Map 6 is my favourite because it contains some of the best the Munda Biddi has to offer - the trail is often old form and good riding, the karri and jarrah trees are simply magnificent, and it passes through three towns (Manjimup, Pemberton and Northcliffe) plus another nice stop on the way (Quinninup).

This map has all the history, flora, fauna and great riding you can possibly want. There are no Munda Biddi huts on this Map, so you will need to use town accommodation. Manjimup and Pemberton are ideal towns to have a rest day in - you won't be bored in either, although I personally prefer Pemberton.

Here is a short video of my ride along Map 6 in 2015:

Manjimup is large country town with a supermarket, lots of other shops, many eating out and accommodation options and all the usual facilities. The Munda Biddi Trail leaves Manjimup and tracks next to the Muir Highway as far as the Wheatley Coast Road, then on to Quinninup. It uses mainly old temporary train line (form), which in some places is now gravel roads. When crossing the Warren River bridge look for old rail bridge on the left - it is very photogenic. There are a few hills into Quinninup from here - they are classed as intermediate sections.

The Munda Biddi  leaves Manjimup and tracks next to the Muir Highway as far as the Wheatley Coast Road, then on to Quinninup, cuts across to Pemberton, then heads South to Northcliffe. Most of the route is on form or dirt roads and is reasonably flat. The whole map is coded green for "easy", with only 10 one kilometre sections of the 128 km classed as "intermediate". But don't let that lull you in to a false sense of security - if you are "double hutting" (eg Manjimup to Quinninup to Pemberton in one day), those hills are long and steep enough to tire you out, and get you walking

Quinninup, in the local Aboriginal language, means the "place of Zamia Palm". It was first settled in 1924 as part of the Group Settlement Scheme to assist migrants seeking a new life after World War 1. During this early period, families started farming various fruit and vegetables, grazing cattle and sheep as well as poultry and pigs. For a short period growing and drying of tobacco was a thriving local industry - we will ride past Tobacco Rd that hints at this history. Watermark Kilns, near Northcliffe, were originally built in the 1950s to dry tobacco, but it is now bike friendly accommodation right on the Trail.

The 1930's and 40's witnessed a high demand for local Karri and Jarrah and in 1944 the town was bought by Millars Timber and Trading Company. Construction of a steam-powered timber mill began along with locomotive sheds, office buildings, cottages to house workers, a worker's club (became the Quinninup Tavern) and community buildings together with a school by 1949. At it's peak the Quinninup township had over 250 people and the timber mill was said to be the biggest in the state. But by the 1980's timber milling was in decline and in 1982 Millars Timber and Trading closed the mill and it was sold to a private developer. Some buildings, including some of the worker's houses and the hall were dismantled and sold. However, most of the houses, the workers' club and school remain. The only facilities in town are the public toilets and the caravan park, which also has cabins. The tavern sadly burnt down in July 2017. It is a nice spot for lunch and a drink, or to stay overnight at, but don't plan on much more. I had a good Telstra phone signal here.

The first couple of kilometres out of Quinninup are through the Greater Dordagup National Park on a fire break, 5 "chains" (approximately 100m) from the side of the Wheatley Coast Road.

Locomotive number C 1 'Katie' is the oldest locomotive in the Bassendean Railway Museum collection. It was ordered in 1880 from Robert Stephenson & Company of Newcastle on Tyne for the opening of the Fremantle to Guildford railway. It was sold in 1899 to the Westralian Jarrah Forests Ltd, Greenbushes where she was named 'Katie'. It did work at other timber mills, before being last used by Bunning Brothers at Nyamup, near Quinninup. In 1956 the engine was taken to the Midland Workshops and restored by the WAGR for static display. In 1970 'Katie' was transferred to its permanent home at the Railway Museum at Bassendean.

Riding into Pemberton, some of the exceptionally scenic spots include the East Brook bridge and the Swimming Pool, right on the edge of town.

The Pemberton region was originally occupied by the Bibbulmun Aborigines who knew the area as Wandergarup, which meant 'plenty of water' in their language. In 1862, Brockman established Warren House homestead and station on the Warren River. Walcott Pemberton, after whom the town would be named, established Karri Dale farm on the northern outskirts of the townsite, and Lefroy established a farm and flour mill on Lefroy Brook. Pemberton has a population of around 1000, so has a small supermarket, post office, various accommodation and eating options, but not a stand alone bike shop. Pemberton Discovery Centre, on the main street at the bottom of the hill, carry some bike spares. Pemberton General store (at the top of the hill in the main street, opposite the public toilets) also has a good selection of bike accessories and lots of inner tube sizes.

