On Friday 20th October we hit the trails in an attempt to reach Albany from Perth along the Munda Biddi track. A bit over 1000km in total. Both kids are riding their own bikes with no luggage, just their camelback with water and a muesli bar. We have done lots of long distance bike trips with the kids but what’s different this time is that we don’t have the ability to carry the kids or their bikes, they have to ride all the way!
We made it to Jarrahdale after four epic days of riding. The first two days were the hardest, 18km and 25.75km of steep hills and loose gravel. After plenty of walking up hills and helping the kids stay on their bikes we made it to the Carinyah hut. Nice to have a roof during the storm. Day three gave us a break on unseal roads with track closures due to control burning. A long 30.6km to the Wungong hut. The going was long but easier so there was plenty of singing and relaxing breaks. Riding past the fires was something unexpected. This area is great, we rode along the beautiful forests, with amazing flowers and an undulating narrow path, an easy 28km ride finished by 1.30pm. A well deserved lunch at the cafe and a comfy bed are in order. The kids have done a lot better than expected so maybe some ice cream too! We know we have hard days ahead but the attitude of the kids so far give us confidence to think we can make it to Albany.
After 13 days on the Munda Biddi trail. We feel like we have experienced all terrains and weather. The section after Jarrahdale was the hardest with some steep hills on rocky slippery decentes and hills that felt like they were going for ever. The kids did an amazing job riding more than 30km that day. It showed us what we are up for! Since then they have attempted to ride over dirt, mud, sand, rocks big and small, pea gravel (a famous feature of the Munda Biddi), water (not always successful at keeping our shoes dry), fallen trees, you name it! The kids are getting better everyday and we see their skills improving specially the scary downhills when we think are they going to make it down in one piece? Some hills remain a challenge so we walk up, had plenty of cases where it took the two of us to push the bikes and trailers up the hills specially on steep single track. It is exhausting for us as often we ride our bikes up and then walk back down to help the kids. We had a few days of rain, one in particular was so heavy we had to find shelter and set up camp after only 7kms but we managed to stay dry and warm. We had some long days after that, 35km+, and have decided we rather ride less and get to camp earlier so we can relax, do school work or play cards before dinner. The forest and wildflowers around us are amazing. All in all the kids are loving the experience and so are we!
We have made it to Pemberton after getting drenched last night in a storm with hail and thunder. It took us by surprise and we were soaked within seconds so we laughed and kept riding, good character building for the kids. We had done about 650kms till then. We did a detour to visit Gnomesville and had lunch at a nearby winery. We enjoyed warm hospitality from David near Donnybrook and Claire who offered to host us. It was so good to have comfy beds and two great evenings with wonderful company. We met friends Peter and Emily again and the kids had a great time playing with Oscar at the giant playground in Donnybrook. That night we camped by a lake with turquoise water and the kids had a nude mud fight and made sculptures out of the clay from the ground. A couple of days later we made it to Nannup after the longest day yet (52kms) due to a control burn diversion. The kids did a great job and we were all rewarded by a great dinner and room at the pub. Next day we camped at Willow springs which was nice but the bugs drove us mad. From there a hard uphill single track with lots of trees down made our arrival at Donnelly River much later than planned. We enjoyed the village with a feeling of going back in time and the welcoming friendly emus. We had a swim and lunch by the dam and a few treats at the cafe. The ride out of Donnelly River was hard single track and half way thought to the next hut it started raining, it was getting dark and we still had 4kms up a steep hill to go so we didn’t make it to the hut that night. Likely the kids were in good spirits and kept riding in the rain until we found a flat spot to camp. The next day we tackled the switchbacks up to the hut and made it to Manjimup by early afternoon. We slept at the Motor Inn and had Indian for dinner, the playground the next morning topped up a great experience in this town! Quinninup was another great surprise, we met some locals who invited us for coffee and the kids spent a couple of hours reading in the library. That night our friends Tara and John joined us and experienced a night on the trail with us. The weather has been hot and humid and the storms provided some relief from the heat. The kids have been riding well and we all continue to love the trail.
