Map One is a baptism of fire - the first 20km plunges from Mundaring down to the Lower Helena River before rising out on a loose gravelly trail that may see you pushing your bike a fair bit.

There are approximately 163 changes of directions on Map 1. I am aware of only 1 change of direction marker currently missing, but there are a couple of spots where the directions are not clear. My route sheets include a detailed hill profile and a GPS map of my actual ride, as well as a detailed sheet of every change of direction marker. To get these, select the "Route Sheets" tab above, and click on the download buttons for full ride gpx or the ride route summary.

The rest of the ride is more typical Darling Scarp Munda Biddi riding - a mix of tracks, gravel roads, or forms (temporary rail trail for harvesting timber), more undulating ground with the occassional steep hills and surfaces varying from compacted easy riding through to deep pea gravel. It is 103km from Mundaring to Jarrahdale with no services along the way, so be prepared.

If you have not encountered pea gravel before, it is loose and hard to ride, especially if you are carrying a load. Are you a first time Munda Biddi rider? Then I suggest following the Trail Foundation's recommendations on distances to ride (about 30-40km per day). Save the "double hutting" for after Dwellingup, when the trail is far more rideable.

Don't let map 1 and 2 put you off - they are arguably the toughest sections of the Munda Biddi Trail. Once you pass Dwellingup into Map 3, there is far more form (old rail line) that is flatter and easier riding.

Being part of the oldest section of Munda Biddi, and so close to Perth, you can assume Map 1 is well sign posted. Most change in direction markers have another marker 20~50 metres afterwards to confirm you are on the Munda Biddi trail.

The Darling Scarp started to form about 570 million years ago. Its highest peaks are Mount Cooke, Solus and Dale.In the past 100 years, the Darling Scarp has been exploited for stone quarries, forestry and bauxite (rock containing metal aluminium) mining. Timber railways and timber mills existed along the Darling Range to harvest the high quality jarrah forest. As a result rail trails are in abundance, especially after Mt Gungin, but often their surface is less compact and more gravelly than rail trails usually are. This means slower speeds and longer ride times than you may otherwise expect.

This ride starts in Mundaring, a Perth hills township on the out skirts of the metro area. It has most services including a supermarket, many eating out options but no bike shop. Mindah-lung means "high place on a high place" in the local Noongar language, The ride starts at the Sculpture park, which has sculptures set amidst Golden Wattles, gum trees and wildflowers. It also has a playground, picnic area with electric BBQ's, a modified railway signal tower, amphitheatre and minor walk paths. The old Station Masters House and public toilets are nearby. In recent years the park has also been the home of the Mundaring Truffle Festival. There are two bike work centres at the start of the Trail. Both have pumps and all the tools for most trail based repairs. One is at the info hut right at the start of the Trail, and the other is near the Station Masters house, 30 metres away.

The Mundaring Visitor Centre is conveniently located at 7225 Great Eastern Highway, which is part of the local shopping centre. This is on the northern side of the highway, and the Sculpture Park is located on the southern side, 300m away. It is housed in the old School House and also has a district museum. They sell Munda Biddi Trail maps, as well as a great source of information on all local walk and cycle trails, including the Kep and Railway Reserves Heritage Trail. They are open 7 days a week, and can advise you on local accommodation, where to eat, other places of interest etc. See : www.mundaringtourism.com.au/Pages/Home.aspx

The trail from Mundaring to the Mundaring Weir follows the permeant railway line built in the 1890's to assist building the Weir, and so is generally easy riding on generally solid trail. It is also the last section of the Kep Track that comes from Northam.

Pimelia Mycumbene and Grevillea Mycumbene are two small recreational sites along the Trail, not far from Mundaring in Beelu National Park. There are picnic benches and a toilet at Grevillea, right on the Trail.

Fred Jacoby Park is a landscaped garden that we ride along the edge of. It contains many trees from around the world, including one of the largest living English oak trees in WA. Fred Jacoby developed the gardens in the early 1900s. When he died in 1954, his daughter donated the land around Jacoby Park to the people of Western Australia.

Construction of the Mundaring Weir by damming the Helena River started in 1898, the same year as the town was gazetted. The engineer C. Y. O'Connor was involved the design of this scheme that pipes drinking water from the Dam to the booming, but dry, Goldfields, 600km away. We will pass the Mundaring Weir Hotel that was built at the same time and was where O'Connor stayed regularly during the construction of the weir. Be careful of the very steep descent in front of the Hotel.

