Munda Biddi and Marrinup Trail, Dwellingup
Winter has moved on into Perth and with the exception of squally wet days, there is the opportunity for some favourable mountain biking conditions because in all honesty, winter in this city is not all that miserable making available days of whisper wind and some sunshine.
Celebrating Western Australia Day we road tripped down to the forest town of Dwellingup for a trail ride along the Munda Biddi and Marrinup Circuit.
Our motivations to depart home early morning after a yummy overnight oats breakfast and cup of hot long black coffee was due to a possible afternoon storm. From Perth the one and a half hours drive is straight down the Kwinana freeway, detouring towards the town of Pinjarra into a less busy landscape of semi rural properties and patches of bush.
Arriving into Dwellingup we set out on the bikes from the main street where IGA and Blue Wren Cafe sit, we strategically planned the ride to start and end within close proximity to a cafe for the obvious reason of another cup of coffee.
We cycle up Newton Road past the visitor centre and Hotham Valley Railway. Dwellingup was historically a timber town harvesting local Jarrah and Marri trees, though, nowadays a shift in focus to outdoor activities and having Western Australia’s two main adventure trails the Munda Biddi and Bibbulmun passing through will hopefully fortify an older forest growth into the future.
The familiar blue Munda Biddi sign appears crossing the railway tracks on the fringe of the forest and we begin the trail ride in a north direction towards Marrinup State Forest. We follow the railway line for a bit before turning off and further into the Jarrah forest, there is good signage along the way which means referring to the mapped out route on my Garmin is not required.
The trail unravels on some pleasant single track with even a couple of nicely placed berms for a bit of fun. The trail shrinks and we cycle through a forest tunnel, but without the sun filtering through, the scene is dreary looking and we feel the chill whilst also smelling the wood fires in the air. We know we will warm up soon, it is just a matter of time.
The 5km section from Dwellingup to Marrinup circuit is reasonably flat and the mountain bike crunches over forest litter of fallen branches, honkey nuts and leaves.
The Jarrah forrest is endemic to Western Australia and the various pockets we cycle through in this state tend to be staggered at different growth stages most likely due to previous harvesting activities, or recovering from a prescribed burn or wildfire, this section I observe native Zamia palms and Balga grass growing under the Jarrah and Marri trees. It makes me happy because I’m hoping cute little marsupials have made home here.
We cross several fire track roads and trace behind properties before reaching the Marrinup campsite located in the Marrinup State Forest.
Standing on the fire track road, we are unsure whether to continue on the Munda Biddi through the camp site to access the Marrinup circuit. Instinct tells us to go back into the forest on a small path which eventually joins the circuit, actually in the vicinity close to the campsite we find several other forged entries to the circuit.
We ride the circuit in a clockwise direction, this means we will be able to enjoy the log rides located in the longer section. The playful circuit flows nicely through narrow sections, roll-able jumps, low drop off obstacles and banked berms, it’s good old school fun as we race around the circuit.
There are a few fun log rides of varying sizes to attempt, for myself I enjoy spending this time brushing up on skills. This single track may be at the beginners end of the mtb trail spectrum because you can ride around the obstacles, it is also ideal for riders recovering from injury who just want a place to bring their mind to a happy place and chill without the technical challenges.
On the return section of the loop, we pick up some speed through the damp forest.
This morning in the forest we come across flocks of the Carnaby Black Cockatoo and the Red Tailed Forest Cockatoo, it’s one of the perks of riding in these forests and over the past few years of constantly seeing the strikingly beautiful birds in the sky around Perth they have educated me of the importance of maintaining native ecosystems.
Returning to town, I did a silly thing and came off the bike.
We were flying along the Munda Biddi and approaching a puddle which I proceeded to follow directly behind Derek around the edge of the puddle. You see my mind was wandering at the end of the ride and I didn’t notice that he brushed past a bush that would flick directly back at me, disorientating me instantly. It was just like the time I was on the road bike and intrigued by the choppiness of the Swan River I clipped the curb. It happens!
We had a little chuckle at my own expense. In all the terrain I have cycled on, I happen to come off whilst trying to avoid a puddle. The lesson to be learnt here is to always go through puddles, ha hah! Anyway, coffee had to wait as we headed home to change and shower up.
We were really happy about beginning in Dwellingup and extending the ride to incorporate some of the Munda Biddi touring trail, as well as, the Marrinup Circuit which was just under an 18km round trip cycle. We originally planned to also detour to find the remains of an old POW camp, however with a weather change in the afternoon we decided to leave this side trip out. Dwellingup was great fun and still within a day trip from Perth!