After a few weeks of a quest for some of the world’s most gorgeous beaches in Australia, my love for Australian beaches and the beckoning Indian ocean was far from over. I mean in a country where finding a beautiful beach is an everyday story, the excitement to explore a few more of them, dies pretty quickly. And so was the case with me.
So as I moved down south of Perth, during my three-week backpacking trip in Western Australia, and hit Margaret river (bypassing Busselton) — another town popular in Western Australia for its white sand beaches perfectly beautified by sloping grassy banks and huge Norfolk pines in the background — I was a little unsure.
Margaret River As A Town
Margaret River, as a town, is a beautiful concoction of a good life and entertainment, with a number of craft breweries and boutique wineries available at every junction. The many world-class beaches, surfing points, and a lively marketplace moreover add to its charm.
However, one thing that differentiates Margaret River from many other nearby tourist towns, in Western Australia, is a labyrinth of mountain biking trails, that take you through some of the most beautiful natural peppermint, jarrah, and young karri forests, offering firsthand views of the abundant bird life and nature.
Making My Way From Perth To Margaret River
Being more of a mountain person who would prefer losing his way in a jungle, any day, than being under the spotlight on an open beach, when I found out that Margaret River is home to a rich national reserve, I immediately realized what was beckoning. I wanted to stay somewhere closer to the forest reserve of Bramley National Park.
A quick probe on a few hotel booking sites, and after struggling with the tough decision of choosing between a backpackers hostel (and finding more friends) to staying in an independent luxury tent (and having no one to speak with), I finally decided to stay in a place called Wharncliffe Mills Bush Retreat.
Located amidst the tall timber of the Bramley National Park, Wharncliffe Mill Bush Retreat offers an ecological bush campsite. With about a dozen luxury tents, a dormitory, and a caravan parking (with personal camping-space) site, the place was all about a unique natural environment, with many personal choices of activities to choose from. Gaze at the star-strutted sky, toast marshmallows over a campfire, go for a bushwalk through the beautiful Karri, Jarrah and Marri forests, hit the mountain bike trails and explore all that the local region has to offer, or simply do nothing and breathe-in the fresh oxygen.
My idea, however, was of exploring the forest reserve. The only thing that I didn’t know was that I was going to do it on a bike. Because Wharncliffe Mill is located right in the heart of mountain bike trails, spread over a few hundred kilometres of biking trails, it’s inevitable to stay there and not try mountain bike.
Mountain Biking In Margaret River
Set in the forest amidst gigantic oak-pine trees and spectacular scenery, the many mountain bike trails, in Margaret River, is a mix of gravel roads and single track, suitable for beginner to advanced riders.
For those that want to cruise, the relatively flat firm surface of the easy and scenic Rails to Trails and Ten Mile Brook tracks are the perfect fit. However, if you’re a die-hard mountain biker find your nirvana with the epic mountain bike trails that have relentless jumps, berms, logs, rollovers, scrambles, and mud (in season!).
And if you still need more of a challenge, you can plan your visit around the list of MTB events and races that the town organizes throughout the year.
I tried a few trails including 10 Mile Brook Trail, The Pines Trail, and Bonarup, and loved the 10 Mile Brook Trail and the Pines Trail the most. Located at Rotary Park and spread over a distance of 15-20km, 10 Mile Brook Trail takes you through stunning karri and jarrah forest. The Pines Trail, on the other hand, is located at Carters Road Spread and connects the Wharncliffe Mill Bush Retreat. With its 10 km trail, The Pines Trail is a perfect place for a beginner to intermediate riders to experience fantastic flow track through an open pine plantation.
Where To Hire A BIke From? And How About A Bike Tour!
If you aren’t bringing your own bike, Margaret River has plenty of options for you. I hired mine from Wharncliffe Mill Bush Retreat itself, for 15 dollars a day, and a bit of concession for being their guest. But if you’re looking for something in the town, and a place that also has biking tours and other ideas for you, two places of recommendation would be The Hairy Marron and Dirty Detours.
Bramley National Park Mountain Bike Trails
Have you tried mountain biking in Margaret River? How was your experience?