Soon after leaving the Mundaring Weir Hotel, the ride goes down Mundaring Weir Road and turns off opposite the No 1 pumping station. Don't go too fast here. The trail is wedged between a water pipeline (on Pipe Road) and the Helena River and is a very scenic section, with lots of single track.The river crossing is a rocky causeway that in Winter maybe flowing slightly, but usually does not.

Please see my video of Map 1. It follows the Trail from the Mundaring Sculpture Park, down the old railway line to near the Mundaring Weir hotel. Then the trail leaves the old form and starts heading up hill from the Helena River on a rough, gravelly trail, definitely wearing its "challenging" classification on the Trail Foundation's maps. After Carinyah hut, there are some great shots of a huge jarrah tree, a really tall grass tree (look for my bike next to them for an idea of size), then Balmoral POW turnoff before heading into Jarrahdale. It is only 60 seconds long, but gives you an idea of what the first map is like.

The touring route is definitely an easier alternative, but you have ridden the worst of the hills by the time you get to it. After we turn off Mundaring Weir Road I think we will be riding sections of more old train line. In 1909, Port & Honey built a wooden railed tramway from the WAGR train line at Mundaring Weir to their saw mill 5 km South West, near Mt Gungin. It closed in 1913. The touring route bypasses the Dell, a picnic area with parking and toilets that is one of the local hubs for over 75km of MTB trails in the area. The Dell can be so popular that the carpark is full by 8am most weekend mornings. The Kalamunda Circuit passes through here, and is indicated by a blue triangle.

Edgar Dell (1901 - 2008) was a local painter best known for his watercolour paintings of WA's wildflowers. He emigrated to WA from England in 1924, where he bought and cleared a bush block in Paulls Valley, near Kalamunda, establishing an orchard there. The block came to be known as The Dell and this name has been extended to the recreation site that we ride through. The Dell was also the site of Port & Honey Mill from 1900 to 1913. Although the name sounds tasty, it was owned by James Port and Richard Honey.

The ride goes close to Mount Gunjin (399 m), a high point between Mundaring Weir and Kalamunda. It was the location of a Western Australian Forestry Department fire-watching tower.

We come out of the bush into Pickering Brook on Holyroyd Road. It was named after the Holroyd brothers, who were World War 1 veterans. In 1925 they bought land and established their orchard. The road runs along the old formation of the railway and the brothers had a siding on the railway called "No.1 Siding". The Road was un-named for many years before officially named. Apparently they built their house where the train unloaded their building supplies, as the better locations on the property required the supplies to be moved!

We will pass close to the small township of Pickering Brook. It was named after Captain Edward Picking (Pickering) (1781 - 1851) who arrived on the "Atwick" in 1829. The name was incorrectly spelt due to a clerical error. Captain Pickering farmed in several places in WA, then was the Postmaster in Perth in 1841. In 1844 he became Clerk of the Roads Trust and called tenders for Canning Bridge in 1846.

Originally known as Pickering and later as Pickering Junction, this railway station was renamed Pickering Brook Junction when the Government commenced operations in 1903. Prior to 1949, Pickering Brook was a stopping place on the Upper Darling Range Railway, but is now primarily made up of family run orchards. A small shop is located about 4km from the trail, the only shop near the route from Mundaring to Jarrahdale.

Carinyah in the local indigenous language means "Happy Home". The settlement may have been active by 1929, when a Forests Department settlement is recorded as being in the Barton's Mill area complete with housing and community buildings. The local school operated 1930-1963. It was converted during the World War 2 years to a Defence Forces training ground for the Volunteer Defence Corps. The VDC was an Australian part time volunteer military force modelled on the British Home Guard. The VDC was established in 1940 by the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) and was initially composed of ex-servicemen who had served in WW1, but were too old for frontline service in WW2. Many men and women from Pickering Brook and the surrounding district, signed up for duty. Most of them trained at the Carinyah Forestry Settlement and others elsewhere in the State. The Carinyah hut is located near the old settlement site. See my Carinyah Circuit ride, which includes all my route sheets and route sheet summary as a free sample. See more on the Carinyah hut and campsite here.

Carinyah hut to Wungong Hut is very hilly, and mainly on form. Some of the "Keep Straight On" markers at Y junctions as they indicate which leg to take. If the markers were missing, it maybe hard to work out which branch to take, so I have noted most of these as a change in direction on my route sheets even though they are technically not.

