Like the first map, Map Two starts in a small town at the top of a steep descent into a river valley. And when you have a big down hill, invariably you have a big up hill, and this section is no exception.

Coming out of the Dandalup Hut, there were 4 change of direction markers missing (as of April 2014), and a couple that were very easy to miss (eg one marker was 10m up the turn off, rather than at the junction). My track notes and gpx file will reduce the chances of getting lost. 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 worst of the hills are behind you 10 km from Jarrahdale, and the rolling hills after that are easier to cope with. However the patches of pea gravel and sand will keep the average speeds down even after the Serpentine valley hills has been cleared. But you get to ride across Dandalup dam wall, and a few km later the hut has great views off the Scarp towards the coastal plain, so it is all worth while. Passing through Dwellingup, Perth's outdoor play ground, this map finishes at Nanga, the site of an old mill town. There are 2 Munda Biddi huts on this map.

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.

Here is my map 2 highlights video:

Map 2 starts in Jarrahdale, a small historic town that derived its name from its location in the jarrah forest. The mill was established in 1871 as WA's first major timber milling operation. 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. 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. The mill site at the extremity of the town was operated by Bunnings until 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. The area is very productive with two areas near Jarrahdale being harvested for sawlogs five times. Good info and maps at:http://www.jarrahdale.com.au/walks-and-parks-of-jarrahdale 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. See Map 1 overview for additional info.

The Jarrahdale Visitor Centre is located about 10 km away in Mundijong, so it is best to utilise their website before going to Jarrahdale. This website also covers the Dwellingup Visitor centre. This centre is only about 300m off the Trail in Dwellingup, and has a nice museum with a good exhibition featuring the fire that devastated the area in 1961. Toilets and a shady picnic area are attached to the visitor centre. The pub is across the road! See: www.visitpeel.com.au/contact-us/visitor-centres

Jarrahdale accommodation: The Environmental Centre (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 sized kitchen, showers, toilets etc. Food is available next door at the General store and cafe, the Post Office and General store, or the pub.

Tip: If you are heading into Jarrahdale from Dwellingup (i.e. Northwards) and pulling a heavy load, it maybe easier to stay on Scarp Rd once you cross the Serpentine River. Scarp Rd is still a rough gravel road with corrugations and pea gravel and it is still a long, hard, slow climb. You can easily see Scarp Rd on the map, and you will cross it twice if you ride the Trail, so you can rejoin it later if you want. See my "Shortcut" on my "Route Sheets" and "Profiles and Maps" for a profile. If I am riding unloaded, I would stick to the Munda Biddi, but pulling a trailer or panniers, it is a line ball on which one to use.

The touring route is definitely easier than the Trail. The Trail goes up and down some short sharp rocky hills that had me walking up them, even without a load. The touring route is mainly downhill (riding North to South), but even the opposite way is rideable if unloaded and you try hard - it is a long steady climb over occasionally rocky ground.

Dandalup is an Aboriginal name relating to the rivers in the area, and was shown on maps from 1835 onwards, but its exact meaning is unclear ("up" on the end of place names means meaning 'place of' in the local Indigenous language). Whittaker's timber railway ran from North Dandalup into the Darling Ranges where they had been granted a forestry concession of 36,000 acres (150 km2). The town (which we do not pass through) was gazetted in 1972, a year after work began on the construction of nearby South Dandalup Dam. In 1994 the $50 million North Dandalup Dam was opened 6 km from the town. In 1896, North Dandalup experienced a minor gold rush. Robert Bunning, of Bunnings Hardware fame, bought his first sawmill at North Dandalup in 1897. Very little is known about this mill.

Dandalup hut has sweeping views over the coastal plain, all the way to the coast. Not unsurprisingly, it has good phone reception. See here for more information on Dandalup hut and campsite.

