Rail Trail bike ride. Margaret River Western Australia
It was nearly a case of ‘last seen lost in forest’ as He Himself and I set out with some friends for what was to be a leisurely bike ride in Margaret River.
We had set off for a Sunday excursion along The Margaret River Trail, a bike trail that runs for 15kms from the rail head at Carter’s Road just outside Margaret River to Cowaramup.
First though a slight detour along Carter road, through beautiful forest with He Himself leading with gusto like the Pied Piper in the wrong direction, mostly uphill, for 2kms.
Words (not all of them kind) were spoken and Dave was under some pressure to get us back on track in the quickest possible time.
Safely back on the trail and now with all remaining Saturday Night cobwebs blown away, we cycled on through peppermint, jarrah and young karri forest. There are picturesque bridges which arch over creeks and streams, and lush farmland near Cowaramup, where we stopped in the village for coffee and cool drinks at the bakery.
The trail is rated ‘moderate’ and it’s relatively flat as it was once part of the old railway network built during the timber boom. That’s not to say that I didn’t notice the slight downward decline on the way back to Margaret River, when I could do less peddling and more daydreaming and looking around instead.
We arrived back at Rotary Park at around noon having cycled 30 kms and set up for a lunchtime Barbie of snags and a feast of salads which we consumed in the forest by the river.
Springtime is the best season for the trail because wildflowers are abundant and it’s likely to be perfect cycling weather. However, it’s also a great trail in summertime because the forest canopy protects you from the full glare of the sun.
What is it: Bush Walk or Bike Ride (mountain bikes recommended)
Start: Start from trailhead off Carter’s Road.
Park: At Rotary Park (Old Kate steam engine is the focal point) just before you enter Margaret River (before the river) where there are toilets, barbecues and a children’s play park. Or park at the other end of the trail in Cowaramup.
Difficulty: Moderate, easy to navigate, picnic areas along the way.
Pack: Water, light rain jacket (if required), mobile phone in case of emergency.
Amenities: Coffee shops, bakery and a general store in Cowaramup to refuel at the half way mark.
Length: 15 kms one way (we took about an hour each way)
Birdlife: Expect yellow robins, parrots and blue wrens.
Cycle trail from Margaret River to Prevelly and on to Gnarabup Beach
From Margaret River to Gnarabup Beach is about 10kms along a concrete cycle path that goes all along Walcliffe Road. On the way there it’s mostly downhill, coming back the other way there’s a couple of climbs. You’ll most likely see kangaroos in pastures as you leave Margaret River, and pass through some pretty forested areas before coming in view of Margaret River (the river itself) and the ocean.
There’s a camp site and convenience store at Prevelly, which is about 8 kms along route, as well as a sea view restaurant (that has won many awards).”Sea Gardens” serves breakfast, lunch and dinner – go for Rachel’s dreamy cakes, and for the amazing breakfasts or fabulous pizzas. It’s BYO if you like, and the Prevelly store also sells reasonably priced wines.
Then it’s down hill to Gnarabup, with a bit of a climb at the end. The beach is good for swimming, and The White Elephant Cafe right on the beachfront is open in season.
There are toilets, and showers here if you need a spruce up after a cooling off swim, before downing a well deserved gallon of water and heading back for a nice glass of wine and a pizza at Sea Gardens!
Margaret River Visitor Centre
Tel: +61 (0)8 9780 5911