You may see some small signs indicating die back free areas. Die back is is a soil-borne mould which causes root rot. The plant pathogen is one of the world's most invasive species and is present in over 70 countries from around the world. Of particular concern is the infection and dieback of large areas of forest and heathland which support threatened species in the south-west corner of WA. Many plants are susceptible, including jarrah, grass trees, banksia, dryandra, hakea, zamia palms and grevillea. The loss of this flora in turn will impact on animals reliant on these plants for food and shelter, such as the southwestern pygmy possum and the honey possum.

Monadnocks is a term used by geologists to describe large flat isolated hills that rise out of generally flat plains. So this name was perfect for a group of large "humpback", round, bald hills of granite behind Gleneagles. The Monadocks Conservation Park contains the highest point in the Darling Ranges, Mount Cooke (582m), as well as several others such as Eagle Hill (on the Munda Biddi maps). These hills form the divide between the Serpentine and Canning drainage systems. They were formed 2,650 million years ago when magma from 14,000 metres below the earth's surface came to the surface and crystallised. Large slabs of granite are commonly scattered over the Darling Range and they often feature "onion peeling" caused by continual cooling & heating causing the rock's surface to split in layers.

Although now just a rest stop on the Albany Highway, Gleneagles was a settlement for forest workers and their families. It was a locality that was seriously affected by the 1961 Jarrahdale fires. Some remnants of the townsite remain including roads and the central water tower, but the houses were removed upon closure.

The day ride from Gleneagles/Albany Highway to Jarrahdale is very popular. Riders get dropped at Gleneagles, and their driver meets them in Jarrahdale where everyone can meet at the cafe after a very pleasant ride. The short ride from Albany Highway to Jarrahdale Rd via Wungong Hut is mainly old form, going through beautiful, dense jarrah forest, and in parts is a bit overgrown. Wungong hut and campsite is only 800m off the main route. The ride to Balmoral POW camp is mainly gravel roads with a couple of hills and the jarrah forest is more open. Look for some very tall grass trees along the Trail. Finally, the last section into Jarrahdale is mainly old form & fairly flat. See more on the Wungong hut and campsite here. See below for a very short video of this ride in Spring. The flowers are on Trymalium ledifolium Fenzl.

This 60 second video shows you around Wungong hut:

Most of this route does not have mobile phone service. I did get service on one hill between Albany Highway and Brookton Highway, at Wungong Hut, the hill on Bulldozer Rd, and closer to Jarrahdale.

The Balmoral Prisoner of War site is an interesting part of WA's history. Raised at the start of WW2, it mainly housed the malingerers, escapees and trouble markers from the other POW camps who were used in harvesting jarrah in the Jarrahdale area. This camp was much stricter than other camps and the workers did not interact with the local community like at other camps. POW camps were mainly located in the wheatbelt and the south-west of WA with the main camp located at Marrinup (see Map 2).

Also at Balmoral was Jarrahdale Number 3 Mill, which was built in 1890. It was known as  "The 39", because it near 39 Mile Brook, which crosses Albany Highway near the old 39 mile peg.

Board Mill was a mill on Balmoral Road that existed from 1903 to 1915. I am unsure where it was located.

Map 1 finishes in Jarrahdale, a small historic town that derived its name from its location in the jarrah forest, and was WA's first major timber milling operation. A quarter of a million acres was granted to the Ballarat Timber Coy in 1871 on the condition they open up the country. The mill was established and started production in 1872, the same year as a rail line to move the timber to Rockingham was completed, for shipping the timber around the world. The town played a key role in the development of the state through the harvesting and exportation of jarrah around the world, often to be used as paving blocks and railway sleepers in cities as far away as London. Timber from Jarrahdale was railed to the the coast and then was loaded on tall ships in Rockingham at Mangles Bay - the rail line is still apparently evident in some areas. The town was gazetted in 1913. At it's peak, Jarrahdale was one of the largest sawmills in the Commonwealth with 28 saw benches operating. Although it was not always a profitable business, Jarrahdale has the longest and most chequered history of a mill in WA, with over 100 years of almost continuous production. The mill site at the extremity of the town was operated by Bunnings until it's closure in 1997. An Alcoa alumina mining operation was concluded in 1998. Both Bunnings and Alcoa removed most of their plant fittings when they departed. The Heritage Sawmillers mill was built in the 1930s and is still operating as a small production business, located on the Gooralong Brook which flows through the townsite. This area is very productive, with two areas near Jarrahdale are considered to have been harvested for sawlogs five times. Over 644 km of railways were built from Jarrahdale- the largest network in the South West of WA.

