The Waterous Loop is 70km km ride that shares approximately 28 km with the Munda Biddi trail. Bidjar Ngoulin hut is in the middle, so it is ideally located for splitting the ride into two days.

The info hut at Lake Navarino suggests travelling the route in an anti clockwise, which is the same direction I went. Much of it is old temporary rail line (forms) built in the 1890's, so is reasonably compact and not too steep, but there are two steep sections - see the ride profile. This ride is a perfect introduction to anyone wishing to attempt the Munda Biddi Trail, and try out camping in one of the huts on the way.

Chris Klassen rode the loop in November 2017 and kindly shared his route with me. He said "Since your day out in 2015 it appears that there has been some permanent changes to the route with a new mine area necessitating an extra loop which increases the distance somewhat. My route included a few double backs and some of the sign markers were unclear or absent and there was the large extra loop to avoid the mine".  Chris did 80km with those double backs (since then other riders have reported it is about a 70km loop), which is a reasonable increase from my 61.3km. Thanks for the updated info Chris.

To get the full ride gpx (for both loops) or the ride route summary, select the "Route Sheets" tab above, and click on the download buttons for each.

Here is a quick video of one of my rides from July 2015 - it was a perfect day and a brilliant ride:

However there were a couple of change of direction markers missing on my 2015 ride. I got lost at a 3 way junction not far from Lake Navarino. The marker post was lying there but had been burnt and it was unreadable on the direction. I guessed straight on, but when I hit Scarp Rd 300m later I knew I had to back track and I should have turned left. The map at the Lake Navarino resort is more accurate than the one on my Munda Biddi Map 1 (edition 8), which is fairly new map. I suggest using my route summary sheet and/or gpx file will save you a lot of time. Plus, when the Loop reopened in October 2017 after fire damage, I am hoping these markers were fixed up.

The Waroona Dam was built on the Drakes Brook in 1966. The reservoir is known as Lake Navarino and is primarily used for irrigation. It is also used extensively for recreational activities such as water skiing, power boating and freshwater fishing.

To get to the Lake Navarino Forest Resort take the Kwinana Freeway then take the Greenlands Rd exit. Turn right onto the South West Highway, then it's about 20km to Waroona. 
It is 8.5km from Waroona to Lake Navarino.
Turn left at the Drakesbrook Hotel (McDowell St) at the signs (becomes Nanga Brook Rd), turn right into Scarp Rd, then turn right into Inverall Rd to reach Lake Navarino.

To accommodate the building of the Waroona Dam, a construction camp was built nearby to the Dam site. After the construction was completed in 1966, the camp was leased to the Shire of Waroona and turned into a caravan park. In the mid 1980's, responsibility for the caravan park was handed to the Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) who have since leased Lake Navarino Forest Resort to a private enterprise.

The Lake Navarino Forest Resort has self-contained accommodation (cottages), motel units, powered/caravan sites and unpowered camping sites, and now "Glamping" accommodation. It also has an ablution block, launderette and a shop/kiosk. They have fuel, ice and gas available, a range of grocery including but not limited to bread & milk plus drinks & ice creams.

There is a big climb after crossing Samson Brook - nothing ridiculous, but I walked most of it, even without load (i.e. panniers or trailer).

Waterous Mill was owned by Millars, and operated from 1897. It was named after the engine that drove the mill, a huge single cylinder engine made in Canada by the Waterous Engine Works. The townsite was created in 1907 to support the nearby Mill, and had 3 houses and a shop. At its peak, the mill employed 200 men. The mill stopped production in 1909 and was dismantled in 1910. Most of the machinery was sent to East Kirup.

Waterous mill and Hoffman mill, which the Trail did originally go passed, fed timber to Yarloop. It was reached by following the Bancell Brook to a set a zig zags that enabled trains to go up and down the Darling Scarp. One of the first engines used at Yarloop was "Coffee Pot", later named "Beetle", and finally named "Kia Ora". It appears that as the rail lines extended further into the bush, "Kia Ora" may have actually be based in Waterous. This little engine was built in 1884 and is on view at the Bassendean Railway museum.

The Willowdale bauxite mine, established in 1984, is located east of Waroona and we will ride close to it. It supplies bauxite to the Wagerup refinery. We will pass through two tunnels that allow mine machinery to cross our route unimpeded, and pass over a bauxite conveyor that feeds the refinery. In the quiet of the night at Bidjar hut, you can hear the distant rumbling of the mine. Alcoa obtained permission in September 2006 to double the size of Wagerup refinery to become the biggest aluminum refinery in the world. I think the constant noise scares the birds away from Bidjar Ngoulin hut compared to other huts. Bidjar Ngoulin means 'place of rest' in Nyoongar, which, for the birds anyway, is ironic really. There is a little stream by the hut (follow the path in front of picnic tables down) and up to the little water fall. This is a lovely little spot. See more about it here.

There is no phone signal at Bidjar Ngoulin hut, or along most of the ride. I do get intermittent service along Nanga Brook Rd, and Scarp Rd, but do not rely on it.

Just after the Bidjar Ngoulin hut is the King Jarrah tree (it is marked on the Munda Biddi map). It is 500m off the trail. It is on the King Jarrah walk, which heads from the Munda Biddi trail straight through to Nanga. The first 100m is narrow single track, but once you cross the little stream, it is all uphill and completely unrideable - leave your bikes behind. The steep walk is worth it though - the jarrah is truly magnificent, roughly the diameter of a decent sized karri tree, and nearly as tall. I guess it survived because it is on such a steep slope and was not easy to harvest. King Jarrah Form first opened in 1939 due to the flooding of the nearby Samson Dam.

We will see a sign for South Shore World class free ride MTB area. Beware - this is for VERY experienced riders only. Just before Bidjar hut we will see one of the jumps - You would need a fair bit of air to land that jump.

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.
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. You can see the old form going right through the camping area still.

There is a big climb after Nanga to near Icy Creek. I walked most of it, even without load (i.e. panniers or BoB trailer). Then there is about 10 km on the sealed Nanga Brook Rd, mostly heading downhill. It is a 90 km/hr zone, but even on school holidays only 1 car passed me. Then you are off in the bush again as you head to Lake Navarino, and the end of your ride.

If you want to overnight along this Trail, accommodation can be found on Experience Perth . This website also has fabulous suggestions of things to do, attractions, activities and tours in the Perth region.

GPX files I have available:  
Waterous loop (July 2015)
Waterous loop - updated (Nov 2017)

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 Waterous Loop trail.