Northcliffe to Northam via Q-towns – Route Details

A road touring route in southern Western Australia, taking in quiet roads and a range of scenery. For fun, it passes through three towns starting with Q.

The quiet roads means some long distances between supplies – there are a few gaps of 100 km between water, and it is typically 200 km between “large” towns where you can rely on a supermarket being open most of the day.

Depending how far you want to ride each day, you can plan the route to sleep in a bed each night or carry camping gear for more flexibility.

The mapped route from Northcliffe to Northam is 705 km with 5,800 m gain total. The undulations are largest at the start and gradually decrease as the route progresses. South to north seems to be a good option for the prevailing wind direction.

Route link: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/35658407

Logistics

Getting to the start in Northcliffe – you can take the TransWA bus. Each bus can take only two bikes, and you need to book and pay ahead for bikes. The bus leaves from East Perth station in Perth, and you need to change busses in Bunbury. It is practically a full day (9am-4pm when I did it), with no great food stops (only a small cafe in Manjimup). The bus passes through Manjimup (on the bike route), so you can shorten the trip by several hours and 60 km by taking the bus only as far as Manjimup.

Getting back from the end in Northam – again, you can take the TransWA bus (to East Perth), or alternatively the AvonLink train (also operated by TransWA) to Midland, where you can then get on a metro train. Both options allow you to take two bikes (booked head). Alternatively, you can add on an extra day of riding and ride the ~100 km back to Perth.

Supplies and Accommodation

Towns and facilities on route are listed below, the distance is from the start of the route in Northcliffe. This information is based on online research validated from my ride in April 2021. However, I am not infallible (mistakes can be made), and things can change. Please don’t rely on this information without checking it for yourself and making your own arrangements.

Distance (km)TownSuppliesAccommodation
0NorthcliffeGeneral store (7am-7pm), public toiletsMotel
27QuinninupTavern (open til 10pm)Caravan park (off route)
59ManjimupPub, pizza, Go Fresh Fish (recommended), grocery stores, cafes. Heritage park public toilets and water bottle refill station (near skate park). Jabba Coffee open 5:30am.Many motels
152Frankland RiverGeneral store (tiny, 6:30am-6pm), public toilets with water (next to playground)Caravan park
240KojonupLarge town: bakery, IGA, pub, service stationsMany options including B&Bs
287Lakeside CampingLake Towerrinning waterski lake, $25/night (off route)
320DarkanGeneral store, hotel, roadhouse, public toilets with delicious water tap outside
387QuindanningHotel, lovely old stone historic building, well maintained, dinner 5:30-8:30pm. Tiny rooms, no ensuite (high quality shared bathrooms), $80 per night incl help-yourself continental breakfast (white toast, muesli, cereal, milk, juice, instant coffee and tea).
420BoddingtonCafe, IGA (Sat 8am-6pm)Caravan park
474Pumphrey’s BridgeFree riverside camp, historic site, lots of mozzies, public toilets
495PopanyinningGeneral store (open most of the day on Sat, lots of lollies and ice creams, otherwise pretty basic)
512PingellyMedium town: IGA (9am-6pm weekends), hotels, pharmacy, cafeMotel
598QuairadingBakery, Foodworks (8am-12pm Sat, closed Sun), BP roadhouse (meals)Hotel meals 6-8pm (have to book ahead for meals, otherwise just pizzas). Accommodation available at hotel (Bottlemart). Includes basic continental breakfast (cereal, milk, white bread and condiments).
Caravan park
667YorkLarge town: multiple cafes, pubs, bakeryMultiple options
705NorthamLarge town: Multiple pubs, cafes, chemist, hotels. Many places closed on public holidays. Recommend Riverside Cafe, Dome Cafe is open for meals 6am-9pm every day.  Multiple options

Tour Plan Ideas

I did the route in 3 calendar days (4 rides), but they were long days (and nights) at an average of 21 kph moving time. It looked like this:

  • Day 1 – bus to Northcliffe, dinner in Manjimup, finish in Frankland River (very late), camp overnight (~150 km)
  • Day 2 – Frankland River to Quindanning, carry all supplies (~235 km)
  • Day 3 – Quindanning to Quairading, re-supply in Boddington and Pingelly (~210 km)
  • Day 4 – Quairading to Northam (~110 km) + rest afternoon

Alternate option:

  • Day 1 – bus to Northcliffe, ride to Manjimup, stay overnight (~60 km)
  • Day 2 – Manjimup to Kojonup (~180 km)
  • Day 3 – Kojonup to Quindanning (~150 km)
  • Day 4 – Quindanning to Pingelly (~125 km)
  • Day 5 – Pingelly to York (~155 km)
  • Day 6 – York to Northam (~40 km) or Perth (~140 km)
  • Day 7 – rest!

Let me know if you get out and do this route, and how it goes!

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