Most riders stop at the Jarrahdale general store. It offers the usual cafe food, but include the legendary "Jarrahdale burger" - see a photo in the "Where to Stay and Eat" article. The store was built in 1872 and is a great place to stop. I love the old wooden floor boards inside and the nice balcony outside.

'Kia Ora' is an example of one of the smaller locomotives originally used on the timber lines in WA. It is on display at the Bassendean Railway Museum. It was built in 1884 and placed in service with the Melbourne Harbour Trust as number 2. The locomotive was sold around 1885, and eventually was bought by C & E Millar and arrived in Albany in 1887 for use at the Torbay mills. The locomotive was transferred to Yarloop in 1895 and it was there that it received its first name, 'Beetle'. The locomotive was later renamed 'Kia Ora' by the Yarloop manager who came from New Zealand. 'Kia Ora' was transferred to Jarrahdale in 1905 before being sold by Millar's to the Public Works Department in 1909, initially to Carnarvon to work the jetty tramway. 'Kia Ora' was transferred in 1949 to Roelands quarry and later to Bunbury in 1954 to work the jetty. 'Kia Ora' was donated to the museum for preservation in 1962, and can still be seen there today. See "Trains" under the History heading for a photo of this train.

Jarrahdale is a historic hamlet with very few facilities- in has two small general stores that have just the basic food supplies and a couple of options for eating out. The Visitor Centre is located about 10 km away in Mundijong, so it is best to utilise their website before going to Jarrahdale. See: www.jarrahdale.com

Jarrahdale accommodation: The Environmental Centre (the 100 year old hospital) is two houses West from the Jarrahdale General store and is available for accommodation. Book through the school (Ph 9525 5157) or the Post office (300m West from general store, open every day 6.30am till 6pm). In April 2017, it cost $17.50 per person per night. There is dormitory type accommodation with bunk beds, a full size kitchen, showers, toilets etc.

Pea gravel is common on map 1 and 2. This video aims to show you what it looks like so you can be prepared. I think a lot of cyclists ride on Map 1 & 2, then think the Munda Biddi is not for them. I think the pea gravel, combined with big hills, lack of experience  and fully loaded bikes, puts riders off. In the spirit of "forewarned is forearmed", I have made this video. I hope it is viewed as positive and realistic commentary, not critical and negative. For tips on riding pea gravel, see the article "What to ride, skills needed" in the side bar.

Getting there and back: My route sheets show you how to catch a train from Perth to Midland and ride to the trail head in Mundaring on old rail trail. I have also listed 2 options of joining the Munda Biddi along the route. Finally there is a route for riding from Jarrahdale to Armadale, where you can catch a train back to Perth. Another alternative is to use the Mason & Bird Heritage Trail to get from Maddington train station to Pickering Brook - see a separate route under "Close Metro Rides".

Distances:

Mundaring to The Dell 16 km
The Dell to Carinyah Hut 24 km
Carinyah Hut to Wungong Hut 35 km
Wungong Hut to Jarrahdale 28 km
Total Map Distance: 103km

Riding to/from the Trail:
Midland Train Station to Mundaring 18 km
Carinyah hut to Challis train station 21 km
Wungong Hut to Armadale Train station via Gleneagles 29 km
Jarrahdale to Armadale Train station 30 km

GPX files I have available:

Mundaring to Jarrahdale (all map 1)
Mundaring to The Dell (March 2014)
The Dell to Carinyah (March 2014)
Dell Touring route (April 2014)
Carinyah to Gleneagles/Albany H'way (Small diversion) (March 2014)
Gleneagles/Albany Hway to Jarrahdale (April 2014)
Jarrahdale to Wungong Hut (July 2015)
Wungong Hut to Carinyah Hut (July 2015)
Carinyah Hut to Mundaring (Aug 2015)

Getting there:
Armadale to Byford (Oct 2014)
Mundaring to Midland (Oct 2014)
Midland train station to Bellevue (March 2015)
Midland to Mundaring (April 2014)
Bellvue to Midland (March 2015)
Carinyah hut to Challis train station (July 2015)
Jarrahdale to Armadale train station (Sept 2015)
Armadale train Station to MB near Gleneagles (Sept 2015)

This page is the property of Follow My Ride, a website detailing off road cycle tracks near Perth and in Western Australia. This page is on the Munda Biddi Map 1 bike trail.