Munda Biddi Trail Ride 2006

What to Pack?

We are normally quite aggressive in packing for light weight, but this was the first trip we did of this kind, and didn't quite know what to expect. As a result we ended up carrying far more than necessary, probably about 3–5kg per person. In the summer heat on a track that has a fair number of relatively steep climbs this means that you use more water, hence you need to carry more water, making the weight problem worse. Here we summarise a few of the things we have learned. Of course, some of this we could have known before had we done a bit more research, but that's life...

Camping

The biggest mistake was to bring a tent. The purpose-built camp sites all have covered shelters with two levels of flat platforms on which to lie down. Hence, if sticking to those (and the recommended accommodation in the townships along the trail) there is no need to worry about sleeping dry. Even camping at other campsites is no problem in the summer, as the probability of rainfall is quite low in December/January.

Consequently we ended up not using the tent at all on the trip, usually sleeping just using a ground sheet, thermarests and sleeping bags. It would have been a good idea to bring along our bivy bag (essentially a zip-up mozzie net), as—in spite of the dry weather—there were plenty of mosquitoes around at dusk. Fortunately they were gone once it was dark. (Mozzie repellent was the thing we had forgotten.)

Sleeping bags, however, are essential, even in the middle of summer. Most days the overnight low was around 10°C (at Collie) with one night of 8°C. And while it was probably a couple of degrees warmer where we were, it was definitely quite cool in the mornings, and we would not want to have to camp without good sleeping bags.

Water

Access to water on the trail is quite limited. The purpose-built Munda Biddi camp sites each have two large rainwater tanks, which were all close to full (even after one of the driest winters on record, followed by a hot summer). This is not so surprising, given that the registration books show that there are only a few dozen people doing the track each month. However, it apparently happens that morons shoot bullets through the tanks, leaving cyclists stranded.

Outside those campsites and the towns, there are few reliable water sources. In particular, the other camp sites have no water tanks. The one exception is The Dell picnic area, which has two tanks.

We found a few streams with good water, particularly between Whittakers Mill and Turner Hill, and further south, but they may not be very reliable in summer. Oakley Dam is fed from a small stream of reasonably clear water, but we used purification tablets to be sure. There is a creek with lots of apparently good water at Nanga.

There are also a large number of water holes for fire fighting, but these are definitely only for emergency use (and only after careful treatment with purification pills). We once used some of that to fill a few bottles (at Whittakers Mill) but fortunately found good water before we had to drink this stuff.

We generally carried about 3–3.5l of water each during the day, and relied on being able to refill at least once during the day. We carried an extra 4l per person for camping (at campsites without water tanks).

Other Gear

As explained on the navigation page, buying the official trail maps is highly recommended, and so is a compass. A handlebar bag (or at least a map holder) that allows you to keep an eye on the map while riding is an asset, and we were definitely glad we carried a GPS.


Trudy & Gernot


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