Come and celebrate mountain biking season surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in Western Australia’s South West. The ultimate way to see the sites, from the seat for your bike.
By
Mike Blewitt

6 Aug 2019 - 10:23 AM 

The seat of your bike is one of the best ways to see the world and given the breadth and beauty of Australia's South West cycling has become one of the most popular pursuits for visitors. Those in the know have been riding the hand-crafted trails and sinuous back roads in the South West for years, but thanks to the popularity of major cycling events in the area, riders are flocking to the region for the world-class events in spring. Whether you're a social cyclist, avid mountain biker or experienced racer, there's plenty of options to feel the wind in your hair and explore the beautiful South West.

Spring is the best time to visit as the temperatures rise and the forests and fields burst with wildflowers and fresh growth. Cycling through rolling countryside between forests of giant Karri trees, farmland and renowned vineyards gives a glimpse of the rich agricultural terrain – rest assured you can savour the produce in many of the towns. From the rugged coastlines to the towering forests, there is a burst of colour and a wave of scents in spring and the South West wakens your senses. But it's the hero dirt from easing winter rains that is the true gift for mountain bikers.

 Southern Peaks mountain bike festival runs from 28-29 September and it is packed with variety. The popular festival in Albany is focused on its namesake event mixing 50km of singletrack, 4WD trails, coastal views and even a short ferry ride. Try the shorter 17km or 37km events if you don't think you have quite got the stamina for 50km. Just keep some energy spare to watch the Jump Comp and Urban Downhill. The course is built across the terraces utilising wooden structures, shipping containers and more. Thanks to Albany's unique elevated position, the town was chosen as the location for the inaugural Urban Downhill in 2014, and the whole festival has grown since then. Don't fret if you need to keep younger members of your family entertained as there is a Kids' Urban event perfect for 5-12 year olds with a modified slalom course – all right in Albany. If you don't know a whole lot about Albany, this is a great way to find out more about the town and its rich Anzac history at your own pace. With the bikes at your hotel, step out and sample the growing food and wine scene in Albany, try Liberté for cocktails and modern cuisine, or Fredericks Café for something earlier in the day.

 

With booming popularity, the Cape to Cape mountain bike stage race is the oldest and most prominent 4-day mountain bike event in Australia. Drawing mountain bike buffs from around the state, country and globe, one thing is certain, there will always be someone in Margaret River to strike up a conversation with about mountain bike tyres, suspension settings, gear ratios or local craft beers. Well over one thousand mountain bikers fill the South West for Cape to Cape, and with friends and family in tow, the area is the hub for Australian mountain biking between 17-20 October. 

While the nation's best will be vying for a prestigious stage win or overall place at the front of the race, the serious faces ebb away a little further back. Events like Cape to Cape are popular globally, for essentially being organised mountain bike tours through some of the most beautiful parts of the world. Throw in award-winning wineries, top notch singletrack, west coast beaches and Indian Ocean sunsets plus a few craft breweries and Cape to Cape has the right mix for racers and enthusiasts alike. Daily distances vary between 45 and 63km and the route takes in stunning locations such as Cape Leuuwin, the majestic Boranup Forest and labyrinthine trails, the sublime singletrack at Margaret River, and of course the private trail network of Middle Earth. Cape to Cape has all the ingredients for four days of mountain bike bliss!

 

Thanks to lots of start waves, you'll avoid the hustle and bustle of those racing for sheep stations. Most stages start and finish at a winery or brewery so you're well-placed for a post-ride meal and refreshment with the afternoon free to see the sights or just regale your travelling companions with tales of your on-trial heroics, be they tall or true.

For those who like their experiences shared and hard-earned, the Tour of Margaret River is just about as close as you can get to being part of a pro peloton. Not only is it one of the largest competitive road cycling events in Australia, there are team categories for men and women, and for mixed teams.

Taking in the roads of the Blackwood River Valley and in and around Nannup, the parcours is as varied as the teams. With two team time trials that bookend the two road stages, the race option is for experienced riders. But if you want to do things a little more at your own pace, there is still an option for you, with 3 stages across the 3 days, where you head off well ahead of the racers to experience the winding roads and rugged beauty of the South West for yourself.

Be it from the saddle and against the clock,  or at your own pace, Australia’s South West is sure to have a cycling experience to guide you from the coastlines to the Karri forests and beyond. The South West is just three hours’ drive from Perth – but you’re guaranteed to feel a world away.


It’s cycling season in Australia’s South West, so push yourself higher and further than ever before, surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery. Whether you’re chasing the high-speed declines and irresistible scenery of Southern Peaks, heart-thumping MTB thrills of the Cape to Cape, or Australia’s ultimate road race with the Tour of Margaret River… Get on your bike and explore Western Australia.