Some WA local knowledge please

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Some WA local knowledge please

Postby grasshopper » Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:03 pm

Hi all. I'm heading Perth to Norseman late August and would appreciate some local knowledge, if anyone can help.

1. Is riding from the airport OK? Not sure where we'll stay for our couple of nights yet, but thinking about Warmshowers and all this will help.

2. I'd like a short/bush day getting out of Perth via the northern section of Munda Biddi Trail (maybe some road on the most difficult bit) and it looks like we have two options - if based around Perth/north, get over to Mundaring or Mundaring Weir Rd and take the trail down to Brookton Highway en route to Brookton. Or we could leave from Fremantle (we're going to Rottnest so we can just hop off the ferry there on the way back) and get over to Brookton Hwy or maybe Canning Road and take the MBT north to Mundaring (en route to York which sounds pretty). We will probably call in at Perth Observatory along the way. Any thoughts on the better loop and the roads to York vs Brookton?

3. We're going to take the Hyden-Norseman Rd a la Aushiker et al's trip (very helpful info thank you). Just wondering if there's anything new about that area since those reports that would be helpful?

Many thanks. :)
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by BNA » Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:38 pm

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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby Baalzamon » Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:38 pm

grasshopper wrote:Hi all. I'm heading Perth to Norseman late August and would appreciate some local knowledge, if anyone can help.

1. Is riding from the airport OK? Not sure where we'll stay for our couple of nights yet, but thinking about Warmshowers and all this will help.

2. I'd like an easy day getting out of Perth via the northern section of Munda Biddi Trail and it looks like we have two options - if based around Perth/north, get over to Mundaring or Mundaring Weir Rd and take the trail down to Brookton Highway en route to Brookton. Or we could leave from Fremantle (we're going to Rottnest so we can just hop off the ferry there on the way back) and get over to Brookton Hwy or maybe Canning Road and take the MBT north to Mundaring (en route to York which sounds pretty). We will probably call in at Perth Observatory along the way. Any thoughts on the better loop and the roads to York vs Brookton?

3. We're going to take the Hyden-Norseman Rd a la Aushiker et al's trip (very helpful info thank you). Just wondering if there's anything new about that area since those reports that would be helpful?

Many thanks. :)


Brookton HWY *shudder* The number of close shaves by trucks on that route when I toured last I swore never to ride that again. Brookton caravan park rip off!
Perhaps the Midland heritage rail trail which then leads to the kep track taking you to Northam. But get off at Clackline and head to York, following onto Quairading then Corrigin. If possible avoid Kondinin(Lights on all night) and head straight to Hyden.
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby grasshopper » Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:48 pm

Baalzamon wrote:Brookton HWY *shudder* The number of close shaves by trucks on that route when I toured last I swore never to ride that again. Brookton caravan park rip off!
Perhaps the Midland heritage rail trail which then leads to the kep track taking you to Northam. But get off at Clackline and head to York, following onto Quairading then Corrigin. If possible avoid Kondinin(Lights on all night) and head straight to Hyden.

Perfect sort of input; thanks. I'm liking York even more. :)
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby Sprocket » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:22 pm

+1 Kep Track
The pea gravel gets pretty thick and slippery as you head further out (due to petrol heads on trail bikes :evil: ), but you can bail out to quiet roads that run parallel with it if it stops being fun. You can use the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail to link up to the Kep Track. Use the northern side of the railway reserve to head up through John Forrest National Park and link up in Mt Helena, or use the southern side to link up in Mundaring. More options for stopping for coffee/lunch on the southern route, better scenery on the northern route.
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby GJ_Coop » Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:01 pm

Reckon the consensus here has got it right.

The north part of the MB is basically climb 300m up from the city to Mundaring, the Railway Trail is consistently up and does have it's moments of pea gravel, then from Mundaring bike down most of what you came up and then back again straight up, except that part of the track, ie, the uphill from Mundaring Weir heading south is the least likely part to ride, it's a big push-a-thon when you have a touring load aboard.
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby grasshopper » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:38 pm

Excellent, thanks guys. Track and Kep it is.
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby exadios » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:22 pm

grasshopper wrote:Excellent, thanks guys. Track and Kep it is.


Having tried most routes out of the Metroplex (including Brookton Highway) I endorse the Kep track up to Clackline. Its probably the most scenic route and is the safest. Make sure that you have a good map covering the area between Midland and Clackline because the "parallel" roads are not always evident from the track.

There are no serviced camp grounds between Midland and Northam / Toodyay / York. The first spot to camp that I've found is in Chidlow Recreation Reserve which is bush. There are toilets and tables inbetween the Reserve and the the town.