The State Saw Mills was set up by the WA government to combat the large millers of WA who refused to bid on supplying sleepers for the Trans Australia rail line. 2.3 million sleepers were needed in 1912, but only 165,000 were bid for by smaller independent millers. Millars, the biggest company at the time, claimed they were fully occupied, but really wanted to dictate the price. So the WA government won a contract to supply 1.4 million Karri and 100,00 jarrah sleepers, and set up the State Saw Mills to supply them. In 1913, the government-owned State Saw Mills began construction of twin sawmills, No 2 and No 3 (No 1 was at Deanmill), at the location then known as Big Brook, to supply the railway sleepers. When the two Pemberton mills opened in 1914, No 2 Mill was the biggest in Australia. Big Brook became a thriving private mill town, with a hall, store, staff accommodation and mill workers' cottages. A more distinctive name was soon sought, so Pemberton was suggested. The mill town was well established by 1921 and the Pemberton townsite was gazetted in 1925. During the 1920s the area was a focus of the Group Settlement Scheme, and following the World War 2, the War Service Land Settlement Scheme, but with only moderate success.

During the 1980s, Pemberton began to grow as a tourist town and tourism continues to play an important role. Viticulture is now widely established with large areas of pastureland being converted to vineyards. Pemberton is recognised as one of the premier cool-climate wine regions in Australia, and hosts many wineries in the region. Log sawmilling was still the most active industry in 2005, occupying 13% of the workforce, despite the state government drastically reducing old growth logging in 2003. Rather than shut down, the mill switched to plantation Tasmanian blue gum and pine in addition to karri. However, in December 2016, the mill finally shut, along with Manjimup and Deanmill, with the loss of 140 jobs.

Pemberton is surrounded by karri forest with five national parks within 60 minutes' ride and has plenty of rivers, streams and dams for recreation. The beautiful forest attractions include Big Brook Dam in the Pemberton State Forest 6 km north of town (we will ride within 4 km of it). With it's bird hides and jetties, BBQ facilities and a sandy beach with a backdrop of karri, it makes a wonderful attraction. The 4 km sealed walk trail around the lake is an ideal way to view the tall Karri Forests.

Other tourist attractions include the Pemberton Tramway Company which operates a tourist railway from Lyall to Pemberton and trams from the old WAGR railway station at Pemberton to Northcliffe. It is a privately operated tourist railway which shows tourists the forests and picturesque countryside as well as recreating the history of the timber railways that were so important to the regions development and growth. The railway uses paid and voluntary staff, and operates diesel hydraulic trams over a total route length of 10kms.  The 1¾ hour tram trip leaves Pemberton, goes past the Saw Mill and descends into the Karri forest. The tram meanders through the forest, while crossing six bridges, then stops at the Cascades before ending at the Warren River Bridge, at the junction of the Lefroy Brook and Warren River. The tram then returns to Pemberton. There are 2 departures every day at 10:45am and 2pm. Fares $24 for adults. See http://www.pemtram.com.au/

There are only two State Saw Mills locomotives existing today, both in Pemberton. SSM 7 started life named G53. It was built by James Martin of Gawler, South Australia in 1895 for the WAGR.  G53 went to the Commonwealth Railways in 1942 for war-time duty on the North Australia Railway at Darwin, becoming NFC 53 and renumbered to NFC 69 in 1943.  After the war NFC 69 was sold to the WA State Saw Mills where it was numbered SSM No.7. It was sold to Hawker Siddeley Building Supplies in 1961 and was last used at Pemberton in about 1970.  Following retirement, SSM No.7 was plinthed on Brockman St, where it remains to this day. You will ride past it as you come into town.

SSM No.2 is currently with the Pemberton Tramway Company. In 1910 the South West Timber Hewer's Co- Operative Society (the only producers of hewn railway sleepers in WA at the time – all other sleepers were being sawn) of Collie and Holyoake,  placed an order for  a "G" class loco  from the UK. A kit of parts arrived in Fremantle in 1911 and was assembled at Midland Junction Workshops. The locomotive was named "The Hewer" and sent to work at the Lucknow Mill near Collie. In 1912 "The Hewer" was moved to Holyoake, just east of Dwellingup where the SWTH had 3 concessions operating. When the Lucknow Mill was destroyed by fire in 1912, all operations were then concentrated on Holyoake. The State Saw Mills eventually took over the SWTH operation at Holyoake in 1920 and the "The Hewer" was taken in to SSM stock. Whilst in for repairs at Midland Junction Workshops in 1942, "The Hewer" was numbered SSM No.2.  No.2 was transferred to Deanmill in 1943 where it worked up until 1952 when it was transferred to Pemberton. After a short stint in Pemberton, No.2 returned to Holyoake, then back to Pemberton until being transferred back to Deanmill in 1960. No.2 remained at Deanmill where it worked until 1967 when it retired from service to Manjimup. It stood on an unused siding there until it was put on display at what is now known as the Manjimup Forest Products Centre. In the late 1980's the Pemberton Tramway Company registered an interest in SSM No.2 with the then current owners Bunnings Ltd. In 2004 Sotico (Bunnings timber division) donated SSM No.2 to the Pemberton Tram Company, where it is waiting for restoration.

