It’s that time of year. The days are a little cooler, the air is a little fresher and the heavens are yet to open with the winter rains. Perfect conditions to get out and about in the great outdoors.
Trade up your usual daily walk with some action in the saddle. The bike saddle that is. The South West has some of the best bike trails in all of Australia. Don’t believe us? Just ask the lads in lycra next time you’re picking up your early morning latte.
Whether you are a newbie to the world of cycling, or your claim to fame was starring as an extra in BMX Bandits, we’ve found the perfect excuse for a weekend getaway.
Sipping, Supping And Cycling
Is there a better combo? Get out in the fresh air and wind your way between wineries and foodie delights in the heart of Margaret River’s wine region. There are plenty of paths to choose from, but why not start with one that has already been mapped out in detail? Try the Tom Cullity Food and Wine Trail starting near Cowaramup; or take your pick of paths from the Margaret River town centre. Wineries that are easy to access on two wheels include Cape Mentelle, Xanadu, Voyager, Leeuwin Estate, Stella Bella and Watershed Winery. It’s up to you to set the pace: take your time or put those pedals to the metal and work off all that wining and dining.
Experience MTB Mania In Margaret River
Margaret River is home to some seriously awesome mountain bike trails. Get your kit ready and get out for a day in the dirt with a range of different options. Starting at Rotary Park, you can park your car, grab a coffee (and hire a bike) at The Hairy Marron before picking your path. Try the 10 Mile Brook Loop for a relatively straight forward option, or duck under the highway and head to The Pines and Compartment 10 where you can really get some speed up and face a few obstacles. Boranup Forest is another stunning spot for an off-road ride, there’s enough track to keep you going all day. Hard-core bikers will want to try Middle Earth. About 25km of trails in Metricup will keep you focused with log rides and roll overs. This one isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Go Off-road Adventuring
Throughout the South West
Over 12,000 mountain bikes are bought each year in WA alone, and the state has been working towards over 500km of South West trail development. Those are big figures, so it’s safe to say there are some super riding options out there. The Munda Biddi Trail is the regions longest off-road trail, spanning a massive 1000km from Perth to Albany. The scenery changes from rolling hills to dense bushland, with sections to suit all abilities. When you hit Albany, the Downhill Mountain Bike Trail is right in the centre on Mt Clarance. Wellington National Park is another prime biking territory, with Mount Lennard biking trails stretching throughout the park. Pemberton MTB Park is famed for Relentless Blue, a technical trail that is as rewarding as it is tricky. Beach babes will froth at the Denmark to Nornalup Heritage Rail Trail, a scenic coastal trail with over 54km of pathway.
Get A Bit Of Guidance
Margaret River Region
Take the hassle out of planning and let someone else do the work for you. There are some fab options in the surrounds of Margaret River for bike hire and cycle tours. Ranging from bespoke private tours through to group sessions, you can take your pick and let a professional guide your way through mountain bike territory. Due South, Margaret River Mountain Bike Tours and Dirty Detours are just a few companies that will pick you up, get your bike ready and make sure you are kept well fed and hydrated while navigating the cycle routes of the region. Choose from forest rides, winery tours and coastal trails; there’s just too much to fit into one day in the saddle.
Hit The Tarmac
Throughout The South West
Don’t be disheartened if you haven’t your own bike or lack the experience to tackle the rough terrain. You can hire a bike when you hit your destination and try one of the many easy options. Margaret River has the Wadandi track which follows the old railway path, so you can’t beat it for ease. The Darch trail is another great option behind the town, running parallel with Bussell Highway, or hop on the smooth cycle path out to Prevelly and jump in the ocean once you arrive. Ellen Cove to Albany Port is a dual-use cycleway, great for beginners if you have travelled further south. Another old rail trail is inland in the rolling hills of Nannup. Take your time and soak up the views along the 37km of Old Timberline and Sidings Rail Trails.
Sign Up For A Race
Throughout The South West
Plus, at the finish line, there is a burger and a beer waiting for you. If that’s not motivation enough, then we don’t know what is. The four day long Cape to Cape MTB Race is the most famous race, with over 1600 competitors signing up last year. The biggest multistage MTB race in Australia, you too will be back each year once you get a taste for it. Seven is a different kind of race, with seven sectors reaching over 3000m in elevation gain. Not one to sign up for without some serious training and plenty of muscle recovery time afterwards. Southern MTB is one for those headed down to Albany, or hit up the trails in Dwellingup for something a bit closer to home. The Adventurethon features a mountain bike race on the Sunday, but you can jump on the run and paddle on the Saturday if you want to challenge yourself to the trifecta.
Now For Something A Bit Different
Yep, these are a bit left of centre and up there for the holiday highlight reel. Perfect for beginners or those lacking in the fitness department, electric bikes (e-bikes) are an ideal entry into the world of mountain biking. Lighten the load with the push of a button and get some stability assistance with wider tyres. Most of the above tour and hire companies can kit you out with one. Margaret River Mountain Bike Tours has a few alternative adventure options. Strap a light on your helmet and experience the tranquillity of the forest with one of their night rides. After you watch the sun set over the ocean, a whizz through the night air will have you in awe at the starry sky and nocturnal wildlife encounters. The Forest To Caves tour combines cycling with an hour-long cave tour; while the Hike and Bike tour sees a combo of trekking and peddling along the scenic paths of the region.
Want to get back on your bike? Head up north for Perth's best bike trails.
Image credit: Clayton Cardinalli