Also the York camp ground is not so good and expensive ($30 IIRK). However there is a small town on the way to York called Spencers Brook. It has an old pub there with good meals. Also I have camped across the road from the pub next to the bus stop. There is water there. Spencers Brook works out to be about a days ride from Chidlow for me.

Also I have camped at Mawson (which is basically just an elevator) between York and Quairiding, in the bush between the road and the elevator and to the west of the elevator. East of Quairiding is the Wheat Belt proper and camping becomes easier.
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby grasshopper » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:48 am

That's great detail and very handy thanks exadios. I was thinking Lake Leschenaultia might be a good camp option, close to Chidlow too. Has anyone stayed there?
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby Baalzamon » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:03 pm

grasshopper wrote:That's great detail and very handy thanks exadios. I was thinking Lake Leschenaultia might be a good camp option, close to Chidlow too. Has anyone stayed there?


Very nice location. Can't recall the fee's but it wasn't too bad. Lovely hill to the campgrounds. On the way out I was told a way to avoid the hill.... There is gate and allegedly I could get my bike thru the gap :roll:
Get to it UGH. I would be lucky to squeeze thru it, so over the gate the bikes had to go. Lucky I had someone with me so between us we got his bike over, then we did the same with mine.
So if I was to go there again, I would prefer to take the hill out of the campgrounds than lift a loaded touring bike over a gate. Think it was 13% going down so similar going back up
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby Baalzamon » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:09 pm



Garmin data for you going up Mundaring heritage trail to Lake Leschenaultia
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby grasshopper » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:54 pm

That's great, thanks. Neither of us would be much good at lifting bikes, so forewarned ...

I was looking at elevation thinking metres/loaded at first. :? Glad it was feet. :lol:
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby GJ_Coop » Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:01 pm

Hey, team.

Do you need a torch to get through the tunnel? Or am I thinking of the wrong track? There is a rail tunnel, isn't there?

The other question is: is it better to go on this trail than on the other side of the valley through Mundaring?

Just full of questions today, sadly no answers ...
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby HappyHumber » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:48 pm

GJ_Coop wrote:Hey, team.

Do you need a torch to get through the tunnel? Or am I thinking of the wrong track? There is a rail tunnel, isn't there?.


Well, you can see the far end of the tunnel from the other, but there is a slight curvature. It's doable without a torch but it's a fun experience. You sort of lose your immediate depth perception a bit. I remember when I first did it, they hadn't really smoothed the gravel floor surface and you were bouncing around a bit as you went, which further confused things. But then again I am unco at the best of times.

Approaching the tunnel from the West (heading East that is), there is a still well trodden and obvious track off to the left which goes around the tunnel. Negligbly adds probably 500 meters tops to the distance. The tunnel itself must be less than a couple of hundred meters long.

The the old Railway incline on the northern leg, which goes through the tunnel discussed, John Forrest National Park, Parkerville, Stoneville & Mt Helena is quite gradual. If you pick up the southern stretch - there's a coupla mildly steeper stretches around Darlington, and it effectly is probably a few Ks longer by the time you join up again to the Kep proper around Mt Helena.

On the Southern stretch, the bit around Boya just before you cross Coulston Rd (heading East) can be confusing to the uninitated as well. The first time I did it I ended up in the dead end quarry. The second time I did it (admittedly from the other direction a few years later) I still ended up in the quarry :D Twice bitten; I'm eventually shy ;)
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby Baalzamon » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:03 pm

grasshopper wrote:That's great, thanks. Neither of us would be much good at lifting bikes, so forewarned ...

I was looking at elevation thinking metres/loaded at first. :? Glad it was feet. :lol:

btw that garmin was from my tour with panniers
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby Sprocket » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:37 am

GJ_Coop wrote:Do you need a torch to get through the tunnel? Or am I thinking of the wrong track? There is a rail tunnel, isn't there?

The other question is: is it better to go on this trail than on the other side of the valley through Mundaring?



Tunnel can be a bit hairy without a light, and it is pretty bumpy - but worth doing! It's a bit tricky to find heading east as the main rail track heads around the outside of the hill (this part of the original railway line was added after the fatal crash as a result of the train driver becoming overwhelmed by fumes in the tunnel) and you can easily miss the turn off for the tunnel as it's a bit overgrown on that side. Heading west it's impossible to miss.

Southern option definitely has more relief, and does have the tricky spot near Boya - just turn right when the track looks like you should turn left, near the public lavatories and you should be ok. Southern route takes you through the villages of Darlington, Glen Forrest and town of Mundaring - which opens up possibilities for stopping for coffee or lunch if that's your thing. Northern route definitely smoother and easier, goes through the JF national park which is lovely, has more of the historical aspect of the old railway line, and goes through the village of Parkerville which has a small general store and restaurant. The two branches join up at Mt Helena.
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby exadios » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:49 pm

grasshopper wrote:That's great detail and very handy thanks exadios. I was thinking Lake Leschenaultia might be a good camp option, close to Chidlow too. Has anyone stayed there?


