Central West Cycle - Just a long pub crawl on a bike with a few bakeries in between.
Start: Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia
Total distance: 412 kilometres (256 miles)
Riding condition: Unsealed country roads, some gravel, sealed country roads and about 40 kilometres of highway shoulder.
CWC Website : link
If you're looking for a week long get away with your bike, some mates and have a thirst for pubs and salad rolls. The Central West Cycle provides. Rolling hills of yellow rapeseed fields, grain silos, disused train lines, abandoned petrol stations, solar power farms and more importantly the colourful locals.
Where you can buy mountains of crocheted tea towels, whiskey infused marmalade (yet to be sampled and vouched for), and lamingtons.
I have to admit that being vegan on adventures like this isn't easy. My saliva glands override my ethics at the sight of a fluffy lamington. I know it's just a sponge cake coated in chocolate and dusted with coconut. But just they go so well with a coffee in the morning.
Just follow the yellow CWC stickers and you're set for a week of country love.
Day 1 - Mudgee to Dunedoo via Gulgong
Distance: 86 kilometres
Accommodation: Camping at Dunedoo caravan park
After a night at the pub (the Courthouse pub) first port of call is the local bakery*. Followed by a last roll around town and obligatory group photo we roll out loaded up and fresh (except the 3 who rode in from Lithgow the previous night). Ok correction, I rolled out of Mudgee with fresh legs.
*Warning: some bakeries have a 'supreme' edition of a salad roll which usually means a pineapple. You have been warned. I wasn't.
If you thought Mudgee was a cute adorable country town, wait until you hit Gulgong (pronounced "gull" gong).
After loading up on more baked goods, cafe treats and barista coffee we hit the road to ride through pastures of grain silos, rapeseed fields and arrived in Dunedoo at a decent our for a pub feed.
Day 2 - Dunedoo to Ballimore via Mendooran
Distance: 110 kilometres
Accommodation: Hair of the Dog pub (camping and cute rooms available)
Some fun facts about Dunedoo.
Rolling up tents when it's still below 4 outside isn't ever fun, but we were all keen to roll out of camp not the least because the camping site was next the B-Double truck route but we were all keen for some baked goodies.
Hot tip #1: Chad's bakery in Dunedoo do a killer blueberry pie and salad rolls for take away.
By lunchtime we hit the Mendooran. When you roll through the main street please wave to the lovely ladies of the Craft shop who are often seen sitting outside their craft store. Do stop and check out their wares of cute tea towels, and knitted goodies. Some of us chose to eat at the pub. I decided to sit out at the picnic area trying to fix my punctured tube.
Hot tip #2: Be careful where you roll your bike, as the "cat eye thorns" can lead to punctures with a slow leak. Don't be like me who suffered 3 punctures because of these thorns this trip.
Hot tip #3: Check you brought the right sized spare tubes before you leave home or risk having to beg your riding mates for a spare.
Luckily I was riding with some generous people who were able to spare me a spare tube and we hit the road.
Hot tip #3: When in the state forest follow the yellow stickers. You don't want to be stuck in the state forest close to sunset with a broken derailleur and have to ride a single speed bike the last 40 kilometres into town. That's doing a Stewie.
Riding through the state forest at sunset was just delightful. We rolled into the Ballimore "Hair of the Dog" pub with a half moon shining down on us.
I think I can speak for the group when I say this pub and its owners were just super. No judgement when we started drying our socks over the fireplace. Also the only vegetarian burger at a pub on this trip.
Day 3 - Ballimore to Dubbo
Distance: 61 kilometres
Accommodation: Camping at Dubbo caravan park
After much flaffing about at the pub drying tents and clothes in the sun, and trying to find an appropriately nice angle for a group photo of the Ballimore sign (maybe next time install the town sign in front of the trees), we set out for our short roll to Dubbo. With a short roll ahead of us we were able to afford more frequent stops to say hi to some of the four legged locals.
Hot tip #1: Dubbo St vinnies closes at 4pm (we got to Dubbo at 3:50pm)
Hot tip #2: The Indian palace resto in Dubbo may just be the yummiest Indian restaurant in New South Wales.
Day 4 - Dubbo to Wellington
Distance: 78 kilometres
Accommodation: Camping at Wellington caves
Dinner: Wellington pub
Hot tip #1: If you wake up at the right time you might meet Kim in the kitchen in her bathrobe and words of wisdom. Kim is a retired mental health professional visiting her friend in Dubbo. Kim doesn't ride a bicycle but her husband does. Kim says in her mind she's always 29 but her body says otherwise. Kim might also tell you that she's not one of those mums who hassles her daughter to get married and have babies. We all need a bit of Kim advice in our lives.
Hot tip #2: Dubbo RSL has a fitness centre with a sauna that opens at 6:30am.
Hot tip #3: Dubbo is the kinda town when hot chips is served at all hours of the day. Pies are served with hot chips. No time limit. No judgement. So try to not be too surprised when you're half way through your breakfast pie and a plate of hot chips arrive at your table, try not to say "chips at 9 o'clock?".
Wellington once known as the South Pole for its ice addiction (report from 2015). Unfortunately it did not live up to its junkie reputation. It was quaint, clean and beautiful and full of great things.
Hot tip #4: Wellington cave (7 kilometres out of town) has camping grounds with amazing views of the milky way. Book the cave tour in advance, they get booked out.
Day 5 - Wellington to Gulgong
Distance: 88 kilometres
Accommodation: Camping at Gulgong caravan park
Food: Breakfast donuts and take away salad rolls for lunch from Sang's hot bread, Wellington.
Dinner: Gulgong pub
Day 6 - Gulgong to Mudgee
Distance: 30 kilometres
Food: Breakfast ice cream and takeaway salad rolls for lunch from the bakery
DFL - Great Vic Divide
Day 1 - Outta Melbourne into Midnight
Day 2 - Into state forest territory
Day 3 - Ice Ice baby
Day 4 - To Base camp Mt Buller
Day 5 - Mt Stirling
Day 6 - New Year's ride outta Mt Stirling
Day 7 - To the Seymour train station