One of this map's other features is Whittaker's Mill, which was the headquarters of Whittaker Bros. They were a significant timber producer whose output is linked to the development of WA throughout the 20th Century. Their primary forest mill was situated at North Dandalup, and the first mill buildings were erected 1902. To shift felled timber to the rail station in North Dandalup, Whittaker's constructed a spur line to the edge of the scarp and then a tramway to their storage yards adjacent to the station. In 1929, the Whittakers Mill was described as follows: "Whittaker's mill nestles in the forest-clad hills above North Dandalup station, and associated with it is a fairly large village, equipped with its school, post office, store, boarding house, and public hall. The mill covers a large area, and has two steam power units of a total capacity of 120 horse power. Twelve saw benches are in use. Whittaker's have cut out a 20,000-acre reserve, but in time to come this may reach a profitable stage again. Now they are operating on a 15,000-acre concession. The mill handles an average of about sixty logs a day." By the 1930s, much of the surrounding forest had been felled. The infrastructure was ageing but the Mill finally ceased operations during WW2 due to the labour shortage. In 1944, Whittaker's Mill caught fire and extensive damage was caused to the timber-cutting machinery, which ended production by the company at North Dandalup. Now only the site remains. Contrary to the map, camping is no longer available, and the site is neglected with fallen trees everywhere. The Munda Biddi Trail used to go through the mill site, but it was hard to follow the Trail as the site became overgrown. The Trail now tracks along next to it, and is clearly marked.

The 11km Turner Hill track is one of the best, challenging XC (cross country) trails in the state. Take your panniers off :-) before tackling the IMBA rated Blue or the several Black rides including a whole jump line called "Double Trouble". There is a shortcut to reduce the loop to 5.5km and a new 1km Green kids' trail. If this Trail is too long and intense for you, Marrinup MTB Trail is coming up and may suit you better.

You may hear the Alcoa conveyor before you see it. The conveyor carries bauxite from the Huntley mine to the Pinjarra refinery, where it is converted into alumina, which is later made into aluminium. The trail actually crosses over the conveyor so you will get a good chance to see it. Established in 1976, Huntley is the largest bauxite mine in the world! Pinjarra refinery is one of the world's largest with a capacity of 4.2 million tonnes per year, which is about seven per cent of the world's alumina. The arboretum nearby was planted to see which trees are best suited for use on rehabilitated land. We also have a permanent realignment of the map (see here) and I can only presume it is for the same reason as the Map 3 diversion - ie mining. I am happy to stand corrected if anyone knows more. Not surprisingly there are few references to Huntley or Willowdale mine and Wagerup Refinery (map 3) on the Munda Biddi maps or most map books. It could be because Alcoa is (or was) a sponsor of the Munda Biddi. I support environmentally sustainable managed mining (my bike is aluminium, and chances are so is yours), but it seems the mining in this area is kept out of public scrutiny. Because the bauxite mined is low quality Pinjarra refinery currently consumes about 90 MegaWatts of energy every hour, which is enough energy to power 50,000 homes during the same period. Aluminium is occasionally described as "solid electricity" for the amount required to produce it.

Due to the permanent realignment of the Munda Biddi, the trail now bypasses Oakley Dam, but it is about 2 km off the trail. It offers a lookout with nice views over the coastal plains. Beware it is down a big hill to get to it, so that means coming back up a big hill. It was originally built as a water stop for steam locomotives. The realignment does not have as many markers along the route as the original Trail had, so you can sometimes think you may have missed a turn off. My route sheet summary helps there as the longest leg between changes of direction is 3km.

We will ride through the old Marrinup town site. In 1902 a horse drawn tramway was constructed from Pinjarra by Smith & Timms to serve their sawmill located at Marrinup. Later six locomotives worked in and around Marrinup hauling jarrah but these all have been broken up for scrap with the exception of a small engine known as "Kate" which is preserved in a park at Margaret River. Kate was originally purchased for use in Karridale (near Margaret River) in 1889, before being transferred in 1912 to Marrinup and Jarrahdale. She later saw service as a jetty loco in Wyndham. In 1963 the Rotary club brought her back to Margaret River and mounted her it's present position. Marrinup Mill was temporarily closed several times, then finally shut down in 1936. The camp ground at the old town site is free to use, so it is popular with caravans.

