Day 9 – Collie to Nglang Boodja Hut

We’d managed to snag a room at the Crown Hotel in Collie for a pretty good price last night; it was good to have a morning shower and not have to unpack the whole trailer.
Collie’s a strange place – we grabbed some breakfast in town and noticed nearly everyone was getting around in bare feet, many also had weird haircuts. I don’t think I’ll rush back to Collie.

To get out of town on the Munda Biddi you have to backtrack towards the North-west (the trail into Collie is a spur). Much of this route is diverted at the moment due to prescribed burning, so we left town on Coalfields road, and met up with the trail about 15km west of Collie.

It was nice to knock some kms off quickly, but it was a major road with lots of traffic. The shoulder was also covered in broken glass. Thankfully we avoided a flat tyre and we covered the 15km in about an hour.

Having negotiated the glass covered road, almost as soon as we left the highway, Tennis popped his bead AGAIN. We’d stocked up on canisters in Collie so fixing it wasn’t a problem, but he’s averaging one every two days and as most flats are also associated with a fall, he’s getting pretty bruised hips.

From there, the trail heads back into the forest. After a short climb you follow the ridge of the Wellington Dam range and ride that for a few kms. The trail here must not get as much use as the northern sections which are closer to Perth. Although the surface was nice, it was covered in small logs, sticks, leaves and was also a little overgrown. Some of the overgrown sections are pretty fun to ride, kinda like riding through a green tunnel…but ducking and weaving gets a little tiring after a while, particularly when you get a mouthful of pollen or a face full of cobweb.

It descends towards the Collie River on a very hectic, switchback descent….pretty fun, but would have been better not towing a trailer.

I’m not usually one to go crazy over flowers, but the wild flowers in this area are amazing. If you’re thinking of riding the Munda Biddi, spring time is a great time to do it!

The trail then heads back into mountain goat country for another few kms but we took the touring route along the river road which was much flatter.

We stopped off at Honeymoon Pool and had some lunch, Shaun was also there chilling out under a tree.

This is a pretty cool place; a widening in the Collie River where they’ve built a deck and swimming platform. We had a swim, although the water was pretty cold so we didn’t stay in for long. With only a few km to camp and in no real rush, we hung around at the pool for a few hours until yet more of the shoeless Collie youth with awful self-administered haircuts rocked up and ruined the vibe.

The Nglang Boodja hut is only 4km along the trail, but it’s up a very steep climb out of the river valley. So steep in fact that the two lanes of the sealed section of road are split. If you’re riding south, take the low road…although you’ll be riding against the flow of traffic it’ll only be for a few hundred metres and you’ll avoid an unnecessary 80m climb and subsequent switchback descent.

The remaining 3km is still a challenging climb, but with gentler grades and no traffic to worry about. Tennis managed to lose his back wheel; it dropped right out of its cradle, most likely because the axle (specific to our trailers) had loosened itself on all the bumpy trail. He’s quite lucky he didn’t get his dérailleur caught in a spoke, or he may have been hitchhiking back to Collie for a drivetrain overhaul. He’s also lucky it didn’t send him over the edge of the valley.

We rolled into the hut mid afternoon; another great spot in the side of a hill, a stones throw from a flowing stream. There’s lots of birds and frogs around this hut and the animal noises are real nice.

We stocked up on chorizo in Collie and cooked a pretty mean Trangia paella – the only thing missing was the seafood (which doesn’t travel very well in a bike trailer).

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