Named for the traditional owners of the land, the Wadandi Track meanders through karri and marri eucalypts, farmland and vineyards.

The track traverses approximately 110km from Busselton to Augusta, although recreational areas are located from Busselton to Vasse, and Cowaramup to Forest Grove. These accessible parts of the track are popular with locals but are somewhat of a hidden treasure for visitors.

Walking a section will take you through postcard views that share a rich history of the land. And along the way excellent dining options abound. You can stop at a number of quality cafes and restaurants for coffee, local produce, craft beer or a glass of chardonnay.

A family bike riding along the Wadandi Track. Credit Elements Margaret River

A Brief History

The Wadandi Track was originally a railway line, built in the 1880s by prominent businessman Maurice Coleman Davies. Rail lines would take timber from local mills to jetties in Hamelin and Flinders Bay in Augusta for export.

Augusta Margaret River Shire Councillor (and biking enthusiast), Ian Earl, grew up in Cowaramup and remembers seeing the last train leave town in 1956 when he was just three years old. “I remember seeing it heading north, covered in branches and bunting. It seemed very big to me, but it was actually quite a small train.”

For a long time after that, the rail lines sat disused. Farmers would pull up the sleepers and use the tracks as fencing for their cattle, but there was no access for recreational walking for a number of years. In the early 2000s, local and state governments financed the development of what was then called the ‘Rails to Trails’.

Since then, regular funding and a significant input from local volunteers, has seen the track progress year on year. In 2015, the ‘Rails to Trails’ was formally renamed the Wadandi Track – a name that recognises the region’s traditional custodians of the land, the Wadandi (Saltwater) people – who are one of the world’s longest and unbroken human occupations.

Wadandi Track Cycling

Experiencing the Wadandi Track

The Wadandi Track itself is quite flat, as the original Railway train loaded with timber couldn’t climb hills, so the tracks were built on a horizontal grade. Michael Brookes runs Margaret River Mountain Bike Tours and says that the uniform gradient of the track makes it one of the most user-friendly and accessible trails in the region. “The Wadandi Track is relatively straight, easy terrain. International visitors love it, and it’s also very achievable for families to walk or bike,” says Brookes.

Brookes notes that the track is perfectly Western Australian in the scenery it offers. There are stunning karri trees, wildflowers and endemic species like the quenda (a small bandicoot-like animal) and red-tailed black cockatoos. But the track crosses quite diverse territory, with sections passing not only through forest, but agricultural land and vineyards.

For wine lovers, Brookes takes visitors on electric bikes to explore (and taste) some of the region’s wineries that spur off the Wadandi Track. Witchcliffe is a great starting point, as it is located right alongside the track (although not even all locals know that it’s there). You can begin with a wine tasting experience at McHenry Hohnen’s ‘pop up’ cellar door, or the new Amato Vino Tasting Bar located in the historic Darnell’s Trader.

Fellow e-bike tour company Easy Ride Tours also take their guests on somewhat of a roving taste of the region. Starting at the Brewhouse in Margaret River town, they head to Stella Bella for a wine tasting before jumping on the Wadandi Track and cruising past Witchcliffe to Arlewood Estate for more delicious tastings and a beautiful picnic lunch.

A group bike riding along the Wadandi Track. Credit Dylan Alcock

Recent upgrades to the Wadandi Track include newly built bridges constructed near the Carters to Railway Road section. Brookes confirms that this trail is a great entry point for visitors new to biking, and says spring and summer are perfect months to tackle this part of the track under the shaded trees. “Winter can be a bit muddy and steeper along here but with the new bridges in this section, it’s a great ride in the warmer months.”

Around Carters Road, another popular track, the Compartment 10, targets more intermediate and advanced riders, but Brookes says the Wadandi Track really is the more “achievable for everyone” option.

Couple walking along the Wadandi Track. Credit Elements Margaret River

The Wadandi Track itself offers glimpses of the region’s history. Old sleepers and rail lines can be spotted, and the Men’s Shed in Cowaramup rebuilt the original station house – so evidence of the Railway infrastructure can still be found. With some parts of the track now leased to adjoining landowners, you can also encounter farm animals or locally grown plantations.

Brookes says that the Wadandi Track shows visitors a real behind-the-scenes version of the Margaret River Region. “Not only do you connect with nature, but you’re exposed to the region’s timber, farming and winemaking industries, and parts of cultural history that you might otherwise miss.”

Despite urban expansion happening across the region, the Wadandi Track is a remarkable resource that exists in such a way that you can travel from town to town without seeing a car. Continued efforts from dedicated not-for-profits, volunteers and government bodies will eventually see the whole route converted into accessible cycling tracks, allowing visitors to bike from Busselton all the way to Augusta.

Keep that one on your bucket list!

Advice from a Local

Speak to a local expert Advice from a Local Our team of local experts

Our team of local experts are here to help plan and book your stay in the Margaret River Region.