The Marrinup MTB Trail has a sign board at northern end of old townsite (which may be hard to see if coming from the North). It is a 8km family friendly cross country single track loop with some log rides, jumps and berms, but usually with chicken runs. It is generally flat, with gentle slopes. The blue markers on the circuit help you stay on the trail. See a map here.

Here is a short video showing the Dwellingup To Dandalup section of Map 2:

A short way off the Munda Biddi trail is the remains of Marrinup POW camp, which shows an interesting part of WA's war history. Different types of internee and prisoner of war institutions were established during WW2, depending on the level of security required. Camps were mainly located in the wheatbelt and the south-west of the state with the main camp located at Marrinup. The Marrinup camp administered 28 Control Centres throughout the south-west and wheatbelt areas. Most internees were utilised to work with the local community, and many stayed on in their communities after the War finished. The camp had a capacity of 300 Germans, and 900 Italians by 1944, who were held in separate areas of the compound. In general it was the Italians who were best suited to being used as labour on local farms, whereas the Germans tended to work more as timber cutters. Prisoners were not forced to work but were paid a small amount in the form of tokens which could be exchanged for 'luxury' items like chocolate and cigarettes. A number of prisoners enjoyed the life in Australia so much that when the war ended they successfully applied to immigrate. Little is left to show where the camp once stood except for a clearing in the forest and a few building foundations.

Dwellingup is a small town that is the centre of Perth's outdoor activities. It has camping, fishing, canoeing, white water rafting in Winter, MTB riding, walking, 4wd ing etc. It can be a busy town on weekends, especially long weekends. At the 2011 census, Dwellingup had a population of 383. Dwaarlindjirraap means "place nearby water" in the Indigenous language. It has a small general store and several options for eating out. Dwellingup Adventures (Newton St) in town carry some bike spare parts. There is a variety of accommodation, including several options at the Caravan Park.

The township was gazetted 'Dwellingupp' in 1910 following the decision to make it the terminus for the Pinjarra-Marrinup railway. After the railway opened, Dwellingup quickly became a major centre for the area and the small outlying timber settlements such as Holyoake, Nanga Brook, Marrinup, Chadoora and Banksiadale. Dwellingup had services including a hotel, a doctor, two butchers, a baker and a saddler.

The town was virtually destroyed in 1961 when lightning started a bushfire which lasted for five days and had a 400km front. It damaged 140 000 ha of forest and wiped out many of the smaller timber towns, including Nanga Brook, Holyoake, Marrinup, Banksiadale and Dwellingup itself. In Dwellingup, 161 homes, 74 cars, the mill, church, police station, town hall, shops, post office and forestry centre all burned to the ground. It is a credit to the forestry department that no lives were lost. Of all the towns damaged by the bushfire only Dwellingup was rebuilt. The Dwellingup visitor centre, just across the street from the hotel, has exhibits about the forestry industry and the 1961 fire that devastated the area.

The Hotham Valley Railway offers a Forrest Rail train ride from Dwellingup.The historic train will take you 8 kilometres eastward from Dwellingup to Etmilyn, along the state's last surviving lightly built developmental railway. There is a 20-25 minute stop to walk "The Etmilyn Forest Heritage Trail". Commencing at the water tank foundations, the 1km loop trail through the Etmilyn Forest features excellent examples of Jarrah, Blackbutt, Red Gum, Blackboy, Banksia and a variety of palms and ferns. The Dwellingup Forest Train departs Dwellingup Station twice (10-30am and 2-00pm) on Saturdays, Sundays & Public Holidays. Fares are currently $24 for adults (Aug '14). For time tables see www.hothamvalleyrailway.com.au

The original paper Munda Biddi Map 2 map finished in Dwellingup, and you needed a "gap map" to get from Dwellingup to the start of the new Map 3 at Nanga when it came out. The newer map 2's cover this section.