Leaving Pemberton, The Trail goes through the Gloucester National Park (free entry to bike riders along the Munda Biddi trail), containing the famous Gloucester Tree. The tree is only a hundred metres off the Trail, and you will see it when you enter a large car park area. The tree served as a fire lookout and had a platform, cabin and climbing pegs installed in 1947. It was one of eight lookout trees constructed in the area between 1937 and 1952. Three are still able to be climbed - this, the Diamond Tree and the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, the tallest at around 71 metres. The trees have metal rungs that allow visitors to climb them and reach the constructed lookout at the top. At the back of the Tree, the Trail goes down a large hill via a series of zig zags, which can be fun to ride down (but not as much fun if coming from Northcliffe though!).

The River Road Bridge is a long wooden trestle structure over the Warren River. It was built for the logging railways by the State Saw Mills in the late 1930s. It is impressive, and a nice place to take a break.

We cross the Wheatley Coast Road twice and even ride along it for a short period. This road was originally a stock route for cattle to be taken from properties up on the Muir Highway to the coastal dune grazing areas near the mouth of the Warren River.

Just before Northcliffe, the Trail passes the Hollow Butt picnic spot. It is named after the huge hollow Karri trunk that is big enough for several people to stand inside. The tree's top branches broke off in a fierce storm and the trunk was charred during a controlled burn but the Hollow Butt tree still survives and new branches are still growing. There is a gas bbq, picnic table and chairs, but the water tank is labelled not for drinking.

Finish map 6 in Northcliffe, a small country town. It is largely surrounded by karri, marri and jarrah forest and is close to the Warren, D'Entrecasteaux and Shannon national parks. Primarily a farming area since Group Settlement, both logging and conservation interests are represented here. The town has a population of around 400, and has a Post Office, a cafe, museum, hotel, gallery, and a small local supermarket. Northcliffe does not have it's own water supply, so drinking water is trucked in then reticulated out to the residents.

The town was the centre of a Group Settlement Scheme in the 1920s, which was an assisted migration scheme which operated to provide a labour force to open up the large tracts of potential agricultural land to reduce dependence on food imports from interstate. It became the terminus of the Bridgetown-Jarnadup railway, and was gazetted in 1924. It was named after Lord Northcliffe, owner of The Times and the Daily Mail in London, and Director of Propaganda in the British government during WW1. The mill was opened in 1949. Bunnings purchased the Northcliffe mill in 1963. It burnt down in 1966 and was re built as Bunning's first electric mill. It closed down in 1994. The town has a population of around 400, and has a Post Office, cafe, museum, hotel, gallery, and a local supermarket.

Northcliffe was affected by a huge bushfire in February 2015, the biggest in living history. This fire had a perimeter of 260km, and came within 1 km of the town. The 2015 fire burnt out 100,000 hectares (or 1000 square kilometres. Imagine an area of 40 km x 25 km), cost $15 million to fight, burnt out 2 houses and numerous sheds but no lives were lost.

You can see one of the trains used to haul timber in Northcliffe at the Manjimup Heritage Park. Y class 109 was built in the UK in 1907, and was originality used to haul passenger carriages between Perth and Fremantle. It was then used by Bunnings from 1958 to 1962.

The Northcliffe visitor centre is located just off the main street on Muirillup Rd. We ride within 50 m of it. It is open every day from 9am till 4 pm. As well as tourist info, there are toilets there and the Pioneer Park is across the road. The Museum is open daily from 10am till 3pm (admission by donation) and contains many historical items of interest, a right whale jaw bone and a large collection of fossils and minerals from around Australia. At the back of the Visitors Centre is the 1.2 km Understory walk, an amalgamation of art, sculpture and natural beauty. Entry is $11 per adult (Feb 2015). See: www.northcliffevisitorcentre.com.au

Northcliffe has a general store, and a couple of options on accommodation and places to eat. The Karri Country Good Food Shop on Wheatley Coast road is a community based business run by volunteers. They can pack food to required quantities in ziplock bags for Munda Biddi cyclists . Contact them if you want to pre-order and arrange for a delivery to your accommodation in Northcliffe. See www.karricountrygoodfood.com.au

I have also listed a short cut that saves you 2km but a few hills. This is as you come into Pemberton from Quinninup, so is a good option if you are tired.

Distances:
Manjimup to Quinninup: 43 km
Quinninup to Pemberton: 40 km
Pemberton to Northcliffe: 44 km
Total Map Distance: 127 km

GPX files I have available:
Manjimup to Northcliffe (all map 6)
Manjimup to Quinninup (Sept 2014)
Quinninup to Pemberton (Sept 2014)
Pemberton to Northcliffe (Sept 2014)

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 6 bike trail.