited in some nearby tree cover for the rain to stop (it was about break time anyway). It didn't take long for the shower to pass and when it started easing, I helped Aron lug his heavy bike over the tree. This next section was pleasant enough riding with winding vehicle tracks taking you through some okay level forest and briefly joining the old rail form where some old sleepers were still visible.
Turning left onto another vehicle track, I saw one tree marked with white paint and knew we were in for some unpleasant riding. Sure enough, just down the road was a pile of logs and a very barren patch of land where a nice forest used to reside. The Forest Products Commission's finest were out at work, wasting taxpayer money by destroying our state forests and making the environment a worse place. This is one of many little rants I've made over the course of these posts as native logging is a subsidised activity in WA and makes zero sense financially or ecologically. Thankfully the practice will be banned from 2024 onwards but there are already rumblings that these greedy mofos have a "forest thinning" plan that is essentially native logging in disguise of unscientific environmental measures. I tried to ignore it and instead focused on the forest that looked quite healthy to the left of the track. After a few patches of destruction I was glad to turn off this logging road and head onto some wide single track where seeing a Snottygobble raised my spirits.