Lane Poole Reserve is named after Charles Lane Poole (1885 - 1970), an English Australian forester who introduced systematic, science-based forestry to WA. During 1896 to 1916, there was no trained forester in the Department of Woods and Forests, which functioned as little more than a revenue collecting organisation. Lane-Poole was a graduate of a French forestry school and he was the Commonwealth's first Inspector-General of Forests and was appointed conservator of forests for WA in 1916. He vigorously set about providing a sound forest policy and a school to train foremen and rangers. The Forests Act (1919) which he formulated was regarded as a model in professional circles, but a lack of support and opposition to its implementation prompted his resignation in 1921.

Nanga is the site of an old jarrah mill that operated from about 1900 until the Dwellingup fires of 1961. In 1902 a lease was granted to Yarloop-based Millars Karri & Jarrah Company (formerly Millar Brothers). The Nanga Mill was the biggest in the area for many years, at times employing over 100 men. In 1909 a townsite was laid out and built by Millars, complete with 56 homes and several other lodgings, a store, butcher, hall, billiard room and school. Later, three tennis courts and a sports oval were added.As you cross the Nanga Brook, look for the fish ladder on the left.

The two World Wars and the Great Depression greatly affected production and many mill hands left the area as wages were not covering the cost of food and other necessities. In 1941, the original mill burnt down and a new, smaller mill requiring only 16 workers was built. At the time of the fires, Nanga Brook was already in trouble, unable to compete with the Dwellingup mill. So when the 1961 fires incinerated Nanga and devastated the countryside, there was no reason for mill workers to return to Nanga Brook, and in 1962, the end of the town was declared. The area was replanted with stands of pine by the Forests Department, who promoted it as a camping and picnic spot.  Nanga Mill is the largest campground in Lane Poole Reserve with space for large tents, camper vans, camper trailers or caravans. As an "open" campground with no separate individual camp sites it is ideal for groups wishing to camp together. Sites are not booked as with other camp grounds - campers set up camp anywhere between the pines with consideration to other campers and to the environment. Note - there is no drink water at Nanga. See more here - https://parkstay.dpaw.wa.gov.au/camp-finder/viewproperty/nanga-brook/163/en

When I rode into Nanga in May and June 2014, there was a short, temporary diversion that meant I rode across the Nanga bridge. On the diversion website in Feb 2015, it appears that this diversion is now permanent. This means my route sheets should be correct.

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 a route for riding from Jarrahdale to Armadale, where the Perth trains terminate. I have made 3 routes on riding to Dwellingup, all of which cross the Munda Biddi on the way. I have also tracked the most obvious but least cycle friendly route to Dwellingup, via the Pinjarra Williams Road. This route is only acceptable when riding in one direction, as the opposite direction is too unsafe. The route sheets also offer 3 routes to ride to Mandurah, where you can catch a train to Perth.

Distances:

Jarrahdale to Dandalup hut 34 km
Dandalup Hut to Dwellingup 42 km
Dwellingup to Nanga 16 km
Total Map Distance: 92 km

Riding to/from the Trail:
Armadale Train station to Jarrahdale 30 km
Dandalup Hut to Mandurah Train station 35 km
Dwellingup to Mandurah Train station 42 km

GPX files I have available:

Jarrahdale to Bidjar hut (all map 2)
Jarrahdale to Dandalup hut (April 2014)
Dandalup hut to Dwellingup (April 2014)
Dwellingup to Nanga to Bidjar hut (May 2014)
Bidjar Hut to Dwellingup (May 2015)
Dwellingup to Dandalup hut (June 2015)
Dandalup hut to Jarrahdale via touring route (Sept 2015)

Getting there:
Armadale to Byford (Oct 2014)
Jarrahdale to Armadale train station (Sept 2015)
Pinjarra to Kessners Rd (Sept 2015)
Dandalup hut to Mandurah train station (June 2015)
Dwellingup to Pinjarra via Pinjarra Williams Rd (Sept 2014)

Short cut: Serpentine River to Jarrahdale via Scarp Rd (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 2 bike trail.