Pemberton was beautiful, and the food experiences were up there with the best so far, we had lunch at Holy Smoke and found the best coffee shop of the ride called Paddock. Next morning we set off towards the Gloucester tree (none of us was brave enough to climb it!). The switchbacks down from there were great flowing single track so fast we had to ask the kids to slow down as we couldn’t keep up with the trailers. So much fun and such a beautiful place. The weather was not that good, but we kept riding all afternoon listening to Harry Potter audio books.
That night a Bibbulmum track hut a few hundred meters off the Munda Biddi was a great find given we were going to sleep in the forest under another storm. We had a fire instead and enjoyed the views of a very pretty dam.
The next day I was not up for a hard day in the trail and was very happy that it was an easier ride along beautiful country, forests and farms. The kids rode without complaints chatting to each other and Nick and I had a great bit of time for ourselves. We made it to Northcliffe for lunch. The town was a pearl we were not expecting to find. The place had a great vibe. A little organic coop, a cafe, a wood gallery and an art exhibition. We found a lady who adopts kangaroos with two 10month old babies being fed on her lap. The kids spent time with the tame joeys and then we all went to see the sculpture park which was another great surprise. We camped at Sid’s camp, made dahl with flat bread and had dinner by the fire. A few people gathered around, the kids played with other kids and was nice to socialise for a change.
The next morning Mimi fell of her bike meters out of the gate due to the very slippery gravel, we are off to a great start I thought. Manu wasn’t in the mood to ride and a million flies followed us everywhere so we stopped every 100m that day…. very frustrating. We ended up camping in a horrible spot on the side of the fire trail when he declared he couldn’t go any further.
The next morning we set off early as we listened to music and sang along for a while. The conversation was very animated this morning. What’s better than a birthday party? Planning for a birthday! We spent hours talking about Mimis birthday, dress up design and cake flavours.
We then met Bernie a rider on his way north. We had lunch at the next hut and after some play time we decided to move on to camp at the Fernhook hut which was 20km away. The going was not so hard but the flies and March flies were so bad they ruined the ride for me. Mimi had a stack on the gravel and managed to park her bike perfectly upside down. She didnt get hurt and popped back up from underneath with a smile on her face. The bike stayed parked upside down…. we all had a good laugh. The last 5kms were mostly downhill along nice forests and I enjoyed that besides the flies. Manu had a great day with no accidents but managed to peel off skin of his knees by falling over at the camp which is kind of ironic after he rode 40km that day with no falls. We all slept on the floor of a cute hut and just as well as there was a thunderstorm outside. After we went to bed we decided to set up the tent inside as the mozzies were vicious.
In the morning we rode off the campsite and crossed a bridge with beautiful cascades. The morning was spent riding along forest trails mostly on dirt roads with sandy patches and lots of undulations which were a bit much for Manu to ride so we walked a lot up the hills. There was a big diversion which cut 28km off our day. The diversion and the huge 40km day the day before meant we could get all the way to Walpole which was a bonus as we were so ready for a shower.
At Walpole on our 16th wedding anniversary we are having a couple of days off the bike staying at a cottage, luckily it has brooms so Harry Potter is in full swing (the huts in the Munda Biddi have brooms too so we don’t have many days without Harry Potter play!). Here we have enjoyed a very entertaining eco cruise, markets, art galleries and spent time with friends Peter, Emily and Oscar. Walpole to Albany was a great final stage. We were hosted by two different families, both treated us like life long friends. We rode along the wow track and loved Greens pool and lights beach. Denmark was also special, we had great food at Rovens and the kids loved the adventure playground. The rode to Albany was also beautiful, spending a night by the Hay river and one in Cozy corner, wonderful spot! And then we finally made it to Albany! Clocked over 1000kms during 38 days (including 3 rest days). Shortest day just over 5kms and longest 52. Had an awesome ride especially the last two stages. Loved the scenery, beaches, forests, huts, flowers, towns and the food at the odd cafe on the way… Have met a lot of great people on and off the bike, new and old friends and experienced amazing hospitality from locals. From wonderful art displays and giant trees to amazing playgrounds and wildlife this ride has been an amazing adventure.
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