Yeah, I forgot about Lake Leschenaultia. Actually I only found out about it recently. I've never stayed there but you can see that others have. One thing I'm not sure about is whether you can just rock up there or whether a booking is required.
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby Baalzamon » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:49 pm

exadios wrote:
grasshopper wrote:That's great detail and very handy thanks exadios. I was thinking Lake Leschenaultia might be a good camp option, close to Chidlow too. Has anyone stayed there?


Yeah, I forgot about Lake Leschenaultia. Actually I only found out about it recently. I've never stayed there but you can see that others have. One thing I'm not sure about is whether you can just rock up there or whether a booking is required.


I rocked up and got lucky, 1 camping spot left that was big enough for our 2 tents.
But if you know when you are setting off, I would suggest book so your not disappointed.
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby grasshopper » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:23 pm

Yep, I think I'll book this and a couple of other things a couple of weeks out, just in case anything crops up.
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby exadios » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:54 pm

Baalzamon wrote:
exadios wrote:
Yeah, I forgot about Lake Leschenaultia. Actually I only found out about it recently. I've never stayed there but you can see that others have. One thing I'm not sure about is whether you can just rock up there or whether a booking is required.


I rocked up and got lucky, 1 camping spot left that was big enough for our 2 tents.
But if you know when you are setting off, I would suggest book so your not disappointed.


When I ride my bike on tour I'm on vacation. So, I know when I am going to set off but I never know when I'm going to arrive. :)
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby grasshopper » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:00 pm

Hi guys. I'm back, so just a quick thanks for the advice which all worked well. We took a PSP out of town (very easy, similar navigational issues to ours), then the northern Kep Track which was perfect. My ride buddy was from overseas and saw her first roos day one, so the pressure was off. :lol: We decided to leave Perth a day earlier so hadn't booked Lake Leschenaultia for that night, but they let us stay :). Lovely campground.

And then on to York, Quairading, Kondinin, Wave Rock and Norseman, a couple of rest days in Kal and then east across the guts. Hyden-Norseman Road was lovely with the wildflowers and the road trains and grey nomads were overwhelmingly polite. :) Enough cross winds to last me a year or two, but all good.
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby Aushiker » Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:12 pm

grasshopper wrote:And then on to York, Quairading, Kondinin, Wave Rock and Norseman, a couple of rest days in Kal and then east across the guts. Hyden-Norseman Road was lovely with the wildflowers and the road trains and grey nomads were overwhelmingly polite. :) Enough cross winds to last me a year or two, but all good.


Thanks for the update and glad to hear the ride went well. Also nice to have an update on the Hyden-Norseman Road as there has been some recent discussion on it, including some pretty wild claims about it.

Andrew
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby grasshopper » Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:24 pm

Aushiker wrote:
grasshopper wrote:And then on to York, Quairading, Kondinin, Wave Rock and Norseman, a couple of rest days in Kal and then east across the guts. Hyden-Norseman Road was lovely with the wildflowers and the road trains and grey nomads were overwhelmingly polite. :) Enough cross winds to last me a year or two, but all good.


Thanks for the update and glad to hear the ride went well. Also nice to have an update on the Hyden-Norseman Road as there has been some recent discussion on it, including some pretty wild claims about it.

Andrew

I'd call it a good unsealed road late August. It was variously a bit bumpy in places towards the western end with some loose topping, then good fast clay base, gravelly again in bits (especially where the double axles produce little ridges of loose stuff) etc but a good road all up with a delightful lack of traffic. Great info boards and Discovery Trail brochure. A highlight for us.
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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby Aushiker » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:00 pm

Thanks for the photos. Looking pretty good and maybe better than when we rode it.

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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby Aushiker » Fri Aug 22, 2014 4:59 pm

Another WA rider is heading east via Hyden and Norseman and hence on the Granite and Woodlands Discovery Trail. Will be good to get an update on the state of the road. Victor's journal is at CGOAB.

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Re: Some WA local knowledge please

Postby rifraf » Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:46 pm

At Chidlow across from the pub is a park with large sheltered BBQ areas.
When I came across from NSW, I couldn't get into the caravan park and so waited for the pub to close and just rolled out my bivybag under one of the shelters.
No problems or issues cept it was a short sleep being approx 11.30pm till all activity from the pub to finish.

Ha!
I can still remember the handlebar gripping ride from the top of the hill down to Midland with my two wheeled trailer pushing my Moulton to speeds that
must have taken more wear off my brake pads than the rest of the entire journey from Mudgee NSW. :shock:
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