My anxiety of not having planned a holiday over the xmas break resulted in this last minute cycle tour to the wilderness (better known as Bungonia National Park). Famous for its gorge, pretty popular canyoning spot as we later found out when we bumped into another Sydney Night Rider that night at the camp site.
Lesson # 1. Invite people who are spontaneous
For some reason I couldn't do this last trip on my own. I hadn't been on a long ride in a while and I wasn't feeling the most confident, even though I'd been to this place before. So I invited people who I thought would enjoy a mini tour. 2 people caught the bait.
So on Friday the 30th December 2016, after some false starts with bike malfunctions and missing trains. Daniel, Jeremy and I set off into the wilderness from Moss Vale at 13:30 and managed to get to camp before sunset.
Lesson # 2. Chat to people. They always have great advice. Like hidden swimming holes
At the campsite one of the boys was tipped off about a swimming hole, so with the tents half set up we ditched everything and ran for the bush to find this hole, for a twillight swim. Swimming at twillight in a gorge surrounded by a forest is just magical. Even more so when there's thunder and rain.
We were still swimming when the rains hit.
Lesson # 3. Always close your bags. Always cover the tent. You never know when the rains will hit. Especially when you're twillight swimming at the bottom of a gorge.
We were 40 mins away from the tents when the rain hit. Should have closed the tents but it probably wouldn't have made a huge difference as there was a stream of water running through the ground sheets anyway. Lucky the camp site has a shed and hot water. We slept in there that night.
Lesson # 4. Sleeping mats are soft and comfy
Sleeping mats make hard floors comfy to sleep on.
Lesson # 4. Butt Cream
After the whole trip (160 kms, return) my butt was pretty chaffed. Not sure if it was because I was wearing underwear the first day or because I wasn't wearing underwear the second day. My crack was a raw and riding back home wasn't fun.
Elevation Gain (click link for Strava details): Day 1 - 582 m , Day 2 - 668 m
Lesson #5. Check the Burger joint you plan to have your victory post-tour dinner at is open.
Total Distance: 622 kms
Total Elevation gain: 7,760 m
Highest Peak:1,500 metres above sea level at Selwyn Snowfields
Coldest point: Selwyn Snowfields, 6 degrees, felt like 1 (evidence in the ice that formed in our drink bottles)
Fastest speed: 59 kms/h
Fires we made or leeched off others: 6
Successful dampers made by the fire: 0
Muesli bars consumed: 14
Favourite moment: Riding with a brumby
Least favourite: All the gravel
View the posts for the whole journey: link
Distance: 124 kms
Elevation: 1100 m
Start: Bungonia Campground
End: Canberra bus depot
Road: On road, some compact dirt with corrugations (not much not too bad) 20 kms on highway with small shoulder, in Canberra bike lanes
Difficulty: Medium - Hard (highways weren't too pleasant)
Panorama photos courtesy of J.Henderson.
It's long weekend and I'm in between jobs so I figured I'd take this opportunity to do a cycle tour down through NSW. What started off as an idea for an overnighter turned into a week adventure through the Australia's highest mountain ranges in Kosciuszko National park.
I managed to convince 5 others to come along on the first part to Canberra, a mini adventure with the SNR crew. After much planning between myself and a friend, lots of consultations of train times, locations, camping grounds. We finalised a route from Moss Vale to Canberra via Bungonia.
The adventure began at 7:24am from Central station, trying to find the elevator up to the platform is a nightmare (go to the Eddy Ave side first). We caught a "normal" 8 carriage train out to Campbelltown then changed over to the train for Moss Vale. Although the train ride was completely covered by the opal card, we didn't realise the train to Moss Vale was very different to the Sydney trains. It was 2 carriages, had space for 2 bikes to hang off a hook and no in between spaces. Somehow we managed to squeeze bikes into the passenger part and lie them ontop of each other.
Train ride duration: 2h 30 mins
Start: Central Station
End: Moss Vale Station
Ride Start: Moss Vale Station
Ride End: Bungonia State Forest Camping grounds
Distance: 79 kms
Elevation: 730 m
Difficulty: Easy, Medium
Road Conditions: On Road (bituman) in back countries, 10 kms on highway with wide shoulder
Route Map: link
Moving Time: 4h 30min
Total journey time: 6h 20mins
Bungonia Campgrounds, booking required and has charges. Facilities are out of this word. Filtered water, hot showers, gas bbq outside, gas stoves in an common room
Some photos courtesy of this beautiful rider @alikjones