There’s nothing like the beautiful surrounds of the south west to take away from the sting of the seat on an unfamiliar bike. I love going for a bike ride, even though I would not consider myself a particularly confident or skilled cyclist. Never mind, enthusiasm and beautiful surrounds distract from being innately uncoordinated and having a sore bottom.
During our recent stay at Contos, we were keen to experience more of the outdoors and knew there were some good walk and cycle tracks in the area suitable for all levels of fitness and coordination. After grabbing lunch at Cowaramup, we saw the start of the Wadandi Track and, after some enquiries discovered it was a pleasant, forest-lined track which took you all the way to Witchcliffe.
Steady on. Going all the way to Witchcliffe seemed a bit excessive but a leisurely 14km ride to Margaret River and back sounded more our speed (total 28km).
We hired two bikes from local business, Golden Jersey, and set off the next morning. Bike hire was $48 for a full day for a Giant off road bike ($35 for Gekko), along with a helmet, map and bottled water.
From the Golden Jersey, we made the short ride through town to the track, which starts behind the local fire station. The track is flat, making it an easy ride for all ages and levels of ability. At first the track takes you past farm land, before veering off into forest. There are several bridges to pass over and places to stop along the way for a rest, a photo or to simply absorb the beautiful surroundings. There are sections which have a slight uphill or downhill slope, but there are no steep hills to contend with.
Along the way, we encountered wrens hopping from tree to tree and a hungry bobtail cleaning up the discarded segments of a fellow-cyclist’s mandarin. Not to mention the many other smiling faces we passed, all enjoying this refreshing ride.
Once you arrive at Margaret River, there is of course plenty to see and do. We chose to eat. The Food Room is a cafe and take away on Railway Terrace, surreptitiously serving delicious gourmet wraps, pies, coffee and other essentials needed to douse a bike rider’s hungry fire. It looked like a favourite with the locals and we discovered why – the food was fresh, healthy and oh so good.
After resting up, we rode back and it was at this point my behind began to let me know that it would prefer we stopped now (a symptom of my unfamiliarity with a bike seat, not an issue with the bike itself). I happily ignored it, enjoying the views just as much on the way back as on the way there.
We set off around 8:30 and made it back by 1:30, ready for a cup of tea and a lie down after a cowboy’s walk back to the car. You are your own tour guide on this ride so you can make it what you will, whether it’s a leisurely ride between towns or a fast paced workout.
Cycling the Wadandi Track from Cowaramup to Margaret River provided a new perspective of the area. Rather than zooming past in a car counting cows and wineries, the track allows you to take in the beauty of the landscape as it meanders through differing forest scenery. At times you are passing through a tunnel of trees enclosing the track, only to pop out alongside straight-up, towering trees and lush bush.
The Wadandi Track can be enjoyed by both walkers and riders. Closer to Margaret River several other walking and mountain bike tracks split off from the main track, suitable for all levels of fitness and adventure-seekers. And perhaps next time, we’ll be ready to tackle the full ride to Witchcliffe.